galiardi mcdonald

Sharks elbowing Blues: Galiardi on McDonald, Burns on Nichol


Controversy wasn’t solely reserved for the Senators and Rangers on Saturday night — the Sharks and Blues got in on the action as well.

St. Louis’ 3-0 win was marred with a pair of controversial hits and plenty of debate about headshots, concussions and player safety in the National Hockey League.

Up first, San Jose forward TJ Galiardi with a blow to the head of St. Louis alternate captain Andy McDonald:

Galiardi was given a two-minute charging minor on the play, which McDonald felt was too light a punishment.

“If it’s a check, it’s a check, that’s fine but if you make contact with the head, isn’t that a head shot?” McDonald said to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. “It’s pretty clear on the replay that his elbow comes up and hits me in the face.”

The other elbow occurred late in the second period when Sharks defenseman Brent Burns threw what looked to be a very intentional ‘bow at St. Louis’ Scott Nichol:

Burns got two for roughing, and once again it was McDonald taking issue with the play.

“The one on Nichol’s just a punch to the head,” he said. “It’s really kind of unprovoked. [Burns]  just turned around and punched Scotty in the head.”

At the time of writing, no word if either Galiardi or Burns will be facing supplementary discipline from the league, though it’s possible Brendan Shanahan is waiting to deal with his trio of hearings already scheduled for today.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.