Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
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Goalie nods: Mason starts tonight, Stolarz debut tomorrow?

On Tuesday, the Flyers will play the first of their Florida back-to-backs, with a date at BB&T against the Panthers.

Steve Mason will get the nod.

That, of course, sets up some intrigue for tomorrow’s game at Amalie against the Bolts — Anthony Stolarz, the netminding prospect recalled after Michal Neuvirth went down to injury, could make his first big league start.

For those unfamiliar with Stolarz, he’s widely considered to be Philly’s goalie of the future. The 22-year-old was taken 45th overall at the 2012 draft — the same class that produced Andrei Vasilevskiy, Malcolm Subban, Frederik Andersen and Connor Hellebuyck — and has been great in AHL Lehigh Valley this year, going 6-2-0 with a .927 save percentage and 2.39 GAA.

As Brough wrote yesterday, Stolarz’s debut will almost certainly come this week, if it doesn’t happen on Wednesday. After the Lightning tilt, the Flyers are back in action on Friday afternoon, when they host the Rangers (on NBC), then wrap things up on Sunday with a home tilt against Calgary.

“If my name is called, I’ll be ready,” Stolarz said, per CSN Philly. “I’ve [made] huge strides in my game. I like where I am at.”

For the Panthers, Roberto Luongo‘s in goal this evening.

Elsewhere…

Jake Allen, coming off a 30-save win over Nashville on Saturday, is in for the Blues. He’ll be up against Tuukka Rask, who makes his sixth straight start for the B’s.

Cam Ward, the NHL’s reigning second star of the week, is now in full command of Carolina’s starting gig (Eddie Lack was placed on IR yesterday with a concussion). He’ll be up against Frederik Andersen, who goes for the Leafs.

— Good matchup in Montreal, where Carey Price and the Habs host Craig Anderson and the Sens.

— The Isles will give Jaroslav Halak the night off as they begin their West Coast road swing, and start Thomas Greiss in Anaheim. The Ducks look as though they’ll go with backup Jonathan Bernier.

Another injury in Detroit — key penalty killer Marchenko out ‘a couple weeks’

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Darren Helm is out with a dislocated shoulder. Andreas Athanasiou is dealing with a knee injury.

And now, Alexey Marchenko is on the shelf.

The 24-year-old blueliner will be out “weeks” with an upper-body ailment suffered in Sunday’s loss to Calgary, head coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit News.

Marchenko’s loss will undoubtedly be felt. Tho he only averages around 18 minutes a night, he’s a key part of the penalty kill, where his 2:21 shorthanded TOI ranks second on the team. He’s also second on the club with 28 blocked shots.

The PK was already problematic prior to losing Marchenko, sitting 25th in the NHL (78.6 percent).

As mentioned above, health has been a major issue in the Motor City this year. Thomas Vanek and Niklas Kronwall have already missed extensive time, and Tomas Jurco hasn’t played at all while recovering from back surgery.

 

Report: No hearings from last night’s wild Bolts-Preds game

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Tampa Bay and Nashville have escaped supplemental discipline for their actions in last night’s wild game at Bridgestone, per the Times.

Midway through the third period of Nashville’s eventual 3-1 win, things started to get feisty.

A quick rundown of the incidents:

Viktor Arvidsson crosschecked Vladislav Namestnikov into the boards.

J.T. Brown nailed Roman Josi with a big hit.

Jason Garrison caught Arvidsson in the head with his stick.

Ryan Ellis threw a big hit at Brown.

The end result? A third period in which the two sides combined for 35 PIM — noteworthy, given they’d combined for just eight over the first two frames — a five-minute interference major (and game misconduct) for Ellis, and a 10-minute misconduct for Brown.

Bolts forward Brian Boyle called Ellis’ hit “extremely dirty,” per the Times.

Arvidsson received a cross-checking minor for his hit on Namestnikov, while Garrison went unpenalized for the high stick.

The two teams meet again next on Jan. 5, in Tampa Bay. So you might want to circle that one on your calendar. (Do people still do that? I’m old.)

After 19-game absence, Bjugstad ready for season debut

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Florida will get a big piece of its lineup back when it hosts Philadelphia this evening.

Nick Bjugstad, who’s missed the last 19 games with a broken hand, is set to make his debut tonight and play his first meaningful action since last year’s playoff loss to the Isles.

Bjugstad, 24, was a big part of Florida’s success last season. He had 15 goals and 34 points in 67 games — averaging more than 15 minutes per night — and was one of the team’s top faceoff men.

At 6-foot-6 and 218 pounds, he’s a physical presence and looks like he’ll draw an interesting assignment tonight, centering the third line between impressive rookie Denis Malgin and winter Colton Sceviour. Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck will serve as the club’s top two centers.

For Florida, getting healthy is vital. The club is still without Jonathan Huberdeau — sidelined for 3-4 months with a lacerated Achilles — and, yesterday, lost the services of defenseman Alex Petrovic, who’s out two months with a broken ankle.

Lack suffers concussion at practice, ‘Canes recall Leighton

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Fairly hectic sequence of events for Carolina ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Leafs.

Netminder Eddie Lack, who has barely played over the last two weeks, suffered a concussion at Monday’s practice and was immediately placed on IR, the club announced.

In a corresponding move, the ‘Canes recalled veteran journeyman Michael Leighton from AHL Charlotte.

Acquired from Vancouver at the 2015 draft and signed to a two-year extension months later, Lack has struggled to find consistency in Carolina. It’s unlikely this recent development will help any. As mentioned, he’s all but ceded the net to Cam Ward — the NHL’s reigning second star of the week — and has played just twice in November.

One was a 4-1 loss to New Jersey, in which he allowed three goals on 20 shots. The other was a 28-second appearance against Anaheim on Nov. 10.

There’s been no word on a possible timetable for Lack’s return. As mentioned, Carolina plays tomorrow night in the first of an extremely road-heavy stretch — the Toronto game is one of nine roadies the club will play from now until Dec. 10.

Additional stops are in Montreal, Ottawa, MSG, Boston, MSG again, then a three-game West Coast trip to Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose.