When Roman Hamrlik says he just wants to play, it’s hard to doubt his sincerity. Clearly the 38-year-old Capitals defenseman isn’t just repeating the NHLPA’s mantra as part of a PR strategy, otherwise he wouldn’t have questioned Donald Fehr’s leadership on Wednesday.
Today, Hamrlik clarified his controversial remarks. And while he didn’t feel the need to take anything back, he did say he’ll support whatever his union brethren decide to do.
“This is nothing against any of the players,” Hamrlik told the Globe and Mail. “I stand with them. We are all together in this. And we want a great deal. A fair deal. Everybody’s losing in this right now. Owners, players, fans.
“The fans are the reason for hockey. Some cities won’t be able to recover their fans for future seasons. I just want to say I’ve been in the league for 20 years and faced three lockouts and there’s only 14 other guys that have done that. I believe I’ve earned the right to say what I think.
“If someone thinks I’m selfish. I may be, but it’s selfish to play hockey. Like everybody else, I want to win the Cup with the Capitals, or at least have a chance.”
Despite appearing in 1,379 regular-season games, Hamrlik has yet to win a Stanley Cup. So given this season could be his last chance, his frustration is understandable.
Of course, so too is the frustration of the players after hearing Hamrlik’s remarks. The “we want to play” slogan may be part of an orchestrated PR campaign, but it’s also the truth. And from the union’s perspective, there’s a right way to get back on the ice (by negotiating a fair deal) and a wrong way (by surrendering to the owners).
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
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
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.