All the news and notes on a busy Black Friday…
Frederik Andersen will make his first start for Anaheim since being recalled last week as the Ducks host the Flames. Andersen won six of his first seven games while posting a 1.66 GAA and .943 save percentage, but was sent to AHL Norfolk when Viktor Fasth returned from injury.
Fasth is once again on the shelf, though, meaning Andersen is back in the Ducks’ mix. He’ll go up against Reto Berra, who has been getting big minutes for Calgary lately.
Budaj takes on Neuvirth
Battle of the backups at Verizon tonight — Montreal’s Peter Budaj goes up against Washington’s Michal Neuvirth. The interesting storyline here is that both Budaj and Neuvirth have played sparingly this season, yet will battle for the second time in a week as both got the nod last Friday (when Montreal beat Washington 3-2.)
UPDATE: Neuvirth was injured during pregame warmup and will be unable to play. Holtby gets the start instead, and video coach Brett Leonhardt will serve as backup.
— Jimmy Howard takes on Kevin Poulin in the Detroit-New York Islanders matchup; Brian Elliott goes for the Blues in San Jose, taking on Antti Niemi; Cory Schneider vs. Cam Ward square off in the Devils-‘Canes game; it’s Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Sergei Bobrovsky in the Edmonton-Columbus tilt.
— Good matchup in Buffalo tonight as James Reimer will draw back in for Toronto for the first time since allowing five goals in a 6-0 beating by Columbus on Monday. He’ll go up against Ryan Miller, who continues to play well despite winning just four times in 19 appearances this season.
— Corey Crawford will go for Chicago after a rare break on Wednesday (Antti Raanta was in goal for a 3-2 win over Calgary). He’ll be up against Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen, looking to bounce back after allowing five goals in a loss to St. Louis on Saturday.
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.