Avs keep expectations in check regarding MacKinnon


There’s no doubt that Nathan MacKinnon will face some scrutiny next season. It comes with being the No. 1 pick of any draft.

Still, the Colorado Avalanche present a relatively cozy situation for a player who won’t turn 18 until Sept. 1.

New head coach Patrick Roy announced that MacKinnon will probably begin the 2013-14 season as a third-line center with Steve Downie and Tyler McGinn. That represents a nice compromise between keeping his workload reasonable and giving him an opportunity to succeed (both Downie and McGinn boast some genuine talent, plus they’re entering contract years).

There’s plenty of talent to go around if Colorado opts to move him higher in the lineup or jumble the combinations, too.

He’s also joining a roster full of guys who can relate to his situation, as Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog aren’t far removed from rookie campaigns themselves.

Earlier this month, Duchene told the Metro News that MacKinnon’s success is likely a matter of when, not if.

“There’s no question he’ll be a superstar, the timeline has yet to be determined,” Duchene said. “But he’s still a little raw, like any 17-year-old would be.”

Roy raved about his speed and emphasized that MacKinnon merely needs to “have fun” during his first season in the NHL, so the organization seems willing to allow their potential star of the future to mature.

More Avs day fun

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The defense won’t help him

Center could be an area of strength

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.

Blues send down four; keep young d-men Edmundson and Parayko

Magnus Paajarvi
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The St. Louis Blues have assigned two forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie, and two defensemen, Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, to AHL Chicago.

The moves mean that the Blues will have two young d-men, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, on the opening-day roster, after both impressed in camp.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Lindbohm and Butler looked to be the sixth and seventh defensemen, in that order, at the start of camp, but the play of Edmundson and Parayko won them spots. Parayko had six assists in the preseason, putting him among the NHL leaders. 

Forward Robby Fabbri will also be on the opening-day roster. The 19-year-old is not eligible for the AHL; he can only be returned to junior.

Earlier today, the Blues announced the signing of forward Scottie Upshall.