Russia hopes mixing up its lines will help kickstart a sagging offense, but knows it needs to start doing a better job with the man advantage.
“First and foremost our power play is the shortcoming we need to address,” Evgeni Malkin said, per Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. “We get a lot of power plays, but we just can’t convert.
“That’s why we were working on our power play for a very long time today in practice. We will see how it is going to work now.”
When the tournament started, Russia unveiled its intimidating top power-play unit, which included forwards Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Radulov and defenseman Andrei Markov. Now Russia is going even more top-heavy by swapping out Radulov in favor of Malkin, according to Dmitry Chesnokov.
Russia has hit a rough patch between losing to the United States in a shootout and then narrowly beating Slovakia, but Canada followed a similar path in 2010 and it worked for them. In a way, the fact that Russia didn’t get a bye to the quarterfinals is a good thing for them because it will give them a game against Norway to work on these issues before the tougher matches start.
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.