Rangers training camp got underway this weekend but there was one big, and important, face missing on their blue line.
Defenseman Marc Staal is being held out of team scrimmages to start training camp and will be kept out of the team’s first three preseason games thanks to having problems stemming back to an injury he suffered back in February. Oddly enough, the injury he suffered then came at the hands of his older brother Eric Staal.
The Blueshirts’ alternate captain has been medically cleared for contact after developing post-concussion-like symptoms over the summer, but management is taking a conservative, cautious approach this pre-season. He skated through the first two days of strenuous testing and did take part in this morning’s drills after the conclusion of the first scrimmage.
Staal isn’t being held out completely in camp as he’s doing drills and continuing to skate with the team, he’s just not doing anything game-related for now. Given how long ago the injury happened and some of the problems Staal had in the months following the injury, it’s a bit unnerving for the Rangers to see Staal continuing to have some issues.
If Staal is having concussion-like issues, the Rangers would be better off making sure he’s absolutely good to go. Concussion recovery is a delicate thing, as we’ve seen, and playing defense the way Staal does isn’t a delicate job. He’s physical, he’s a big target as is, and he plays the big minutes against the opponents top players. The Rangers being careful here is good, but they need to figure out just how bad off Staal is before they get him into real game situations.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
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
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.