Mike Halford

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 06:  John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks leaves the ice as he is replaced after an injury by Frederik Andersen #31 as Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks watches during the third period of a 4-0 Leaf win at Honda Center on January 6, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Goalie change: Ducks start Andersen over Gibson for crucial Game 3 in Nashville


John Gibson wasn’t to blame for Anaheim losing the first two games of its opening-round series — at home — to the Nashville Predators.

But Gibson’s getting the hook anyway.

On Tuesday, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed he’s going with Frederik Andersen tonight as his club looks to avoid falling into a 0-3 series hole.

The move shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

Gibson isn’t at fault, but he hasn’t been great this series either, allowing six goals on 60 shots for a .900 save percentage.

The Ducks are also in desperate need of a spark, and on Sunday we saw a similar tact pay off when Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill benched Jimmy Howard — who wasn’t at fault for either of his club’s opening two losses — in favor of Petr Mrazek for Game 3 against Tampa Bay.

Mrazek responded with a 16-save shutout, and the Wings were back in the series.

Finally, Boudreau did say prior to the playoffs that both Gibson and Andersen were likely to play. That came on the heels of Andersen’s impressive outing in the regular-season finale, a shutout win over the Caps.

From the Los Angeles Daily News, prior to the start of the Preds series:

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said he had John Gibson penciled to start Game 1 and hasn’t changed his mind. But there are also four days until then. “Got a long ride home though,” he said.

“Freddie was tremendous [vs. Washington],” Boudreau said. “That could have been as good as I’ve ever seen him. His movements. He was square to the puck. There was no extra movements in his game. It certainly was sending a message to us that I know he hasn’t played for a little bit but he’s ready for the playoffs as well.”

There wasn’t much to choose between Andersen and Gibson during the regular season. The former went 22-9-7 with a .919 save percentage, the latter 21-13-4 with a .920 save percentage.

This isn’t the only change Anaheim is making tonight.

Veteran forward Shawn Horcoff, who missed 20 games this year after getting suspended for PEDs, will make his series debut.

Per the Los Angeles Times, Horcoff’s inclusion could come at the expense of of Chris Wagner.

Caps rule out Orpik for Game 4, Holtby ‘nicked up’ in practice

Washington Capitals' Brooks Orpik (44) is helped off the ice after an injury during the second period of Game 3 in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The hit that forced Brooks Orpik from Game 3 will also keep him out of Game 4.

That’s what Caps head coach Barry Trotz confirmed on Tuesday — Orpik, who left the ice dazed after getting slammed into the boards by Philly’s Ryan White last night, has been ruled out for tomorrow’s potentially series-clinching tilt at Wells Fargo.

Trotz added the veteran defenseman is listed as day-to-day, per Sports Illustrated.

A valuable penalty killer and one of the team’s alternate captains, Orpik had logged pretty significant minutes during the opening two games of the series — 21:56 in Game 1, 21:33 in Game 2 — so his presence will be missed.

Based on today’s skate, it looks like Nate Schmidt will draw in and replace Orpik as John Carlson‘s defensive partner.

In other Caps news today, there was some concern about the health of Braden Holtby after colliding with a teammate in practice, then leaving the ice.

But those concerns were quickly put to rest, with head coach Barry Trotz saying Holtby was merely “nicked up“:

Game 4 goes tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET, on NBCSN.

‘We wouldn’t want to lose Marty Hanzal,’ says Coyotes owner

Arizona Coyotes' Martin Hanzal, of the Czech Republic, turns to his teammates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Hanzal scored two goals on the night, his 100th and 101st in the NHL, as the Coyotes defeated the Stars 3-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
1 Comment

Tricky situation at play between Arizona and veteran center Martin Hanzal.

Hanzal, who scored a career-high 41 points this year — despite playing in just 64 games — established some great chemistry with prized rookies Anthony Duclair and Max Domi, and further cemented himself as one of the club’s veteran leaders.

He also endeared himself to ownership.

“It’s pretty tough to replace a big, strong guy like Marty Hanzal,” Coyotes president Anthony LeBlanc said, per AZ Central. “We see what his effect is when he’s on the ice.

“I think that my gut reaction is we wouldn’t want to lose Marty Hanzal.”

Under normal circumstances, the kind of year Hanzal had would pave the way towards a contract extension.

But as often is the case in Arizona, things aren’t normal.

The club is still without a GM following the firing of Don Maloney and Hanzal, 29, isn’t in any huge rush to re-sign — he has one year remaining on his five-year, $15.5 million contract.

But uncertainty about his future has already started.

Is Hanzal, an injury-prone guy, part of the club’s long-term future? The Coyotes some gifted young centers in the system, including Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak. So would it behoove them to use Hanzal as a trade deadline chip, something they’ve pulled off successfully in the past? (See: Vermette, Antoine)

From Hanzal’s perspective, he’s spent his entire career in the desert. He says he definitely wants to stay.

“It’ll be nice if I can sign here,” he said. “I love it here. I’ve been here for nine years. I want to spend my career here, but we’ll see how it goes this summer.”

After career year, Colborne wants ‘to spend the next 10 to 12 years’ in Calgary

Joe Colborne
Getty Images

The 2015-16 campaign was largely a disappointment in Calgary.

But for one player, it was the exact opposite.

Rangy center Joe Colborne enjoyed a career year, posting personal bests in goals (19) and points (44) while averaging just over 15 minutes a night in 73 games played. It was a nice culmination of a three-year stint with his hometown club — the Flames acquired Colborne from Toronto in 2013 — and perfectly timed, as he’s due for a new contract this summer.

It’s pretty clear where he wants to sign.

“I’ve said it before, but I’d like to spend the next 10 to 12 years here,” Colborne told the Flames website. “I’d love to be part of the group that brings a Stanley Cup back here. It’s obviously the end goal for us and I believe in our core group.”

Colborne’s in a pretty intriguing position.

He’s 26, and it’s fair to classify him as a late bloomer — a former first-round pick, folks have always been high on his size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and skill set, but it’s taken a while for the total package to come together.

One has to think there would be teams interested in Colborne, if he’s made available.

The Flames have some other more pressing RFAs to attend to this summer — Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, specifically — and it’s unclear if there’s a big future for Colborne in Calgary, given the club’s depth (Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski) down the middle.

Colborne’s last deal paid $1.275M annually, so he’s likely in line for a raise. His head coach, Bob Hartley, certainly sees the value in keeping Colborne around.

“Obviously, he’s progressed a lot in the last three years,” Hartley said, per the Calgary Herald. “He works at it and he’s a smart player.”

Report: Sens met with Yeo about vacant coaching gig

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Getty Images

Ottawa’s search for a new head coach is underway.

Per the Sun, Sens GM Pierre Dorion met with ex-Wild bench boss Mike Yeo over the weekend.

Yeo, 42, is believed to be held in high regard by the organization, and Yeo’s former employer — Wild GM Chuck Fletcher — is extremely close with outgoing Sens GM Bryan Murray, who will remain in Ottawa’s front office in an advisory role.

So the connections are there.

The Sens have to get it right with their next coaching hire. The club has gone through six bench bosses in the last nine years. Constant upheaval behind the bench has been one of the staples of the Eugene Melnyk era, which is probably why, in explaining what he wanted in his next head coach, Dorion pointed to a guy with previous NHL experience that had a “commitment to have our players play defense.”

Yeo earned a reputation for his strong defensive system in Minnesota (“defense-first Yeobots” is how one columnist described the players.) He’s also relatively young, at least by NHL coaching standards, which could set him up for the potential of a longer run in the Canadian capital.

That’s something Dorion thinks is important.

“Whoever that [new head coach] is, I hope they are here for a long time,” said Dorion last week. “I know there’s going to be pressure with every decision I make, but this is going to be a big one.

“This is huge.”