Mike Halford

Don Maloney

After another rough night, do Coyotes need to trade for goalie?


On Tuesday, Arizona head coach Dave Tippett expressed disappointment in his club’s goaltending following a game in which they allowed seven goals.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Ten days ago, Tippett did the exact same thing — after Arizona allowed seven goals in a loss to Columbus.

Last night’s game, a 7-5 defeat to the Blackhawks, was a shining example in which the two netminders tasked with trying to replace the injured Mike SmithAnders Lindback and Louis Domingue — simply weren’t up to it.

Lindback started, and allowed three goals on five shots in the opening period.

That paved the way for Domingue, who allowed three goals on 17 shots, including this ugly one:

More, from Fox Sports Arizona:

“The fourth goal, we felt like we’re looking to change momentum, hopefully Louis can get in there and give us some saves; it didn’t turn out that way,” Tippett said. “You’re 3-2, you’re looking to build on a decent first period other than our penalty kill and all of a sudden that one goes in. There’s a big sag there.”

When asked about the decision to switch from Lindback to Domingue after the first period, Tippett said he felt it was an obvious decision.

“The goalie’s job is to stop the puck,” he said. “Three on five shots — maybe tactically he did everything right. We just need some more saves.”

Coyotes GM Don Maloney has been openly vocal about his willingness to go out and get a goalie, especially if Lindback and Domingue can’t get the job done.

“We’re looking at everything and anything,” Maloney said back on Dec. 17, 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.”

Smith, who underwent core muscle surgery earlier this month, isn’t expected back until around March.

The Coyotes are in a tricky spot here. This is obviously a young, rebuilding club, and there’s no denying they’d like a shot at Arizona native Auston Matthews in next year’s draft. So in that sense, spending an asset on a goalie that will help win games — and, in the process, lower chances at the Matthews sweepstakes — isn’t a terrific idea.

That said, Arizona is cognizant of creating a good, healthy environment for young talents Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Bad goaltending, most of it from Smith, saw the club struggle through a disastrous ’14-15 season in which the Coyotes lost 58 times and finished 29th in the NHL.

And it also has to be noted that, in the ultra-weak Pacific Division, making the playoffs this year certainly isn’t out of question.

Even with last night’s loss, the Coyotes remain sitting second in the division with a 17-16-3 record, and 37 points.

DeBoer: ‘Always been a fan’ of Mike Richards, as reports of Sharks’ interest swirl

Mike Richards
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Could there be a Mike Richards-Peter DeBoer reunion in the San Jose?

On Tuesday, CSN Bay Area asked DeBoer about a Sportsnet report claiming the Sharks had interest in Richards, who played four years under DeBoer in OHL Kitchener (the two won a Memorial Cup together in 2003).

“I’ve always been a fan, but also he’s a guy that I’ve tried to stay in contact with over the years,” the Sharks head coach said. “I’ve always followed his career.

“Glad to see that he’s back and training and might come back, but beyond that, no other relationship.”

When asked if he thinks Richards could make an NHL comeback, DeBoer replied “I think he can,” adding he’s spoken with Richards over the last few months.

Richards, 30, hasn’t played in the NHL since April. His 12-year, $69 million deal with the Kings was terminated this offseason due to a “material breach” stemming from an incident at the Canadian border.

Currently, he’s awaiting trial in January for allegedly entering the country with Oxycodone. As CSN Bay Area notes, no team would likely make a move until Richards’ legal situation was cleared up.

That the Sharks have interest probably goes beyond Richards’ personal history with DeBoer. The club’s had bottom-six forward depth issues all year long, and have tried numerous solutions.

Dainius Zubrus was signed after arriving on a PTO in November, and GM Doug Wilson has relied heavily on recalls from the AHL’s Barracuda, rotating in the likes of Ryan Carpenter, John McCarthy, Bryan Lerg, Micheal Haley, Nikolay Goldobin and Barclay Goodrow.

Should he eventually be signed, Richards would also give the club some experience and depth down the middle. Tomas Hertl, now in his third NHL campaign, has struggled this season — he has just four goals in 34 games — and is currently manning the fourth line between Melker Karlsson and Mike Brown.

Once-surprising Devils are now ‘hovering around mediocrity’

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach of the New Jersey Devils John Hynes handles ench duties against the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center on November 27, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. The Canadiens defeated the Devils 3-2 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After a 3-2 win over Detroit on Dec. 11, the Devils found themselves at 15-10-4 and holding the first wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

But in the two weeks since, plenty has changed.

The Devils have gone just 3-4-2 in their last nine games, the offense has started to sputter, they’re now three points back of the last postseason berth and, on Monday, head coach John Hynes fired a warning shot.

“Right now, we’ve been hovering around mediocrity,” Hynes said, per NorthJersey.com. “We’ve had trouble putting back-to-back games together. We haven’t necessarily liked how well we’ve played collectively whether it’s our shot totals, our total time in the offensive zone, being a difficult team to play against.

“So, we need better performances from a lot of guys.”

Among the guys New Jersey could use better performances from:

Adam Henrique, who has no goals in his last seven games.

Lee Stempniak, who has one goal in his last eight.

Mike Cammalleri, who has one goal in his last nine.

To that end, Hynes shook up his lines at Monday’s practice, possibly in an effort to spread out the scoring.

For the first couple months of the season, the Devils’ offense was coming primarily from Henrique, Stempniak, Cammalleri, Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. In speaking to PHT a couple weeks ago, GM Ray Shero acknowledged that, eventually, points were going to have to come from somewhere else.

“We need some secondary scoring from some other people,” he explained. “At some point, those top guys that have produced for us will go cold, like anybody.

“We need guys to kick in and chip in some goals.”

Finally, it’s worth noting that both Shero and Hynes have lamented New Jersey’s lack of shots on goal. The team sits dead last in shots for per game — 25.0 — and there seems to be way too heavy a reliance on Cory Schneider to win games in which the Devils aren’t firing on the opponent enough:


Related: Shero: Schneider isn’t just Devils’ MVP, he ‘could be in the MVP voting for the league’

Goalie nods: Miller out another week, Markstrom starts third straight

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks

On Monday, the Canucks announced starting netminder Ryan Miller will likely miss another week due to injury, meaning Jacob Markstrom would make yet another appearance when Vancouver hosts Los Angeles at Rogers Arena.

Which might not be a bad thing.

Markstrom has been a bright spot for the Canucks this year, going 3-3-2 with a .924 save percentage and 2.33 GAA. He’s also been very good over his last two outings — he stopped 32 of 33 shots in Saturday’s OT win over the Oilers, and 26 of 27 in a victory in Tampa Bay on Dec. 22.

All told, Markstrom has stopped 92 of his last 96 shots faced — a sparkling .958 save percentage.

No word yet on who the Kings will have in goal, though Jonathan Quick appears likely.


— The red-hot Braden Holtby will look to continue his banner campaign in Buffalo. Holtby has gone an impressive 7-0-1 in December with a 1.85 GAA and .943 save percentage. Linus Ullmark will counter for the Sabres.

— Even though they picked up Ben Scrivens in a trade today from Edmonton, the Habs will stick with Mike Condon in goal against the Bolts. Tampa Bay is going with Ben Bishop, as per usual.

— Awesome matchup in Nashville tonight, as the Rangers go with Henrik Lundqvist while the Preds give Pekka Rinne the nod.

Petr Mrazek makes his second straight start in Minnesota, just two nights after helping the Wings beat the Preds 3-2 in Nashville on Saturday. The Wild will go with Darcy Kuemper, who has won each of his last three starts.

— Calvin Pickard makes his first start of the season when the Avs travel to San Jose. The Sharks are going with Martin Jones, who is looking for his second win over Colorado this season.

Fowler suffers knee sprain, Ducks recall ’13 first-rounder Theodore

Cam Fowler

An update on the injury that forced Cam Fowler from Sunday’s win over the Flyers — it’s a knee sprain and, in a related move, the Ducks recalled d-man Shea Theodore from AHL San Diego on Monday.

Fowler, who didn’t play after the 6:28 mark of yesterday’s game, was initially listed as day-to-day. The Ducks have since labeled his timetable to return as “TBD” and, according to NHL.com, he isn’t expected to travel on the club’s upcoming three-game Western Canadian road swing.

That absence could prove costly.

From the L.A. Times:

Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm played 28 minutes 3 seconds and 26:01, respectively, to fill the void. The Ducks were down to three defensemen at one point because of penalties and killed three penalties in the last half of the game.

“Hampus and Sami were instrumental in coming up with the win,” Boudreau said. “That’s a tough call for them, but they hung on and did a good job.”

Fowler, 24, is an integral part of the Anaheim defense, averaging 22:38 per night. He has 12 points in 34 games this year — decreased production compared to his last two campaigns, though all of Anaheim’s usual scorers have struggled this year.

As for Theodore, he has 16 points in 27 games with the Gulls. The former WHL Seattle standout was taken 26th overall by Anaheim in 2013.