McLellan won’t announce Sharks’ starting playoff goalie


Even though Antti Niemi’s been San Jose’s starting netminder for the last 34 playoff games, Todd McLellan wouldn’t publicly commit to him for Thursday’s Game 1 versus Los Angeles.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

McLellan still held off on naming his goalie for Game 1. Yes, a decision has been made, he said. No, he won’t disclose it.

We asked if the goalie knows at this point.

McLellan, shaking head: “You guys are going to run in there and interrogate him.”

Well, he could swear the goalie to secrecy, right?

McLellan: “Maybe we’ll double cross you too. Who knows.”

Ah, playoffs.

Part of this could be gamesmanship. The Sharks are going up a very familiar rival in Los Angeles — the Pacific Division foes played each other five times this year — and McLellan did give backup Alex Stalock one of those games, a 1-0 loss in January in which Stalock stopped 20 of 21 shots and was named second star.

Overall, Stalock had a pretty solid year. He went 12-5-2 with a 1.87 GAA and .932 save percentage, with a pair of shutouts. But it’s really surprising to think McLellan would go with him over Niemi — even though the veteran Finn struggled at times this year. Niemi still managed to fare well against Los Angeles (2-1-1, 2.67 GAA, .910 save percentage) and has 56 games of playoff experience to Stalock’s zero.


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.