Mike Halford

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

Avs waive former first-rounder Gormley


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.

Kings acquire Lecavalier, Luke Schenn from Flyers (Update: Lecavalier to retire at end of year)


Well, this came out of nowhere — according to multiple sources, the Los Angeles Kings have acquired veteran forward Vinny Lecavalier and d-man Luke Schenn from Philadelphia.

In exchange, the Flyers receive prospect Jordan Weal, who was the leading scorer in last year’s Calder Cup playoffs. Philly also gets a third-round pick.

The trade is, to put it lightly, a stunner. Lecavalier has one of the league’s most albatross-like contracts, with this year and two more remaining at a $4.5 million cap hit. Schenn’s deal expires at the end of the year, but for a team like Los Angeles to take them on — the Kings don’t have a ton of cap space to work with — Philly must be retaining significant salary in the deal.

Update: Yup. Significant.

This trade is just the latest in a string between the Flyers and Kings.

There was the Mike Richards blockbuster, the move that saw Simon Gagne go from L.A. back to Philly, and now this. Undoubtedly, the familiarity between Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Flyers GM Ron Hextall — Hextall previously served as Lombardi’s assistant in L.A. — played a big role in getting this deal done.

As for what it means on the ice, well, Schenn could probably work his way into L.A.’s top-six defense. Matt Greene is hurt, Jamie McBain was a scratch in Monday’s loss to the Avs and Christian Ehrhoff barely played over 10 minutes. So it looks like there’s opportunity there.

Regarding Lecavalier, here’s another wild development — per TVA, he’s intending on retiring at the end of this season. That would eliminate his cap hit for 2016-17 and 2017-18, which is a boon for the Kings. Between that and the Schenn deal, they won’t be responsible for any money beyond this season.

From a personal standpoint, one would think the trade to L.A. was so Lecavalier could go out on a contending team, rather than the Flyers, who will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.

Lombardi is set to address the media via conference call shortly.

Goalie nods: Condon makes first start after Winter Classic win

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: Mike Condon #39 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates after defeating the Boston Bruins during the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Canadiens defeated the Bruins 5-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Montreal opted not to give Mike Condon its first game back after the Winter Classic — that went to Ben Scrivens, who lost 4-3 to Philly last night — but rather have Condon take the second of a back-to-back, tonight at home against the Devils.

Condon really struggled in the month of December, going 2-8-0 with a .888 save percentage. While that was going on, Habs GM Marc Bergevin traded to get Scrivens out of Edmonton, to (presumably) challenge Condon for minutes.

But if the Winter Classic was any indication, Condon was up for the battle.

He stopped 27 of 28 shots against the Bruins, finishing with a .964 save percentage and as the game’s second star.

Tonight, he’ll look to remain undefeated in January against the Devils’ Cory Schneider, who was named to the All-Star Game on Wednesday.


— Good matchup in Colorado, where Jake Allen will go for the Blues against Semyon Varlamov, who continues to carry the load for the Avs.

John Gibson — who, like Schneider, was named an All-Star today — is back in for Anaheim when the Ducks host the Leafs. Toronto will start Jonathan Bernier.

— Brough wrote about it earlier (read here), but Eddie Lack makes his return to Vancouver tonight, and gets the start for the ‘Canes. Jacob Markstrom is likely in for the ‘Nucks.

— Chicago and Pittsburgh played each other last night, so we don’t know who’ll be starting in tonight’s rematch.