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Players make adjustments to avoid sophomore slump


It seems inevitable, the dreaded sophomore slump.

In loose terms, it’s when a previous first-year player – doesn’t matter what sport or league, but we’ll stick with hockey on this one – struggles to play up to the expectations set for them in their second year.

The standard is often based on the bottom line: goal production for forwards, perhaps plus-minus ratings for defensemen and wins or losses for goalies.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment to be made for the upcoming 2013-2014 season is it’s a full 82-game schedule, as opposed to the 48 games from last season, which was cut drastically short due to the lockout.

That’s a point Brendan Gallagher, the Montreal Canadiens diminutive forward who had 15 goals and 28 points in 44 regular season games, discussed recently with

“You make sure your body is going to withstand that,” Gallagher told

“A big part of my game is bringing energy to my teammates and bringing energy to how they play and what they can do. It’s just something to focus on every game. I try to be the hardest-working player.

“I try to focus on the things I can control and not worry about the things that you can’t.”

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.