The Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver came to an Tuesday, in a blockbuster deal the day before the NHL’s trade deadline.
Oh, and they were also scheduled to play the Phoenix Coyotes a few hours later in an important Western Conference match-up – one that could impact both teams’ playoff chances.
The Canucks dealt Luongo back to the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Shawn Matthias and goalie Jacob Markstrom. Without Luongo, who had been in Vancouver for eight seasons, the Canucks were then shut out 1-0 by the Coyotes in an otherwise flat, uninspired effort with their post-season hopes fading with every negative result.
The Canucks may not be done dealing, either, as the club continues to “re-tool” after two consecutive first-round playoff exits and the very real possibility it might not qualify for the post-season in 2013-14. It’s believed center Ryan Kesler could also be on the move, although exactly where remains in question as the deadline approaches.
“I don’t know if we’re done yet,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said in a conference call on Tuesday. “If we do something else, it will be in the same vain of trying to get younger and trying to get more depth and more balance.”
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.