After notching seven points in three games — each game being a multi-point effort — Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn was named the NHL’s first star of the week.
Benn, 22, was everywhere for the Stars last week as they clung to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. In a 5-4 loss to Detroit, he had a goal and two assists. In a 4-1 win over Nashville, he had a goal and an assist. And in a 4-1 win over Edmonton he scored twice, which included his fourth game-winning goal of the season. Benn now has points in 10 of his last 11 games and leads Dallas in scoring with 13G-28A-41PTS in 40 games — that puts him in a tie for 14th in league scoring with Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.
Second star went to Toronto RW Joffrey Lupul. Like Benn, he too notched seven points in three games last week — all Toronto wins — and recorded the 300th point of his NHL career in a 7-3 victory over Tampa Bay. Here’s a fun fact for you: Lupul (seventh overall) became just the fifth player from the 2002 NHL Draft class to reach the 300-point milestone, joining Rick Nash (first), Alex Semin (13th), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (eighth) and Jarret Stoll (36th).
Third star went to Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson. He posted a 3-0-1 record, 2.41 GAA and .929 save percentage as the Senators improbably moved to fifth in the Eastern Conference. I say improbably because of how awful both Ottawa and Anderson were to start the season — the Sens started 1-5 and were outscored 30-16; Anderson was on the hook for four of those losses and 22 of the goals (he also got hooked from games twice) and seemed in danger of losing his starting gig to career journeyman Alex Auld.
So good on ya, Andy.
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.