Mike Halford

at SAP Center on March 24, 2016 in San Jose, California.
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Wait, is there a goalie controversy brewing in San Jose?


In his first season as a Shark — his first a full-time NHL starter — Martin Jones has played pretty well.

And in his first stint as a Shark — his first anywhere outside of Toronto — James Reimer has played pretty well, too.

So maybe that’s all San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer was referencing in his reply to CSN Bay Area’s question of “is Jones your playoff starter?

But his answer could also open a can of worms, one most didn’t see coming.

From CSN’s Kevin Kurz:

Now make no mistake, Jones has been the guy for San Jose this year. He’s posted solid numbers (35 wins, .920 save percentage, 2.24 GAA) while carrying one of the league’s heaviest workloads. His 60 appearances are second-most among goalies, and only his former mentor — Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick — has played more.

But Reimer’s arrival has made things interesting.

Prior to, the guy Reimer was traded for — Alex Stalock — was mired in a disappointing campaign, and regarded as one of the league’s weaker backups. So with Stalock in the fold, there was a sense Jones almost had to play as much as he did.

That’s not the case anymore.

Though it’s a small sample size, Reimer’s numbers through five games as a Shark are pretty impressive: .920 save percentage, 2.03 GAA and a pair of shutouts. And those numbers are after a rough outing against Edmonton on Thursday night, in which he allowed five goals on just 21 shots.

As for playoff experience, there’s not much to choose between. Reimer has a bit more — seven games to Jones’ two — but it’s not like either has established himself as a perennial postseason performer.

With all this in mind, it seems likely that 1) Jones will be the playoff starter, and 2) DeBoer is simply keeping his cards close, because he doesn’t see any benefit in revealing them.

Of course, there are still eight games left in San Jose’s season. Things can change.

Dallas brings d-man prospect Hansson over from Swedish League

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 03: Niklas Hansson #3 of Team Sweden skates against USA White during the 2014 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 3, 2014 in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Last summer, Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said his organization had the “deepest bench of defense prospects in the league.”

And now the club is getting an up-close look at one of them.

On Friday, the Stars announced they’ve signed Swedish blueliner Niklas Hansson to a three-year, entry-level deal that will begin next season. Hansson will join the organization immediately, however, as he’s signed an amateur tryout with the club’s AHL affiliate (Texas), allowing him to leave the SHL to ply his trade in North America.

Hansson, 21, was Dallas’ third-round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and is coming off a very good SHL campaign with HV71. He led the team’s defensemen in goals (seven) and points (22), and was among the top-10 blueliners in the league in goals scored.

As mentioned above, Hansson is part of Dallas’ promising group of defensive prospects. The club is also high on the likes of Esa Lindell, Mattias Backman, Ludwig Bystrom and Julius Honka — the latter being the club’s first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2014 draft.

Another injury blow for Pens: Maatta (lower body) week-to-week

Olli Maatta
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Pittsburgh received some more tough news on the injury front on Friday, as head coach Mike Sullivan announced d-man Olli Maatta is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury suffered last night against the Devils.

Aside from that bit of news, the Pens were otherwise tight-lipped about Maatta’s situation. It’s unclear what the injury is, or how it happened — as the Post-Gazette points out, Maatta finished last night’s loss and was on the ice for the final shift of the game.

Regardless, the focus is on Maatta’s absence. And what it means for the Penguins.

Here’s how the new defense pairings look:

While Pittsburgh has enough capable bodies to fill the gap, replacing what Maatta brought to the table will be difficult. The Finnish blueliner averages close to 20 minutes per night and is a steady offensive producer, with six goals and 19 points through 67 games this season.

As for the playoffs — well, who knows. There are still two weeks left in the regular season, so Maatta has some time to rehab before the postseason begins.

Assuming the Pens qualify, that is.

Related: Oh no, Geno: Penguins say Evgeni Malkin is out 6-8 weeks

Ducks’ Manson fined for throat-slash gesture at Kadri

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 03:  Josh Manson #42 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 5-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Anaheim defenseman Josh Manson has been dinged for his throat-slash gesture towards Toronto forward Nazem Kadri on Thursday night, the NHL has announced:

Manson has been fined $2,486.56, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for an inappropriate gesture aimed at Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri during NHL Game No. 1104 in Toronto on Thursday, March 24, the National Hockey League announced today.

The incident occurred at 17:17 of the third period. Manson was assessed a game misconduct.

The fracas occurred after Kadri boarded Manson during a wild 6-5 Toronto win in OT.

That Kadri was on the receiving end of said gesture is ironic, given he was fined $5,000 earlier this year for making the same throat-slash towards Calgary captain Mark Giordano.

That incident occurred in mid-February, after Kadri took exception to a heavy Giordano check. While on the bench, the Leafs forward made the gesture, one the NHL has been cracking down on since 2000.

Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.

More bad news: B’s say Liles (lower body) won’t travel to start crucial road trip

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 01:  John-Michael Liles #26 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on March 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Losers of five straight — failing to notch a single point over that stretch — the Boston Bruins are desperate for wins as they begin a four-game road swing that begins in Toronto on Saturday.

But they’ll have to start that trip without trade deadline pickup John-Michael Liles.

Liles, who’s averaged over 19 minutes a game since joining the B’s in early March, suffered a lower-body injury in last night’s loss to Florida and won’t travel to Toronto with the club.

The veteran blueliner was injured in a collision near the end of the second period. He didn’t return to start the third, and the Bruins were quick to rule him out for the remainder of the contest.

Should Liles miss extended time with this ailment, Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman would be the two likely candidates to replace him in the lineup.

Boston is still sitting third in the Atlantic Division, but is just one point up on Detroit — and the Red Wings head into Friday night’s action on the outside of the playoff picture entirely.