Mike Halford

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 29:  Bill Daly and Mathieu Schneider present Sidney Crosby #87 of Team Canada with the World Cup of Hockey Championship trophy after his teams win over Team Europe during Game Two of the World Cup of Hockey final series at the Air Canada Centre on September 29, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Team Canada defeated Team Europe 2-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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NHL, NHLPA launch program to ‘help players reach their full potential on and off the ice’

The NHL and NHLPA have launched a program designed to help players plan their post-hockey careers long before they hang up their skates.

The Core Development Program will give players avenues to further their education, network and find out what jobs they may be suited for, such as finance and broadcasting. League and NHL Players Association officials say the program announced Thursday targets young players, not just those in the twilight of their careers.

“The sooner they can start focusing on the longer term, the better off they’ll generally be – as much in their careers as after their careers,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said by phone.

This new endeavor is independent of the NHL Alumni’s Break Away program that focuses on player transitions once they retire. Most professional leagues have a similar process, but the NHL and NHLPA believe their program for current players is unique.

The voluntary program was spawned from player feedback. Several retired players have said they wished something like this existed.

Former player Mathieu Schneider, now the NHLPA’s special assistant to the executive director, hopes the program benefits players on the ice, too.

“There have been studies done that show that players that are prepared for life after sports, after their careers, actually perform better during their careers,” Schneider said. “Maybe it alleviates the anxiety or the some of the pressure that might come normally. I think generally guys just have that awareness that, yes, it is an important part of the development of pro athletes.”

Some players have taken their own initiative in establishing non-hockey interests during their playing days, such as Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara getting his real estate license. Longtime forward Jeff Halpern, now an assistant coach for the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch, said examples such as Chara are the best ways to sell this program to current players.

“I think it’s great because a lot of guys, I think, are just scared of what happens after they’re done playing,” said Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt, who’s currently studying for his real estate exam. “Even for a guy that has a college degree, I’m kind of nervous for when that day might come.”

Goloubef waived by Jackets

Cody Goloubef, Jay Bouwmeester
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Back in May of 2015, Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen announced a two-year, $1.5 million extension for Cody Goloubef, calling him a “mobile, puck moving defenseman who makes good decisions on the ice,” while adding “we’re excited about his future as a Blue Jacket.”

On Thursday, the Blue Jackets waived Goloubef.

The 26-year-old hasn’t played this season, missing a good chunk of the exhibition campaign and both regular season games with an oblique strain.

“He’s been hurt for a while, hasn’t played a bunch of games,” head coach John Tortorella said, per the Dispatch. “Last season when he came back from his injury [broken jaw], I mean, I wasn’t thrilled with his play.”

Goloubef returned to practice this week, but the club opted to expose him to waivers rather than keep him with the NHL team over, say, Scott Harrington, who is up with the Jackets but hasn’t played through the first two games.

Given Goloubef is reasonably young, affordable ($750,000 cap hit) and a right-handed shot, it’s possible he gets scooped off waivers.

He appeared in a career-high 43 games for Columbus last year, scoring eight points.

Leddy (upper body) is hurt, which explains Pulock recall

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
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Yesterday, we passed along word that New York recalled d-man Ryan Pulock from AHL Bridgeport on an emergency basis.

And now we know why.

On Thursday, the Isles announced that defenseman Nick Leddy is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

It’s unclear when Leddy got hurt, or what he hurt (he didn’t practice today, and head coach Jack Capuano said the club should know more tomorrow.) Leddy had been loaded up with minutes through the first four games of the year — including a whopping 26:19 in Sunday’s OT win over the Ducks — and played nearly 24 minutes in the club’s last game, Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to San Jose.

The Isles are back in action Friday, when they host the visiting Arizona Coyotes. They’re in a bit of a tough spot, given their 1-3-0 record and the fact one of their most active defensemen is ailing, but Pulock should be a more than capable replacement.

The 22-year-old, taken 15th overall at the 2013 draft, appeared in 15 games for the Isles last season and has been a good offensive defenseman at the American League level, scoring 24 points in 51 games in ’15-16.

With Bergeron back, B’s send Czarnik to AHL

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Austin Czarnik #27 of the Boston Bruins lines up for a face-off  during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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Boston is thrilled to have Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup against New Jersey tonight, his first game of the season after missing three with a lower-body injury.

But to make room for Bergeron, the club had to bid farewell to Austin Czarnik.

Czarnik, who made his NHL debut in a season-opening win over Columbus, has been sent back to AHL Providence, the B’s announced on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Czarnik did an admirable job of filling the gap while Bergeron was out. He appeared in two of Boston’s three games, and played over 15 minutes against the Blue Jackets — impressive, given his pro career consists of just 71 games at the AHL level.

Undrafted out of Miami (Ohio) University, Czarnik was part of the kiddie corps that helped Boston survive the losses of Bergeron, Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller to start the year.

McQuaid and Miller are still sidelined, which will give young d-men Rob O’Gara and Brandon Carlo a longer look at the NHL level.

Given how much head coach Claude Julien has been forced to rely on young, untested players, Boston’s start has to be viewed as a positive. The club went 2-1-0 on a three-game road swing through Columbus, Toronto and Winnipeg, outscoring opponents 11-8.

Boston will now play three straight at TD Garden, against the Devils, Habs and Wild.

Red Wings take notice of Mantha’s ‘dominant’ AHL start

2013 NHL Draft
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Could Anthony Mantha soon be coming to an NHL arena near you?

Mantha, Detroit’s first round pick (20th overall) at the 2013 draft, narrowly missed making the team after an impressive training camp, and has carried that form over to AHL Grand Rapids, where he’s scored five times in his first three games.

The Red Wings are well aware of his exploits.

“When I see five goals in three games, when I hear he’s playing the right way, hear he’s doing the right things now and he’s starting to get dominant — you want to see them dominate the level below to make sure he’s ready to do the same thing at the level above,” head coach Jeff Blashill said, per the Detroit News. “It’s impossible to expect a player to be big time offensively when he wasn’t down there.”

“He’s taking great steps.”

Mantha — who is still only 22, which some forget given how often his name has been in the news — was the Red Wings’ last cut in the preseason. He appeared in 10 NHL games last year, earned after potting 21 goals in 60 games with the Griffins.

This year, though, speedster Andreas Athanasiou made the team ahead of Mantha, despite the fact that Detroit’s three most promising prospects — Mantha, Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin — skated together on a line at times during the exhibition campaign, a trio some fans were clamoring for at the NHL level.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

But Mantha’s play in Grand Rapids could revive the line soon.