Ponikarovsky hit on Bailey: Suspension-worthy?


bailey.jpgAlexei Ponikarovsky received plenty of hype during a star-starved trade deadline this year, but he’s been just mediocre-to-OK for the Penguins so far with 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 17 games. The Ukrainian forward might have to wait a while to improve on those point totals, though, because the league might need to take at his boarding check on New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey. Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times wonders if the forward should receive a suspension for the hit.

(Click here for the video, which includes a really weird and awkward euphemism from one of the Penguins’ announcers.)

There are a few factors working both ways in this one.

It certainly seemed like Ponikarovsky took advantage of a vulnerable player in this one. The league is trying to clean up its image regarding these kinds of hits, so this could be one of those “making an example” moments.

On the other hand, we’re on the verge of starting the playoffs so that might discourage the league from taking action. Also, it doesn’t appear that he’s ever been suspended for dirty hits before, so the “no prior offenses” argument will help him. And, as usual, the league might go with its faulty and unofficial “no harm no foul” policy since Bailey was able to leave the ice under his own power.

What do you think? Should Ponikarovsky receive a suspension for the hit? Or will it get brushed under the rug since the spotlight was on Mellon Arena’s final regular season home game?

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.