Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.
Getty

Fowler resumes skating, doesn’t want to talk Giordano hit

3 Comments

Already up 2-0 in their series against the Flames, the Ducks had another positive development ahead of Monday’s Game 3.

Cam Fowler, who’s been sidelined with a knee injury following a hit from Calgary captain Mark Giordano, resumed skating and met with the media this afternoon.

Fowler hasn’t played since Apr. 4 and, at the time of the injury, the Ducks said he’d be sidelined for 2-6 weeks. His return certainly appears to be on the early side. Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle said the 25-year-old “is on pace to be available to us shortly.”

Stream Ducks vs. Flames on NBC Sports

Getting Fowler back would be huge for the Ducks, though the club’s defensive depth has been impressive. In Saturday’s 3-2 win, Anaheim was down the services of Fowler and Sami Vatanen, and forced to rely on a young quartet of Hampus Lindholm (26:33 TOI), Brandon Montour (21:16), Josh Manson (20:51) and Shea Theodore (20:03).

Manson is the oldest guy of that group, and he’s 25 years old.

As for the hit that sidelined Fowler?

Well, he wasn’t biting.

“It’s something that’s in the past,” he said, per the O.C. Register. “Honestly, I don’t really want to get into the hit too much.”

Fowler might not want to get into it, but others certainly have. Ducks GM Bob Murray ripped into Giordano and accused him of being a dirty player with a history of knee-on-knee hits. That was followed by a retort from Flames GM Brad Treliving, who called Murray’s comments “asinine.”

Ducks fans got in on the action, too. Giordano was booed almost every time he touched the puck in Games 1 and 2.

Kraft Hockeyville: Family, community key for Michigan native Fowler

Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler knows all about tight-knit hockey communities.

He’s been a part of several.

Born in Windsor, Ontario but raised in Farmington Hills, MI, Fowler was a standout player in high school before spending two years with the U.S. National Team Development program. From there, he joined the OHL’s Spirfires for his draft year.

After significant time on the East Coast, Fowler made a big move upon being selected 12th overall by Anaheim in 2010. He’s since become a staple of the Ducks organization, appearing in nearly 500 regular-season contests over a six-year career.

Though he’s currently sidelined with a knee injury, Fowler did resume skating this morning and could be back for the Ducks sooner than expected. Game 3 of their first-round series goes tonight in Calgary, and you can catch the game on NBCSN starting at 10 p.m. ET.

Related:

West finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

East finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

Borowiecki out for Sens, Harpur to make playoff debut

Getty
1 Comment

Another day, another d-man knocked out of the Boston-Ottawa series.

On Monday, the Sens announced that blueliner Mark Borowiecki would miss Game 3 with an apparent leg injury, and be replaced in the lineup by Ben Harpur. Harpur, 22, is in his second season with the Sens and appeared in six games this year, spending most of his time with AHL Binghamton.

The 6-foot-6, 222 rearguard will be making his Stanley Cup playoff debut.

Stream Bruins vs. Senators on NBC Sports

Borowiecki was a regular lineup presence for the Sens this year, so his absence will hurt. He played a career-high 70 games during the regular season, averaging 14:01 TOI per night, and skated over 17 minutes in Ottawa’s series-opening loss on Wednesday.

Borowiecki suffered his injury early in Saturday’s Game 2, and excited after just three minutes played. Head coach Guy Boucher said the 27-year-old could’ve returned to the contest, but was held out as a precautionary measure.

As mentioned above, Borowiecki isn’t the only d-man to be knocked from this series. Both Colin Miller and Adam McQuaid have missed time for the Bruins, who came into the playoffs down the services of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo.

Marc Methot, the veteran Sens d-man who missed the opener with a mangled finger, returned to play in Game 2.

San Jose’s power play was bad all year, now it’s proving costly

Getty
2 Comments

The Sharks were the NHL’s third-best team with the man advantage last year, and they carried that over to the playoffs by scoring at a 24 percent clip.

This year, same story.

Sorta.

Stream Sharks vs. Oilers on NBC Sports

San Jose has certainly carried its regular-season PP over to the postseason — only it’s been lousy, not stellar. The Sharks finished 25th in the NHL this year with a 16.7 percent success rate, and are now 1-for-14 through three games against the Oilers.

In Sunday’s 1-0 Game 3 loss, San Jose had two chances with the man advantage. It didn’t score, which makes sense because it wasn’t credited with a single shot on goal.

“You’ve got to shoot the puck,” Logan Couture said, per NBC Sports California. “You’ve got to score some goals. We know that. Obviously that’s been a concern for us all season, our power play hasn’t been where we need it to be.

“We need it to be better. It’s simple to say, it’s easy to say, but we’ve got to be better.”

It’s puzzling why the unit is so bad. All the guys that made last year’s PP so dynamic are still there — Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns — but the production isn’t. Last year, the Pavelski-Marleau-Thornton trio combined for 31 PPG.

This year? Just 16.

Head coach Peter DeBoer suggested the group wasn’t “hungry enough” and got outworked, and some of that surely has to do with the Oilers.

Edmonton was a good penalty killing team at home during the regular season — 82.3 percent at Rogers Place — and that carried over to Games 1 and 2, when the Oilers surrendered just one PPG on 12 opportunities. They also got a massive shorthanded goal from Zack Kassian, and have started using captain Connor McDavid more and more on the PK.

After averaging just 48 seconds of shorthanded ice time during the regular season, McDavid is up to 1:57 per in the playoffs.

“He can skate, he’s got great instincts,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said of McDavid on the kill, per TSN. “His stamina is second to none. Those are all pretty good qualities for a penalty killer.”

Zaitsev in for Game 3, a big boost for Toronto

Getty
1 Comment

The Leafs received some discouraging news on Saturday night in the aftermath of their thrilling OT win over Washington, when it was announced that Roman Polak was done for the year with a lower-body injury.

On Monday, some much better news.

Defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, who missed the opening two games of the series to injury, has been declared fit and ready to play in tonight’s Game 3 in Toronto.

Watch Capitals vs. Maple Leafs on NBC Sports

Zaitsev was hurt in the Leafs’ final game of the regular season, against Columbus. The way he wobbled off the ice after taking a hit from Nick Foligno, it looked like it could be a concussion — though head coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t say if that was the case.

“The great thing about this medical department is I don’t deal with that part,” said Babcock. “They just tell me he’s not available to go. He’s got an upper-body injury.”

Stream Maple Leafs vs. Capitals on NBC Sports

Zaitsev, 25, had four goals and 32 assists in 82 games this season, paired mostly with Morgan Rielly. He averaged just over 22 minutes per night and, given how things went in Washington, could be in line for an even heavier workload tonight. Games 1 and 2 both went to overtime, and after losing Polak in the aforementioned double-OT Game 2 win, Toronto’s blueliners all logged some serious workloads.

Jake Gardiner finished with a team-high 40:34, and Rielly was right behind at 39:56. Matt Hunwick and Martin Marincin also played 30-plus minutes each.