The Blue Jackets couldn’t ultimately beat the Penguins in their first-round series, but the New York Rangers are thankful for what the upstarts from Columbus showed in pushing Pittsburgh to six games.
“We had a chance to see the way they played, and the way Columbus [brought] their game to them,” Rangers forward Derick Brassard said, per the New York Post. “We can learn a lot from the way Columbus put everything behind the defensemen, made them defend. They forechecked very hard, they didn’t pass up many shots. That’s something that we’re going to try to do.”
We mentioned yesterday in PHT Extra that the Penguins didn’t exactly shut up their critics in beating the Jackets. Marc-Andre Fleury had some tough moments, and the players in front of him didn’t always play well either, particularly when Pittsburgh held a lead.
That being said, the Penguins were absolutely deserving of beating Columbus. The stats illustrate how badly they dominated in puck possession, and for all we heard about Sidney Crosby not scoring a goal, he still managed 19 shots and six assists.
“We’re meeting an elite team,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who joked he “popped a blood vessel” in his eye watching all the tape of the Pens-Jackets series.
“We know coming into this series that for us to have a chance against such a good team, we’re going to have to find another level – another level of execution, another level of compete. That’s how good these guys are.”
Related: Get your game notes: Rangers at Penguins
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.