Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
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Goalie nods: Another start for Reimer, who’s turned his season around

James Reimer will start for the fourth time in seven games tonight, as the Panthers return to action with a home date against the Kings.

Reimer also started Florida’s last game — a 2-1 win over Anaheim last Friday — and played very well, making 22 saves. All told he’s now stopped 53 of his last 55 shots faced, good for a .964 save percentage, and in doing so has written a tale of two campaigns.

After signing a fairly lucrative five-year, $17 million deal with the Panthers last summer, Reimer had a tough start. He posted a .907 save percentage in October and a .890 in November, and had just one regulation win in his first nine appearances.

Since then, though, he’s been solid.

He posted a .941 in December and a .920 in January, playing a key role in keeping Florida’s playoff chances afloat. He’s also played quite a bit — tonight will be his 20th start of the year — which should help veteran starter Roberto Luongo, who showed signs of fatigue near the end of last season.

For the Kings, Peter Budaj starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

Martin Jones, fresh off an ugly outing in Buffalo (five goals on 36 shots), gets right back in to face the Bruins. No word yet on a Boston starter, as it had no morning skate.

Jacob Markstrom started Tuesday in Nashville, so Ryan Miller returns to start for the Canucks, who are in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are going with Sergei Bobrovsky.

— The Caps will go back to Braden Holtby, after he shut out Carolina on Tuesday. The visiting Red Wings will stick with Petr Mrazek, who has stopped 98 of his last 105 shots faced (.933 save percentage).

— The streaking Thomas Greiss, who’s won four of his last five, goes once again for the Isles. The host Flyers will go with Steve Mason, who hasn’t started since Jan. 31.

Pekka Rinne gets the night off, as Juuse Saros will start for Nashville in New York. Henrik Lundqvist, fresh off a 43-save win over Anaheim on Tuesday, goes for the Blueshirts.

— It’s John Gibson versus Robin Lehner as the Ducks take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

Frederik Andersen‘s play has come under scrutiny lately (more on that here), but he’ll go tonight when the Blues visit Toronto. Jake Allen, who’s on a roll and shut out Ottawa on Tuesday, goes for St. Louis.

— After Andrew Hammond got spanked by the Blues the other night, Ottawa goes back to Mike Condon. He’ll be up against Kari Lehtonen, who draws back in after Antti Niemi played last game.

— Two of the NHL’s youngest netminders do battle in Colorado, as Matt Murray and the Penguins take on Calvin Pickard and the Avs.

Carey Price will look to rebound from an ugly January when he and the Habs take on the Coyotes. Arizona will go with Mike Smith, who posted 38 saves in a win over San Jose his last time out.

Bruins-Sharks game still on, despite severe weather in Boston

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A storm that’s expected to drop between 12-18 inches of snow in the Boston area won’t postpone tonight’s Bruins-Sharks game, the B’s announced this afternoon.

More, from the club:

The Boston Bruins are aware of the severe weather in Boston and the surrounding New England region, and how it impacts fans planning on attending tonight’s game. Considering the circumstances, the Bruins organization asked the NHL to postpone tonight’s game and reschedule for a later date this season.

The NHL indicated that the remaining schedules for both teams, as well as TD Garden availability, does not allow for this game to be rescheduled. As such, the Bruins and Sharks were directed to play tonight’s game as originally scheduled.

Recognizing the impact and hardship this has on fans who were hoping to attend the game, the Bruins will be offering every fan who had tickets for tonight’s game the opportunity to exchange their tickets for a future regular season Bruins game between now and December 31, 2017.

There is a blizzard warning in effect for Eastern Massachusetts, with winds estimated to reach as high as 50 miles per hour.

Last January, a trio of games scheduled for Washington (x2) and Brooklyn were postponed due to heavy snowfall. The NHL was able to reschedule all three.

This season, only one game has been postponed — a Dec. 19 tilt in Carolina between the ‘Canes and Red Wings. A mechanical failure made the PNC Areana ice unplayable, forcing the league to move the game to Mar. 27 (resulting in a rare three-games-in-three-nights stretch for Detroit).

Jets hope Pavelec, who’s started eight of last nine, will only miss a week

Ondrej Pavelec‘s been a busy man since getting recalled from the AHL, but he’ll be sidelined for at least the next week.

Pavelec, who exited Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota with a lower-body injury, is likely to be out for seven days with the ailment — and the Jets are hopeful it’ll only be those seven days.

“We’re hoping we could rehab this in a week,” head coach Paul Maurice said today, per the Sun. “Things have to go right kind of at each stage of this week, but we’re hoping it will be about a week.”

Pavelec allowed three goals on 14 shots against the Wild before exiting. And while his numbers aren’t great since the recall — 4-4-0, .888 save percentage, 3.55 GAA — the Jets insist he’s providing them with good goaltending.

“There’s a trust factor there,” captain Blake Wheeler said of Pavelec, also per the Sun. “He’s capable of making some big stops for us. He did that in Denver [23 saves on 27 shots on Feb. 4].

“He made some incredible saves. We get one or two of those we’re going to be tough to beat.”

The Jets are back in actino tomorrow, when they host the Blackhawks. Connor Hellebuyck is expected to get the start in goal.

 

Yandle fined for embellishing Phaneuf slash

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Florida defenseman Keith Yandle has been fined $2,000 for embellishing in a game against Ottawa, the NHL announced.

Yandle — who received his initial warning for an incident back in November — received the fine for his response to a Dion Phaneuf slash in the second period of Florida’s 6-5 win on Jan. 31.

Phaneuf was penalized on the play, as was Yandle. It’s worth mentioning the latter’s two-minute minor wasn’t for unsportsmanlike conduct, but rather for the retaliatory slash he put on Phaneuf.

Yandle is the third player to be dinged for diving/embellishment this year, joining Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Torts questions concussion protocol after Detroit incident

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On Tuesday night in Detroit, Columbus forward Josh Anderson took a high hit from Wings d-man Brendan Smith.

The NHL’s concussion spotter removed Anderson from the game and, after being examined by Detroit’s team physician — the Jackets don’t travel with one — the decision was made to keep the 22-year-old out for the remainder of the contest.

On Wednesday, Columbus physicians examined Anderson, and concluded there were no signs of a concussion. All of which made for a state of confusion for head coach John Tortorella.

“That was the protocol – which makes no sense to me. Some doctor just pulls him out and says, ‘You’re concussed’ and then we come back here and he isn’t,” Tortorella said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “It makes zero sense. And I lose a pretty important player.

“(Anderson) was checked the following morning by our doctor. The spotter pulled him out, out of the game, and called down and said, ‘he’s not playing.’ We have diagnosed him not being concussed. Who diagnosed it (Tuesday night)? Was it their team doctor? I don’t know how it all works. It doesn’t make a whole helluva a lot of sense to me.”

Anderson said he did “a couple physical things in the room,” with the Red Wings doctor, adding that everything went well. He said he told the physician he wanted to return to play, but was held out for precautionary reasons.

The NHL implemented independent concussion spotters in arenas this season, along with an additional crew that watches games from league offices. All of them have the authority to remove players exhibiting signs of a potential concussion.

As for the second step, league rules state that if the visiting team isn’t traveling with a physician, the home team physician will be in charge of examining players removed from the game.