Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders

Playoff bubble watch — Blue Jackets edition

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When “playoff bubble watch” last checked in on the Columbus Blue Jackets, 15 days ago, their playoff chances were at 60.4 percent, according to Sports Club Stats.

source:  Today, their chances are down, but only slightly, to 56.3 percent, a good indicator of the water-treading they’ve been doing the past couple of weeks.

If the Jackets do end up missing the playoffs, they’ll no doubt be left kicking themselves for losing to Carolina at home last week and getting shut out by the Islanders on the road Sunday.

“These points are huge right now,” center Ryan Johansen said after the 2-0 defeat on Long Island. “Against a team like the Islanders, who are playing spoiler right now, it’s very frustrating. We’ve got to learn from it but we can’t dwell on this.”

Indeed, if the Jackets get a win tonight versus Detroit (on NBCSN), their playoff hopes will improve rather dramatically.

Combine that with free-falling Toronto being an underdog at home to St. Louis and Washington facing a tough matchup versus Los Angeles, and tonight could be seriously pivotal for Columbus, a much-maligned franchise that badly needs to make the postseason in order to regain a measure of respect in the local market.

Attendance-wise, the Jackets are averaging just 14,325 fans this season; only Phoenix (13,585) is lower than that.

Still, there remains a feeling that Columbus could be a great NHL town, if only the Jackets could become a perennial playoff team, as opposed to the one that’s made the postseason just once since entering the league in 2000.

Related: Columbus’ power play is just awful

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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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.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

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’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.