Report: Backstrom to join Ovechkin with KHL Dynamo


Big news out of Washington today as the NHLPA plans to respond to the latest CBA offer — Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has reportedly agreed to join KHL team Dynamo Moscow, the same team that currently employs Alex Ovechkin.

The news, first broken by Swedish news outlet SVT (Sveriges Television), comes at a very curious time.

There had been a decided lull of lockout signings in Europe with one notable player, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, saying he decided to put off signing overseas to see how the current negotiations played out.

Here’s a translation of  SVT’s Backstrom piece, courtesy Japer’s Rink:

Washington’s star forward Nicklas Backstrom choose to play in the KHL and Dynamo Moscow during NHL conflict.

“I want to play hockey and this will be a fun challenge, says Backstrom to SVT sport. It was teammate Alexander Ovechkin who persuaded Backstrom choosing Dynamo.”

There may be a short-term stay in the Russian capital. The parties shall negotiate in the NHL tonight Swedish time. The employer has fallen somewhat with the hope to get the game on November 2. Players union does not seem impressed by the new bid.

Backstrom, 24, played with Swedish Elite League outfit Brynas IF at the junior and senior levels before joining Washington in 2007-08.

The hope for Dynamo would (seemingly) be that Backstrom and Ovechkin recapture the magic of their 2009-10 campaigns, when both recorded over 100 points — Ovechkin finished third in the NHL in goals (50) and Backstrom finished third in assists (68).

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.