Mike Halford

Video: Paul Maurice says Paul Maurice is in a bad mood

After the Jets lost 4-1 in Calgary on Tuesday — their fifth loss in seven games — Paul Maurice looked like the head coach of a team that just needed to get away for a little while.

Then he met with the assembled media, and confirmed it.

In the third person!

“We’ll deal with what we’re doing coming out of the break, but this team needs some rest,” Maurice said, per the Jets website. “The coach has been in a bad mood for a long time and…. we need some rest, some separation.”

The Jets head into the Christmas break as one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments. After making the playoffs a year ago, they currently sit 24th overall with 32 points, eight back of Nashville for the final wild card in the Western Conference.

Maurice is clearly frustrated.

And that frustration might not be going anywhere.

Coming out of the break, the Jets have a pair of tough home games — against Pittsburgh and Detroit — before heading out on a five-game road swing through Arizona, San Jose, Anaheim, Nashville and Dallas (the Jets are an ugly 6-12-1 away from home this year).

The club is also dealing with the contract uncertainty of pending UFAs Dustin Byfuglien and the captain, Andrew Ladd.

With the trade deadline drawing closer, those storylines will only intensify.

Finally, there’s the issue of the club’s goaltending.

While Ondrej Pavelec has been erratic during his time as the club’s No. 1, his lengthy absence with a knee injury has proven costly. Michael Hutchinson has one win in his last 12 outings while prized prospect Connnor Hellebuyck has struggled recently, posting just an .883 save percentage in his last five games.

Bolland back from AHL stint, but now dealing with injury

Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers
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Underachieving center Dave Bolland is back with the Panthers following his conditioning stint in the minors, but it’s unclear when he’ll actually be back in the lineup.

More, from the Miami Herald:

Bolland returned to the Panthers on Monday and his gear is back in the team locker room but he might not play right away.

Bolland sustained some sort of injury while on assignment to Florida’s AHL team in Portland, Maine.

General manager Dale Tallon would only say that Bolland is being evaluated for a “lower-body” injury.

Bolland, 29, has been a major disappointment this season, and that disappointment’s been exacerbated by the fact that, at $5.5 million annually, he’s Florida’s highest-paid forward.

Head coach Gerard Gallant’s made Bolland a healthy scratch on a number of occasions this season, but insisted he wasn’t trying to send the veteran center a message.

Yet by sending him to the minors, the Panthers pretty much did exactly that.

Bolland appeared in two games for Portland during his stint, registering one point. He last played on Saturday, in a 2-1 win over Bridgeport.

Rangers’ Diaz signs with Swiss team

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Raphael Diaz’s time within the New York Rangers organization is coming to a close.

On Wednesday, EV Zug of Switzerland’s National League A announced it had signed Diaz to a five-year deal, beginning in 2016-17.

Diaz, who is Swiss, has spent all of this season with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford, appearing in 10 games.

According to a (pretty rough) translation of the Zug website, Diaz will play out the year in North America before joining the club. His contract in Switzerlad does have an out clause, where he can stick in North America if any NHL team offers a one-way contract of at least two years in length.

Prior to the start of the season, the Rangers exposed Diaz to waivers, where he went unclaimed.

Back in October, the New York Post reported that Diaz was mulling a move to Europe after he lost out on the Rangers’ final d-man spot to Dylan McIlrath.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post at the time that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

Other defenseman have since been recalled from Hartford ahead of Diaz, including Chris Summers and highly-touted prospect Brady Skjei.

(To be fair, Diaz has been out injured since mid-November.)

After Devils rough up Larkin, Blashill says ‘we don’t want our young stars in the league getting targeted’

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: David Schlemko #8 of the New Jersey Devils trips up Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday night, Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill made some pointed comments in lobbying for protection for standout rookie Dylan Larkin.

“I think referees throughout the league have to know that young stars in the league, when they get targeted, they’ve got to make sure they do a good job of calling penalties, even if they’re close,” Blashill said, per MLive. “We don’t want our young stars in the league getting targeted and we don’t want lots of fighting anymore, so we better make sure we look after them a little bit that way.

“So if it’s close, let’s make sure we look after them.”

Blashill’s comments came after the Devils were physical with Larkin in their 4-3 win. Defenseman John Moore hit Larkin a couple of times, including one in the second period that sent the 19-year-old crashing into the boards:

Though Larkin still managed to score last night — his 13th goal of the year — the Moore hit sent him to the dressing room, part of the reason why he only received 16:48 TOI, his lowest total in the last nine games.

A few things to consider here:

— Listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds (perhaps a bit graciously), Larkin has decent size. One could actually argue his speed and dynamic skating ability play a bigger role in hazardous collisions than anything else, because the kid can flat-out fly.

— Detroit phased out the enforcer role during the Mike Babcock era, and Blashill doesn’t sound like he’s going to re-implement it anytime soon. “We don’t want lots of fighting,” he told MLive.

— Moore wasn’t penalized for the hit on Larkin. Fellow Devils d-man Damon Severson, who went after Larkin following the hit, was given a roughing penalty after Justin Abdelkader came in to Larkin’s aid.

— Abdelkader ended up getting an extra minor roughing penalty for jumping in, sending the Devils to the power play.

— After the game, Moore (who, according to the scoresheet, only had one registered hit on Larkin, the one that sent him crashing into the boards) had this to say, to NorthJersey.com:

“It’s a pretty innocent play that happens a lot of times through the course of the game. I thought maybe he kind of went limp there in an effort to maybe sell a call.

“I’m certainly not going to run a guy from behind. It’s more I was taking him into the wall. To me, it felt like he kind of went limp there and was trying to maybe sell something.”

Video: Parayko, Ovechkin, Spezza star in Goals of the Week

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A pretty good offering of tallies over the last seven days.

The Alex Ovechkin and Jason Spezza goals were nice and all but man, that move by Colton Parayko….