Alex Pietrangelo, Tyson Strachan make the cut for the St. Louis Blues

alexpmakestheblues.jpgThe St. Louis Blues decided to keep top prospect Alex Pietrangelo and Tyson Strachan on their NHL roster, according to Jeremy Rutherford. Defenseman Ian Cole and forward Nicholas Drazenovic were sent down to the AHL to make space for the two players.

Rutherford captured the reactions of both Pietrangelo and Strachan. First, Pietrangelo discusses the situation with Rutherford.

Here is Pietrangelo’s reaction to making the team: “It’s a relief. It’s exciting. It’ll probably hit me more on Saturday during the home opener, if I’m playing. But it’s exciting. I’ve enjoyed the process here … it’s been a pretty good competition. We’ve been pushing each other pretty good, the guys that have been sticking around. It’s a relief, that’s probably the best way to put it. But at the same time it’s only a start right? There’s guys breathing down your neck, trying to get the same spot. You’ve just got to keep playing, keep pushing forward. They said the same thing I’m saying right now . . . it’s just a start and you’ve got to just keep pushing forward.”

On losing some of the pressure and advancing his game: “I’m feeling a lot more confident these past couple of days. I’ve got to go out there Thursday and Friday and have a good practice and Saturday is a big start to the season.”

Useless NHL ’11 note: if you’re doing a fantasy draft in Be a GM Mode, draft Pietrangelo. He turns into a star in about three or four years. Surely, there is some real-life relevance to Pietrangelo too, but for me he’s still one of those “awesome prospects who lives larger in video games at this point” type guys. (Jay Bouwmeester used to be that guy. Now he’s the fast defenseman who gets paid a ton of money.)

Next, Rutherford catches up with Strachan.

Here is Strachan’s reaction to making the team: “They let me know that I’m starting the season and I made the top seven and I’ll be competing for playing time. It’s stressful to get the call when they say ‘Meet with Davis (Payne)” because over the last two years, I’ve had those meetings and afterwards I was making the three-hour drive (to Peoria). It’s hard to explain. I just worked really hard and I’m excited to have the opportunity.”

So, there you go. The Blues seem like they could be a sneaky-good team next season, but it will require solid play from many young skaters. If Pietrangelo and/or Strachan work out, that would increase the odds of St. Louis succeeding substantially.

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.