Scott Hartnell, Jason Spezza

Jason Spezza to miss up to six weeks with shoulder injury

If there’s something the Ottawa Senators could’ve done without as they try to straighten things up with their down season it’s an injury to one of their top players. Of course, it makes sense that after the Sens got a big win over the Penguins last night that they’re met today with news that star centerman Jason Spezza will miss the next six weeks with a shoulder injury.

Spezza was injured in last night’s win after being boarded by Kris Letang. Letang got a two-minute minor for boarding and Spezza left the game and didn’t return. This year, Spezza has nine goals and 11 assists good for 20 points, third on the team in scoring. Offense has been hard to come by this year for the Sens and losing their play-making center makes for a serious blow.

Ottawa had closed to within four points of Boston for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and now they’ll have to hope Mike Fisher can snap out of his season-long funk to step up in the lead role as the top center. Fisher’s had 10 goals and six assists to this point this year but for Ottawa to keep up in the East, both he and Daniel Alfredsson will have to help each other out and boost their numbers dramatically. When Erik Karlsson is your team’s top scorer and you’ve got talent like Alfredsson, Spezza, Fisher, and Milan Michalek there’s a problem.

The Senators were able to survive through injuries last year to rise to near the top of the Eastern Conference last year, but doing the same thing this year is going to be more difficult to do with other Eastern teams showing great improvement this year. Do the Sens make it or break it now? Coach Cory Clouston hopes his team remembers the lessons learned when dealing with hardship last year to rise above it all one more time.

Leafs prospects Nylander and Kapanen heading to AHL

William Nylander
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The Toronto Maple Leafs trimmed their training camp roster by 16 players on Sunday.

Two of the Leafs’ top prospects, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen, are heading to the the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

For the full list of cuts, click here.

Nylander was Toronto’s first round pick, eighth overall, in 2014.

The 19-year-old scored an impressive 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games with the Marlies in 2014-15.

Kapenen, 19, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade.

He had one goal and one assist in a brief four game stint with Pittsburgh’s farm team last season.

The rebuilding Maple Leafs have no issue being patient with their top young prospects. Both players could make their NHL debut at some point this season, but they may have to wait a little while longer before they become regulars at the next level.

The Leafs now have 24 players on their training camp roster. They have until Tuesday to put the finishing touches on their lineup. Toronto needs to cut at least one more player.

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.”