If there is ever such a thing as away-ice advantage, the Chicago Blackhawks had it.
The Blackhawks concluded a seven-game road trip on Saturday with a 5-2 victory over the host Phoenix Coyotes. That gave them six victories in a row, all coming while play away from Chicago, as the annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took over the United Center.
“It was a fun trip but it was one of those that was a little taxing emotionally,” said Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, as per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.
The Blackhawks had opened up a five-point lead in the Central Division, with this win.
They opened up a three-goal lead before the game was even 12 minutes old, including a five-on-three power play goal from Patrick Kane just a little over two minutes in.
Kane finished with a goal and an assist.
Giving the Blackhawks a two-man advantage so early on was an aspect of the evening that Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett lamented later on.
“It’s so foreign to what you have to do that it’s almost inconceivable we could do it, but we did,” he said, as per Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports.
“Give them a 5-on-3 early just to make sure they get going, and then we give up a poor goal, a goal that should be stopped.”
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.