NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers prepares to tend net against the New Jersey Devils in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. The Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Despite headaches, Lundqvist kept playing


With all the talk of concussions in sports today, anytime a player — especially a prominent one — complains of headaches, it’s going to raise eyebrows.

That goes double when the player keeps playing.

Such has been the case with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

From the Daily News:

On March 19, Lundqvist said he had headaches and his neck hurt after Dan Girardi’s elbow inadvertently snapped the goaltender’s head back in a 3-2 road win over the New Jersey Devils. On Sunday, Lundqvist was dazed from a slap shot off the mask by Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro in a 3-2 home shootout loss to Washington.

Then on Tuesday night, after Lundqvist headbutted a first-period slap shot by Flyers forward Brayden Schenn but still made 32 saves in a 5-2 win in Philadelphia, the goaltender volunteered this information: “I didn’t feel great … The last two days, I have been feeling a little off.”

Asked if he were ailing mentally or physically, Lundqvist elaborated: “It was just my head. I was just thinking if the shot bothered me, got little headaches, then I felt better, but it was still bad. You build up something. It’s just mental. You have to put it aside and tell yourself, ‘You’re fine. Go out and play,’ and after five or ten minutes, you start to feel better.”

Lundqvist played last night, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Senators in Ottawa. He said he felt “good” going into his ninth straight start.

“I just had a couple days there where I felt a little off,” he said.

Given their tenuous grasp on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers can’t afford to lose their most important player at this time —  a fact that will only lead to more conjecture that Lundqvist has been playing when maybe he should have been resting.

The Rangers take on the Canadiens Saturday in Montreal.

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.