The Anaheim Ducks are discovering the same thing that the New Jersey Devils did last season: recovering from a terrible first half of the season requires nothing less than near perfect play. The Ducks have come a long way after falling to 10-22-6 with a loss to the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 4. However, they still have almost no room for error if they want to make the playoffs and that means that they can’t afford to lose a third straight game when they play the Calgary Flames on Friday.
One Ducks player to keep an eye on is Ryan Getzlaf, who is having one of the worst seasons of his distinguished career. After getting 76 points in 67 games in 2010-11, he is down to 43 points in 64 contests this season. Just as noteworthy is the fact that he hasn’t scored a goal since Jan. 22 and that he has just two goals in his last 38 contests. A big March out of Getzlaf would go a long way towards helping Anaheim defy the odds and make the playoffs.
For the Flames, this game is equally critical. Although they managed to snap their four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday, they are still two points shy of the eighth place Dallas Stars. More importantly, the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche are a point ahead of Calgary, meaning that they’ll have to leapfrog several teams in the final weeks of the season to make the playoffs.
Flames GM Jay Feaster has a lot riding on his team’s success, as he chose to stay quiet at the trade deadline in the hope that they his aging core of players might be able to find a way to squeeze into the playoffs. Although this isn’t the last hurrah for 34-year-old Jarome Iginla and 35-year-old Miikka Kiprusoff, it’s fair to say that the Flames won’t have them to lean on for many more seasons. If they want to justify continuing to hold onto them rather than trading away their superstars while they still have value, then they need to show some evidence that they can make another push for the Stanley Cup before Iginla and Kiprusoff hang up their skates.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
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
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.