Staal travels with Rangers for first time this season

From the “Hmm, interesting” file: New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who has not played this season due a post-concussion syndrome, traveled for the first time as the Blueshirts made their way to Florida this afternoon.

The Rangers will face the Panthers on Wednesday before flying back up to Washington for a date with the Caps on Friday.

Staal isn’t the only injured Ranger making the trip. Forwards Mike Rupp (knee) and Wojtek Wolski (hernia) are also on IR and flying down to the Sunshine State, according to Blueshirts United.

Couple ways to look at this.

Option A: Teams often fly injured players on road trips as they’re good opportunities for team-building and whatnot. (By team-building we mean making rookies drop $13k on dinner, then getting bottle service at the Lotus Lounge.) It’s what the Flyers did a couple weeks ago in Naples, for example. The problem with this theory is the Rangers are only in Florida for one game and don’t have much down time between contests.

Option B: Injured players sometimes travel with the team to get back “in the groove” (for lack of a better term) prior to returning. It’s a way to get reacquainted with time zone changes, sleeping in different hotel beds and the joys of airport security. While this might be the case for Rupp and Wolski, it’s not for Staal. He only recently received medical clearance to begin light workouts and is a ways from returning to game action.

Option C: It’s pouring rain in New York right now and they simply wanted to catch some rays. I could totally see Wolski showing up at JFK in Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, with zinc oxide on his nose.

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.