Mike Halford

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Ruff calls out Stars goalies for their ‘concerning numbers’

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but there are netminding issues in Dallas.

I know. I know.

In dissecting the Stars’ flat 3-4-2 start to the year, the focus turned — as it often does in Dallas — to the crease, where both Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen have lacked consistency.

More, from the Morning-News:

Both goalies have had their moments of greatness, but after nine games the Stars rank 24th in goals against average at 3.22 and 24th in save percentage at .893. That’s a huge reason for a 3-4-2 start.

“Those are concerning numbers,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “There’s a lot of tough chances in the game, and you have to get big saves. Those two guys know they need to be better.”

By now, it’s almost unnecessary to provide the backstory of Dallas’ goalie conundrum (short version: expensive, not very good, annoys Ruff.)

So let’s focus on something else — like, say, GM Jim Nill potentially calling uncle on his two-goalie experiment, and going in a different direction.

Though he’s got just over $10 million tied up in Niemi and Lehtonen, Nill still has space under the cap to add another goalie (and perhaps figure out the financials this summer.) Jaroslav Halak has been floated as a potential candidate, given he’s now on the trading block. The Ben Bishop rumors have been around for a while.

Previously, talk of blowing up the two-goalie system was cut short because, well, Dallas was doing pretty well. For all the critiques, Lehtonen and Niemi did backstop the Stars to a 50-win campaign last year, and the franchise’s first playoff series win in eight years.

But things are different now.

Injuries have ravaged the Stars, especially at forward, and the once high-flying offense has suffered as a result — it currently sits 26th in the NHL in goals per game. That’s a problem, because often times the solution to suspect netminding in Dallas was to simply out-score it — like last year, when the No. 1 ranked offense averaged 3.23 goals per game.

While the current situation might seem primed for a fix, chances are things will stay the same. It’s still early in the season, Dallas will get healthy eventually, and that should put things back on track.

But if it doesn’t…

No hearing for Schenn, who ‘one thousand percent didn’t try’ to hit Smith

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Brayden Schenn insisted he didn’t intentionally run into Detroit d-man Brendan Smith during Philly’s 4-3 OT win on Wednesday night.

The NHL thought the same.

Per Sportsnet, Schenn will avoid supplemental discipline for the hit, which occurred late in the second period and went unpenalized.

More on the incident, from CSN Philly:

“Honestly, I’ve watched it in the intermission,” Schenn said. “I 1,000 percent did not try and hit him. I was trying to get out of his way and avoid contact.

“I know it probably doesn’t look like that. I saw him swing at the puck and I’m watching the puck and to be honest, I was trying to get out of his way and I hit him in the head by accident.”

Schenn said he spoke to both referees and they felt he did not intend to hit Smith.

“I even went up to Smith at the start of the period to make sure he was all right,” Schenn said. “I’m not trying to go out there and [hit] anyone in the head. When you see on the replay that I hit him in the head, I knew I did it 100 percent on accident and I apologized at the start of the third period to make sure he was OK.”

Smith exited briefly, but did return and finished with 16:30 TOI.

There was some thought Schenn might be getting a phone call, as he does have a history with the player safety department. Schenn missed the first three games this season to a suspension that carried over from last year’s playoffs, when he got dinged for charging T.J. Oshie.

Anderson takes personal leave to be with wife

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The day after Ottawa acquired goaltending help in the form of Mike Condon, the club announced Craig Anderson has left the team to be with his wife, Nicholle.

This is Anderson’s second personal leave since learning of Nicholle’s cancer diagnosis last month.

The first was cut short after he returned to the Sens following an injury to Andrew Hammond. Anderson rejoined his team after Nicholle asked him to, and he proceeded to play in a pair of games — an emotional shutout victory over Edmonton on Sunday, and Tuesday’s 2-1 OT win over Carolina.

Condon will start tonight’s tilt against Vancouver.

The Sens said they’re unsure of when Anderson will rejoin the club. They’re in the midst of a three-game homestand, which wraps on Saturday against Buffalo, and will head out for a two-game road swing through Nashville and Buffalo on Nov. 8-9.

Another major injury blow in Buffalo — Bogosian (MCL) out ‘weeks’

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First, the Sabres lost Jack Eichel to an ankle injury.

Then, Evander Kane to cracked ribs.

Now, it’s Zach Bogosian that’s joined the walking wounded.

On Thursday, Buffalo head coach Dan Bylsma revealed Bogosian suffered an MCL sprain, an ailment that would keep him out of the lineup for “weeks,” per the Times Herald.

The loss is going to sting, no doubt.

In his second full season (third overall) with the Sabres, Bogosian was looking to build upon a solid ’15-16 campaign, one in which he scored seven goals and 24 points in 64 games, while averaging over 22 minutes a night.

The former third overall pick had struggled a bit this season — pointless through nine games — and his TOI had dropped to just below 19 minutes. But he was still a vital contributor on the Sabres’ back end.

Moving forward, the Sabres will work with a d-man group comprised of Rasmus Ristolainen, Cody Franson, Josh Gorges, Dmitry Kulikov, Jake McCabe and Casey Nelson. There haven’t been any recalls from the American League — yet.

Drouin out versus B’s following big hit from de Haan

The hit that knocked Jonathan Drouin out of the Lightning’s last game will keep him out of the next, too.

On Thursday, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper announced that Drouin would be held out of tonight’s game against Boston, and will be evaluated by team doctors. The club is unsure how long Drouin will be out.

Drouin was knocked out of Tuesday’s game early in the first period, following a hit from Isles d-man Calvin de Haan. De Haan was given a five-minute interference major on the play, while Drouin left and didn’t return, finishing with just 18 seconds of ice time.

“He was in good spirits after the game,” Cooper said of Drouin, per NHL.com.

Offensively, the high-flying Bolts are more than equipped to deal with Drouin’s absence, though it will still be a significant loss. The 21-year-old, coming off last year’s impressive postseason and strong effort with Team North America at the World Cup, had five points through 10 games this year, and was averaging 16:35 TOI per night.

After tonight, the Bolts host New Jersey on Saturday before heading down to Sunrise for a Monday night tilt against the Florida Panthers.