The attitude the Blue Jackets assumed when they got the lead last night in Philadelphia is the same one they need to keep with six games to go in their regular season.
“I like how we kept our foot on the pedal,” defenseman James Wisniewski said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We played it smart, but we didn’t lay back and just defend the whole time. Our defense was active, and we supported each other. It wasn’t them just coming in wave after wave until something bad happens.”
The Jackets came away with a 2-0 victory, the franchise’s first ever in Philly. Tonight, they host Chicago with a chance to go three points up on idle Toronto, currently the team with the best chance to catch them for a playoff spot.
The Blackhawks — minus Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — also played last night, beating Minnesota in a shootout at the United Center. Which is to say, it’s not the worst time to welcome the Stanley Cup champs to Nationwide Arena.
“We’re in a good position,” said forward Brandon Dubinsky. “It’s not like where we were last year when we had to continue to watch and hope and chase teams. We’re right where we want to be.”
As we wrote yesterday, the Jackets have a golden opportunity to to give their long-suffering fans some playoff excitement.
Now is not the time to take their foot off the pedal.
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.