Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets looked lost just a couple years ago. They finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 29-46-7 record and were forced to trade Rick Nash in July 2012 because he could no longer stand to play for the Blue Jackets.
After the trade, Columbus was written off as one of the worst teams in the league and the franchise’s first playoff win still looked like a distant goal. Then the Blue Jackets’ defense clicked and Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy. Although they finished a hair from making the 2013 postseason due to their 5-12-4 start, the tone had changed.
But was that a fluke? Could Bobrovsky live up to his breakout performance? The Blue Jackets’ hot finish only added to the questions surrounding them going into the 2013-14 campaign. They answered by squeaking into the playoffs in 2014 and not only earning their first postseason win, but also making the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins sweat in the six-game first round series.
Following that accomplishment, the Blue Jackets decided to keep their roster relatively intact. One notable exception was the trade of R.J. Umberger and a 2015 fourth round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Scott Hartnell.
Beyond that, they’re hoping to get a full season out of Nathan Horton after he started the 2013-14 campaign on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury and wasn’t able to stay healthy once he did come back.
The Blue Jackets also inked Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year, $35.1 million contract extension this summer. They aren’t done yet though as 33-goal scorer Ryan Johansen remains a restricted free agent.
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.