Mike Halford

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild - Game Six

After being hospitalized in Columbus, Wild captain Koivu to play tonight


Less than 48 hours after a scary collision that put him in hospital, Mikko Koivu is back on the ice.

On Thursday, Koivu took part in Minnesota’s morning skate and declared himself in for tonight’s home date against the Flyers.

Considering where Koivu was on Tuesday — at 1:13 into the game against the Blue Jackets, he got nailed into the boards by David Savard — this is no small feat:

More, from the Star-Tribune:

I’m told he was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons because he was spitting up blood. They wanted to check all his internal organs like kidney, spleen, lungs, etc, but everything checked out.

“I think everyone saw the play,” [Koivu said. “For sure it’s always scary when you don’t really have control and you go into the boards at top speed.

“Probably got lucky in a way that nothing more happened. I guess I was able to prepare a little bit when you know you’re going into the boards. A lot worse it could have been. Good thing we’re back here and getting right back at it.”

It’s a big development for the Wild, as Koivu has been very good for them this year. He has 32 points through 39 games and is on pace for his highest offensive output since 2010-11, when he finished with 62 points.

Jets’ Ehlers, Devils’ Farnham dinged for diving


You can add two new names to the NHL’s divers list.

On Thursday, the league nailed Winnipeg rookie Nikolaj Ehlers and New Jersey energy guy Bobby Farnham $2,000 each for diving/embellishment.

First up, Ehlers (video of the second offense posted above):

Ehlers was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 299 against Arizona on Nov. 21.

His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident at 5:53 of the second period during NHL Game No. 547 against Detroit on Dec. 29.

Next up, Farnham:

Farnham was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 307 at Vancouver on Nov. 22.

His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident at 14:13 of the second period during NHL Game No. 553 at Ottawa on Dec. 30. Farnham was assessed a minor penalty for embellishment on the play.

Here’s the flop versus Ottawa:

Ehlers and Farnham become the fourth and fifth players fined for diving this season, joining Detroit’s Teemu Pulkkinen (link), Ottawa’s Zack Smith (link) and Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen (link).

Trade: Habs send Tokarski to Ducks for Friberg

Dustin Tokarski

Minor transaction to pass along — the Ducks have acquired Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski in exchange for forward Max Friberg.

Tokarski, 26, is perhaps best known for his relief appearance of the injured Carey Price during the 2014 Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers.

Thought at the time to be Montreal’s backup goalie of the future, Tokarski lost that gig to Mike Condon this season and, when Price again went down to injury, he was unable to push for many starts.  Tokarski went 1-3-0 with a .878 save percentage and 3.18 GAA in six games for the Habs, leading GM Marc Bergevin to acquire Ben Scrivens in late December.

Friberg, 23, is an interesting story.

Lauded by Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau in the preseason — Boudreau said Friberg was one of the best players in Anaheim’s camp — the 23-year-old has failed to make an impact at the NHL level.

Friberg has appeared in just six career big league games, going pointless. He has been successful at the AHL level, though, which includes 17 points in 25 games this year for San Diego.

Tokarski is set to report to the Gulls — and, per the O.C. Register, his acquisition is not a move related to the injury starting Ducks netminder John Gibson suffered last night against Toronto.

Friberg will report to Montreal’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s.


Avs waive former first-rounder Gormley

<>during the first period at TD Garden on November 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Another bump in the road for defenseman Brandon Gormley — on Thursday, the Avs announced they’ve put the 23-year-old on waivers.

Gormley, the 13th overall pick in 2010, was acquired from Arizona this offseason in exchange for Stefan Elliott.

Originally pegged to be a top-four defenseman for the Avs — prior to the start of the year, head coach Patrick Roy envisioned Gormely playing alongside Tyson Barrie — the former Quebec League standout never materialized as such, appearing in just 26 games while averaging 12:11 per night.

The writing may have been on the wall for Gormley over this past week.

After going minus-2 in Saturday’s 4-0 home loss to Calgary, he was parked for consecutive games — wins over the Kings and Blues.

In the latter, a 4-3 OT victory at Pepsi, newly-acquired Andrew Bodnarchuk drew into the lineup ahead of Gormley, and played over 15 minutes.

Bodnarchuk was claimed off waivers from Columbus the day prior.

Kane upset over Crawford ASG snub — ‘he’s the best goaltender in the league’


By all accounts, Corey Crawford is having a really good year for the Blackhawks.

But by Patrick Kane‘s account, Crawford’s having more than that — and, as a result, should be at the All-Star Game in Nashville.

Even though he won’t.

“Very disappointing,” Kane said of Crawford’s snub, per the Chicago Tribune. “If there’s one guy on this team who deserves it, it’s probably him. He has had a great start to the season. If you look at his numbers they’re very, very impressive.

“He’s the best goaltender in the league.”

Crawford (21-10-2, 2.22 GAA, .925 save percentage) is on pace for the best statistical season of his career. He could crack the 40-win plateau for the first time and, with six shutouts, has already established a career-high.

It’s also fair to suggest that, outside of Kane, nobody is more responsible for Chicago’s success this season.

Crawford has been a workhorse, which is unlike years past — he’s at 33 games played already, within striking distance of his career-high 59. He sits third in the league in games played, third in time on ice, third in shots faced and fourth in saves.

Of course, his snub is probably about logistics more than anything else.

In a loaded Central Division where each team needs at least one representative, Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne got the nods over Crawford in goal.

But if Kane was to make an argument about Crawford over Rinne, it’d probably be strong.

This hasn’t been a stellar campaign from the veteran Finn, who has the lowest save percentage (.907) of any goalie going to the ASG. What’s more, Rinne is one of three Predator All-Stars.

Yes, they’re the hosts and yes, they’ve had a good year, but do the Preds — currently sitting 12th overall in the league — really deserve three nominees?

“To not have the best goaltender in the league (there) is kind of a little bit difficult for us,” Kane said. “He is definitely deserving to go.”