Kadri out as falling Leafs start tough stretch vs. Sharks


The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without one of their top scorers tonight when they host San Jose, as center Nazem Kadri (7G, 10A) will miss the game following the death of his grandfather.

Kadri’s absence won’t make things any easier for a Leafs team that finished November with a 4-6-3 record and hasn’t won in its last four.

On top of that, here’s what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks:


To say Toronto’s poor November came as a surprise would, of course, be false. The Leafs have had puck-possession issues all season. In October, they were able to get by with excellent goaltending, special teams and shooting. But that was a way of winning that was unlikely to continue.

Almost amazingly, the Leafs have been out-shot in 23 of their 27 games, yet they’ve still managed to win 14. Only the Buffalo Sabres have been out-possessed more than Toronto, per Extra Skater.

“We’ve been giving up a lot of shots, and you can’t have luck on your side all season,” Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier said recently.

And the Leafs will need more than luck against the teams they’ll be playing shortly. Here are the top 10 teams in a possession statistic called Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts) with the score close:


The Leafs play six of those teams in their next eight games.

Oh, and guess who’s 11th on the list — that would be Dallas, which Toronto hosts Thursday.

The Leafs (14-10-3) currently hold down the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, four points up on New Jersey and five on Philadelphia.

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.