It has become more and more apparent that our friend Raffi Torres is a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
This season looked to be the one where our man broke out. He had a 27 goal campaign last season, accomplished despite playing very little on the PP. In the playoff run he scored a couple of big goals, played some tough minutes alongside Peca and Pisani and hurt some guys badly, including a series changing (Ron Wilson's words) hit on Milan Michalek. Coming into a contract year he opened training camp with a flourish and found himself with the plum assignment of riding shotgun for Sykora and Hemsky.
But he couldn't cash in on the chances he got playing with the Czechs and when MacT took out the blender, Torres, along with everyone else but Winchester and Reasoner and the Czechs, began to get bounced around. Unlike Smytty who has played everywhere and has continued to score at a ridiculous rate, Torres has not adjusted well, even being relegated to the fourth line until Moreau's injury.
If it weren't for the fact that the fourth line has become very effective, so effective that it has begun to eat Torres' Stoll and Lupul's icetime, one thinks he would have been demoted again. But MacT might be loathe to break up what he has going with Reasoner and his kids.
Other options? Well, Bergeron spent a couple of games as a healthy scratch, despite playing decently. In MacT's eyes decent is not what they need from the little Frenchman, they need more. So MAB sat, unhappily, and has been flying ever since.
How would Torres respond to a benching? Well, he looks to be ready to throw himself in front of the Zamboni next intermission, so it might just push him over the edge. Or it might give him a few days to gather his thoughts, see his shrink and come back revitalized.
Or do they leave him in there - its a seven game homestand and included in the visitors are some patsies. A game or two like the Blues' game might see a few others get on the board like MAB did , get some confidence and get rolling.
My feeling? If Raffi doesn't do something, anything, in the next game or two, he's going to have a seat and we might see Pouliot come up for a shot. Of course, I am presuming that Jacques gets sent down. The kid is stagnating in the pressbox and has not looked ready when he has played.
Anyhow, that's how I see it. Raffi is thisclose to having a seat. Might be good for him. Or it might kill what's left of his confidence. But if he doesn't do something, anything, in the next week, he's going to be helping Heyda with his Spanglish.