Mike Halford

Sharks say Wingels ‘out for the near future’ after crashing into boards (Video)


San Jose will be without one of its top energy guys for the next while.

Tommy Wingels, who’s scored at least 15 goals in each of the last two seasons, will be “out for the near future” after crashing into the boards during Thursday’s win over the Panthers, head coach Peter DeBoer confirmed on Friday.

Per the Mercury News, DeBoer said he didn’t believe the injury was of the long-term variety.

Wingels, 27, has five goals and 11 points through 56 games this year, averaging just under 14 minutes per night.

With the Sharks two games into their current five-game road swing, Wingels will continue to travel with the club.

After 12-game absence, Merrill back for Devils tonight

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04: Jon Merrill #7 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center on January 4, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Red Wings defeated the Devils 1-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New Jersey will get a key blueline piece back in time for Friday’s key tilt against the Islanders.

Jon Merrill, who’s missed the last 12 games with an arm injury, will draw back in and play for the first time since Jan. 16.

Merrill, the former University of Michigan standout taken 38th overall in 2010, will be a welcome addition to the Devils lineup. He had scored three points in 36 games this year prior to getting hurt, averaging just under 17 minutes per night.

The Devils head into tonight’s action one point back of Tampa Bay for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.



Komarov suspended three games for ‘deliberately’ elbowing McDonagh


The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Toronto forward Leo Komarov three games for elbowing Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh on Thursday night.

Komarov, who was tossed from the game for the hit, was judged to have “deliberately” elbowed McDonagh in the head, causing him to exit the contest entirely.

“It is important to note that Komarov is in control of this play,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “Backchecking through center ice, he has ample time to take a good angle of approach to deliver this hit in a legal fashion.

“While McDonagh is attempting to make a play with the puck, this is not a case where a player’s sudden or explosive movement may change a legal bodycheck into an illegal one.”

Komarov, Toronto’s leading goalscorer this year and lone All-Star representative, will now miss games against the Flyers, Predators and Hurricanes.

He’s eligible to return next Saturday, when the Leafs take on the Habs in Montreal.

Komarov will also forfeit $47,580.66 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The Rangers have yet to update McDonagh’s condition. He had recently missed time with a concussion.


Goalie nods: Schneider looks to rebound from stick-smashing loss

New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider reacts after allowing a goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders in New York, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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Cory Schneider‘s last outing was arguably his most frustrating of the year.

In Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Flyers, Schneider allowed five goals for the first time this season and took out his frustrations on his goalie stick, right after Philly scored twice in a 50-second span in the third period.

The game was an aberration for Schneider, who’s probably been New Jersey’s MVP this season.

At 25-17-6 on the year with a 2.04 GAA and .928 save percentage, he’s in the conversation to become a Vezina finalist this season (along with the likes of Braden Holtby, Petr Mrazek, Ben Bishop and Roberto Luongo, one would assume.)

Tonight’s game is a big one for the Devils. They head into action sitting one point back of Tampa Bay in the chase for the Eastern Conference’s final wild card spot, but have played one more game than the Bolts (and two more than the Penguins, who are also on 66 points).

So, no surprise that Schneider’s in goal for the Devils tonight when they host the Islanders. New York will counter with Jaroslav Halak, who appears to be in a goalie duel with backup Thomas Greiss.


— Robin Lenher, who stopped 25 of 26 shots in a shootout loss to his former Ottawa team on Tuesday, is back in goal for Buffalo. The Jackets will start Joonas Korpisalo, who’s been fantastic over his last 12 starts (.942 save percentage).

Michal Neuvirth, who beat Schneider on Tuesday, will start again for the Flyers. The host Canadiens are going back to Mike Condon, who hasn’t played since allowing six goals against the Coyotes on Monday.

Jonas Hiller starts once again as the Flames host the slumping Canucks. Vancouver appears ready to give Jacob Markstrom the start after Ryan Miller lost to Anaheim on Thursday night.

— No confirmed starters from the San Jose-Carolina game yet, as both teams are in the second of back-to-backs.

No hearing for Stralman after hit that infuriated Maurice (Video)


Tampa Bay blueliner Anton Stralman doesn’t have a disciplinary hearing scheduled for his big check on Winnipeg forward Bryan Little from Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed.

The incident occurred late in the second period, forcing Little from the contest entirely. Stralman wasn’t penalized for the hit, but did receive a two-minute roughing minor (Jets forward Blake Wheeler, who went after Stralman following the hit, got a double minor).

Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice was livid with the hit and the referee’s handling of the situation. He was given an abuse of official penalty at the end of the second frame, and was then ejected at the start of the third for continuing to voice his displeasure with the officials.

After the game, Maurice went off on Stralman:

Then on referee Francois St. Laurent, who was caught laughing and smiling after tossing Maurice from the game. From the Free Press:

Asked for a reaction to St. Laurent chuckling/smiling about the ejection, Maurice added this:

“You’re not doing me any favors here. I understand you’ve got a job to do, but I think that would then have been consistent with their overall demeanor regarding the whole incident. That’s fair.”

Tampa Bay is back in action on Saturday, when it takes on the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Winnipeg also plays on Saturday — in Florida — and Little did travel withe the team.