PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 15: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battles for the loose puck against Taylor Hall #4 and Andrew Ference #21 of the Edmonton Oilers on October 15, 2013 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 3-2.

Crosby is optimistic about the Oilers’ future


It’s easy to be down on the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve been so bad for so long that it borders on historic. With 46 games in the books, it seems safe to say that they’ll miss the playoffs for an eighth straight campaign and have a real shot of getting their fourth first overall pick in five years.

Still, the Oilers have their supporters and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is one of them. He likes that many of their young, skilled players are in key roles and he thinks that will eventually pay off.

“I don’t think they’re too far away at all,” Crosby told the Edmonton Sun.

“They’re fast and skilled and pretty fun to watch. They have pretty creative players.”

He also compared the Oilers recent struggles to the Penguins’ failings in 2005-06. Fresh off of drafting Crosby and with Mario Lemieux looking to stage a comeback, they were able to lure some free agents like defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Expectations were high, but the team ultimately failed to make the playoffs.

The difference is that the Penguins secured a postseason spot the following season and Crosby was a Stanley Cup champion in his fourth campaign. Edmonton’s situation is different, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that they haven’t assembled a complete team.

After all, when Pittsburgh won it all, they didn’t do it solely on the strength of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They had Jordan Staal, who was regarded as one of the best defensive forwards in the game, some solid shutdown defensemen in Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik, and veteran leadership from guys like Bill Guerin.

The Oilers have plenty of work to do if they want to emulate the Penguins. Perhaps they’ll take a step in that direction before the trade deadline.


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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.