Toronto Maple Leafs

Goalie Nods: Howard returns for Detroit

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Howard returns from groin injury

Jimmy Howard will make his first start since Jan. 10 tonight when the Detroit Red Wings play host to the Winnipeg Jets. Howard missed 10 games with a groin injury. He made four saves in relief of Petr Mrazec on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Howard is 16-7-7 with a 2.09 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage this season.

Michael Hutchinson is expected to start for the Jets.

Elsewhere…

Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price

Blue Jackets at Islanders: Anton Forsberg vs. Jaroslav Halak

Rangers at Coyotes: Cam Talbot vs. Mike Smith

Hurricanes at Wild: Anton Khudobin vs. Devan Dubnyk

Devils at Predators: Cory Schneider vs. Pekka Rinne

Stars at Avalanche: Jhonas Enroth vs. Semyon Varlamov

Canucks at Flames: Ryan Miller vs. Karri Ramo

Capitals at Kings: Braden Holtby vs. Jonathan Quick

Report: Leafs willing to move Bozak

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Add Tyler Bozak to the list of players the Toronto Maple Leafs are willing to part with.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Leafs are actively trying to move the center.

He has three years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $4.2 million.

The Globe and Mail reported this week that team president Brendan Shanahan has received approval from ownership to put the club through a full rebuild. The move would mean building through the draft and long-term projects instead of short-term solutions through trades and established players.

Pending unrestricted free agents Daniel Winnik, Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson are also available according to previous reports.

Forward Phil Kessel seems resigned to the fact he could be dealt.

Following the Leafs’ 3-2 loss to the Islanders on Thursday night he said, “I go where they want me. I love Toronto. If it’s not here, it’s not here.”

Hockey insider Darren Dreger reported earlier this week that the Leafs would be prepared to part ways with captain Dion Phaneuf and Kessel, but added because of the term remaining on their respective deals a move at the trade deadline would be unlikely.

Phaneuf is expected to miss up to another week with his hand injury, which could also scare off teams at the deadline.

Dreger added both could be moved in the offseason when teams have more room to play with.

The Leafs have just one playoff appearance in nine seasons. If Shanahan is to do things his way, it could be at least a couple more years without postseason hockey in Toronto.

Kessel almost seems resigned to Toronto-less fate

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Whether he likes dealing with the Toronto media or not, Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel can’t ignore the headlines any better than anyone else.

That probably explains the seemingly defeated comments Kessel made following Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, as he almost seemed to shrug his shoulders – if sadly – at the prospect of being traded.

TSN’s Mark Masters has the quote: “I go where they want me. I love Toronto. If it’s not here it’s not here.”

Sheesh.

It was a mixed bag of an effort for the Leafs in tonight’s loss against the Islanders; one might give them a seven on the “give-a-blank meter.” Still, Toronto lost its 21st of its last 25 games and there were sloppy moments like the opening goal:

When Kessel signed a contract extension with the Leafs, some were surprised that he was OK with signing on to continue the soap opera in Toronto. As it turns out, he might not be long for the market anyway.

Related: Are we seeing the last of Kessel in Toronto?

Goalie nods: Ducks start Gibson for first time in three months

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Gibson back for Anaheim

John Gibson will make his first start since Oct. 30 when the Ducks take on the ‘Canes in Carolina tonight.

Gibson, who burst onto the scene last year and appeared in four playoff games, started this season with Anaheim but has spent much of the last three months in AHL Norfolk (though he was shelved for a while with injury.)

A recent injury to Frederik Andersen — he’ll miss the next three games while on IR with an upper-body injury — and Ilya Bryzgalov’s spotty play in relief paved the way for the 21-year-old Gibson to make his return; it’ll be interesting to see if he can improve on his numbers from limited work earlier in the season (Gibson is 2-2-0 on the year, with a 2.65 GAA and .915 save percentage.)

For the ‘Canes, Cam Ward gets the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Leafs at Isles: Jonathan Bernier vs. Jaroslav Halak

Oilers at Habs: Viktor Fasth vs. Dustin Tokarski

Pens at Sens: Thomas Greiss vs. Robin Lehner

Blues at Bolts: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Ben Bishop likely for Tampa Bay.

Jets at Preds: Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville, no word yet on a Winnipeg starter.

Panthers at Wild: Roberto Luongo vs. Devan Dubyk

Rangers at Avs: Cam Talbot for New York, no word yet on a Colorado starter.

Flames at Kings: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.

Ducks ‘pretty adamant about trying to add another d-man,’ says Ducks d-man

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We’ve talked plenty about Anaheim’s desire to add a defenseman — see here and here and here — and now, following a stretch in which the Ducks have surrendered 30 goals in seven games, it seems those talks have trickled down to the players.

Like defenseman Cam Fowler, for example.

“[GM Bob Murray] has been pretty adamant about trying to add another d-man,” Fowler told the L.A. (which stands for Los Angeles) Times this week. “We feel comfortable with the group we have, but if there’s somebody who can be brought in to help us, that’s always good too.”

Murray’s been in search of defensive fixes for a while now, and has done some previous patchwork: Eric Brewer was acquired from Tampa Bay in November, and Stephane Robidas was acquired at last year’s deadline.

That said, both of those deals were of the low-risk, low-cost variety. Robidas, 37, came on board for the price of a fourth-round pick and played just 17 games (14 regular season, three playoff) before leaving in free agency. Brewer, 35, could end up much the same; he’s a UFA at season’s end and has only appeared in six games after breaking his foot shortly after being acquired.

But neither Robidas nor Brewer moved the needle much. One would think Murray wants to make a bigger splash this time around.

Whether or not he can make one, though, remains to be seen. Tyler Myers is off the board following Wednesday’s blockbuster move to Winnipeg and, as we’ve often seen come deadline day, there are more teams interested in capable defensemen than there are capable defensemen.

The Ducks could be in on Marc Methot. They could be in on Cody Franson. They could be in on Mike Green — assuming the playoff-bound Caps decide to move him — but Anaheim won’t be alone in any of these pursuits. Which begs two questions: 1) How much does Murray believe in a blueline featuring a top-four of Fowler, Francois Beauchemin, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen? And 2) If he doesn’t believe in it enough, how much is he willing to spend on a legitimate upgrade?