In very broad terms, the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars seem like kindred spirits: flawed-but-fun teams that boast enough offensive star power to potentially be upset threats in the playoffs. It’s starting to look like only one of those squads will get the chance to make their opponents sweat, though.
The Flyers extended their winning streak to four games and gave the Stars their fourth loss in a row via a 4-2 win on Thursday.
Philly hasn’t just been beating up on tomato cans during this streak, either; they swept a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, managed a comeback win against the Chicago Blackhawks and dealt some serious damage to Dallas’ playoff hopes tonight.
One could argue that Philly’s edge came down to secondary scoring. Claude Giroux continues his dominant work, but the Stars received another strong night from their 1-2 punch of offensive stars with Jamie Benn getting two goals this time. Wayne Simmonds’ own hot streak seemed to tilt the scale the Flyers’ way, however, as he found the net twice himself.
However you slice it, the Flyers’ playoff hopes look increasingly realistic while the Stars may need the Phoenix Coyotes to stumble to really get back into the West mix.
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.