Video: Stars take over second Wild Card spot in the West


The Dallas Stars go into the Olympic break holding on to the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, according to NHL.com. That comes courtesy a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

The Coyotes entered the game as the No. 2 Wild Card team, but relinquished that by the final buzzer. The Stars and Coyotes have identical records of 27-21-10 and are tied in points with 64. But the Stars have one more regulation-overtime win (ROW) than the Coyotes, to jump into what would be the final playoff spot in the conference if the post-season was to start tomorrow.

The race for the Wild Card in the West is now taking shape for the stretch drive, which will begin when the NHL schedule resumes on Feb. 25.

The Minnesota Wild seem comfortably ahead in the first Wild Card spot, with 69 points. Behind them, it’s the Stars and Coyotes at 64 points; the struggling Vancouver Canucks – they lost again tonight – at 63 points; Winnipeg Jets at 62 points and even the Nashville Predators are still hanging around at 60 points.

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. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who 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.