Chad LaRose

Cue the comeback: LaRose, ‘Canes agree to minor-league contract


After a year away from the game, Chad LaRose is ready to return.

On Tuesday, LaRose agreed to a contract with Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte, per the Raleigh News & Observer. The move reunited the 32-year-old with the only NHL organization he’s ever known — LaRose appeared in over 500 games for the ‘Canes from 2005-13 — and began the reconciliation process after a bizarre breakup.

Remember that? Following the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, LaRose went AWOL for a few days and bailed on his end-of-season meeting, virtually disappearing from the scene:

His contract with the Hurricanes expired June 30. He didn’t show up for his end-of-season exit interview, according to Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford. He has not been reachable through multiple phone or text messages this summer.

LaRose joined the Hurricanes as an unknown. He leaves a mystery.

Later, LaRose surfaced to explain why he bailed.

“I needed a cool-off period as opposed to going right in and blowing up,” he explained last August. “Nobody was happy we didn’t make the playoffs again. I took some time, cooled off, and then I went and saw everyone, talked to [general manager Jim Rutherford], paid my respects and thanked them for the opportunity with them.”

The frustration was understandable, because LaRose’s final year in Carolina was pretty ugly. After scoring a career-high 32 points in ’11-12, he registered just four in 35 games on a bad ‘Canes team, posting a minus-8 rating while averaging a mere 12:51 TOI per night. But after this summer’s regime change — Ron Francis took over for Rutherford as GM, and Kirk Muller was replaced behind the bench by Bill Peters — it seemed as though the door was open for a return, most notably when Francis expressed optimism regarding LaRose’s comeback.

Carolina also has some history in the reclamation project department. Last year, the club inked center Manny Malhotra to an AHL deal after he’d been sidelined with a significant eye injury. Malhotra worked his way up to the ‘Canes, signed an NHL deal and scored 13 points in 69 games before becoming a finalist for the Masterton Trophy, which eventually went to Rangers forward Dominic Moore.

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.