Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders

Larry Brooks tears the Islanders a new one


The Islanders are in the midst of another frustrating and failing season and after missing the playoffs again this season, the fifth straight time they’ve done that, the franchise is hurting all over again.

New York Post hockey guru Larry Brooks takes aim on the Islanders for being irrelevant to the hockey landscape, not just in New York but across the league.

Brooks hammers the team on how they’ve handled recent drafts (taking Josh Bailey over the likes of Tyler Myers and Erik Karlsson among others in 2008 as well as picking Nino Niederreiter over Jeff Skinner in 2010), coaching moves, and seeing players like Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo regressing badly. Brooks saved his biggest shots for owner Charles Wang and GM Garth Snow.

The team has no identity beyond Wang and Snow’s shtick. There may have been a fair amount of chaos under Ted Nolan, but at least his teams always were in their opponents’ face, and the same for Scott Gordon’s teams until he lost the room.

Now there’s nothing.

They have taken the treadmill to obscurity. They are the team that doesn’t matter.

Ouch. Some Isles fans may want to get angry about how Brooks hammers on the team, but there’s too much truth to get upset with the messenger here. The Islanders are poised to have yet another top-five draft pick this summer and after so many similar picks in the past only John Tavares is showing he was worth it. That’s a dire way to look at things and doesn’t leave Isles fans feeling good about the future.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.