Jordan Staal

Jordan Staal says “It’s exciting to be back” in Pittsburgh


It’s been nearly a year since Jordan Staal was traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins to Carolina. Last summer’s draft saw the blockbuster deal that sent Staal to the Hurricanes to play alongside his brother, Eric Staal, and free him from the shadow of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

Tonight he plays his first game back in Pittsburgh where it’s expected he’ll receive a warm welcome from the fans. Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer shares the story.

“It’s exciting to be back,” Staal said after Saturday’s morning skate. “Obviously I wish we were in a better situation and it being a bigger game than it is. It’s still very exciting for myself just to come in this building and be able to play against my ex-teammates.”

Neither team has much to play for. Carolina is out of the playoffs and will be involved in Monday’s draft lottery while the Penguins are locked in as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Jordan just has to hope Brandon Sutter doesn’t brag to him too much about how nice things are on a Cup contender.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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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.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.