Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby gets the start in Washington’s biggest game of the year


When Tomas Vokoun signed with the Caps in the offseason, games like tonight’s tilt with the Sabres that sees the winner take control of the final playoff spot in the East are the kind that he was brought in to play.

Thanks to a nagging injury, however, Vokoun won’t be playing and the starting duties instead fall to 22-year-old Braden Holtby. As Chuck Gormley from hears from Holtby, he’s fired up to get at it tonight.

“It’s a big game but at the same time it’s just another one,” said Holtby who is 2-1-1 for the Capitals this season, including a 3-0 shutout over Minnesota on Sunday. “It counts as two points, just like all the others do. You’ve got to go into it with that mindset, but there will be a little extra motivation to have the team going and get a win.”

The added motivation is to make sure the scorching hot Sabres don’t go sprinting past them and into the playoffs while the Caps are left to keep clawing away to keep up with them and the Ottawa Senators.

For Holtby, he’s seen pressure games before in the AHL helping Hershey to win a Calder Cup in 2010. It’s just a little different on the NHL stage though and this is as close to a playoff game as he’s going to see. No pressure, kid.

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.