Avalanche TV analyst/former player Mark Rycroft calls Sens star Jason Spezza a “wimp”

We haven’t seen a good player vs. announcer dust up in a good while and thankfully Avalanche TV man and former NHLer Mark Rycroft is there to fill the need. Rycroft works for the Avalanche home network, Altitude, and with the Avs and Senators set to meet up tonight in Denver, Rycroft gave his opinion of what he thinks of Senators star center Jason Spezza. Rycroft didn’t pull any punches in giving his assessment of Spezza’s play as Adrian Dater of The Denver Post tells us.

Of Spezza, Rycroft said, “He’s a wimp. He doesn’t want to go in the corners. He wants easy points.”

I looked for some kind of previous encounter with Spezza in his 226-game NHL career that might have led Rycroft to this rather frank assessment of him, but nothing really stood out.

Seems like Spezza can’t catch a break from either the home media or those on the road. The guys at home in Ottawa spent all summer wondering aloud if Spezza would be traded, if he wanted out of town, and rushed to his support once Senators GM Bryan Murray and Spezza himself made it clear he wasn’t going anywhere.

Dater makes note of Rycroft’s brief NHL career and, well, let’s face it getting such harsh words thrown Spezza’s way by Rycroft smacks of sour grapes. Then again, maybe he’s just getting used to life as a television analyst and either hasn’t learned to choose his words better or he knows the exact right way to get his name out there. You can feel free to make the call there. You’d better believe Spezza will be doing his best tonight to make Rycroft eat his words.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”



Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
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The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.