The U.S. opened their schedule in the men’s ice hockey competition in Sochi with an impressive victory over Slovakia. While the positives to take out of that game were numerous, head coach Dan Bylsma highlighted the play of his team’s defenseman.
On the score sheet, the U.S. blue line accounted for only three points in what was a 7-1 thumping of Slovakia. But they also helped keep a talented Slovak team in check.
“Some of these guys have played in big games and been in big spotlights, but maybe none bigger than the one we were in [Thursday],” Bylsma said, as per NHL.com.
“I thought to get our feet underneath us, especially those young guys on defense, I thought they played large. We have Paul Martin and [Ryan] Suter back there, but Cam Fowler and John Carlson in particular, and Ryan McDonagh, played well on the back side.”
Carlson, a stand out on the blue line with the Washington Capitals in the National Hockey League, had a two-point night, including the first goal of the game.
“Looking at the back end of our team with a handful of guys playing their first games, it dawned on me that we are especially young on the back side,” Bylsma said. “I thought it was fitting that we scored the first goal from John Carlson there.”
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.