Valtteri Filppula

Red Wings clinch 21st playoff berth in a row


In a way, it only makes sense that the Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff berth for the mind-blowing 21st time in a row by demolishing the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. That disparity makes many statements, but the most telling one is that the Red Wings make it easy, but the Blue Jackets prove that it’s not.

An incredible legacy

Because of the lockout, that means the Red Wings have made the playoffs every season since they finished fifth in the Norris in 1989-90. To give you some perspective on that accomplishment, Detroit hasn’t missed the playoffs in Taylor Hall’s lifetime.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets have made one playoff appearance since their franchise was founded and remain without a single postseason victory.

It brings about all kinds of questions. Is Detroit’s two-decade reign of dominance the most impressive in the history of salary cap sports (there’s a serious argument)? Considering the fact that the Red Wings didn’t have the significant advantages of teams from the Montreal Canadiens’ days, is this the greatest run for any NHL team considering context?

The immediate future

Those are all interesting – if totally subjective – debates to have, but the more immediate question is: how much of an impact can the Red Wings make this year?

The St. Louis Blues look pretty close to wrapping up the Central Division at this point, but that doesn’t mean the Red Wings have little to fight for. Considering Detroit’s jarring disparity in home vs. road work,* a likely first round series against the Nashville Predators would be significantly easier if the Red Wings captured the fourth seed.

Sure, it’s been an up-and-down season in which the Red Wings (seemingly) have shown their age a bit based on the injuries that are piling up, but even now, it would be a bad idea to count out Detroit.

Teams haven’t been able to do that for more than two decades, after all.

* – The Red Wings are 30-5-2 at home and 16-20-3 on the road.

Here are highlights of the game, which are heavy on beautiful Red Wings goals:

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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.