Mike Halford

2014 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7

Panthers want to acquire goalscorer by deadline, says Tallon

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Florida’s right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but sitting 21st in the league in goals per game.

So it’s no surprise to learn that GM Dale Tallon wants to add a sniper.

“That would be a priority, obviously — somebody that can score goals,” Tallon told Fox Sports Florida on Thursday night. “Our defensive play has been very solid, and we just have to score a few more goals in situations in the right time of a game.

“That’s what we’re lacking a little bit, and that’ll come. But we’re looking for that.”

It’s easy to see why Tallon would like another scorer.

Florida’s 72 goals this year have largely come by committee — the team doesn’t have any double-digit marksmen, but eight players at with least six goals: Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Trocheck, Reilly Smith, Nick Bjugstad, Jussi Jokinen, Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Pirri.

So, who to add?

One name to keep an eye on could be Vancouver forward Radim Vrbata. The two-time 30-goal scorer is a pending UFA and has ties to Tallon, as the two spent time together in Chicago.

Tallon, then the ‘Hawks GM, first traded to get Vrbata out of Carolina, then signed him to a two-year extension.

As for Tallon’s ability to make a move — well, there doesn’t appear to be many impediments.

He has the full backing of ownership and a history of bold moves on his resume. Two years ago, he made the blockbuster deal to get Roberto Luongo from Vancouver and, at last year’s deadline, acquired Jagr from New Jersey.

Now, he sure sounds like a guy that’s prepared to make another acquisition.

“We’re always looking to better ourselves, and we’re getting more and more assets — and they’re not all going to play for us, because there’s not enough room,” Tallon explained. “If we can maybe package a couple of those to get the right piece that, long term, will help us and really help us in the playoff run and get us deep into the playoffs, then we’ll look at it.”

Doan (lower body) ‘shocked’ injury has kept him out eight games

Shane Doan
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There’s no doubt Coyotes captain Shane Doan wants to help his club snap its current five-game losing streak.

Just one problem — his lingering lower-body injury hasn’t allowed him to.

“It hasn’t gotten worse,” Doan said on Thursday, per the Coyotes website. “I am shocked right now that it’s been this long and really disappointed.

“At the beginning we said ‘day to day.’ That’s probably the most frustrating part.”

Doan hasn’t played since Nov. 21, missing the last eight games as a result. The club has gone 3-5-0 over that stretch, and there’s no definitive answer as to when he’ll be back in the lineup.

The 39-year-old could suit up for tonight’s game against Minnesota, or tomorrow’s against Carolina. Arizona head coach Dave Tippett did say the club would re-evaluate Doan following Friday’s morning skate.

There’s no doubt the Coyotes would like Doan back in the lineup as soon as possible.

They kick off a big six-game homestand tonight, and could use the captain’s services — Doan has six goals and 10 points in 20 games this year, while averaging 16:20 TOI per night.

After blowout loss to Preds, ‘Hawks send Dano back to AHL

Jonas Brodin, Marko Dano
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Marko Dano is on his way back to Rockford.

On Friday, Chicago announced that Dano — one of the key pieces acquired in the Brandon Saad-to-Columbus trade — has been demoted to its AHL affiliate, one day after he sat as a healthy scratch for an ugly 5-1 loss in Nashville.

Dano, originally recalled from Rockford in early November, appeared in 13 games for the parent club while registering a goal and an assist.

He has not, however, played since getting just 8:25 of ice time in a 4-3 loss to Ottawa on Dec. 3 — meaning he’s been a healthy scratch in each of the last three games.

The ‘Hawks are back in action tonight when they host the Jets at the United Center. At the time of writing, there’s been no corresponding move to replace Dano on the active roster.

 

 

 

Sending a message? Sutter not happy Kings opened lengthy trip with just 12 forwards

Darryl Sutter
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The Los Angeles Kings are dealing with a depth issue up front — and according to head coach Darryl Sutter, it hasn’t been dealt with very well.

“[We] shouldn’t go on the trip with 12 forwards,” Sutter told LA Kings Insider on Thursday, with the team in the midst of a lengthy six-game road swing. “When you’re gone that long, it should not be that situation.

“We did that last year, and it caught up in January. It’s why we didn’t make the playoffs.”

The Kings opened their current trip on Tuesday with a 3-2 OT win in Columbus, a game in which only 11 forwards dressed. Kyle Clifford was a late scratch due to injury and, per the LA Times, the club “did not know Clifford was ailing until it was too late to recall a player.”

With Trevor Lewis and Dwight King already sidelined, the Clifford injury left L.A. shorthanded.

(The Times also wondered if Sutter was sending a message, noting that his remarks were unprompted.)

This, of course, isn’t the first time the team’s operated with an undermanned roster.

Last year, injuries and cap constraints forced L.A. to play just five defensemen in a November game against Vancouver, a situation Sutter said was not ideal. By the time the club missed the playoffs in April, many were pointing to fatigue and a lack of energy as a big reason why.

“It’s a battle down right to the end, and we just weren’t consistent enough throughout the course of the season,” former Kings center Jarret Stoll told NHL.com. “We were chasing that wild card, chasing the eighth spot, chasing third in our division. It just felt like we were chasing it all year, and we couldn’t finish it off.”

On Wednesday, the Kings did recall a forward — Michael Mersch, the 23-year-old goalscorer from AHL Ontario.

He’s expected to make his NHL debut when L.A. takes on the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Flames spoil Ristolainen’s hat trick, beat Sabres 4-3

Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, David Jones
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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Johnny Gaudreau returned after leaving with an apparent injury and put Calgary ahead late to spoil Rasmus Ristolainen‘s hat trick in the Flames’ 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Gaudreau exited in the first period after a collision but returned for the second. In the third period, he worked a give-and-go with Sean Monahan, then zipped a low shot through Chad Johnson‘s pads with 4:50 left for the 4-3 lead.

Monahan had two goals and an assist, and Markus Granlund also scored in Calgary’s fourth straight win. Jonas Hiller stopped 27 shots.

Ristolainen scored three goals in the final period, including a tying tally with 5:45 remaining. That one came when he banked a shot from the corner off the skates of Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman and past Hiller.

Monahan has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his last four games, all of them victories as Calgary enjoys its longest winning streak of the season.

The Flames have won eight in a row at home for the first time since Feb. 23 to March 27, 2013. The franchise record is 10 straight.

Johnson turned away 28 shots.

In the six-team logjam behind Los Angeles in the Pacific Division, the Flames are tied with Edmonton for fewest points, yet are just four points back of second-place Vancouver and with two games in hand.

The Sabres were 3-0-1 in their previous four games before heading to Western Canada for a three-game trip, but return home having lost all three games, including losses to the Canucks and Oilers.

Monahan opened the scoring at 5:46 of the second period. Brandon Bollig began the sequence with a pass back to Wideman at the blue line. His shot was stopped, but Monahan picked up the loose puck and fired into the net.

With 8 seconds left in the second, Granlund gave Calgary a two-goal cushion by converting a setup from Joe Colborne for his third goal in the last five games.

Ristolainen erased the Flames’ lead with a pair of power-play goals to open the third.

Monahan’s go-ahead goal at 9:25 came on a setup from Gaudreau, who found him alone in front. From there, he fired his 10th of the season.

It was only Hiller’s second start since the end of October. He gave up five goals on 29 shots in a loss to San Jose on Nov. 28.

Karri Ramo was supposed to start his 16th game in his last 17 but came down with a worse flu than what was already ailing Hiller, who had to leave practice early on Wednesday and was not on the ice at the morning skate Thursday.

Notes: Jiri Hudler (flu) was a scratch for Calgary. In his absence, Bollig played for the first time in six games. … Flames coach Bob Hartley coached career game No. 890, moving him ahead of Punch Imlach and into 31st on the NHL career list.