St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals

Report: Hunter steps down as Washington head coach


According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, Dale Hunter is done in Washington.

That’s the rumor du jour as the former NHLer and current analyst tweeted the news just minutes ago. Kypreos, a friend and former teammate of Hunter, was one of the first to break the news that Hunter would replace Bruce Boudreau as the Capitals head coach back in November.

If Hunter does step down, it’d be surprising and unsurprising at the same time. He was on a one-year deal in Washington and there was much speculation he’d taken the job mostly as a favor to Caps GM George McPhee. Hunter is heavily invested in his OHL club in London — which he and brother Mark own, manage and coach — and has turned the Knights into one of the premier junior clubs in the world.

That said, it’s hard to fathom Hunter walking away after the postseason he’s had. The Capitals entered the playoffs as the East’s No. 7 seed but proceeded to upset the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins in Round 1, before pushing top-seeded New York to seven games in Round 2.


McPhee has informed the media that Hunter is indeed leaving his post.

“It was a very, very difficult decision for him,” McPhee told the Washington Post. “We love everything about Dale. We were delighted he could come in and spend six months with us. He really taught the club the ‘how’ of winning.”

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.

Blues send down four; keep young d-men Edmundson and Parayko

Magnus Paajarvi
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The St. Louis Blues have assigned two forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie, and two defensemen, Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, to AHL Chicago.

The moves mean that the Blues will have two young d-men, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, on the opening-day roster, after both impressed in camp.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Lindbohm and Butler looked to be the sixth and seventh defensemen, in that order, at the start of camp, but the play of Edmundson and Parayko won them spots. Parayko had six assists in the preseason, putting him among the NHL leaders. 

Forward Robby Fabbri will also be on the opening-day roster. The 19-year-old is not eligible for the AHL; he can only be returned to junior.

Earlier today, the Blues announced the signing of forward Scottie Upshall.