Mike Halford

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders prepares to play against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Barclays Center on October 9, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City. The game is the first for the Islanders in their new arena. The Blackhawks defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty

Goalie nods: Isles start Greiss, again, as Halak trade rumors swirl

2 Comments

On paper, the Isles going with Thomas Greiss tonight against Tampa Bay seems like a straightforward decision.

Greiss was great in his last game — making 33 saves in a 5-1 win over the Leafs — and has been steady all season long, posting a 2.28 GAA and .925 save percentage.

But nothing is ever truly straightforward in Brooklyn.

Especially when it comes to goalies.

Over the weekend, Allan Walsh — the agent for Jaroslav Halaktook to Twitter to object to the Isles’ three-goalie setup, and what it’s doing to his client. According to Walsh, the practice time split between Halak, Greiss and J-F Berube has resulted in sub-optimal game prep. Walsh also noted this is the second straight year the Isles have rolled with a three-headed goalie monster.

Not long after those remarks, Sportsnet reported the Isles were open to trading Halak.

What’s transpired since is something of a mixed bag. Initial reports suggested the Isles didn’t receive any offers for Halak but, on Tuesday, TVA reported there are some teams interested in a potential acquisition.

It’s easy to see why Halak’s displeased with his current situation. Coming off a terrific effort for Team Europe at the World Cup — a tournament in which he beat out Greiss for the No. 1 gig — there was some thought he’d distanced himself as the Isles’ starter, too.

But it’s been the same old timeshare this season. After tonight’s start, Greiss and Halak will have split ’em equally, with five each.

For the Bolts, Ben Bishop is in goal.

Elsewhere…

— Good matchup at MSG, as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers host Jake Allen and the Blues.

— No surprises from the Blue Jackets, who will continue to ride Sergei Bobrovsky. The visiting Stars look as though they’ll go with Antti Niemi.

— After he and James Reimer split a weekend back-to-back, Roberto Luongo is in goal for the Panthers. He’ll likely be facing off against Tuukka Rask, who appears primed to start for the visiting Bruins.

— Following an emotional shutout against Edmonton, posted just days after announcing his wife’s cancer diagnosis, Craig Anderson is back in goal for the Sens. Carolina is going with Cam Ward.

— The red-hot Cam Talbot starts again for Edmonton, while Frederik Andersen is likely for the Leafs. The bigger matchup here, of course, is Auston Matthews vs. Connor McDavid.

Connor Hellebuyck gets the nod for Winnipeg after coming on to replace Michael Hutchinson in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres. No word yet on a Capitals starter.

Robin Lehner was great in his first game back from illness (37 saves in a win over the Jets), so he’ll go right back in against the Wild. Minnesota counters with Devan Dubnyk.

Brian Elliott has been great lately, going 3-1-0 with a 1.73 GAA and .941 save percentage in his last four games. That gets him the call against Chicago, who will go with Corey Crawford in goal.

— Seymon Varlamov for Colorado tonight, as the Avs host the Preds. No word yet on a Nashville starter.

— It’s Martin Jones versus Louis Domingue as the Sharks travel to Arizona to take on the Coyotes.

— Expect John Gibson to make another start for the Ducks, as they host the Kings. No word yet on a L.A. starter, though the Kings have been riding Peter Budaj as of late.

Nylander beats out Matthews for rookie of the month

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 12: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his fourth goal of the game in his first career NHL game with team mate William Nylander #29 against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 12, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Getty

Toronto finished October with an ugly 2-4-3 record, yet it could still be seen as a success.

Why?

Well, on Tuesday, the NHL announced that William Nylander has been named the top rookie for October, beating out fellow Maple Leafs freshman Auston Matthews in the process.

More:

Nylander edged teammate Auston Matthews (6-4—10 in 9 GP), Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (6-2—8 in 9 GP), Philadelphia Flyers center Travis Konecny (1-6—7 in 10 GP) and New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (5-1—6 in 9 GP) for the honor.

Nylander, the eighth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, collected at least one point in seven of his nine appearances, highlighted by his first career multi-goal performance Oct. 22 at CHI (2-0—2). He recorded three other multi-point efforts: Oct. 12 at OTT (0-2—2), Oct. 19 at WPG (1-1—2) and Oct. 25 vs. TBL (1-1—2).

Nylander also shared the League lead with seven power-play points, while placing second among rookies with three power-play goals and 31 shots on goal.

Nylander and Matthews aren’t the only Toronto rookies doing the business, either. Mitch Marner has been effective with six points through nine games, while both Zach Hyman and Connor Brown have been regular lineup fixtures, and are among the team leaders in shorthanded time on ice for forwards.

No Myers, no Stuart – and of course, no Trouba — for Jets tonight

ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets looks on during the game against Minnesota Wild on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

Winnipeg’s defense will be undermanned this evening when it hosts the Capitals at MTS.

Already without the services of Jacob Trouba — who, as you may have heard, is embroiled in a contract dispute — the Jets will also be without Tyler Myers (day-to-day, lower body) and Mark Stuart (ditto), per the Winnipeg Sun.

To partially fill the void, Julian Melchiori has been recalled from AHL Manitoba.

Considered to be one of the club’s deepest positions last season, the defense has really thinned out this year. Winnipeg has leaned heavily on Dustin Byfuglien (averaging a whopping 28:36 TOI per game), while Myers and Tobias Enstrom are both over 23 a night.

Why?

Well, Trouba’s absence is a big reason, as is the integration of former first-round pick Josh Morrissey. The 21-year-old has been a lineup fixture thus far, but has seen his ice time managed by head coach Paul Maurice (Morrissey is averaging around 17-and-a-half per).

As for the rest of the blueline? Stuart, Paul Postma and Ben Chiarot have largely rounded it out, but have been used sparingly. None of them average more than 13 minutes a night.

Add it all up, and the Jets face a tall order tonight in Washington. The Caps got off to an uneven start this year but have rebounded recently with back-to-back wins in Vancouver and Calgary, where they found the back of the net a combined eight times.

Detroit brings back Frk, just 24 days after waiving him

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: Martin Frk, 49th overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings, looks on during day two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
3 Comments

What’s old is new again for the Red Wings.

Martin Frk, who Detroit exposed to waivers — and lost on waivers — earlier this month, has been reclaimed, the club announced on Tuesday.

Frk, 23, was taken 49th overall by Detroit at the 2012 draft and emerged as a quality goalscorer at the minor league level. He had 23 goals in 29 games for ECHL Toldedo two years ago, and 27 in 67 games for the Griffins last season — a big reason why Carolina claimed him off waivers.

After snagging Frk, ‘Canes GM Ron Francis praised the youngster’s offensive production in the AHL, saying Frk “has been a goal scorer at every level.”

Of course, that never materialized in Carolina.

The ‘Canes gave Frk his NHL debut earlier this month and dressed him for a subsequent game as well. Even though the two-game sample size was small, it was apparently more than enough to decide he wasn’t ready.

On Monday, the ‘Canes put Frk back on waivers.

Don’t expect to see Frk in Detroit anytime soon. Though the club did re-acquire him, it also immediately dispatched him to AHL Grand Rapids.

 

After missing five of first seven games, Murray back for Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets v San Jose Sharks
Getty

Columbus will get a big piece of its defense back on Tuesday, as Ryan Murray will suit up for the first time in four games when the Jackets host Dallas.

Murray, out since Oct. 21 with a head injury following a hit from Chicago d-man Brent Seabrook, had also missed time earlier in the season with a lower-body ailment after blocking a Brad Marchand shot in Columbus’ season-opener against Boston.

Injuries are a recurring theme for Murray.

The 23-year-old, taken second overall by Columbus in 2012, missed a ton of time over his first two professional campaigns, though rebounded nicely to appear in all 82 contests for Columbus last season (finishing with 25 points).

This fall, he represented Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey, along with fellow Blue Jackets d-man Seth Jones.

When healthy, Murray is a vital cog in the Columbus defense. He averaged nearly 23 minutes per game last season and features prominently on the power play.

As such, his return will be a welcome one for the Blue Jackets, who have performed reasonably well after getting off to an 0-2 start. They’re 3-1-1 in their last five, which includes an impressive 4-0 shutout win in Anaheim on Friday night.

A big reason for that success? The play of Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been excellent — and busy — for the Jackets.