Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes

Kypreos says Oilers should shut down Nugent-Hopkins: “He’s still not a man. He’s up against big guys”


Former NHLer and current Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos has voiced concern over how the Edmonton Oilers are handling prized rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, suggesting the club might be wise to shut the youngster down for the year.

Nugent-Hopkins recently suffered his second shoulder injury of the season. The first cost him 13 games — the second is expected to shelve him for up to 10 days.

“They’ve got to be so careful with his kid,” Kypreos said (quote courtesy the Edmonton Journal). “And if it was me, I wouldn’t have any problems shutting him down.”

“Do you want this guy having shoulder problems the rest of his career? He’s got to get physically stronger going into next September. He’s a buck-70 soaking wet. He’s still not a man. He’s up against big guys here. Just be careful with the shoulder.”

RNH’s physical strength — or lack thereof — was a major concern heading into his first professional season. Even though he tested well during the NHL Draft combine and Edmonton’s preseason physicals, he was still a 6-foot-1, 175-pound 18-year-old (that reportedly weighed 161 pounds to start the 2010-11 season.) He defied all expectations by scoring at a near point-per-game clip through his first 40 contests, but injuries have limited him to just three games since Dec. 31.

With the Oilers season essentially over, Kypreos’ shut-down idea is an intriguing one — and it’s been done before, with impressive results.

The Los Angeles Clippers employed a similar strategy with Blake Griffin in 2009-10, shutting him down entirely after he suffered knee injury during L.A.’s final preseason game. He returned the next season and played all 82 games, earning an NBA All-Star spot and the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

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.