New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens

Bourque on facing Capitals: “There’ll be a few guys probably coming after me”


The trade that moved Rene Bourque from Calgary to Montreal was something of a double-edged sword. While it presented Bourque an opportunity for a fresh start with a new team, it also meant he’d have to face the Washington Capitals again.

Bourque’s been public enemy No. 1 in Washington since elbowing and concussing Caps leading scorer Nicklas Backstrom on Jan. 3.

“I obviously don’t feel good about what I did and I apologized for it, but I’m sure they’ll be a few guys probably coming after me tomorrow,” Bourque told “It’s part of the game and I just need to be prepared for it. I know guys will be looking to make sure they finish their checks against me.”

Bourque — then a member of the Flames — received a five-game suspension for the elbow. Backstrom’s been out since the hit (likely to remain out until after the All-Star Game) and only now do the Caps have a chance for revenge.

See, Washington wasn’t scheduled to meet Calgary again this year, which meant no more meetings with Bourque. That’s a stark contrast to Bourque’s new team — Montreal and Washington play four more times this season, beginning with tomorrow night’s affair at the Bell Center.

Montreal assistant captain Josh Gorges said that even though Bourque wasn’t with the Canadiens at the time of the incident, the team will still have his back should something occur.

“It’s a little different because we weren’t there originally,” Gorges said. “Maybe someone will come after him and challenge him or something like that but he’s on our team and he wears the same jersey as us so we’re going to be there to back him up if he needs it.”

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.