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Antti Niemi, Johan Hedberg, and Ales Hemsky named NHL Three Stars of the Week

Antti Niemi’s big week in helping move the San Jose Sharks up the Western Conference standings was recognized today as he was named the number one star of the week by the NHL. Niemi went 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals against average and a stunning .963 save percentage last week including a shutout against Colorado.

Niemi’s great play has come at the perfect time for the Sharks as Antero Niittymaki is down with an injury and and minor league call-up Alex Stalock is also hurt. With Niemi the lone man in goal he’s flourished and gotten the Sharks back into the ¬†playoffs mix as they’re fourth in the West now.

Niemi doing as well as he did was about the only thing keeping New Jersey’s Johan Hedberg from getting top honors. Hedberg also was 3-0-0 on the week. He put up a 1.00 goals against average and stopped shots at a .956 save percentage while leading the Devils up the standings in the East. Hedberg has won six straight starts now since Martin Brodeur went down with an injury leading to being named the NHL’s second star of the week.

Rounding out the three stars is Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky. Hemsky was the league’s top scorer last week with four goals and three assists in helping the Oilers to win three straight games last week. Hemsky’s outpouring of offense have helped fuel trade speculation surrounding the talented winger.

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.