St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs

Bernier can’t save wilting Leafs against Blues; Toronto drops sixth in a row


The sense was that Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier would be thrown right back into the fire after an injury-related hiatus, and the St. Louis Blues definitely made that true with a 23-shot first period on Tuesday. Bernier helped to keep the Maple Leafs competitive, but it wasn’t enough as the Blues won 5-3.

With that, the wilting Leafs have now lost six straight contests, possibly providing fans with a regular season collapse to stomach after last season’s crushing Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. (It almost feels mean to mention that at a time like this. Apologies.)

The Maple Leafs must hope that the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets do minimal damage in their games on Tuesday, but more than anything else, they clearly must be in a soul-searching mode right now.

The Blues likely feel just fine, on the other hand, as Ryan Miller is now 8-2-1 with his new team. David Backes collected a hat trick while T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen generated three-point nights (one goal and two assists each). The Blues beefed up their West-leading standings total to 105 points, currently also tops in the NHL.

Bernier stopped 44 Blues shots on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough against for a falling Leafs squad.

Sometimes on-paper matchups don’t seem as one-sided in reality in sports, but this one went predictably, which turns out to be bad news for a Maple Leafs team that’s grasping for optimism.

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

Torres hit
Leave a comment

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
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.