Make it seven for James Neal. Neal added his seventh goal of the season as the Penguins handily beat Montreal 3-1 in the Steel City, tying him for the league lead in goals scored with Phil Kessel.
Seeing Neal turn into a goal-scoring freak is a blessing for the Penguins given all their injuries to their offensive skill superstars as well as a huge weight off of Neal’s own shoulders. Neal came into the season after a miserable time last year that saw him struggle to score goals for the Penguins after being traded by Dallas.
Neal came in with the hopes and aspirations of being the guy that rides shotgun with either Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. So far he’s gotten more time with Jordan Staal and this season, he’s become their lamp lighter extraordinaire.
Making things more fun for Neal? Trying to prove Pens beat writer Rob Rossi wrong for saying he would only score 17 goals this year. If Neal keeps scoring like this, he’ll have 17 before December. If he gets Malkin and/or Crosby to center him he could get 17 by Veteran’s Day. For now, Neal is just happy to see the pucks finding the back of the net and not the posts.
Here’s Neal’s goal tonight that put the Penguins up 1-0.
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.