Mike Halford

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Boyd Gordon #27 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Anaheim Ducks at the Wells Fargo Center on October 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Flyers waive veteran forward Gordon

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Boyd Gordon, signed to a one-year, $950,000 deal by the Flyers on the opening day of free agency, has been waived after appearing in just 13 games, per Sportsnet.

Gordon, 32, was brought aboard because of his versatility to play either center or wing. GM Ron Hextall also praised the veteran’s penalty killing ability in announcing the deal back in July, though Gordon never really established himself among the Flyer’s forward ranks.

He only scored one goal this year, and averaged just over eight minutes per night in his 13 appearances. Gordon was made a healthy scratch by head coach Dave Hakstol on a number of occasions, but also missed some time in December to an upper-body injury.

Philly has been doing a salary cap tap dance for most of the year, so waiving Gordon doesn’t come as a huge surprise. If he clears, they can send him to AHL Lehigh Valley and get some cap relief, and if he’s claimed… well, obviously his entire hit goes away.

 

 

Goalie nods: Condon to make eighth straight start, 17th straight appearance

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: Mike Condon #1 of the Ottawa Senators moves to the puck as it sails past his head against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 20, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Mike Condon‘s been a workhorse for the Sens since they acquired him from Pittsburgh, and things will come full circle tonight when Condon gets the nod as Ottawa hosts the Penguins at the Canadian Tire Centre.

The start will be Condon’s eighth in a row, but his consecutive games played streak will extend to 17. That’s because, in a 6-2 win over the Isles on Dec. 18, Condon came on in relief of an injured Andrew Hammond to pick up the win.

Prior to that game, Condon had started five in a row.

“I don’t know but I don’t think, consecutive, I’ve made this many straight appearances,” he said on Wednesday, per the Ottawa Citizen. “I feel great, healthy, I’m getting some good work in. No complaints.”

It’s been a nice redemption story from Condon, who was waived by Montreal at the end of training camp and barely played for Pittsburgh before getting dealt. He’s gone 9-6-3 with the Sens, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.36 GAA while regular No. 1 Craig Anderson is with his wife, Nicholle, as she undergoes cancer treatment.

No word yet who starts for the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury lost in Washington last night, and Matt Murray is back from injury, so it could be Murray’s game.

Elsewhere…

Steve Mason, mired in an ugly seven-game losing streak, will try to reverse his fortunes when the Flyers host the Canucks. Vancouver will counter with Ryan Miller, who lost an OT heartbreaker to the Preds on Tuesday.

— The red-hot Anders Nilsson will get another start for Buffalo, after making 39 saves in a win over Philly on Tuesday. He’ll be up against Ben Bishop, who returns for the Bolts after missing nine games with an injury.

— An all-Finnish matchup in Nashville, as Tukka Rask and the Bruins take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

— A marquee matchup in Minnesota, as Carey Price and the Habs take on Devan Dubnyk and the Wild.

Petr Mrazek will look to snap his five-game losing streak as the Wings travel to Dallas to take on the Stars. Based on the morning skate, it appears Antti Niemi will be in goal for Dallas.

Cory Schneider has rediscovered his form in January, posting a 1.63 GAA and .945 save percentage through five games. Tonight, he’ll get the start in Edmonton against Cam Talbot and the Oilers.

John Gibson gets yet another start for the Ducks, after shutting out the Stars on Tuesday. He’ll be up against Seymon Varlamov, who returns to the crease after missing time with a groin injury.

Jake Allen has struggled lately, but the Blues will go back to him for the start in L.A. He’ll be up against Peter Budaj who, like Allen, was hooked from his last start.

Captain’s back: Getzlaf to play for first time in four games

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf will return from a four-game absence this evening when the Ducks take on the Avs in Colorado, per NHL.com.

Getzlaf has been out of the lineup since suffering a lower-body injury on Jan. 1 against the Flyers. It’s been a difficult year for the 31-year-old in terms of health — prior to this, he dealt with an upper-body ailment and has missed seven games all told.

Despite those injuries, Getzlaf still has 30 points through 36 contests and leads the Ducks in assists, with 25.

His return comes with the Ducks playing some of their best hockey of the year. They’ve won five of seven — securing 11 of a possible 14 points — and moved ahead of San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.

‘Not an easy situation’ for Bernier, who hasn’t started in 23 days

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Goaltender Jonathan Bernier #1 of the Anaheim Ducks during the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The last time Jonathan Bernier started for the Ducks was on Dec. 20, when he allowed five goals in a loss to Montreal.

Since then, his lone appearance was a brief 3:48 stint in relief of John Gibson in a New Year’s Day win over Philly (Gibson left the game momentarily, and was put right back in).

As the numbers suggest, Gibson’s been leaned upon heavily lately — part of head coach Randy Carlyle’s plan to develop more consistency throughout the team — but that hasn’t been the Ducks’ only goaltending development.

Dustin Tokarski, the club’s No. 3 who’s spent most of the year in AHL San Diego, was signed to a one-year extension on Jan. 5. Six days later, Anaheim acquired Jhonas Enroth from Toronto.

So, back to Bernier.

“That’s the business,” he explained, per the O.C. Register. “You got to win games and [Gibson’s] playing well right now. We’re playing well as a team obviously and I think it’s completely understandable. But it’s not an easy situation at the same time for anyone.

“Every guy that’s in here, it could be a forward, or (defenseman) or goalie, wants to play and help this team. I’m just trying to stay ready for when my chance will come.”

Carlyle told the Register he expected Bernier to accept the current situation, even if it was “begrudgingly.” One has to wonder what it means for the 28-year-old moving forward, though.

Though Anaheim is only paying him $2.15 million in salary this year, Bernier still carries a cap hit of $4.15M, fairly hefty for a little-used backup. And this is a Ducks team, remember, that is pressed right up against the cap ceiling — Simon Despres and Nate Thompson are on LTIR, which has provided some savings, and the club did waive Clayton Stoner earlier in the year, he of the $13 million contract.

Bernier’s numbers aren’t great — 6-3-1, 3.05 GAA, .897 save percentage — and, given he turns 29 in August and has never really flourished as a No. 1, projects to be a backup moving forward.

He’s also scheduled to become a UFA this summer. If the Ducks keep using Gibson as often as they have, it’ll be tough for Bernier to put forth a “contract year” performance.

Stoll back with Kings, but as a player development ‘intern’

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Though he’s yet to officially retire, Jarret Stoll’s latest endeavor suggests the transition could soon be underway.

Stoll, who remains unsigned after appearing in 51 games for Minnesota last season, has caught on with his former team — the Los Angeles Kings — in a player development role.

More from Kings Insider, following Stoll’s appearance on the club’s pregame show Monday night:

Less visible from his television appearance are the steps Stoll has taken to shadow the team’s development staff in a somewhat hands-on capacity that has brought him to Ontario a small handful of times, where he has taken the ice with Reign coaches and players as part of a learning-as-he-goes endeavor he referred to as an “internship.”

There’s not a great deal of structure yet or title attached to this opportunity, and Stoll, whose primary focus is to continue playing in the NHL, hasn’t officially been hired. It is simply an open-ended introduction to the type of work that goes into developing young hockey players – primarily centers at the faceoff dot.

Stoll has a long history with Los Angeles. He appeared in over 500 games over seven years as a King, helping the club capture a pair of Stanley Cups, and was praised for his defensive work and veteran leadership along the way.

Stoll, of course, is also remembered for his arrest for cocaine possession in April of 2015. It was an ignominious end to his time in Los Angeles — arrested months before his contract was set to expire, the incident was one of the last things he did as a member of the organization.

Needless to say, it hit GM Dean Lombardi hard. From ESPN:

Lombardi cried when he finally sat down with Stoll after Stoll’s arrest, absolutely gutted not by the mistake itself but by the betrayal of trust that it signified. Lombardi had tabbed Stoll as one of the team’s most important leaders.

Lombardi said he couldn’t function for four days. He questioned his own judgment.

It’s evident Lombardi held Stoll in high regard. Fittingly, it was the GM that extended an invite for him to rejoin the club.

“Dean gave me a great opportunity to come back in and help some of the guys out in Ontario,” Stoll explained. “Just hang around the team there a little bit more and start coming to some games here.”