Mike Halford

Pekka Rinne, Barret Jackman, Matt Duchene

Jackman, Blues’ No. 2 all-time in games played, returns to St. Louis tonight

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Barret Jackman is playing at Scottrade tonight, which is nothing new — no other active NHLer has played more times at the arena (395 games, to be exact).

What is new, though, is the jersey Jackman will be wearing — now with the Predators, Jackman will skate as a visiting player in St. Louis for the first time since leaving the club this past summer.

“It’s a little different coming down the ramp, through the parking garage and stopping in the visitors room instead of the home dressing room,” Jackman said, per the Blues’ website. “I wasn’t sure how fun that would be, but I’m looking forward to tonight.”

The 2003 Calder winner as the league’s top rookie, Jackman had a pretty distinguished career for the Blues.

He left trailing only Bernie Federko in games played (803, to Federko’s 927) and was one of the longest-tenured athletes in St. Louis history, having spent 13 seasons there.

Jackman, 34, signed a two-year, $4 million deal with Nashville this summer and has been a pretty decent pickup.

While his minutes are down — 14:36 TOI per night — he has appeared in 30 of 31 games this season and played on a pairing with talented youngster Seth Jones.

Torts says healthy scratch will ‘reset’ Johansen; Kekalainen supports decision

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So, it’s official — the Columbus Blue Jackets are making Ryan Johansen a healthy scratch tonight in Arizona.

“He’s an important guy to our organization,” head coach John Tortorella explained, per the Dispatch. “This is a reset for him, in understanding what we’re looking for, not just in the points but in the play.

“You can’t look at it as a punishment, it’s part of the process for him.”

The decision to park Johansen comes 48 hours after Tortorella benched the 23-year-old for the entire third period of Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to Dallas.

Johansen finished the game with a season-low 11:03 TOI.

“That was coach’s decision,” Tortorella explained, per the club website. “No explanation. I just didn’t play him.”

Some pundits questioned Tortorella’s methodology, but it’s important to note two things.

One, Johansen, according to the Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, put forth a very questionable effort against Dallas:

Johansen played a lethargic first two periods. Many of his passes were way off-line, and there were several neutral-zone turnovers and failed clearing attempts.

I’ve seen suburbanites skate harder on the Columbus Zoo’s holiday pond.

Two, it’s pretty obvious Torts isn’t going rogue:

How this plays out will be fascinating. If the tear-him-down-and-build-him-back-up approach works, Johansen could “grow” from this and become a more well-rounded player.

If it fails, it’s hard to see how this situation doesn’t end with a trade out of Columbus.

Journeyman Ferriero signs with B’s AHL team

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers

Benn Ferriero, a veteran of nearly 100 NHL contests, has left EC Salzburg of the Austrian League to sign with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence, per the Journal.

Ferriero, 28, last appeared in the NHL for Vancouver during the 2013-14 campaign.

Prior to that, he’d spent time with the Rangers, Penguins and Sharks, with his greatest big-league success coming in San Jose — during the 2010-11 campaign, he notched five goals and nine points in 33 regular season contests, then scored a famous OT winner against Detroit in the playoffs:

Per the Journal, Ferriero still needs to clear waivers before officially joining Providence.

Video: Sens’ Smith fined $2,000 for diving

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Ottawa forward Zack Smith has become the second player this season to be fined for diving/embellishment.

On Thursday, the league announced Smith was dinged $2,000 after being flagged for two separate incidents.

The first occurred in a game against Vancouver on Nov. 12, and the second happened against Tampa Bay on Dec. 10 (as shown in the above video).

Earlier this year, Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen was also fined $2K for diving.

 

 

With Smith hurt, Coyotes ‘willing to pay up an asset’ to get a ‘top-end goaltender’

Don Maloney
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Arizona netminder Mike Smith is out 8-10 weeks after core muscle surgery, meaning starting duties in the desert are now with Anders Lindback.

Well they’re with Lindback for now, anyway.

“We’re looking at everything and anything,” Coyotes GM Don Maloney said of the club’s goalie situation, per AZ Central. “We are looking. If there’s a way to get a top-end goaltender that’s a long-term value to the franchise, we’re willing to pay up an asset for that.”

It’s a telling statement.

The Coyotes know what bad goaltending can do to a team — it’s something they experienced last year, when Smith struggled mightily through one of the worst campaigns of his career.

Subsequently, Arizona lost 58 times and finished 29th in the NHL.

So even though Maloney has Smith locked in for four more years at $5.66 million per — and even though he’s expressed confidence in Lindback and new No. 2 Louis Domingue — the Coyotes GM clearly doesn’t want another frustrating, losing environment to develop, especially with prized prospects Max Domi and Anthony Duclair in the fold.

Thing is, there aren’t many enticing options on the market.

Arizona passed on claiming Anaheim netminder Anton Khudobin off waivers this week — the Coyotes could revisit Khudobin via trade, however, to send some money back the Ducks’ way — and some of the names bandied about (Ben Scrivens, Niklas Backstrom) don’t exactly inspire.

Maloney’s also made it clear he’s not interested in a rental-type goalie.

“What I’m not going to do is pay a good asset for the next three months,” he said. “I’m not going to do that.”