Jonathan Bernier’s stranglehold on Toronto’s No. 1 goaltending job just got a little tighter.
Bernier will get the nod tonight at home against Edmonton, marking his third consecutive start and the first time in his six-year career he’s started three in a row.
The 25-year-old gets the net after another stellar effort against Nashville on Thursday. Bernier stopped all 36 shots in a 4-0 win over the Preds, pushing his numbers on the year to a gaudy 3-1-0 with a .974 save percentage and 0.85 GAA.
The decision means Toronto’s starting goalie of last season, James Reimer, will have gone a week between appearances. The last time Reimer played was last Saturday against Ottawa, when he was yanked in favor of Bernier after allowing four goals on 21 shots.
Bernier never had a chance for successive starts in L.A., thanks in large part to Jonathan Quick’s outstanding play and his workhorse-like approach to playing time. Quick appeared in a career-high 72 games in 2009-10, and followed that up with 69 games played during the Stanley Cup championship year of 2011-12.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.