Minnesota Wild v Anaheim Ducks

Wild to start Harding against undefeated ‘Hawks


On the eve of “rivalry night” against one of the NHL’s two undefeated teams, the Minnesota Wild announced they’ll be starting backup goalie Josh Harding when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

No. 1 netminder Niklas Backstrom has played two games in the last three nights — a 5-4 OT loss to St. Louis and a 3-2 win over Columbus on Tuesday — so it’s not surprising the Wild are turning to Harding.

It’s also not surprising given Harding’s career numbers against Chicago: 6-3 , 2.32 goals against average and .930 save percentage, with three of those wins coming at the Xcel Energy Center.

That said, it’ll be interesting to see how Harding rebounds after a rough outing against Detroit.

He was tagged for five goals on 27 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Wings on Jan. 25, with Minnesota Star-Tribune writer Mike Russo saying Harding “lost his net” on Henrik Zetterberg’s marker.

Of note, the Chicago game will be Harding’s third start since news broke of him being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the lockout. The 28-year-old won his first start of the year with a 1-0 shutout over Dallas.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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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.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.