Brock Nelson, Cory Schneider

Playoff bubble watch — Devils edition


It’s been more than two weeks since we last checked in on the New Jersey Devils’ playoff chances. Since then (Mar. 14), those chances have fallen from 58.8 percent to just 14.3, according to Sports Club Stats, and — in a very related story — the team’s record in the shootout has fallen from 0-8 to 0-10.

Consider: if the Devils were .500 in the “gimmick,” they’d be tied with Columbus for the second wild-card spot in the East.

Alas, they are not .500; they are .000, the only team in the NHL without a shootout win.

Consider now the probability of losing 10 straight shootouts. Even if the Devils are just plain bad at the exercise and you only give them a 25 percent shot of winning each one, the chances they drop 10 straight are around 5 percent.

The chances of losing 10 straight coin flips? Around 0.1 percent. Or, one in a thousand.

“We’re at the point we can pretty much try everything because what we’re doing is not working,” forward Damien Brunner said of his team’s shootout woes. “Maybe we have to start throwing some jokes around on the bench. It can’t get any worse.”

If there’s reason for optimism as the Devils prepare for their final eight games, starting tonight versus Florida (on NBCSN), it may be their less-than-daunting schedule:


Seven non-playoff teams, plus Boston on the last game of the season when it’s likely the Bruins will have nothing on the line.

It’s estimated the Devils will have to earn 14 out of a possible 16 points (so 7-1-0 or 6-2-0) to give themselves a better-than-50/50 shot at making the playoffs.

“We’ve played games that we can win,” goalie Cory Schneider said, per The Record. “We haven’t gotten ourselves out of any games. Right now, we’re not getting ourselves extra points. We’re going to need some help. We’re going to need some teams in front of us to lose, which they did (Friday). But we got to get twos and not ones and zeros right now.”

Related: Are the Devils doomed by the shootout?

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

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.