Author: Mike Halford

Leafs waive Arcobello, sign Clune

A day of change in Toronto.

Shortly after the club announced Air Canada CEO Michael Friisdahl would replace Tim Leiweke as MLSE president, the hockey team put center Mark Acrobello on waivers, and signed tough guy Rich Clune.

Acrobello, who signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Leafs this summer, had appeared in seven games this season, going scoreless while averaging 11:20 TOI per night.

No stranger to the waiver wire — he was claimed twice last year, and played for four different teams — Acrobello could be snapped up by a club looking for depth down the middle.

If not, he’ll be off to the Marlies.

Speaking of the Marlies, that’s the team Clune was playing for prior to inking today.

An energy guy that’s not afraid to scrap, the 28-year-old has produced well offensively this season — five points in eight games — and received high praise this summer for his Players’ Tribune piece on overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol.

On Tuesday, Toronto head coach Mike Babcock hinted that roster changes would be coming to his 1-5-2 club.

“Someone’s going to find a way to wear the uniform and be good every day,” he said, per Sportsnet. “And some guys don’t, and so different guys come and go. Over time there’s going to be changes in our lineup — that’s just the reality of the situation and the growth we’re going to go through as a team.

“We’re going to find out how hard guys want to compete.”

Reading between the lines, it looks like Clune’s aggressiveness and grit won him a spot at the NHL level.

Scroll Down For:

    Bolts send Vasilevskiy (blood clot) to AHL for conditioning stint

    Andrei Vasilevskiy

    On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning moved one step closer to getting their No. 2 goalie back.

    Andrei Vasilevskiy, who’s been sidelined since September with a blood clot near his collarbone, has been assigned to the club’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse for a conditioning stint.

    More, from

    Vasilevskiy had surgery Sept. 3 to remove a blood clot from near his left collarbone and to treat a type of vascular thoracic outlet syndrome. Recovery time was expected to be 2-3 months.

    He practiced for the first time Monday.

    Syracuse plays Wednesday at Toronto and Friday at home against Hershey.

    Tampa’s first-round pick in 2013 — 19th overall — Vasilevskiy captured the backup position behind Ben Bishop last season and ran with it, going 7-5-1 with a 2.36 GAA and .918 save percentage.

    In the playoffs, he made four appearances, one of which was a start in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final.

    Since Vasilevskiy’s been out, Latvian Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis has held down the No. 2 gig and fared well. He stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 1-0 OT loss to Chicago last week.

    Johansen ‘doing better,’ could play Friday versus Caps

    Ryan Johansen

    Having missed the last two games with an illness, Columbus center Ryan Johansen might be ready to rejoin the club for Friday’s game against Washington.

    Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen told the Dispatch that Johnasen was “doing better,” and anticipated the 23-year-old would practice on Thursday. That said, Kekalainen wouldn’t say what recent tests revealed, only confirming the absence “didn’t have anything to do with his heart.”

    Last week, reports unveiled that Johansen had been hospitalized this offseason due to heart-rate issues.

    With Johansen out, the Jackets have done well recently, scoring back-to-back wins over the Avalanche and Devils.

    Goalie nods: Struggling Flames go back to struggling Hiller

    Jonas Hiller

    Looking for something — anything — positive to happen in net, the Flames will start No. 1 netminder Jonas Hiller when they take on the Sens in Ottawa.

    Hiller’s last outing ended poorly, as he was hooked in favor of Joni Ortio after allowing four goals on 21 shots in a loss to the Rangers. Ortio then proceeded to start the next time out — Monday against the Isles — but also allowed four goals (granted, it was on 35 shots).

    All told, Hiller’s statline on the season is ugly: 2-3-0 record, with a 3.52 GAA and .872 save percentage. And this comes while his former goaltending partner, Karri Ramo, is mired in the AHL after clearing waivers — which gives a pretty good indication of how spotty Calgary’s netminding has been this year.

    For the Sens, Craig Anderson will start.


    — Marquee matchup at Verizon tonight: Braden Holtby and the Caps host Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins.

    Martin Jones will start for the Sharks as they host Nashville in San Jose. No word yet on a Preds starter, but it’s expected Pekka Rinne will get the nod.

    Video: McDavid, Toews, Zucker star in Goals of the Week


    Some slick stickhandling and clinical finishes highlight the latest installment of Goals of the Week.

    Connor McDavid‘s goal versus Detroit was his fourth of the season, and part of his current six-game point streak, during which he’s racked up 4G-5A.

    Jonathan Toews‘ goal was the first of two consecutive OT winners — after dumping Tampa Bay in a Stanley Cup Final rematch, Captain Serious did it again a few nights later, scoring at 3-on-3 to lift Chicago over Anaheim in a Western Conference Final rematch.

    Jason Zucker‘s goal was a thing of beauty, and a bit of history as well. Scored just 10 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Jets, it was the fastest goal in Minnesota Wild franchise history.