The Sporting News pulls the plug on its hockey-centric blog 'The Grinder'

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There’s no denying that the hockey blogosphere – and any other platform featuring hockey writers – can be a competitive place. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, especially when it encourages certain people to falsify rumors – or even worse – claim that they got a scoop that originated from somewhere else. Other times, it results in a beautiful chain reaction in which creative types push each other to crank out work of increasing quality; in those cases the readers are the truest winners.

With that thought in mind, I’d like to sadly pass along a note that The Sporting News decided to shut down many of its blogging endeavors, which includes their “The Grinder” hockey blog.

To me, the thing that made that blog stand out was the work of Craig Custance. He would often find a different angle – or provide further illumination – upon a big-ticket news item while also pumping out that material in a timely fashion.

While there is little doubt that blogs are changing the way hockey fans get their news, analysis and snark, bigger media companies must experiment with the medium. Perhaps The Sporting News will come back with a similar effort in the future, but right now, it’s sad to see a solid blog bite the dust.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed Pro Hockey Talk so far. I think I can speak for Joe Yerdon when I say that we hope to cover the NHL in a unique and comprehensive way for a long time to come.

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. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who 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.