Alec Martinez, Kyle Clifford, Henrik Lundqvist

Fourteen dates to mark in the 2014-15 season


The NHL released the 2014-15 schedule on Sunday, unleashing a floodgate of observations for all 30 teams. There are plenty of games to get excited about, yet some stand out more than others, at least for national audiences. Hockey fans would be wise to pay special attention to these 14 dates during the upcoming campaign (just 108 days away).

Note: a few of these entries are based on reports, so outdoor games/special theme days like Hockey Day in America may vary.

Oct. 8  – The season begins with a four-game slate, including the Los Angeles Kings hosting the San Jose Sharks while raising their 2014 Stanley Cup banner (ouch).

For a list of the best home-openers, click here. A full list is here.

Oct. 11 – The first of two weekends (the other being the last day of the season) in which all 30 teams play.

Oct. 16 – Milan Lucic gets his first chance to, uh, face Dale Weise and the Montreal Canadiens.

Nov. 26 – Martin St. Louis and the New York Rangers visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nov. 28 – “Black Friday” presents a hefty 11-game slate of games, which could help distract you from all the hasty purchases you made earlier in the day.

Nov. 29 – The Blackhawks visit the Kings for their first game since that classic seven-game series.

Jan. 1 – The Washington Capitals host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Winter Classic.

Jan. 8 – Kings host the Rangers in the first of two games between the 2014 Stanley Cup finalists.

Jan. 16 – For the first time ever, Barry Trotz will coach the visiting team at Bridgestone Arena as his new team the Washington Capitals visit the Nashville Predators.

Jan. 22 – 26 – The All-Star break in Columbus. One would single out the game alone, yet the skills competition is often the real highlight.

Feb. 14 – Potentially Hockey Day in Canada, according to Awful Announcing’s Steve Lepore.

Feb. 21 – Perhaps a sensible time for the Sharks to host the Kings in an outdoor game?

Also on the day – Peter Laviolette’s Predators visit the Philadelphia Flyers.

Feb. 22 – Potentially Hockey Day in America, also according to Lepore. If correct, it would make sense; all-American matchups on that day include Washington – Philadelphia, Chicago – Boston, Nashville – Buffalo, Florida – Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay – Colorado, Rangers – Columbus and Dallas – Minnesota.

April 11 – The regular season ends with all 30 teams playing during a Saturday extravaganza. Any last-minute races can be decided in dramatic fashion.

April 11 also represents the final New York Islanders regular season game at Nassau Coliseum, as they’ll move to Brooklyn in 2015-16.

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.