“Before the Capitals season started, I was quoted as saying I didn’t see any weakness in our lineup. While I knew some aspects of our team were stronger than others, I didn’t see anything that I believed was a specific weakness. Obviously I was wrong.”
That was Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, writing on his blog after his team was eliminated from playoff contention. Washington will miss the postseason for the first time since 2007, and Leonsis is promising to “conduct a comprehensive review of what transpired this year.”
Certainly, the jobs done by general manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates will be part of that review. And it doesn’t sound like staying the course is an option.
“When we have concluded our evaluation, we will make the necessary adjustments and articulate our reasoning and plan for improvement,” Leonsis wrote.
Player wise, the Caps have some big questions to answer as well. Down the middle, Mikhail Grabovski is a pending unrestricted free agent, while Brooks Laich is a potential compliance buyout. The blue line has been rightly targeted by critics, and the goaltending situation is as uncertain as ever, especially after the recent tension between Jaroslav Halak and Oates.
“I empathize with the frustration – and even anger – of our fans,” wrote Leonsis, “and I promise to work diligently as we analyze the season, evaluate our organization and pursue what we believe to be our best options.”
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.