Wayne Gretzky

NHL, Gretzky need to hug it out


Earlier today we passed along a report that Wayne Gretzky wouldn’t be participating in the Winter Classic alumni game between the Rangers and Flyers in Philadelphia.

We’re not sure if The Great One’s lack of enthusiasm for the event has anything to do with the fact he’s a rather large unsecured creditor of the Phoenix Coyotes, the franchise the league bought in 2009 after former owner Jerry Moyes put it into bankruptcy.

Regardless, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos thinks the NHL needs to make nice with Gretzky:

The league needs to do the right thing by picking up the phone and starting up a dialogue that makes everyone believe this relationship can once again be as strong as ever. Just like a new CBA deal, there’s a deal to be made with compromises that satisfy both sides.

The column’s timing was curious given what Kypreos’ colleague, John Shannon, was tweeting this afternoon:



Kypreos: The NHL needs to work things out with Gretzky!

Shannon: The NHL is trying to work things out with Gretzky.

/high five

The NHL knows it doesn’t look good when the greatest player in the game’s history is owed millions relating to a bankrupt franchise.

On the other hand, shouldn’t Gretzky be held personally responsible for his financial decisions? Most unsecured creditors lose everything in bankruptcy cases.

Of course, Gretzky isn’t just some unsecured creditor. He’s Wayne Gretzky. And if you’re the NHL, Wayne Gretzky has to be considered too big to fail.

Thus, the talks to figure this whole mess out.

The NHL will likely push for Moyes to cover most of what’s owing to Gretzky. After that, the other 29 owners would be smart to pass the hat and bring the dispute to a resolution.

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.