John Tortorella

Tortorella on Konopka: “I don’t give a crap what Zenon said, or whatever his name is.”

Ottawa tough guy Zenon Konopka spoke his mind today in anticipation of tonight’s Senators-Rangers tilt, the first meeting between the teams since Ottawa’s wild 5-4 SO win two weeks ago.

That game, of course, was the one where New York’s Wojtek Wolski took out Daniel Alfredsson with a questionable hit.

“We lost our captain. Our captain’s still not in the lineup. I look right across every morning and see (the name) Alfredsson. I usually see his gear hanging there, and that bugs me,” Konopka told the New York Daily News. “Right or wrong, if he was hurt legally, illegally, whatever way you want to explain it, our captain’s out of our lineup, and that’s a big blow to our team, and I look at that every day and that drives me up a wall, and it pisses me off.”

He sounds angry.

Now, keep in mind most people tend not to mess with Konopka. He’s one of the NHL’s most active fighters (58 scraps over the last two seasons) and led the league in penalty minutes last year. The few that do cross him are usually fellow fight enthusiasts.

But Rangers head coach John Tortorella? Oh yeah, Torts will mess with Konopka.

“I don’t give a crap what Zenon said, or whatever his name is said,” Tortorella said following the Rangers’ pregame skate. “We’re going to go about our business and try to play the right way.”

Aside from the name dig, Tortorella’s comment about playing the right way should further rankle the Ottawa center. Konopka has expressed anger at comments the Rangers made on a hit he threw in the previous game — a check on Artem Anisimov that netted Konopka a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct.

“They made a comment that after one of my hits, I guess, that this is what we need out of hockey – one of the Rangers players said,” Konopka said. “Well in my mind, the Wolski hit is the hit we need out of hockey. I feel like mine is a hockey play with the hockey puck there. That didn’t seem like a hockey play.”

Puck drops at Scotiabank Place tonight at 7:30 pm ET. And in case you’re wondering, yes, Konopka and Sean Avery do have a history — they fought in junior when Avery played for the Kingston Frontenacs and Konopka was with the Ottawa 67’s.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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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

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

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.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.