Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Saga continues: Leafs send little-used Corrado to AHL for conditioning

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If Frank Corrado was hoping for a fresh start in 2017, he sorta got his wish.

On Monday, the Leafs announced Corrado had been sent to the AHL Marlies on a conditioning stint. This puts a halt to one of the most infamous NHL “campaigns” of the year — Corrado, 25, has been on the active roster the entire season yet sat as a healthy scratch for 35 of Toronto’s 36 games.

His lone appearance came in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 12 –he received just 16:24 of ice time, the least of any Leafs defenseman.

Back in mid-December, a visibly frustrated Corrado voiced his displeasure.

“At the end of the day, the coach is the one who makes the lineup and if the coach doesn’t like you, then you’re not going to play,” he said on Thursday, per The Athletic. “And that’s where I’m at right now.”

Corrado was asked about his situation following the trade of another little-used Leaf — Peter Holland, who was flipped to Arizona after a series of healthy scratches. Holland, like Corrado, was never regarded as a Babcock favorite.

Corrado repeated several times he finds this current situation frustrating, though he did say that GM Lou Lamoriello has been supportive, and insists the club wants the d-man in the mix. But Lamoriello doesn’t want to lose an asset for nothing — which could happen if he waives Corrado to try and send him to the Marlies — so he has to keep him with the Leafs.

Or, send him for a two-week stint with the Marlies.

It’ll be curious to see how Corrado reacts to this latest development because, back in mid-December, he sounded like a guy nearing his breaking point.

“It’s frustrating now,” Corrado said. “When you don’t get to play for a month and a half, and you’ve played in one game all year, it takes its toll on you mentally… Yeah, you’re in the NHL. It’s not that the novelty has worn off; it’s just that it’s time to play. It’s time to have a career.

“I feel like the more I’m not playing, that’s food off my table. That’s kind of the way I see it right now.”

Goalie nods: Dell gives Jones the night off in San Jose

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Aaron Dell will make his first start since Dec. 10 tonight, when the Sharks host the Flyers in San Jose.

Dell’s nod means Martin Jones will get a well-deserved break. Jones had started each of San Jose’s last seven games and played very well over that stretch, going 6-1. That included an impressive final outing, Tuesday’s 3-2 OT win over the Ducks in which he stopped 34 of 36 shots.

As for Dell, the 27-year-old has shown relatively well in his first campaign as Jones’ backup — albeit in a very limited role. He’s 3-1-0 with a 2.16 GAA and .926 save percentage this season, and comes into tonight carrying a modest two-game winning streak.

For the Flyers, Steve Mason‘s in net.

Elsewhere…

Cam Ward makes his 29th start of the year when the ‘Canes host the Blackhawks in Carolina. Chicago has yet to announce a starter, but all signs point to Scott Darling after Corey Crawford made 36 saves in a win over Nashville last night.

— The Blues will go back to Jake Allen after Carter Hutton got the nod on Wednesday. Nashville, as mentioned above, played Chicago last night, so the Preds have also not yet named a starter. Pekka Rinne went on Thursday night, however.

Ryan Miller, coming off a terrific 36-save win against the Kings on Wednesday, is back in goal for the Canucks. No word yet on who goes for the visiting Ducks, but John Gibson did play last night against Calgary.

Flyers healthy scratch Konecny, who’s coming off a two-point outing

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In Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Blues, Flyers rookie Travis Konecny had a pair of assists — just his second multi-point game of the year — and finished plus-1 in over 16 minutes of ice time.

Tonight, he’ll follow that up… with a seat in the press box.

Konecny will be a healthy scratch when the Flyers take on the Sharks in San Jose, head coach Dave Hakstol confirmed:

Konecny, a 19-year-old rookie, has been a big part of Philly’s success this year. He has four goals and 18 points while appearing in all 37 games — so yes, this healthy scratch will be his first of the season — and averages just under 15 minutes per night.

The timing might be odd, given Konecny’s production last game, but Hakstol is a big advocate of sitting guys out so they can learn by watching. He did the same with Michael Del Zotto and Shayne Gostisbehere earlier this season.

Kesler the latest to target Johnny Gaudreau

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If it wasn’t obvious already, it is now — there’s a big ol’ target on Johnny Gaudreau.

Gaudreau, one of the league’s most dynamic offensive talents, is also one of the most diminutive. As such, there’s been plenty of attention paid by opponents this season in the form of hacks, whacks and physical play.

He’s already missed 10 games this year to a broken finger — which, per Flames GM Brad Treliving, happened on the 11th slash Gaudreau received in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 — and on Thursday night, Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler shared his strategy on shutting down Johnny Hockey.

“They embarrassed us last time [8-3, on Dec. 4] and we wanted a response,” Kesler said, per the O.C. Register. “I thought our team responded pretty well. We’re good when we’re hard to play against. Particularly me. I thought if I had a chance to get a lick on him, I would.

“Obviously he’s a smaller guy and he likes to have his skating room. Doesn’t like to get touched. You can see the way their team reacted when you do that.”

It’s a telling statement, and not just because of targeting Gaudreau. Kesler also noticed how the Flames reacted.

That’s key.

In the aftermath of slash-gate, Calgary was livid. Players and management talked plenty about the treatment of their leading scorer, and Treliving acknowledged he spoke with NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom about the situation.

Kesler wasn’t the only opponent to notice the Flames’ response.

Two weeks after the Nov. 15 game, Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said Calgary “made a mountain out of a molehill” over the Gaudreau slash. Boudreau also apparently anticipated a reaction because, in the rematch between the two clubs on Dec. 2, he gave 6-foot-4, 211-pound tough guy Kurtis Gabriel his season debut.

Moving forward, this will be a situation worth monitoring, because teams are realizing that rattling Gaudreau isn’t just about ratting Gaudreau — it’s also about rattling the Flames.

Related: Gaudreau injury a reminder to how star players are defended and treated

Jets put Dano on IR after scary end boards crash

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Winnipeg’s had its fair share of major injuries this season, and suffered another one on Thursday night.

Marko Dano, the former first-round pick acquired in the Andrew Ladd-to-Chicago trade, has been placed on IR after a nasty crash in last night’s loss to Columbus.

“It’s not good,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said of Dano’s lower-body injury, per the Winnipeg Sun. “We’re talking about weeks, easy.”

Dano went feet-first into the end boards behind the Columbus goal during the second period, and immediately began writhing in pain. He had to be helped off the ice by teammates and, obviously, did not return to the game.

The 22-year-old opened the year with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, but has been fairly productive since being recalled in early November. Dano had 10 points through 28 games, while averaging 11:28 TOI per night.

With Dano out, the Jets recalled Andrew Copp from Manitoba. Winnipeg is still without injured forward Alexander Burmistrov and blueliner Tyler Myers.