Lubomir Visnovsky

Slovak GM: ‘We don’t understand’ why Isles are keeping Visnovsky out of Olympics


On Friday, Slovakian Olympic GM Otto Sykora expressed confusion as to why New York Islanders GM Garth Snow isn’t allowing defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky to play in Sochi.

From the Toronto Sun:

“If it’s possible he can play and he says he’s okay, he can play, I really don’t understand why he not can play,” Sykora said at Slovak Point in the Adler train station following a media conference with Slovakian defenceman Zdeno Chara.

“If he is injured, we accept this. If he say he’s not injured and he can play and (Snow) say we don’t let him go, we don’t understand this.”

Sykora said he planned to talk to Snow on Friday night. Sykora said the Games are big deal to Visnovsky, 37, since this likely will be his last chance to play at the five-ring circus and the Olympic tournament is a big deal in Slovakia.

“For Lubomir Visnovsky this is last chance to play for national team,” said Sykora. “If he not play, it’s not good for him. He is same than Zdeno Chara and Visnovsky, big here in Slovakia.”

Visnovsky missed 46 games this year with a concussion, but returned to action on Jan. 27 and has played five straight games with no setbacks. The Isles have been using him extensively, as well — Visnovsky’s played at least 19 minutes in every game since returning, including 22:08 in his first appearance (a 6-3 loss to Boston).

Back in January, Snow stated he and the club wouldn’t grant Visnovsky his release for the games and yesterday, he confirmed it.

“We just don’t feel comfortable letting him go,” Snow told Newsday.

Not having Visnovsky would be a tough pill to swallow for Slovakia, a country with only 13 active NHLers and already down the services of one — Marian Gaborik, who was ruled out by Columbus on Thursday as his broken collarbone has yet to fully heal.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit
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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.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.