St. Louis v Montreal Canadiens

Jaroslav Halak blanks Habs in return to Montreal


For a goalie with a rather bland style, Jaroslav Halak sure has a flair for the dramatic.

Surely Montreal Canadiens fans must have seen flashes of the goalie who helped them claw their way to the 2010 Eastern Conference finals tonight, as he helped the St. Louis Blues shut out his former team 3-0.

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Halak didn’t exactly a break much of a sweat as he needed just 19 saves in the game, but at least he had highlight moments like that breakaway stop on Tomas Plekanec. Carey Price helped Habs fans get over Halak’s departure with a superior season in 2010-11 and it was probably even to start off this year, but Lou Korac points out Halak’s dramatic improvement with Ken Hitchcock in charge:


In Hitchcock’s most recent coaching stint, both Pascal Leclaire and Steve Mason put together single-season runs that helped them make a ton of money that some might argue they didn’t really deserve.*

Halak already received a big payday thanks to his enthralling playoff run, but he might just earn those big bucks with Hitchcock watching from the bench – even if every night isn’t as exciting as this Tuesday in Montreal.

* – People tend to forget that Leclaire notched nine shutouts the season (2007-08) before Mason won the Calder Trophy with 10 of his own.

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.