Mike Halford

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Aaron Dell #30 of the San Jose Sharks warms up prior to the start of the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 15, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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Goalie nods: Dell makes rare start for Sharks

Heading into the year, there were major question marks about the backup spot behind Martin Jones in San Jose.

And though it’s been through a limited body of work, Aaron Dell has answered them so far.

Dell, 27, was undrafted out of the University of North Dakota, and kicked around the CHL, ECHL and AHL after leaving school. He caught on with the Sharks organization a couple seasons ago, and won backup job by putting up solid numbers for the AHL Barracuda in ’15-16.

Through three games this year, he’s looked very good, posting a 1.90 GAA and .932 save percentage.

The lingering issue, of course, is just three games played.

Jones has been a workhorse for the Sharks, and currently sits third in the NHL in minutes played. The 26-year-old has shown an ability to handle big workloads — he played 65 games last year, and was arguably San Jose’s best player in the Stanley Cup Final — but it’s always somewhat risky, given the looming specter of injury or a prolonged slump.

Anyway, Dell will make his fourth start of the year today when the Sharks host the Isles. He’ll be up against a fellow backup, as Thomas Greiss goes for New York.

Elsewhere…

Corey Crawford, who has lost three of his last four starts, goes for the ‘Hawks in Anaheim. No word yet on a Ducks starter.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has lost his last four starts, gets the nod for Pittsburgh in Minnesota. No word yet on a Wild starter.

Braden Holtby gets a Black Friday vacation, as the Caps will go with Philipp Grubauer against the Sabres. Buffalo hasn’t unveiled its starter yet, but Robin Lehner has been used almost exclusively lately.

— It’s Connor Hellebuyck up against Pekka Rinne as the Jets take on the Preds in Nashville.

Chad Johnson, once again, will start over Brian Elliott for the Flames. It’s safe to call Johnson Calgary’s No. 1 netminder at this point. Boston played last night (Tuukka Rask was in goal), so no starting goalie announcement yet.

— Excellent matchup in Tampa Bay, as Sergei Bobrovsky and the Jackets take on Ben Bishop and the Bolts.

— An All-American matchup in New Jersey: Jimmy Howard versus Cory Schneider, as the Wings take on the Devils.

— Fresh off a win in Arizona on Wednesday, Ryan Miller is back in goal for the Canucks. He’ll take on Antti Niemi, after Kari Lehtonen allowed five goals in an OT loss to Vancouver two weeks ago.

Louis Domingue is hurt, so Mike Smith is the default starter for Arizona. Edmonton hasn’t named a starter yet, but no goalie has played more than Cam Talbot this year. It’s expected he’ll go.

 

Thanksgiving Throwdown: Kreider and Manning duke it out (Video)

The Rangers went the first 21 games of the year without a fighting major.

But now — just 20 minutes into game No. 22 — they’ve got two.

After Brandon Pirri scrapped Travis Konecny (in response to boarding Brandon Manning) midway through the first period, Manning tried to exact some revenge himself late in the frame, by taking on big Rangers forward Chris Kreider.

It didn’t go especially well for the Philly blueliner. The two exchanged punches before Kreider landed a glancing blow to finish things off.

The Blueshirts went into the intermission up 2-0, on goals from Derek Stepan and newcomer Matt Puempel. The score wasn’t entirely indicative of the flow of play, however — Philly out-shot New York 11-7 in the frame, and had several quality scoring chances turned aside by Henrik Lundqvist.

 

 

Video: Pirri boards Manning, fights Konecny as Black Friday heats up

Didn’t take long for things to get nasty between the Flyers and Rangers.

Midway through the opening frame of the Thanksgiving Showdown at Wells Fargo, Rangers forward Brandon Pirri drilled Brandon Manning into the boards, and was quickly challenged to a fight by Manning’s Flyers teammate, Travis Konecny.

Both were given five-minute fighting majors, with Pirri getting two for boarding and Konecny two for instigating. The Philly rookie also received a 10-minute misconduct.

As the New York Post’s Larry Brooks notes, this was the Blueshirts’ first fighting major of the year.

The Rangers currently lead 2-0 on goals from Derek Stepan and Matt Puempel. Pretty nice Blueshirts debut for Puempel, who was claimed off waivers from Ottawa earlier this week.

Domingue hurt, Coyotes make emergency recall for Peters

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Louis Domingue #35 of the Arizona Coyotes takes a break during the second period against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on October 21, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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These are not the best of times for Arizona in goal.

Mike Smith was yanked from Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Canucks — a performance he called “awful” — and was replaced by Louis Domingue. Domingue, in turn, suffered a lower-body injury and is now day-to-day, forcing the Coyotes to recall Justin Peters from AHL Tucson on an emergency basis.

Peters will back up Smith tonight, when the Coyotes host the Oilers.

Goaltending has been a major issue in Arizona this season. Smith missed almost an entire month of action with a lower-body injury of his own, forcing Domingue into No. 1 duties. The 24-year-old fared well at times, but also struggled with consistency.

“Some good games this year and some not so good,” head coach Dave Tippett said of Domingue, per the Arizona Republic.

Peters, who’d previously spent time with Carolina and Washington, has been used sparingly by Tippett. The 30-year-old has made just one start and two relief appearances, and currently sits with a 3.16 GAA and .900 save percentage.

 

 

Preds unconditionally waive Carle (Update: He’s announced his retirement)

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14: New Predators Kevin Fiala #56 of the Nashville Predators, left, and Matt Carle #25 of the Nashville Predators line up for a face off against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on October 14, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images)
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Matt Carle‘s time as a Predator was brief, and soon it will be over.

On Friday, Nashville placed Carle on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract, per The Tennessean. The move comes after the Preds waived Carle earlier this week, and he went unclaimed.

The 32-year-old defenseman was signed this summer after getting bought out by the Lightning. Inked to a low-risk deal (one year, $700,000), the hope was that Carle could replicate some of the form shown earlier in his career — a two-time 40-point scorer, Carle was a good offensive defenseman in his prime (which is how he landed a six-year, $33 million deal from the Bolts in the first place).

But things didn’t work out in Nashville. Carle appeared in just six games, averaging a shade over 13 minutes per, and hasn’t been in the lineup since Oct. 26.

Update: Turns out Carle is hanging up his skates, having announced his retirement via the Preds

“It has been an honor to be a player in the National Hockey League and play for four great organizations over the past 12 seasons,” Carle said. “At this time, I have decided to retire as a National Hockey League player. I want to thank the San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators for the opportunity to play for each organization. I would also like to thank all the fans that I have met throughout my career for the support that you have given me.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my family for all the sacrifices they have made on behalf of my career. My Parents, brothers, and wife Clancey allowed me to focus on the pursuit of playing the best sport in the world, in the best League in the world and I will always be grateful.”