Should the Capitals rest their stars?

hugs.jpgOnce the NFL season comes closer to an end, high-end teams like the Indianapolis Colts commonly face the question of whether or not they should rest key players. There’s a camp that says, “Why risk injury in games that are little more than symbolic exhibitions for your team?” Then again, there’s also the line of thought that goes, “Every game has an inherent risk of injury. Why micromanage your players like that, especially since missing games could ruin their rhythm?”

The Washington Capitals are in a similar situation now that they’ve clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. They can lose every game and still have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. They also have one great advantage over NFL teams in this situation: simply put, missing 1 or 2 out of 82 games is a lot less risky than missing 1 out of 16. Tarik El Bashir reports that the team will probably rest Mike Green tonight and wonders who else might be given a mini-vacation in the last few games.

One thing I don’t see happening is much slumber for Alex Ovechkin. The Russian winger is in a three-horse race for the Rocket Richard trophy with Steven Stamkos and goals leader Sidney Crosby. Then again, it’s been a tumultuous season for Ovechkin, so maybe the team will ask him to sacrifice one entry on his trophy rack for a better chance at trophies that matter a whole lot more (namely, the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe).

There’s been plenty of debate about just how good this Capitals team really is. If their best players (or even hard workers like Mike Knuble) need a breather, why not do that now?

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

Torres hit
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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.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.