The New Jersey Devils’ task of ending their seven-game losing streak got harder this morning.
Two of the team’s top three scorers, forwards Damien Brunner and Patrik Elias, might be forced to miss tonight’s game against the New York Rangers, according to the Bergen Record.
Elias is being regarded as “doubtful” after he missed the team’s morning skate due to the flu. Rostislav Olesz took Elias’ spot on a line with Adam Henrique and Jaromir Jagr during practice and already confirmed that he’s playing. Olesz was scratched for Thursday’s contest and has only participated in three games this season.
Meanwhile Damien Brunner needed to leave Saturday’s practice early for “treatment.”
“He’s just dealing with some nagging stuff, so I would call him a game-time decision,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer explained.
If Brunner ends up missing the contest, then there’s a decent chance that Andrei Loktionov will be inserted into the lineup. As it is, Loktionov isn’t sure if he’ll be asked to play tonight.
This is all in addition to the absence of Ryane Clowe, who is dealing with a head injury.
Of course, the Rangers are missing several key players too, including Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan. Both teams have struggled out of the gate and could badly use these two points, but the Devils are unique in the NHL as the only winless team remaining.
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
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.