The Bears became the AHL’s first repeat champions in 19 years, capping a comeback from a 2-0 series deficit with a 4-0 victory over the Texas Stars on Monday night in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals.
The AHL’s regular-season champs dropped the first two games of the final, but won three in a row in Texas before delighting the sellout crowd of 11,002 at the Giant Center with the most dominant effort by either team in the series. The Bears, the Washington Capitals’ top farm team, won the Calder Cup for the 11th time overall and third in five years — but the first in Hershey since 1980. They are the first team since Springfield in 1990 and 1991 to repeat as Calder Cup champions, and they did it after setting an AHL regular-season record with 60 victories.
Chris Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, earned the tournament MVP thanks to 7 goals and playoffs-leading 27 points in only 22 games. All four of the night’s goals came from blueliners, including potential defensemen of the future Karl Alzner and John Carlson.
Michal Neuvirth earned the shutout. There is a solid chance that Neuvirth, Alzner and Carlson will all play quite a bit with the Washington Capitals next season.
While their parent club still hopes to find postseason success, the Bears’ profound minor league dominance bodes well for the future of the Capitals franchise. There’s really only one big minus of Hershey’s win: it really brings the point home that hockey season is over.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
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
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.