Video: Steven Stamkos takes a puck to his face, barely misses any time

The beauty about hockey – particularly as the stakes rise in the playoffs – is that just about every player is tough. It’s not just enforcers or defensive defensemen who remind us why we watch on TV while they play for puck-related glory. Big-money stars shake off ghastly injuries for two reasons: 1) they’re tough as well and 2) it’s simply expected of them.

Even though we’ve seen moments like these time and time again, they never fail to amaze hockey fans. Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos took a Johnny Boychuk slapper to the face, which “shattered his nose” according to the Versus telecast. Cameras caught him making his way to the locker room with serious haste while clutching his nose, leaving some to wonder if the Lightning would play a huge game without a big star.

It seemed like he barely missed more than a shift or two, instead. Stamkos came back into action with a full face shield and a gnarly wound on his nose (which you can see from this post’s main image via a screenshot from Chemmy of Pension Plan Puppets).

You can watch footage of Stamkos taking that shot to face in the video below. As I joked on Twitter, Stamkos went from having a face suited for a villain’s role in ’80s teen comedies to a mug that wouldn’t be out of place in a gangster movie. He might be a little less pretty after tonight’s game, but in return, he gained the respect of almost any reasonable hockey fan.

One final thought: thank goodness that he was wearing a visor.

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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.