Vancouver Canucks v Phoenix Coyotes

Kesler avoids revenge angle regarding Kronwall


In the Vancouver Canucks most recent meeting with the Detroit Red Wings, Niklas Kronwall showed why his last name has morphed into a verb with a huge hit on Ryan Kesler. Go ahead and bask in its violent glow one more time:

The Canucks won the game 4-2, but much of the talk regarding that Dec. 22 contest revolved around the big body check and Kesler’s distaste regarding Kronwall refusing to drop the mitts afterward. (Maybe Kesler was really just angry that he ignored Henrik Sedin’s warning about Kronwall, which Helene St. James details here in the Detroit Free Press.)

When asked about getting back at Kronwall/the Red Wings for the hit, Kesler simply said that he “needs to keep his head up” and then went into cliche mode. (In this case, he went the “we need two points” route, but you can read all about it here if that talk really floats your boat.)

Deep down, Kesler might have revenge on his mind, but letting the game itself get more attention isn’t the worst thing. After all, the Red Wings (69 points) and Canucks (66 points) represent the top two teams in the Western Conference, so don’t begrudge Kesler for trying to eschew the juicier revenge storyline for a drab old clash of the titans angle.

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.