Roberto Luongo

Your San Jose Sharks-Vancouver Canucks Game 3 primer

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As we discussed before, the San Jose Sharks aren’t going into an important Game 3 match against the Vancouver Canucks in panic mode. They know that it’s a big game, obviously, but both teams know from experience that the tone of a series can change even when a team falls behind 3-0. (Not that the Sharks would enjoy being in that scenario themselves, mind you.)

Vancouver @ San Jose (Versus) – 9 p.m. ET; Canucks lead series 2-0

If the Sharks want to get back into this series, they’ll need to keep a lid on their resident knucklehead Ben Eager. It’s not often that a low-level fighter such as Eager draws a lot of attention, but his mistakes made a tough third period that much worse for San Jose in Game 2.

The Sharks have downplayed their overall struggles in third periods, but there’s little doubt that the team would gain some confidence from finishing a game strong. Wednesday’s third period featured some awful lows, but up until that point, San Jose had been giving Vancouver a solid fight.

The question is: will San Jose be able to utilize their home ice advantage and final change to generate better results this time around? Even if they don’t outright shoot themselves in the foot like they did on Wednesday, they still must find an answer for the Sedin twins and that Canucks power play. So far, their efforts haven’t been very successful.

Meanwhile, the Canucks must hope that they can simply maintain the status quo. It’s too early to ponder the kind of impact a Stanley Cup win would have on the city of Vancouver, but it’s still pretty fun to think about. They’ll need to earn six more wins without struggling veteran Mikael Samuelsson, who is out indefinitely after hernia surgery.

A game like this could decide if this series will be long or if the Canucks will get a brief mini-vacation, although both teams obviously know the pitfalls of assuming a series is over at 3-0. (Even if they didn’t look past their opponents.)

Here are a few other scattered bits that might be of interest.

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.

Blues send down four; keep young d-men Edmundson and Parayko

Magnus Paajarvi
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The St. Louis Blues have assigned two forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie, and two defensemen, Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, to AHL Chicago.

The moves mean that the Blues will have two young d-men, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, on the opening-day roster, after both impressed in camp.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Lindbohm and Butler looked to be the sixth and seventh defensemen, in that order, at the start of camp, but the play of Edmundson and Parayko won them spots. Parayko had six assists in the preseason, putting him among the NHL leaders. 

Forward Robby Fabbri will also be on the opening-day roster. The 19-year-old is not eligible for the AHL; he can only be returned to junior.

Earlier today, the Blues announced the signing of forward Scottie Upshall.