Mike Halford

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.”

Kekalainen just wondering where these Rychel trade requests are coming from

Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen met with the media today to discuss the big Ryan Johansen-for-Seth Jones trade but, in doing so, had to answer questions about another potential trade — one for prospect Kerby Rychel.

Rychel, per a Dispatch report from earlier this week, had requested a trade out of Columbus prior to the start of this season.

So on Thursday, Kekalainen was asked about it.

You can watch the video above (around the -31:00 mark), but here’s the back-and-forth:

Q: Kerby Rychel requested a trade over the summer. I think he still desires one. How do you handle that? Is he officially on the trade market, or do you just soldier on and do what’s best for the Blue Jackets?

Kekalainen: Kerby Rychel requested a trade per whom?

Q: Per Kerby Rychel’s agent… per Kerby Rychel, period. Did he not request a trade?

Kekalainen: I’m just wondering where that’s coming from, that all. I’ll have the same answer as the Tampa Bay Lightning had [with Jonathan Drouin] — we will operate with the best interests of the Columbus Blue Jackets in mind, and that’s the only thing we’re worried about.

Kekalainen went on to say the club was happy with Rychel’s game — “he’s playing very well in the American League” — and said he’s told both the player and agent that Rychel will become a very good player in the NHL.

Taken 19th overall in 2013 — the same year Drouin was drafted, coincidentally enough — Rychel is still just 21 years old, and his numbers in AHL Lake Erie this year do corroborate Kekalainen’s assessment.

The former OHL Windsor standout has 20 points in 21 games with the Monsters, though just three in 11 contests this year with the Jackets.