Failing Nail? Oilers scratch Yakupov Saturday

1 Comment

During this period of his career, Nail Yakupov seems like one of those all-or-nothing goal scorers.* So far, it’s been all-nothing, so Edmonton Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins decided to scratch him for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

One can understand why Eakins benched the 20-year-old. He doesn’t have a goal or an assist in four games so far this season, and he’s not the kind of defensive specialist who will dominate play even when he isn’t lighting up the scoreboard.

Yakupov tied Jonathan Huberdeau for the rookie scoring lead with 31 points last season, including 17 goals. Even then, he was a little streaky, scoring a nice five points in seven games in January, then being limited to 11 games in 27 games in the middle of the season before an explosive end (15 points in 14 games) to finish 2013.

This might be a good thing for the fiery Russian, as long as it doesn’t hurt his self-confidence. (He doesn’t seem lacking in that category, generally speaking.)

* – The ones who accomplish the rare feat of scoring more goals than assists.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.