Tag:Colorado Avalanche
Posted on: January 2, 2012 9:56 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 9:59 pm
 

Raffi Torres suspended 2 games



By: Adam Gretz

Not even a day dominated by the Winter Classic can stop NHL discipline from sneaking into the news.

The NHL announced on Monday evening that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been suspended two games for a charging incident that took place during their 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, not long after he was fined for a hit in his previous game. There was no penalty called on the play, but Brendan Shanahan determined that it was worth him missing the next two games against St. Louis and Los Angeles.

He'll be eligible to return to the lineup on January 7 when the Coyotes host the New York Islanders.

The hit took place midway through the first period when he hit Minnesota's Nate Prosser.

"As the video shows, Torres approaches Prosser just inside the Minnesota blue line as Prosser is making a pass up the ice," said Shanahan. 'Torres is in position to make a clean, full body check. However, rather than drive through his opponents chest or shoulder, Torres rises up and leaves his feet prior to contact, launching himself into Prosser and making significant contact with Prosser's head. While players skates often come off the ice after impact on clean body checks, that is not the case here."

Along with that description, Shanahan also made it known that this was the third game in a row that a hit from Torres has drawn the attention of NHL player safety. Earlier in the week he was fined $2,500 (the maximum fine allowed) for elbowing Colorado's Jan Hejda, a hit that many felt should have resulted in a suspension of its own.

"It is important to note that this is the third game in a row that Torres has gotten the attention of the department of player safety for contact to the head," said Shanahan. "In fact, only hours before the Minnesota game Torres was fined and warned against such actions. In addition, Torres has been fined twice before and was suspended nine months ago for a similar play."

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 31, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Raffi Torres fined for elbow on Jan Hejda

By: Adam Gretz

One of the most common complaints about NHL discipline, whether it was under Colin Campbell in previous years or the current leadership of Brendan Shanahan, is the sometimes overwhelming lack of consistency from one incident to another. If you're going to call it one way for one play, make it the same way across the board.

It rarely, if ever, seems to work out that way.

The NHL's disciplinary committee was busy on Saturday announcing a couple of fines, and along with the surprising non-suspensions of Tomas Kopecky and Mike Rupp following Friday's Rangers-Panthers game, the NHL also announced that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has also avoided the Shanaban for his blindside elbow to the head of Colorado's Jan Hejda earlier in the week (Here's the play, in case you missed it the first time around).

Instead of missing any games, Torres was simply given the maximum fine of $2,500.

Message: not sent.
Hejda is expected to be in the lineup for the Avalanche on Saturday when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

There was also no penalty called on the play, and it recieved little attention in the aftermath. It almost seems that unless a player is seriously injured (or injured at all) and it's a play that's shown on highlight reels across the league the NHL has no interest in handing out a stiff punishment.

More NHL Discipline News

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 3:16 pm
 

Winter Classic in Miami? Panthers would love it

By Brian Stubits

Is there any doubt there's nothing more exciting in the regular season than the Winter Classic? It's by far and away the most-watched game of the season, it has the HBO 24/7 that leads up to it and is treated by the NHL for what it is: the season's marquee game. So every city wants to get their hands on it. Even Miami.

Could you imagine that picture being the setting for the Winter Classic? There are some that can.

Yes, the Florida Panthers would love to host the NHL's annual outdoor game (as would probably 29 other franchises). But there's that whole problem of playing in the tropics and ice, they don't really go together, right? Well, the Panthers think it could happen.

Thanks to the new baseball park opening in a couple of months for baseball's Miami Marlins, it could happen -- meaning literally, they could pull it off. That's because the new ballpark will have a retractable roof, opening the possibility of building a solid rink that would be more than playable.

George Richards of the Miami Herald reports that the Panthers brass would love to speak to the NHL about the possibility of the game in Miami, as farfetched as it seems.

Plus, some of the players would love to play where it's warm.

“Everyone loves coming down here and it would be neat to have a tropical outdoor game," said Kris Versteeg, who played in the Chicago Winter Classic. "People would travel from all over for that. The game and the weather would be great for the fans. It was awesome playing at Wrigley, but I don't want to play in that cold again. But it was a memory I'll always have."

To further lend credence to the idea that it could happen in Florida, remember that the Kings and Rangers played an outdoor game in Las Vegas in the preseason back in 1991 and that worked just fine. With the help of a retractable roof, NHL-quality ice is possible.

But the practicality of it? I'd say very, very low. It's not like the Panthers are a big draw in the NHL, although their success this season helps a little bit. Plus, Florida will have to get in line.

It's expected that next year's game will be held in Washington D.C., likely at Nationals Park. If it doesn't happen next year, it will happen the year after that in the nation's capital. It figures that Detroit/Michigan would be in the conversation. The same goes for the Twin Cities, Denver, St. Louis and even San Francisco. Adrian Dater of SI.com and the Denver Post is begging the NHL to bring the showcase West.

I agree with the sentiment that the NHL should try and drift out of the Northeastern corridor a little for the game, but that's the U.S. hockey hub, so I think those cities need to appear frequently in the rotation. As I said, I think Florida would be way down the list, to the point of not even being on it despite the possibilities.

It would be fantastic for the Panthers and hockey in Florida, would give it tremendous local exposure, but I'm not sure how much the reciprocal effect would be for the NHL. It has more of a Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber vibe to it than anything, but is fun to think about.

On top of it all, I can't imagine the outrage that would come from hockey fans if the game were played in 70-degree weather.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:54 am
 

Raffi Torres elbows Jan Hejda in the head

By Brian Stubits

Right now it just seems like Coyotes forward Raffi Torres is testing Brendan Shanahan, seeing how far he can go. He probably has found how far is too far.

On Wednesday night, Torres was caught laying a hit high on Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins (watch it here). It drew the ire of Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid who then laid a pretty good beating on Torres. But Shanahan didn't.

Then came Thursday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche and another questionable hit from Torres. That's when he skates by the crease and chicken-winged the Avs' Jan Hejda with an elbow to the head after Hejda passed the puck up ice. There was no penalty on the play for Torres.

At least from the angle we are given, it seems as clear as crystal that the principle point of contact on this hit was the head of Hejda. Moreover, it was very unnecessary and behind the play. It would have been a very avoidable hit if Torres had decided as much.

I'll be very surprised and honestly a little disappointed if Torres goes unpunished for this hit. It might not have been bad, but it could have been. You should punish the intent not the result. The illustrative point of suspending Torres for this is almost necessary because to me it sure looks like a textbook example of the play they want gone. You just can't throw an elbow to a guy's head any more.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 9:32 pm
 

Avs' McLeod booted for check on Wild's Spurgeon

By Brian Stubits

It didn't take long for somebody to see if Brendan Shanahan is still feeling jolly from his Christmas break.

At the 5:20 of the first period in Minnesota, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cody McLeod was given a five-minute major for checking from behind on the Wild's Jared Spurgeon. After a little deliberation while Spurgeon remained on the ice, McLeod was then assessed a game misconduct, ensuring a review from the league.

So everybody knows the drill by now: Is this worthy of a suspension by Shanahan and his staff?

Admittedly, the play did look bad in live action. The fact that Spurgeon was down on the ice for some time then left the ice with help isn't good news for McLeod hoping to avoid suspension and stay with the Avs, who are suddenly hot once again.

But this is a tough call. You can see McLeod following behind with his hand on Spurgeon's back and it seems like a relatively innocent forecheck on the play. The problem comes when Spurgeon puts on the brakes and McLeod doesn't. I don't see much of a push on the play from McLeod.

It certainly doesn't seem any worse to me than the hit from Zach Bogosian on the Wild's Pierre-Marc Bouchard, which did not result in a suspension.

It doesn't speak a lot for the consistency of the discipline offices, but if I were to guess I'd say no suspension should result, but no decision will surprise me (outside of a long suspension, that is). Remember, McLeod essentially served a one-game suspension in this one, being ineligible for 54 of the 60 minutes. The only difference is he'll still get a pay check for the game.

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Flyers streak on sans Pronger, G

Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

By Brian Stubits

There must be something in the water in Pennsylvania. That's the old cliché people turn to when they can't make sense of what's going on, how people (or teams in this case) continue to perform at a high level despite the obstacles.

We saw it last year (and again this season, really) with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite being without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin the second half of last season, they just kept on winning. Their 106 points were tied with the Flyers for most in the Atlantic and were just one point behind the Capitals for best in the East.

This season, the Flyers are getting their own taste of life without their Stars. And just like their Keystone State brethren, they continue to win. As in seven in a row.

Philly has been playing without its captain Chris Pronger for a month now. After yesterday's news, they are going to have to play the rest of the season without him, too. In fact, some are saying that Pronger might never play a game again. After all, he is 37 and he has a life after hockey to think about.

As good as Pronger is and has been his entire career, the Flyers have done a good job overcoming his absence this season -- nay, a great job. Since he last played against Winnipeg on Nov. 19, the Flyers have won nine of 11 games.

As callous as it always feels, the Flyers must move on. While their captain and best defenseman deals with severe post-concussion syndrome, they have a very promising season to continue. With the roster freeze coming next week, it's unlikely the Flyers will acquire some additional help on the blue line in the near future, but it will have to be a consideration for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren.

Holmgren told the media on Friday that he's already considered that, having called all 29 teams, presumably about any defensemen they might have available.

But that's for then. Right now, the Flyers are making due without him or their budding superstar center Claude Giroux (or simply G, as they team calls him). It doesn't seem like it will be a long shelving for Giroux, but you never can know, concussions tend to be pretty fickle.

In the only games the Flyers have played without either player, they have won. Despite missing their leading scorer and a point-producing defenseman, Philly has still averaged 4.5 goals in the two games without Giroux and Pronger.

But now a real test comes to see how they compare with the other beats of the East without the two stars.

The Boston Bruins are nipping on the Flyers' heels for the best record in the Eastern Conference and they, too, have been playing without arguably their best player (skaters-only division) in Zdeno Chara. But the big man might be back in time for the Saturday matinee in Philadelphia.

"We're going to give him a chance to fly and see how he feels," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "If he feels good then we have a chance of seeing him."

Normally I'd lament this game being played without Giroux, Pronger and possibly Chara. But with the way both of them, the Flyers in particular, have played without the all-stars, I don't see it stopping what will likely still be a very good game.

Winnipeg welcome wagon rolls on

This first season with the Jets back in the NHL has been an ongoing welcome wagon for the folks in Manitoba. They were licking their chops at getting to see Ilya Bryzgalov, they relished the opportunity to see former Jet Shane Doan back in Winnipeg.

Now comes perhaps the best welcome/return of them all; Teemu Selanne.

The veteran once starred for the Jets before he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks. He has waited for the chance to go back and play in the first NHL city he called home. Now it comes on Saturday night.

"You know, even when the schedule came out, even when I didn't know if I was going to play or not, I checked right away if we were going to Winnipeg," Selanne said. "That day was on my calendar right away.

"I knew there were two really special things. Obviously the Finland trip and then Winnipeg. It was really exciting to even think about it."

Unlike the welcomes fans in Winnipeg gave to Bryzgalov and, to an extent, Doan, it's hard to imagine there will be any jeers, only cheers for Selanne.

"He was so admired. It was overwhelming," Jets chairman Mark Chipman said of Selanne. "This guy was so good and so approachable and so humble in his approach that the community just absolutely fell head over heels for the guy."

Amazingly, Selanne is still performing at the level he was when he first broke into the NHL with the Jets in the early 90s. That's only going to help the flashbacks for the fans -- minus that whole wearing the Ducks jersey part.

Back in Buffalo

One of the more criticized offseason signings (excluding just about every move made by the Florida Panthers) was the Toronto Maple Leafs signing former Sabres center Tim Connolly. Leafs GM Brian Burke gave Connolly a two-year deal worth $4.75 million per season.

People in Buffalo laughed and simply said "Enjoy!" to their near-neighbors in Toronto. It wasn't about Connolly being a bad player -- he's not at all -- but it was about his health concerns. There always seemed to be something that was keeping Connolly on the bench.

So there's a sense of irony when the Maple Leafs visit the First Niagara Center this weekend. Connolly will be healthy and on the ice against his former team. Although he hasn't been without his health issues this season, when he's been on the ice, he's been good for Toronto. In 18 games played, he has 15 points.

On the other hand, the deal that Buffalo signed with Ville Leino was widely applauded. That one hasn't worked out so well.

Reunion tour continues

The Washington Capitals will be visiting the Colorado Avalanche this weekend. That means they will get to see their old goalie Semyon Varlamov up close and personal again.

Varlamov was traded to the Avs this summer after he made it clear that he was looking to play in the KHL over Washington. So Caps GM George McPhee swung a deal with the Avs to give them Varlamov in exchange for Colorado's first-round draft pick this offseason and their second-round pick.

So not only do the Caps get the chance to say hi to an old friend, but they can help themselves out in more ways than one. The points in the standings are the first and most obvious way, but every game without points for the Avs helps the Caps' first-round draft pick go higher and higher.

Although it's quieted down with Varlamov coming back down to earth, when he and the Avalanche were off to their hot starts, some in Washington wondered if the team made the wrong goalie decision. There might still be some questions considering the duo of Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth hasn't fared much better, if at all. But at least Neuvirth comes into the game having just shut out the Jets in Winnipeg, so there might be some positive momentum building. The goaltending problems have been as much an issue as anything in D.C. this season.

Canucks are still great

In fact, according to Roberto Luongo they are better than they were last season, which was great.

"We were one win away, so I don't think you need to change much," Luongo said. "That being said, though, we went through a lot last year, and I think we grew as a team. So for that reason alone, I think that we're better than last year."

That's even with him still getting a lot of starts in the net. Remember, he was a Vezina finalist last season. This season? Not so much.

Their next chance to prove Lu right will come in Toronto on Saturday evening for another Hockey Night in Canada appearance.

Stammer don't hurt 'em!

More like don't get hurt Stammer.

With his overtime winner on Thursday night, Steven Stamkos joined Milan Michalek on the top of the goal-scoring list this season with his 19th. Hopefully the same fate that has befallen many of the game's best scorers in recent weeks won't strike the Lightning's superstar.

With Michalek, Giroux, Sidney Crosby and Jeff Skinner (among many others) recently being diagnosed with concussions or at least post-concussion symptoms, the last thing the league wants is another young star to go down. If anything, it would probably love to see Stamkos go on one of his tears and become a positive story in the league again.

He'll have the chance to take the lead in the goals race by himself when Tampa Bay heads to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.

We're going streaking!

Flyers: As mentioned, they are the hottest thing going in the NHL right now between their seven-game win streak and HBO's 24/7.

Bruins: Philly's opponent brings a modest three-game run of itself into the Saturday matchup.

Chicago Blackhawks: A double-dip awaits the Blackhawks and their three-game win streak as they face the Ducks and Flames.

Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues: We're going to combine these two because they are both riding four-game win streaks and they will face off against one another on Saturday. The Blues also have the Jackets on Sunday.

Dallas Stars: Last on the win side, the Pacific-leading Stars take to New Jersey seeking to extend their three-game streak on Scott Niedermayer Night.

New York Islanders: Once again, the Isles are slumping. They get to face the NHL-best Minnesota Wild with a four-game skid. The good news for New York is Minnesota is likely down a lot of bodies.

Florida Panthers The Southeast leaders are on a mini slump having lost three in a row. They have the Flames and Hurricanes at home this weekend to try and cure the ills.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:44 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Adam McQuaid ejected for kneeing Nick Foligno

By: Adam Gretz

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was ejected late in the second period of their game in Ottawa on Wednesday night for kneeing Senators forward Nick Foligno with less than five minutes to play in the period. Along with the game misconduct he was also issued a five-minute major for kneeing, and always, there's a good chance it's going to get additional review from the NHL.

Foligno was able to return to the game.



Just last week the NHL issued a four-game suspension to Colorado's Kevin Porter for his knee-on-knee hit against Vancouver's David Booth. Booth is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL. Prior to that incident Edmonton's Ryan Whitney avoided any discipline for his knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck.

What do you say, hockey fans? Is the major and a game misconduct enough of a punishment, or does McQuaid sit for a couple of games?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Andy Sutton suspended 8 games

By: Adam Gretz

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton had a hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Saturday, and later in the evening it was announced by the league that he has been suspended eight games for his hit on Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night. He was penalized two minutes for charging on the play, as he clearly left his feet and delivered a blow to the head of the Hurricanes forward.

It's already Sutton's second suspension of the season as he was banished five games for a hit on Avalanche rookie forward Gabriel Landeskog earlier in the year.

"While we acknowledge that on many big body checks a hitters feet may at times come off the ice to a certain degree," said Shanahan in his latest league video. "We felt the degree in which Sutton's skate comes off the ice is excessive."

He also added that Sutton's past history, which includes seven fines or suspensions in his NHL career, as well as the fact that Ponikarovsky did not suffer any major injury as a result of the hit, were all taken into account when reaching his decision.

Here is the full video, which also includes clips of Sutton's past run-ins with league discipline:



More NHL Discipline News Here

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com