Unlike many other rookies, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon seemed physically ready for the big-time in 2013-14. At minimum, he boasted top-of-the-line speed, something that Patrick Roy raved about before he played a single shift.
Considering how strong a finish MacKinnon enjoyed last season, opponents probably crossed their fingers for a so-called “sophomore slump.” That’s always possible, but word is that he’s (gulp) in even more impressive shape heading into next season.
More explosive than this? Yikes:
Here’s your requisite offseason story disclaimer: it’s wise to take such reports with a grain of salt. “Bigger, stronger” can sometimes mean putting on too much weight. There’s always the risk that working so hard on offseason training may increase injury risks.
Still, the bigger picture view is still promising. The MacKinnon – Sidney Crosby parallels can get obnoxious at times, yet if the 19-year-old is as driven as the veteran Pittsburgh Penguins star, then the Avalanche have a right to be extra excited.
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.