Riding the Zamboni – Sunday, November 21st

Here are summaries of tonight’s four games.

Atlanta 2, NY Islanders 1 (OT)

The Dustin Byfuglien Experiment continues to succeed in Atlanta, as the hybrid forward/defenseman was involved in both of the Thrashers’ goals, including the game-winner in overtime. He now has seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 21 games. Ondrej Pavelec (28 out of 29 saves) and Rick DiPietro (33 for 35) both played exceptionally well tonight, but Pavelec got the win.

Of course, everything was overshadowed by Mike Mottau’s scary injury, which we’ll keep tabs on this week.

Detroit 5, Calgary 4 (OT)

Here is a full recap of that game.

Edmonton 4, Anaheim 2

All of a sudden, the Ducks are ice cold again. They won six games in a row but now they’re a five game losing streak, with the previous 10 games being decided by one goal.

The Oilers beat them by two, though, thanks to an empty net goal by Tom Gilbert. Devan Dubnyk was the true star of this game, though, stopping 38 out of 40 shots. Could he be onto something?

Phoenix 3, Vancouver 2

Don’t look now, but the Phoenix Coyotes look like the newest hot team in the Pacific Division. They are quietly on a six game winning streak after edging the Canucks tonight. Vancouver is on the other end of the momentum cycle, dropping four in a row.

Taylor Pyatt made his former team pay in this one, scoring two goals, including the game winner.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.