Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has been freed from the shackles of his yellow non-contact jersey. LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond reports Doughty went Johnny Cash at practice today (read: dressed in black) and participated in contact drills for the first time since getting hurt.
DOUGHTY: “I was cleared to practice with the team and cleared to get some contact in practice. I feel really good. I feel ready to play and almost back to normal. Now it’s just kind of in the hands of the training staff and the coaching staff to put me in.’’
Question: Is playing tomorrow a possibility?
DOUGHTY: “I hope so. I really want to play tomorrow, really badly. It sucks being out, obviously, but like I said I’m ready to play but at the same time, it’s really just in the training staff’s hands.’’
The Kings begin a three-game road set in Dallas on Thursday and could use Doughty’s offensive presence. L.A. has just three goals in its last three games and is on a collision course with Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen, he of the 7-0-0 record, 1.54 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.
That said, head coach Terry Murray won’t rush Doughty back. The 21-year-old has been out of action since getting nailed by Philly’s Zac Rinaldo on Oct. 15, at which time Kings GM Dean Lombardi said Doughty would miss 7-10 days with an upper-body injury unrelated to his head. (Speculation was he separated his shoulder.)
The 10 days are up, but Doughty’s had very limited exposure to contact. It’s feasible the Kings might hold him out until Saturday, when they travel to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes.
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.