Darnell Nurse

Donovan McNabb’s nephew rockets up 2013 Draft Board — the NHL Draft Board, that is


You might want to file away the name Darnell Nurse for future reference.

The Sault Ste. Marie defenseman featured prominently in NHL Central Scouting’s 2013 preliminary draft rankings  — Nurse came in as the OHL’s top-ranked blueliner and the second best skater in the league, behind Ottawa forward Sean Monahan.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Nurse credits his parents for teaching the importance of training and staying fit, and cites his uncle as a major influence in his life.

That uncle would be Donovan McNabb, the six-time Pro Bowl QB.

“My uncle has always been there for me,” Nurse told NHL.com. “No matter if I had a question being away from home for the first time, or working out over the summer.

“He’s been someone I’ve always been able to reach out to … he’s a big person in my life.”

Speaking of big, it’s Nurse’s size that has scouts excited about his potential — and has many drawing comparisons to Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Chris Pronger.

NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards made the Pronger comparison and said Nurse’s ability to skate well and play physical are big reasons why.

“Anytime you get a guy his size, who skates as well as [Nurse] does and plays a physical game, it’s fun to watch,” Edwards said. “In the one game at Guelph, I saw him fight twice and he did very well in both. The fights happened while both players were going for the puck and they just got into it. He handles himself very well.

“I like everything about this guy, and defensemen like him are hard to find.”

Related: Jones, MacKinnon highlight NHL Central Scouting ’13 Draft rankings

(Image courtesy Soogreyhounds.com.)

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.