Wild remain uncertain about Mikko Koivu’s Olympic availability


While it’s unclear if he’ll even get one Minnesota Wild game in before playing for Finland in the 2014 Winter Olympics, Mikko Koivu’s goal remains to be a contributor in Sochi. The Wild appear uncertain if he’ll reach that goal, though.

The 30-year-old skated on his own on Monday, yet that didn’t seem to push head coach Mike Yeo in one direction or another regarding whether he believes Koivu can suit up for Finland.

“We know how bad he wants to go,” Yeo said. “For us personally, first and foremost, if he’s not physically capable, of course we wouldn’t want him to go. But at the same time we’d be very proud and honored to have him go over there.”

Sending a guy who might not be 100 percent overseas might seem like an easy idea for NHL teams to dismiss, but Yeo spins Koivu’s potential Olympic participation in a positive way, noting that he could potentially shake off rust in the process. He hasn’t played since Jan. 4 since injuring his ankle, which required surgery.

Again, Koivu was adamant that he would be willing to play for Finland even if he doesn’t get any time in before flying over.

“It always matters (to play ahead of time), but if not so be it,” Koivu said, per the Pioneer Press. “I think in my situation being off right now, not playing any games, it’s going to be good for me to play some games and practice with the team first off.”

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.