Mike Halford

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

Brouwer back for Flames, after missing eight games with broken finger

Calgary will get a boost at forward on Friday night, as veteran winger Troy Brouwer returns from an eight-game absence after breaking his finger on Dec. 23.

Brouwer announced this morning he’s good to go, and expects to be skating on a line with Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg when the Flames host the Devils at the Saddledome.

The 31-year-old suffered the injury when a Versteeg slapper caught him in the hand three weeks ago. The timing was lousy for both the team and Brouwer — he’d just been placed on a line with Versteeg and Monahan, and had been producing well.

All told, Brouwer had eight goals and 17 points through 36 games prior to getting hurt. But his influence went beyond the stat sheet — despite only joining Calgary this offseason, Brouwer was immediately named one of the club’s alternate captains and, as GM Brad Treliving explained, is an important voice in the dressing room.

“Troy has a strong voice and a presence,” Treliving said. “He holds people accountable.”

Flyers waive veteran forward Gordon

Getty
5 Comments

Boyd Gordon, signed to a one-year, $950,000 deal by the Flyers on the opening day of free agency, has been waived after appearing in just 13 games, per Sportsnet.

Gordon, 32, was brought aboard because of his versatility to play either center or wing. GM Ron Hextall also praised the veteran’s penalty killing ability in announcing the deal back in July, though Gordon never really established himself among the Flyer’s forward ranks.

He only scored one goal this year, and averaged just over eight minutes per night in his 13 appearances. Gordon was made a healthy scratch by head coach Dave Hakstol on a number of occasions, but also missed some time in December to an upper-body injury.

Philly has been doing a salary cap tap dance for most of the year, so waiving Gordon doesn’t come as a huge surprise. If he clears, they can send him to AHL Lehigh Valley and get some cap relief, and if he’s claimed… well, obviously his entire hit goes away.

 

 

Goalie nods: Condon to make eighth straight start, 17th straight appearance

Getty

Mike Condon‘s been a workhorse for the Sens since they acquired him from Pittsburgh, and things will come full circle tonight when Condon gets the nod as Ottawa hosts the Penguins at the Canadian Tire Centre.

The start will be Condon’s eighth in a row, but his consecutive games played streak will extend to 17. That’s because, in a 6-2 win over the Isles on Dec. 18, Condon came on in relief of an injured Andrew Hammond to pick up the win.

Prior to that game, Condon had started five in a row.

“I don’t know but I don’t think, consecutive, I’ve made this many straight appearances,” he said on Wednesday, per the Ottawa Citizen. “I feel great, healthy, I’m getting some good work in. No complaints.”

It’s been a nice redemption story from Condon, who was waived by Montreal at the end of training camp and barely played for Pittsburgh before getting dealt. He’s gone 9-6-3 with the Sens, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.36 GAA while regular No. 1 Craig Anderson is with his wife, Nicholle, as she undergoes cancer treatment.

No word yet who starts for the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury lost in Washington last night, and Matt Murray is back from injury, so it could be Murray’s game.

Elsewhere…

Steve Mason, mired in an ugly seven-game losing streak, will try to reverse his fortunes when the Flyers host the Canucks. Vancouver will counter with Ryan Miller, who lost an OT heartbreaker to the Preds on Tuesday.

— The red-hot Anders Nilsson will get another start for Buffalo, after making 39 saves in a win over Philly on Tuesday. He’ll be up against Ben Bishop, who returns for the Bolts after missing nine games with an injury.

— An all-Finnish matchup in Nashville, as Tukka Rask and the Bruins take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

— A marquee matchup in Minnesota, as Carey Price and the Habs take on Devan Dubnyk and the Wild.

Petr Mrazek will look to snap his five-game losing streak as the Wings travel to Dallas to take on the Stars. Based on the morning skate, it appears Antti Niemi will be in goal for Dallas.

Cory Schneider has rediscovered his form in January, posting a 1.63 GAA and .945 save percentage through five games. Tonight, he’ll get the start in Edmonton against Cam Talbot and the Oilers.

John Gibson gets yet another start for the Ducks, after shutting out the Stars on Tuesday. He’ll be up against Seymon Varlamov, who returns to the crease after missing time with a groin injury.

Jake Allen has struggled lately, but the Blues will go back to him for the start in L.A. He’ll be up against Peter Budaj who, like Allen, was hooked from his last start.

Captain’s back: Getzlaf to play for first time in four games

Getty
1 Comment

Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf will return from a four-game absence this evening when the Ducks take on the Avs in Colorado, per NHL.com.

Getzlaf has been out of the lineup since suffering a lower-body injury on Jan. 1 against the Flyers. It’s been a difficult year for the 31-year-old in terms of health — prior to this, he dealt with an upper-body ailment and has missed seven games all told.

Despite those injuries, Getzlaf still has 30 points through 36 contests and leads the Ducks in assists, with 25.

His return comes with the Ducks playing some of their best hockey of the year. They’ve won five of seven — securing 11 of a possible 14 points — and moved ahead of San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.

‘Not an easy situation’ for Bernier, who hasn’t started in 23 days

Getty
2 Comments

The last time Jonathan Bernier started for the Ducks was on Dec. 20, when he allowed five goals in a loss to Montreal.

Since then, his lone appearance was a brief 3:48 stint in relief of John Gibson in a New Year’s Day win over Philly (Gibson left the game momentarily, and was put right back in).

As the numbers suggest, Gibson’s been leaned upon heavily lately — part of head coach Randy Carlyle’s plan to develop more consistency throughout the team — but that hasn’t been the Ducks’ only goaltending development.

Dustin Tokarski, the club’s No. 3 who’s spent most of the year in AHL San Diego, was signed to a one-year extension on Jan. 5. Six days later, Anaheim acquired Jhonas Enroth from Toronto.

So, back to Bernier.

“That’s the business,” he explained, per the O.C. Register. “You got to win games and [Gibson’s] playing well right now. We’re playing well as a team obviously and I think it’s completely understandable. But it’s not an easy situation at the same time for anyone.

“Every guy that’s in here, it could be a forward, or (defenseman) or goalie, wants to play and help this team. I’m just trying to stay ready for when my chance will come.”

Carlyle told the Register he expected Bernier to accept the current situation, even if it was “begrudgingly.” One has to wonder what it means for the 28-year-old moving forward, though.

Though Anaheim is only paying him $2.15 million in salary this year, Bernier still carries a cap hit of $4.15M, fairly hefty for a little-used backup. And this is a Ducks team, remember, that is pressed right up against the cap ceiling — Simon Despres and Nate Thompson are on LTIR, which has provided some savings, and the club did waive Clayton Stoner earlier in the year, he of the $13 million contract.

Bernier’s numbers aren’t great — 6-3-1, 3.05 GAA, .897 save percentage — and, given he turns 29 in August and has never really flourished as a No. 1, projects to be a backup moving forward.

He’s also scheduled to become a UFA this summer. If the Ducks keep using Gibson as often as they have, it’ll be tough for Bernier to put forth a “contract year” performance.