PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 20: Jordan Staal #11 of the Pittsburgh Penguins moves the puck up ice against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 20, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Fehr memo to players hasn’t dampened Jordan Staal’s optimism


The mere fact that the union and league have been meeting consistently lately has led to a renewed sense of optimism, but the NHLPA memo from executive director Donald Fehr that PHT recently obtained might have been a rude awakening for some fans.

Although there are some signs of progress, Fehr cautioned that there is still plenty of work to be done. Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal is aware of the memo, but that hasn’t stopped him from staying upbeat about the process.

“Obviously it’s not fun to hear that there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Staal said in a News & Observer report. “I think a lot of the players are very optimistic and very happy they’re talking again and working hard throughout the past three days.

“It’s still part of the process, I guess. It’s my first time through it but it’s still taking time. You can’t expect it to be done in a few days.”

Staal admitted that staying patient is “the hardest part right now,” but Staal does think things are heading in the right direction. He’s hoping for a breakthrough and an NHL season that starts in December.

Anything could happen, but that also means that it’s too early to give up hope just because there’s plenty of work to be done.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.