<span class="vcard">Mike Halford</span>

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games

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One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Glencross released from another PTO, this time by Avs

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators
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Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.

Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.

While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.

A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.

Flames waive forwards Raymond, Byron

Los Angeles Kings v Calgary Flames
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Calgary has placed veterans Mason Raymond and Paul Byron on waivers, per TVA.

Of the two, Raymond is the big story — Calgary splashed big to land him on the opening day of free agency in ’14, signing the speedster to a three-year, $9.45M contract.

Raymond, 30, appeared to be a bad fit for head coach Bob Hartley almost from the start. Though he produced reasonably well on offense — 12 goals and 23 points in 57 games — he sat as a healthy scratch on a number of occasions, including the start of the playoffs.

Raymond carries a $3.15M cap hit this year and the next, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll get claimed by another team. Should he clear and be sent to AHL Stockton, Calgary will recoup $950,000 in cap space.

As for Byron, the 26-year-old is on a one-year deal at $900,000. Like Raymond, he produced in limited time last year — 19 points in 57 games — but missed significant time in the second half of the season to a sports hernia.

 

Max-ed out: Bruins waive Talbot

Calgary Flames Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden
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Boston has placed veteran forward Max Talbot on waivers, per TSN.

Talbot, 31, was acquired from Colorado at last year’s deadline and appeared in 18 games for the Bruins, scoring three points.

Based on training camp and preseason action, it was clear Talbot was fighting for a fourth-line forward role along with the likes of Finnish free agent signing Joonas Kemppainen, former Flyer Zach Rinaldo and Tyler Randell, a 24-year-old AHL farmhand that’s spent most of his professional career with AHL Providence.

Talbot is in the last of a five-year, $9 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $1.8M.

From a financial standpoint, the Bruins would save a decent amount of space with the move (assuming Talbot clears, and heads to AHL Providence.) The club can “bury” $950,000 of his cap hit, and Colorado was already retaining roughly half of the original $1.8M.

In other roster news out of Boston, goalie Jeremy Smith has been placed on waivers. The former Nashville Predators prospect had lost out the backup netminding gig to Jonas Gustavsson, who was in camp on a PTO and signed a contract over the weekend.