Ty Conklin

Conked out: Ty Conklin loses backup job in Detroit, now on waivers


It was inevitable with how well Joey MacDonald has played with Jimmy Howard out of action, but Ty Conklin’s run as the Red Wings’ backup goalie is over.

The Wings have put Conklin on waivers to make room for the return of Howard to the Detroit lineup. Conklin’s less-than stellar play this season got him stapled to the bench even with Howard out injured. MacDonald’s play in Howard’s stead was nothing short of outstanding and has helped the Wings break records for consecutive wins at home.

Conklin’s numbers this year are dismal. He went 3-5-0 this season with a 3.40 goals against and a .878 save percentage. Those are bad numbers at any level of play, but they get you beat down in the NHL. Should Conklin clear waivers he’ll be headed to Grand Rapids in the AHL where he’ll try to get his groove back.

Pastrnak suspended two games for ‘unnecessarily’ launching into Girardi headshot

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has come down on B’s forward David Pastrnak, suspending him a pair of games for his headshot on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.

“Rather than staying low and hitting through his opponent’s body, Pastrnak unnecessarily extends up and into this hit, picking the head and making it the main point of contact,” the DoPS explained.

Pastrnak was whistled for a minor penalty on the play, which occurred in the second period of Boston’s 5-2 loss at MSG on Wednesday night.

Girardi left the contest momentarily, but was able to return and finished with 16:15 TOI.

“I don’t really know it makes contact with my face at first, but it is what it is, I’m kind of vulnerable,” Girardi said of the hit, per the New York Post. “He’s going to try to make a hit. He just hit me in the front of the face, so it wasn’t like it was the side-of-the-head hit or something.

“As soon as I got up, I was fine.”

Pastrnak, who previously had no history of supplemental discipline, will now miss Saturday’s game in Detroit and Tuesday’s game in Florida. He’s eligible to return on Nov. 3, when the B’s take on the Bolts in Tampa Bay.

The 20-year-old will also forfeit $10,277.78 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

New lines (again) for the Blackhawks

Stanley Cup Final: Game 6
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New lines for the Chicago Blackhawks.

This is becoming a theme.

The ‘Hawks are in New Jersey to play the Devils tonight, and based on the combinations at this morning’s skate, Patrick Kane has been bumped up to play with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik.

Per Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times, Kane’s usual spot with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov has been filled by Marian Hossa, while Tyler Motte drops from the first line to the third to play with Marcus Kruger and Ryan Hartman. The fourth line has Nick Schmaltz between Dennis Rasmussen and either Vincent Hinostroza or Jordin Tootoo.

Nobody should be surprised that coach Joel Quenneville continues to experiment. The ‘Hawks have stumbled out of the gates, winning just three of their first seven. Their last game saw them lose at home, 3-2 in the shootout, to the Calgary Flames. And their issues go beyond penalty killing.

Toews’ lack of production has been particularly noteworthy. He entered the season hoping to contribute more offensively, but so far has managed no goals with just two assists.

At five-on-five, Toews has skated mostly with Panik, who leads the team with six goals, and Motte, a rookie who was playing college hockey last season. It’s not that those three have been a liability — the ‘Hawks have actually scored more than they’ve allowed when that trio’s been together — but replacing Motte with Kane may be a way for Quenneville to get his captain’s name on the scoresheet.

Tonight’s game in Newark is the first of six in 10 days for the ‘Hawks, who return home to face Los Angeles Sunday.

Minnesota waives Pulkkinen, just 17 days after claiming him

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23:  Teemu Pulkkinen #17 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on October 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Wild 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Teemu Pulkkinen era in Minnesota could soon be over.

Before it ever got started, really.

After scoring just once for the Wild since being claimed off waivers, Pulkkinen was placed back on the wire on Friday, per TVA.

The 24-year-old, originally a fourth-round pick by Detroit in 2010, bounced around the Wild lineup during his brief stint with the club, averaging just over nine minutes per night.

His productivity was minimal, to put it mildly — widely regarded for his cannon of a shot, which saw him post two 30-goal seasons with AHL Grand Rapids, Pulkkinen only mustered four shots on goal in eight games with Minnesota, who acquired him on Oct. 11 from Detroit.

He’ll be an interesting figure to watch moving forward.

Though some of his luster has undoubtedly worn off after getting waived twice in a month, he’s still a reasonably young player with a proven goalscoring record (in the minors, granted) on a reasonably cheap contract — one year, at $812,500.

Here’s wondering if Detroit would be interested in re-acquiring his services.

“I have an unreal amount of respect for him as a player and as a person,” head coach Jeff Blashill said of Pulkkinen earlier this month, per MLive. “Teemu has to score goals. You hate to be results-orientated, but when you’re not big and you’re not fast and your weapon is your shot you have to score goals.

“That’s what made him a difference-maker at the American League level and I still think he can be a difference-maker at this level. That time isn’t right now.”

They ‘don’t have superstars,’ but the Wild are off to a hot start

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25:  Jonas Brodin #25 of the Minnesota Wild, Jason Zucker #16 and Joel Eriksson Ek #14 congratulate Chris Stewart #7 after he scored against Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden on October 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Eight games into the season, nobody on the Minnesota Wild has more than three goals, but nine players have scored at least twice, and seven more have done it once.

Indeed, it’s been a very balanced attack that’s helped the Wild to a 5-2-1 start. They smoked the Sabres, 4-0, last night in Buffalo. Four different players got goals, including defenseman Ryan Suter.

“That’s how we have to win,” Suter told reporters. “We don’t have the superstars. We need everybody on the team participating.”

It’s interesting that Suter would mention the lack of superstars, because that’s the exact same message head coach Bruce Boudreau was pushing when he took the job in May.

“As much as I like Ovechkin and Getzlaf and Perry, you don’t need those guys to win,” Boudreau said. “You can do it the old-fashioned way. You do it as a team.”

It’s only been eight games, so the Wild still have a lot to prove. They were outshot, 38-22, last night, and their possession stats propose the possibility that an unsustainably high shooting percentage and great goaltending from Devan Dubnyk (4-1-1, .944) have been the real keys to their winning start.

“He’s carrying us right now,” d-man Matt Dumba said of Dubnyk, “so we’ll ride that wave.”

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting great goaltending, and the Wild shouldn’t have to apologize for burying their scoring chances either. Puck possession isn’t everything in hockey, and at any rate, possession stats don’t have the greatest predictive power so early in the season.

For now, Boudreau’s superstar-less group gets the benefit of the doubt.

The Wild host Dallas Saturday and Buffalo Tuesday before hitting the road for games in Denver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Ottawa.