Mike Halford

Arizona Coyotes' Louis Domingue waves to the crowd after the Coyotes' NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. Domingue earned his first NHL shutout as the Coyotes won 1-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona’s goalie situation sure is something

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After being forced to dress a beer-leaguer as their emergency backup in last night’s win over Montreal, the Coyotes have recalled goalie Niklas Treutle from AHL Springfield.

On it’s own, not much of a story.

But within the context of the Coyotes’ insane crease conundrum, pretty interesting.

No. 1 netminder Mike Smith has been out since mid-December following core muscle surgery. Anders Lindback, originally signed to be Smith’s No. 2, suffered some kind of “off-ice injury” yesterday, which forced the club to sign Nate Schoenfeld — a local amateur ‘tender and son of ex-Coyotes coach Jim — to back up Louis Domingue.

(Per TSN, the Lindback injury might be serious, and he could be done for the season.)

Domingue, of course, came into this season as Arizona’s No. 3 on the depth chart. Prior to the year, he had a grand total of seven games of NHL experience.

He’s played 23 already this year, and is firmly entrenched as the Coyotes’ starting netminder.

And his new backup is Treutle (pronounced troyt-LAY, in case you were curious), a 24-year-old undrafted free agent that — prior to signing with the Coyotes — spent all of his professional career in the German League.

Signed from EHC Red Bull Muchen this offseason, Treutle has spent the ’15-16 campaign exclusively in the Springfield, where he’s gone 9-11-5 with a .909 save percentage and 2.91 GAA.

It’ll be curious to see how long the Domingue-Treutle combo will last. Smith has returned to partial practice and appears on track for a late-February/early-March return, but his timetable has never been very specific.

Whatever the case, life is going to be tough for Domingue and Treutle in the coming days. The Coyotes host the high-octane Dallas Stars this Thursday then, next Monday, head out on a five-game road swing that begins with a date against league-leading Washington.

Evander Kane apologizes for missing practice, promises it ‘won’t happen again’

FILE - In this Dec. 26, 2015, file photo, Buffalo Sabres' Evander Kane (9) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Boston. On Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, Kane said he's done nothing wrong and is looking forward to clearing his name after being the subject of a sex offense investigation. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
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Though he’s yet to actually serve his punishment for oversleeping and missing practice, Evander Kane has expressed his remorse.

“I wanted to apologize to my teammates, the Pegula family as well, our coaching staff and general manager,” Kane told the Buffalo News on Tuesday, one day after missing Sabres practice because he overslept after attending the NBA All-Star Game. “It’s something that should have never happened. It’s something that I can promise you won’t happen again and it’s something that I’m definitely going to learn from.”

Kane was in Toronto on Sunday evening for the NBA’s ASG, and apparently enjoyed some of the city’s nightlife afterward.

He’d already played for the Sabres Sunday afternoon, scoring once in a 4-1 win over Colorado at First Niagara Center.

From the Buffalo News:

The party apparently went too hard and too long into the night. Kane posted some videos on his Snapchat page — which have since been deleted — of some drinking escapades after the game.

Shortly after missing practice, the Sabres announced Kane would sit out tonight’s game against Ottawa.

Is there a goalie controversy brewing in Brooklyn?

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)
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With yesterday’s win over the Red Wings, Thomas Greiss pushed his record to a sparking 16-6-2 on the year, with a .931 save percentage and 2.16 GAA — pretty good for a backup netminder making just $1.5 million this season.

Of course, Greiss might not be the backup for long.

From the New York Post:

[Isles head coach Jack] Capuano has been adamant he is going to use the players he deems are playing best, and there’s no question Greiss has outplayed [Jaroslav] Halak recently.

This was Greiss’ third start in the past five games, having given up four goals on 90 shots in that span. Halak got torched for six goals on 25 shots on Saturday in Carolina during a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes. In his previous five starts, Halak has a .850 save percentage and 4.26 goals-against average, and in his 10 starts since returning from injury back on Jan. 7, Halak has a .896 and 3.12.

“When you have a hot goalie and he’s playing well, you want to play him,” Capuano said.

Greiss, 30, has been one of GM Garth Snow’s savviest acquisitions. Signed to a two-year, $3 million deal this past summer with little fanfare, the German ‘tender has become arguably the NHL’s best backup and given the organization the kind of goaltending depth it hasn’t seen in ages.

Third-stringer J-F Berube has been one of the AHL’s top netminders over the last few seasons, and the club could really have something in ’14 draftee Ilya Sorokin, a 20-year-old that’s currently lighting up the KHL.

But the real story in Brooklyn is this year’s playoffs, and if Capuano will have a decision on his hands by early April.

Right now, it’s tough to envision Halak not starting in the playoffs. He has 30 games of postseason experience to Greiss’ one, and was very good during the Isles’ opening-round loss to the Caps last spring, finishing with a .926 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.

That said, it’s going to be hard for Capuano to keep Greiss out of the net, especially if he continues playing this well.

Gaborik out ‘long term, for sure,’ but Kings hopeful for playoff return

Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

The latest update on Marian Gaborik‘s apparent knee injury could have a big effect on Los Angeles’ trade deadline plans.

On Monday, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter told the L.A. Times that Gaborik is going to be out of action “long term, for sure,” adding the club is hopeful the veteran winger could be back for the postseason.

Gaborik, 34, was hurt in a collision against the Rangers on Friday, exiting the game in the first period without putting any weight on what appeared to be an injured left knee. He was placed on IR shortly thereafter.

His injury comes at a really tough time. After starting the season slowly, Gaborik had been playing well of late and had four points in the five games prior to getting hurt.

All told, he has 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games this season, while averaging just under 15 minutes per night.

As mentioned above, the Kings will probably look to replace Gaborik’s production by the Feb. 29 trade deadline. He was the fifth-leading goalscorer on the team at the time of his injury and has a wealth of playoff experience — during L.A.’s Stanley Cup championship in ’14, he scored 14 times in 28 games and finished with 22 points.

After 40-game absence, Orpik back for Caps tonight

Brooks Orpik
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In a season where nearly everything has gone right, Washington’s lone blemishes this season have been long-term injuries to Jay Beagle and Brooks Orpik.

Tonight, the Orpik blemish gets cleared up.

The veteran defenseman will return after missing the last 40 games with a lower-body injury when the Caps host the Kings at Verizon, Orpik confirmed. It’ll be the rugged defenseman’s first game since November 10, in which he exited a 1-0 loss to Detroit after just 6:49 of ice time.

In Orpik’s absence, the Caps have gone 30-6-4.

For his comeback, it looks as though Orpik will play on a pairing with Dmitry Orlov, meaning Taylor Chorney will come out of the lineup.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Orpik will have.

He was averaging 19:15 TOI through the first 14 games this season, coming off a ’14-15 campaign in which he played 21:48 per night (and that TOI average went up to 22:17 in the playoffs).

His physical, robust style has always been a favorite of head coach Barry Trotz — “the things that Brooks Orpik does, you can’t put a value on,” Trotz said when Washington signed Orpik to a $27.5 million deal two summers ago — and the return could adjust GM Brian MacLellan’s strategy at the trade deadline, though it’s likely he’d still want to add defensive depth.