Mike Halford

Tootoo becomes second Devil to be fined for diving in a week


Last Thursday, the NHL fined Devils forward Bobby Farnham $2,000 for diving/embellishment.

This Thursday, the NHL fined Devils forward Jordin Tootoo $2,000 for diving/embellishment.

More, from the league:

Tootoo was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 75 at New York Rangers on Oct. 18.

His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident at 9:39 of the third period during NHL Game No. 583 against Detroit on Jan. 4.

Tootoo becomes the sixth player to be dinged for diving this season, joining Farnham, Ottawa’s Zack Smith, Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen, Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen and Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers.

It’s worth noting that, per the NHL, Devils head coach John Hynes could eventually face punishment as well.

Should New Jersey receive a third citation for diving/embellishment, Hynes would face a $2,000 fine for the fourth.

Arizona waives Elliott, Edmonton waives Klinkhammer

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 26:  Stefan Elliott #45 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena on December 26, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Yesterday, the Coyotes and Oilers added players to their rosters in the form of Kevin Connauton (claimed off waivers) and Zack Kassian (recalled from AHL Bakersfield).

Today, both clubs made room for said players.

Arizona has played d-man Stefan Elliott on waivers, and Edmonton has waived forward Rob Klinkhammer, per TSN.

Elliott, acquired this summer from Colorado in exchange for Brandon Gormley — who, ironically enough, also recently was exposed to waivers — has appeared in 19 games for the Coyotes this season, scoring six points.

The former second-round pick, who turns 25 this month, has struggled to find his niche at the NHL level and has appeared in just 82 games over the last five years.

It’s feasible someone could take a flier on Elliott, who is a right-handed shot with some offensive upside. What’s more, he carries a relatively low cap hit ($650,000).

As for Klinkhammer, he was put on waivers after scoring one goal in 13 games with Edmonton this season.

A well-traveled journeyman — he’s spent time with the Oilers, Coyotes, Blackhawks, Senators and Penguins — Klinkhammer, 29, is a veteran of nearly 200 NHL contests, and could be picked up by a club looking for forward depth on the cheap.

He’s on a one-year, $725,000 deal.

Sens’ leading goalscorer Hoffman ‘not sure what they’re thinking’ about new deal

Mike Hoffman

The Mike Hoffman contract situation in Ottawa is one to keep an eye on.

Hoffman, who led all NHL rookies with 27 goals last year and currently sits eighth in the league with 20 this season, recently told the Ottawa Sun that — despite being two weeks into the negotiation period for an extension — he’s yet to hear about any contract talks with the Sens.

“Not sure what they’re thinking,” he said. “Just have to wait and see.”

While it might seem like a no-brainer for Ottawa to keep Hoffman — he’s 26, and found the back of the net consistently over the last two years — there is some history to consider.

Last summer, Hoffman and Ottawa went to arbitration after he requested a one-year, $3.4 million deal. The Sens countered with one year at $1.75M.

Hoffman was eventually awarded a one-year, $2M deal, but later admitted the way he got it was “a little bit difficult.”

“I was kind of a little bit nervous and it’s a little bit intimidating. It’s kind of like a court system,”Hoffman said, per NHL.com. “We talked about my half and then they talked about others.

“At the end of the day, I took this path and this is my job and those things come with your job. You need to accept it and be professional about it. It’s over now.”

As for his new deal, Hoffman — a pending RFA — has said he’d like something long-term.

Per the Sun, there’s no indication from the Ottawa front office about whether it’d prefer a shorter, bridge deal or a lengthier contract.

Stars acknowledge teams are physically targeting Klingberg


John Klingberg sits third in the NHL in defensemen scoring with 38 points, trailing only Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.

Given that type of company, it makes sense the Dallas blueliner would be at the forefront of opposition scouting reports — and now, both Klingberg’s head coach and teammates have confirmed it.

“If I was coaching the other team, I would,” Lindy Ruff said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “We target — it’s part of the game plan, and you have to accept it. You have to play it, play around it, be aware of it.

“You have to be aware of the players who are on the ice and how much time you have.”

The topic of teams going after Klingberg came following Wednesday’s practice, one the Swedish defenseman missed because of a “maintenance day.”

While Ruff said Klingberg’s handled the targeting well, both he and other Dallas players also acknowledged the hits are going to keep on coming, which leads to a potentially troublesome conclusion:

“Klingberg hasn’t been hurt… yet.”

Klingberg isn’t the biggest guy around and, given his offensive production and minutes per game (23:24 TOI), it’s easy to see why opponents would take the body. If you’re able to neutralize Klingberg, you neutralize one of the strongest pieces of Dallas’ defense, which is arguably its biggest weakness.

As such, the Stars sound like a team ready to increase his protection.

“Klinger’s taken some licks this year,” said Vernon Fiddler. “So we need to help him out with that.”

Welcome back: Lehner (ankle) returns to Buffalo

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner

Considering his first stint as a Buffalo Sabre was over before it ever really started, you have to imagine Robin Lehner is pretty anxious for stint No. 2.

And that stint will soon be underway.

Lehner, who’s been out since suffering a high ankle sprain in his Sabres debut on Oct. 8, has been recalled from his conditioning assignment in AHL Rochester, Buffalo announced on Thursday.

Acquired from Ottawa for a first-round pick at the ’15 draft, Lehner stopped 11 of 12 shots against those same Senators in Buffalo’s first game of the season, before getting hurt midway through the second period.

He’s been out ever since, forcing the Sabres to rely on backup Chad Johnson and AHL call-up Linus Ullmark for the last three months.

Lehner’s going to be a guy to watch moving forward.

He’s never been a full-time starter at the NHL level, and his first real shot at it ended quickly with the aforementioned ankle ailment. He had a down campaign with the Sens in ’14-15 (9-12-3, .905 save percentage, 3.02 GAA) but did show good form early in his career.

It’s also worth remembering that Lehner is still only 24 years old, and boasts the kind of size most teams want in a starting netminder — 6-foot-5, 240 pounds.