Michal Neuvirth

Michal Neuvirth swipes Caps’ opener start from Tomas Vokoun


Here’s a dispatch from the Department of Expected Overreactions (OK, it’s actually from CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley): the Washington Capitals will start Michal Neuvirth instead of Tomas Vokoun during their first game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct 8.

Considering the very reasonable Vezina Trophy hype for Vokoun, this news might startle many people. Let’s calm that down right now with the same banter you should use after every season-opener: it’s just one game. My expectation is that Vokoun will make 55+ starts in 2011-12 and be an excellent contributor, while Neuvirth should get a healthy number of relief opportunities.

The word is that Neuvirth had a really good training camp and will get a reward for his hard work. Head coach Bruce Boudreau is justified in giving his former starter a nice treat since Neuvirth might not be extremely happy about getting usurped. Boudreau was coy about his decision, though.


Feel free to over-analyze that statement if you’d like, but again, I would expect Vokoun to be the number one goalie in Washington. Perhaps this indicates that it will be more of a “timeshare” situation than some expected, but it’s better to have two strong options in net than none.

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.