Dale Hunter

Dale Hunter says the Bruins are targeting Nicklas Backstrom’s head


Capitals coach Dale Hunter has seen just about enough. Hunter spoke with the media after the team’s practice this afternoon and had a few choice words for the Boston Bruins regarding their treatment of Nicklas Backstrom.

Hunter feels the Bruins are targeting Backstrom’s head and with Backstrom facing a hearing with the league about his cross check to Rich Peverley’s head, Hunter tells CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley he’s sick of the Bruins going after his guy and professes his innocence.

“I don’t think he’s going to be suspended,” Hunter said. “If you slow it down frame by frame, where was [Peverley’s] stick? It was up in his face first … and Nicky reacted to it. 

“I think [Backstrom] was trying to protect his face. If you watch it, [Peverley’s] stick is right in his eyes and it’s a dangerous play on their part, especially for [Backstrom] because if you notice, every scrum Nicky comes out with no helmet on. He gets a blocker to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before [in Game 2]. He’s protecting his head. He just came off of 40 games.”

Backstrom missed three months of hockey after getting hit in the head by Rene Bourque in January, so the Caps have every right to be sensitive about their star player’s head possibly being targeted.

With the nasty level of this series increasing each game, this latest accusation makes the ongoing war of words, which saw Milan Lucic and Karl Alzner join the party last night, all the more intriguing. Game 4 should prove to be an angst-filled affair.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?