When a player isn’t selected to play in the Olympics for their country, it stings. For Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson it was more of a shock.
Johnson has been a fixture on Team USA in both the Olympics and World Championships over the years and, as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports, he wasn’t very pleased about the omission and puts some of the blame on Jackets coach Todd Richards.
“It’s over now. … Anything that’s said now is empty and meaningless,” Johnson said. “When I needed the belief and trust, I didn’t get it, and I didn’t get it when it counted from numerous people.”
Johnson admitted he got off to a slow start this season and that likely contributed to him not making the United States roster. He missed out on the Team USA roster while newcomers like Cam Fowler and John Carlson got the call ahead of him.
Richards explained what happened with Johnson to Portzline.
“Jack’s play wasn’t where it needed to be at the start of the year,” Richards said. “Now, with him at the top of his game, look where we’re at as a team, how well we’re playing. It’s a compliment to him and his game.”
Compliments are nice, but Johnson would probably like a trip to Sochi instead.
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.