Sidney Crosby

Crosby backs NHL expansion: ‘Quebec City is the one that sticks out for sure’


Sidney Crosby is in favor of the National Hockey League growing by two teams.

With news that realignment is in the final stages of completion — the NHL’s Board of Governors votes this week — the topic of expansion is gaining traction, mostly in response to the league’s proposal for imbalanced conferences (the Eastern Conference would have 16 teams, the West 14.)

No. 87 is definitely on board with adding a pair of clubs.

“It’s only two more teams. I don’t see it as that big an issue,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The league’s found a way to stay competitive with 30. It can do 32.”

As for where to go?

“Quebec City is the one that sticks out for sure,” he said. “I’ve played in Quebec. I know the city, and I know how much passion they have for hockey. And obviously, with having a team there before and the rivalry with Montreal, I think it would be awesome.”

Crosby does have several ties to Quebec. He played two years of junior hockey for QMJHL Rimouski and his father, Troy, was selected by Montreal in the late stages of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

Crosby also cited Seattle and Toronto as potential landing spots for the NHL, two areas that have been rumored as targets for quite some time.

(According to the Trib’s Dejan Kovacevic, the Penguins captain is “really into” the topic of NHL expansion.)

The NHL hasn’t expanded since the 2000-01 season, when Columbus and Minnesota joined as the league’s 29th and 30th teams.

The only move of significance since then came in 2011-12, when the Atlanta Thrashers were relocated to Winnipeg — the first time an NHL franchise had moved since the Hartford Whalers relocated to Carolina in 1997.


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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.