Tomas Vokoun

Vokoun medically cleared for action following blood clot issue


NHL practices resumed today and the Pittsburgh Penguins had a new-old face on the ice at their session.

Goalie Tomas Vokoun was medically cleared after being out since September with a blood clot issue and took part in team practice in Pittsburgh. As Sam Kasan of the Penguins’ site shares, Vokoun is happy to get back out there.

“My agenda is practice and see how I feel and how it goes. Take it one day at a time,” Vokoun said. “It’s pretty much left open. I’m trying to get back, see how I feel. Make sure (it) holds up.”

Vokoun, 37,  said he’ll push himself as hard as he can to get back in the Penguins’ lineup. Jeff Zatkoff took over for him as the backup behind Marc-Andre Fleury when his blood clot issue was discovered.

Vokoun said he nearly died from the problem that arose in September. Since having the blood clot dissolved, he was put on blood thinners right away and has been off them since mid-January. It was then that he returned to the ice to skate, but now he’s back to facing shots.

Zatkoff has performed admirably in Vokoun’s absence, but if they can get the veteran goalie back before the end of the season, the Pens would enjoy giving Fleury a few extra nights off to prepare for the playoffs.

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.