There was a fight at Leafs practice yesterday


After watching a string of unfavorable results put them two points back of a playoff spot, the Toronto Maple Leafs were a tad pissed on Sunday.

Okay, maybe more than a “tad pissed.”

Frustrations boiled over at practice yesterday when forward Joey Crabb and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson dropped the mitts, forcing noted mediator Nikolai Kulemin to jump in and break things up.

“We were just battling, it’s nothing much,” Crabb told the Globe and Mail afterward. “I thought he butt-ended me, he claims he didn’t. That’s fine, we were working hard out there, trying to get better. A quick little tussle and that was it.”

Gunnarson pleaded ignorance to the alleged butt-end, saying he wasn’t sure how the whole thing started.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “A battle drill, you know, we both kind of snapped. Stuff happens.”

“Me and Crabby always got battles going on in practice and sometimes we snap.”

Toronto had plenty of reasons to snap after how the weekend unfolded. The Leafs lost 3-1 at home to Montreal on Saturday, and games involving teams near them in the standings — Saturday’s Florida-Winnipeg game and Sunday’s Washington-Pittsburgh game — both went past regulation, meaning everybody walked away with points.

As such, the Leafs now sit ninths in the Eastern Conference with 51 points, one point up on the 10th-place Jets and two back of the eighth-place Capitals.

They’ve also got a crucial week coming up with a pair of home-and-home series: First against the surging Islanders (winners of three straight and six of 10) and the red-hot Penguins (winners of six straight.)

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.