Derek Stepan, who suffered a broken jaw on a late, high hit from Brandon Prust in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, traveled with the rest of the New York Rangers to Montreal, although it’s not yet known if he’ll play in Game 5 on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t say right now. If he does come back, it is my understanding that he’s going to need some facial protection, without a doubt,” said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, as per The Star-Ledger.
“He’s made the trip with us, like Dan Carcillo. The only player we’ve left behind in New York is J.T. Miller. He’s got an upper body injury.”
Stepan didn’t play in Game 4 of the series, while Prust sat out as part of his two-game suspension handed down for the incident.
If Stepan were to get in the lineup, it’s difficult to say what kind of impact he would have, especially coming off such an injury. The 23-year-old center has had a solid playoff so far, with 11 points in 17 games.
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
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.