Canada forward Sidney Crosby raises his stick to hockey fans after Canada beat the USA 1-0 in a men's semifinal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Babcock praises Canadian forwards’ commitment to defensive play

From top to bottom, the Canadian forwards are used to being offensive leaders on their respective teams. That hasn’t been the case in Sochi, but so far it’s been fine because Canada’s more defensive style has worked.

“It’s hard to get real good players to be as committed as our group is defensively,” Canada head coach Mike Babcock, per “You know, we haven’t scored, and no one seems to care. It doesn’t matter. They just want to have an opportunity.”

Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, and Rick Nash can be counted among those that still haven’t scored a goal for the Canadians, but as long as they don’t let that frustrate them and they stick to their gameplan, Canada’s still in a good position.

“I think guys trust that the puck’s going to go in and, if it’s not, they’re going to do the right things away from it,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You don’t change the way you play. There’s a right way to play the game.”

Babcock added that he thinks ultimately the Canadian offense will pick up as long as they keep creating chances, but with one game left, they are all aware of what they will be judged on — and it won’t be how many goals they scored.

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.