Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin is the NHL’s Player of the Month for December


After moving up the league’s scoring leaderboard and keeping the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins among the Eastern Conference’s elite, Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin was named the NHL’s first star for December.

It was a month to remember for the 25-year-old Russian. He finished with 20 points in 13 games and was on a tear during Pittsburgh’s four-game winning streak late in the month, posting three goals and eight assists. With Crosby out, Malkin assumed a bigger on-ice role and logged some huge ice time — last time out against New Jersey, he played just a shade under 24 minutes.

Second star went to Tampa Bay sniper Steve Stamkos (who’s tied for fifth in league scorng with Malkin.) Stamkos scored 10 goals in December to move atop the NHL leaderboard — during Tampa’s current three-game winning streak, Stamkos has scored six times and posted the game-winning tallies against the Flyers and Hurricanes.

Third star went to Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin, who currently leads the NHL with 46 points. Sedin was the catalyst for Vancouver’s 10-4-1 December record —  while he didn’t score a ton of goals (two) he did register an eye-popping 20 assists. Perhaps most impressively, Sedin registered an assist in all but two of Vancouver’s 15 games this month — that includes six multi-assist outings and a trio of three-assist efforts.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.