Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
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It’s Mike Condon’s net in Ottawa for the foreseeable future

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Third team’s a charm, apparently.

Mike Condon, who has found a home in Ottawa this year after brief stints in Montreal and Pittsburgh, looks to be the Sens’ starter for the foreseeable future, based on a pair of developments Thursday.

First, backup Andrew Hammond has been listed week-to-week with a high ankle sprain. The Hamburglar was hurt in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Isles — just his third start of the year — which forced Condon into duty, and he hasn’t left the crease since.

Then, there’s No. 1 Craig Anderson, who’s been away from the team while his wife goes through cancer treatment. Sens head coach Guy Boucher said he spoke to Anderson recently, but not about hockey or a return to the team.

“Family first,” Boucher said, per the Sun. “He will let us know how it’s going.”

It doesn’t sound like Ottawa’s planing to have Anderson back anytime soon.

That means that former Boston University standout Matt O’Connor will — at least for the time being — stick with the Sens and serve Condon’s backup. Just don’t expect him to get many starts. O’Connor has exactly one game of NHL experience on his resume and has struggled at the AHL level, going 7-9-0 with a .898 save percentage and 2.78 GAA this year.

All of this points to Condon getting plenty of action over the next few weeks. He’s certainly earned it, going 7-3-0 with a .919 save percentage since being acquired, and will be in tonight when the Sens take on the Ducks.

 

Luongo out tonight, so Panthers make emergency recall

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Florida will be without its trusty veteran goalie tonight when it hosts Boston at BB&T.

Roberto Luongo, who was on the ice this morning, won’t dress this evening, meaning James Reimer will get the start — and third-stringer Mike McKenna, brought up on an emergency recall earlier this morning, will serve as Reimer’s backup.

Looking at the schedule, Luongo’s “injury” (he’s listed as day-to-day) is probably designed to get him some rest. After tonight’s game, the Panthers play Detroit tomorrow and are then off through the holiday break. They won’t play again until Dec. 28, when they take on the Maple Leafs.

Luongo’s been a busy man through the first three months of the season, having played the 16th-most minutes among goalies (Carey Price is 15th, to put that in perspective).

Reimer, signed on this summer to lighten Luongo’s load, hasn’t played especially well and with Florida fighting for a playoff spot, Luongo has been relied upon more than the club probably would’ve liked.

Lack back for ‘Canes following 14-game concussion absence

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Carolina will have its regular goalie tandem back prior to the holiday break.

Eddie Lack, out since late November with a concussion, has been activated from IR and will rejoin the team ahead of tomorrow’s game against Buffalo.

In conjunction with the Lack news, the ‘Canes also announced that veteran netminder Michael Leighton has been reassigned to AHL Charlotte.

Lack missed the last 14 games with the concussion, and during that time Cam Ward started the majority of Carolina’s games, and fared well. So it’ll be interesting to see when the lanky Swede returns to game action, and how he fares.

Lack struggled to start this year and, at the time of his injury, had all but ceded the net to Ward.

Before the concussion, Lack played just twice in November — one was a 4-1 loss to New Jersey, in which he allowed three goals on 20 shots. The other was a 28-second appearance against Anaheim on Nov. 10.

Goalie nods: Smith goes for Coyotes, who worry they’re ‘wasting a tremendous performance’

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Arizona has not been good this year. The Coyotes head into Wednesday night’s action sitting 29th in the NHL and have given up the seventh-most goals (101) in the league.

Now imagine where they’d be without Mike Smith.

The veteran netminder is having a remarkable season. Despite missing a month of action due to injury, he still sits 21st among all goalies in shots faced this season, with 626.

Now quick, do the math.

Smith has only played in 18 games this year, meaning he’s facing an average of 34.7 per night.

In light of this, his .928 save percentage on the year is pretty special. And that’s on top of one incredible effort — a franchise-record 58 saves against Columbus earlier this month — and a 2.65 GAA which is very respectable, given the circumstances.

More on Smith, from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

[Shane] Doan (and several of his teammates) were really selling Mike Smith during the team’s trip to Toronto.

“Please talk about what a great year he’s having,” one said. “It’s like we’re wasting a tremendous performance.”

Smith will get another start tonight, when the Coyotes host the Oilers at Gila River. For Edmonton, Cam Talbot is in goal.

Elsewhere…

— Quiet night in the league, with just one other game on the docket. In Philly, the red-hot Steve Mason will get another start as the Flyers host the Caps. He’ll be up against Braden Holtby, who gets the nod for Washington.

Jackets’ leading scorer Atkinson in walking boot, and ‘not for fashion reasons’

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Thursday’s hotly anticipated Penguins-Blue Jackets game — and yes, it still feels weird writing that — could be without a major figure, as Cam Atkinson spent Wednesday in a walking boot after blocking a shot in Tuesday’s win over the Kings.

“We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Atkinson, the club’s leading scorer, told the Dispatch. “It’s precautionary, that’s why I’m wearing (the boot). It’s not for fashion reasons.”

Breaths of relief were collectively sighed in Columbus today, as X-rays revealed Atkinson didn’t break any bones.

“Personally, I’m a pretty fast healer,” he added. “Hopefully, I will be able to rock and roll.”

On a surprisingly good team filled with surprisingly good individual efforts, Atkinson is near the top of the list. He currently sits 15th in the league in goals (14), 21st in assists (19) and eighth in points (33). Those 33 points puts him head of guys like Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Claude Giroux.

Atkinson’s scoring is even more impressive given he and the Jackets have only played 30 games this year, tied with Washington for the fewest thus far.

He’s a big reason why the Jackets have won 10 straight, and can move into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a win tomorrow.