It’s official: Blackhawks open playoffs against Wild


Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was often glued to a nearby TV to find out which West team would take the eighth seed on Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. He got his answer soon enough: the top seed Blackhawks will take on the big-money Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota faced a scare for the eighth spot from the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the Wild got the job done tonight thanks in part to hard work from key free agent acquisitions Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. They’ll need continued strong work from that dynamic duo if the Wild hope to upset the Blackhawks.

Patrick Kane didn’t seem to put too much weight in Chicago’s 2-0-1 regular season mark against Minnesota. He told the Chicago Tribune that the Wild aren’t a team to be taken lightly.

“When they play like they want to, they can score four or five goals a night and keep it out of their net with maybe one of the best defensemen in the league (in Ryan Suter),” Kane said. “It’s a dangerous team. You definitely have to be careful with them. They’re a team that I’ve watched throughout the year and it seems like one night they look like the best team in the NHL and the next night they look like they don’t even want to be out there.”

The Blackhawks haven’t faced a Minnesota team in the playoffs since they lost a 4-2 series to the North Stars in 1991, but with long-term deals for Parise and Suter, this could very well be the beginning of a new rivalry.

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.