Sean Monahan

Monahan decision looms as Flames start road trip


Only two games in the NHL tonight. We already mentioned the Rangers-Capitals affair. Later in Anaheim, the Ducks host the surprising Calgary Flames in a Pacific Division tilt.

The undefeated-in-regulation Flames (3-0-2) entered the season as the consensus pick to finish dead last in the NHL. But so far it’s not turning out that way. In Anaheim, they kick off a tough five-game road trip, which also has stops in San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas.

Rookie forward Sean Monahan will be one to watch for at least the first four games of the trip, as the Flames need to make a decision on whether to keep him or send him back to junior. The 19-year-old can play nine games before the first year of his entry-level contract kicks in.

It’ll be a tough decision either way. Monahan, the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has six points in five games, including the winning goal versus the Devils on Friday. Management reportedly wants to see how he does on this trip before it makes a decision on his immediate future.

“This is a great test for (Monahan),” said Flames coach Bob Hartley, per the Calgary Herald. “For our entire team, actually. We’re going into places where it’s not easy to play against teams that are physically imposing. Here’s a quiet kid — I can’t say that he’s shy because he’s very respectful — but in every situation that we’re putting him in, he’s responding with very good efforts and very good results.

“You’re right. We have to make a decision soon. So just by the force of the situation we need to put him there, against guys like you were just mentioning.

“So far Sean Monahan has passed all the tests. Now we’re into the final exams.”

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.