Tonight's games: Mickey Mouse organizations

After some robust NBC Game of the Week coverage (thanks for stopping by for the live chat, by the way), let’s take a look at the games that have yet to start. If you kids are good, I might even put together a recap of today’s early games. Now get your feet off the couch!

Buffalo Sabres (34-20-9, 77 pts) at New York Rangers (29-28-8, 66 pts) 7:00 PM ET

Both teams are in need of some shaping up in this one. For the Rangers, they need to stop the bleeding or they’ll slip even further out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. It’s also safe to say that the 09-10 Sabres would rather not be the first team in franchise history to lose nine straight road games, either.

Toronto Maple Leafs (20-32-12, 52 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (33-26-4, 70 pts) 7:00 PM ET

Michael Leighton played pretty well in a losing effort against the Sabres Friday night, but every loss fuels the goaltending anxiety that much more.

New Jersey Devils (38-22-3, 79 pts) at Edmonton Oilers (20-38-6, 46 pts) 8:00 PM ET

Well, who’s the “Mickey Mouse” organization now? (I know that even with ownership changes, the answer is probably still the Ducks, but work with me here) If I had a time machine I’d do a million other things first, but then I’d ask ’80s era Gretzky to explain this situation.

Montreal Canadiens (31-29-6, 68 pts) at Anaheim Ducks (30-27-7, 67 pts) 8:00 PM ET

When you look at all the talent on this Ducks team, it’s really difficult to explain their profound struggles. Do they miss Chris Pronger’s elbows? Could it be that their coach’s Caesar-style haircut is demoralizing? I don’t know the root of their struggles, but if they want to surge their way to the playoffs again, they better get moving.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.