Leafs GM leaves goalie competition open after Bernier trade


The Toronto Maple Leafs made a big trade on Sunday, confirming long-standing rumors that they were interested in nabbing much-touted backup Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings. But what does this mean for the team and (former?) No. 1 goalie James Reimer?

GM Dave Nonis made it pretty clear during today’s press conference that he expects a healthy competition for the starts in Toronto.

“We feel – and most teams think – that goaltending is the most important position in the game,” Nonis said. “This is clearly not a knock on James. James has done a very good job. He’s improved every year and we’re expecting that to continue next season.

“I don’t think you can be deep enough at that position. We got younger and deeper today and we feel our team is stronger because of it.”

Nonis said he wasn’t able to reach Reimer following the announcement, but the message was simple: “Nothing’s being guaranteed to anybody.” (Even with Bernier’s “pedigree of success.”)

He believes that the team now has two of the top young goaltenders in the league in Bernier, 24, and Reimer, 25. While it remains to be seen, the Buds executive doesn’t expect any personality conflicts.

Even after landing Bernier, it’s clear that Toronto’s work isn’t done. Nonis admitted that he expects to make a couple moves before free agency kicks off on July 5, justifying today’s early rumblings about Dion Phaneuf.

Oh, and he also needs to sign a certain restricted free agent named Jonathan Bernier …

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.