NHLPA Member Meeting

Don Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, reflects on the lockout


Remember the lockout – that pesky, 113-day work stoppage that finally came to an end on Jan. 6 and truncated the 2013 season down to 48 regular season?

Yeah, no one really wants to think about it, especially when the season is coming to a close and there are numerous playoff races in both conferences.

But, Montreal Gazette hockey writer Dave Stubbs caught up with NHL Players’ Association executive director Don Fehr and gave him an opportunity this week to reflect on the back-and-forth negotiations between the players and owners, represented by commissioner Gary Bettman

For hockey fans, it wasn’t much fun watching the same updates on television, watching the same old shots of Fehr and Bettman walking in and out of hotel lobbies. Apparently, the NHLPA executive director felt the same way.

“I said something like, ‘Hopefully you’ll be watching hockey players again very soon and not people in suits like me and like Gary,’ ” Fehr told the Montreal Gazette.

“I really mean it — the redeeming virtue of hockey is that it is so captivating, so all encompassing, so engrossing that when you get back into it, that’s what your focus is. And I never really had much doubt that that would happen.”

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.