No surgery for Laich (groin), Caps say he’ll rehab


On Friday, we passed along word that Washington forward Brooks Laich was a facing a decision about his injured groin — undergo surgery, or try to rehab.

Today, the decision was made.

The Caps announced that Laich won’t have surgery and will try to work his way back into the lineup.

“We came to the conclusion we want [Laich] to be pain-free before he goes on the ice again,” head coach Adam Oates told CSN Washington. “So he’s working as hard as he can to become pain free.

“We don’t want any setbacks.”

Laich’s wonky groin — which he hurt while playing in Swizterland during the lockout — cost him the first 28 games of the season, and now the last five.

Had he undergone surgery, it would’ve been of the sports hernia variety. The issue, of course, was the four-to-six week recovery period, which would’ve essentially wiped out Laich’s season.

When healthy, Laich has been a valuable contributor for the Caps this season.

He’s scored 1G-3A-4PTS in nine games while averaging over 16 minutes per contest. He was also the club’s top penalty-killing forward in terms of shorthanded ice time per game.

The Caps have six games left in the regular season and appear playoff-bound, holding a four-point lead over Winnipeg for first place in the Southeast Division.

Washington says the goal is to get Laich back for the postseason, but isn’t making any promises.

“You don’t want a guy to have a setback,” Oates explained. “It’s obviously a tough injury and right now it’s between him and Smitty [athletic trainer Greg Smith] and the doctors.”

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.