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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‘Canes recall Bickell for first time since MS diagnosis

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Bryan Bickell’s comeback took another significant turn on Monday, as Carolina announced he’d been recalled from AHL Charlotte.

Bickell, in the midst of a conditioning stint following his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, got the recall after scoring four points in 10 games for the Checkers.

The 31-year-old was diagnosed with MS in October, and was sidelined through late February while adjusting to his new medicinal regimen.

Bickell’s treatment is a monthly intravenous of Tysabri, a drug which helps limit the effects of MS. Per NHL.com, he originally aimed to return to the ‘Canes following their bye week, targeting a home date against the Avalanche on Feb. 17.

But the decision was made for him to get more skating and games in before resuming play with the ‘Canes.

“I’ll tell you what: he’s done everything he possibly can to get himself ready and get back at it, so we’ll see where it leads,” head coach Bill Peters said at the time of sending Bickell to the minors, per the ‘Canes website. “It’s an unreal source of inspiration, and his attitude has been fantastic through this whole thing.

“I give him nothing but credit there.”

Bickell could re-enter the Carolina lineup tomorrow, when the ‘Canes take on the Wild in Minnesota.

Goalie nods: Allen and Elliott look to clinch playoff berths

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Last year, Jake Allen and Brian Elliott worked in tandem to help St. Louis make the playoffs, and advance all the way to the Western Conference Final.

This year, things are a little different.

Both will have a shot at clinching a playoff berth tonight, but for different teams. Allen will get the call as the Blues take on the Avs, and Elliott starts when the Flames face the Sharks.

Allen, who has been terrific in March, doesn’t actually need to win tonight to clinch a postseason spot. St. Louis is in if it gets a single point, or if the Kings lose to the Canucks in any fashion.

For Elliott and the Flames, there’s a multitude of ways in.

They clinch if they defeat the Sharks in any fashion, or if they get a single point and the Kings lose to the Canucks in any fashion.

If L.A. loses to Vancouver in regulation, Calgary’s in as well.

Elsewhere…

Matt Murray gets the call when the Pens take on the Rangers at MSG. Henrik Lundqvist, who has given up 10 goals over his last two outings, will try and tighten things up for New York.

Keith Kinkaid will go ahead of Cory Schneider for the Devils, who are in Brooklyn tonight. No word on an Isles starter, as both Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss played in Thursday’s ugly loss to the Flyers.

Corey Crawford, fresh off a 31-save win against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, goes again for the ‘Hawks. No word yet on a Columbus starter, but Joonas Koprisalo did play last night.

— The Coyotes will give Louis Domingue another start, as Mike Smith is still battling illness. Washington has yet to announce a starter, but Philipp Grubauer played in Wednesday’s win over the Avs.

— With Jacob Markstrom done for the year, Ryan Miller starts yet again for the Canucks, who host the Kings tonight. No word yet on a L.A. starter, but Ben Bishop got the win in Calgary on Wednesday.

Sens bring over Hogberg, one of Swedish League’s top goalies

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Ottawa has added to its goaltending depth, inking Marcus Hogberg to a two-year, entry-level deal.

Hogberg, 22, is coming off a terrific campaign with SHL Linkoping. He posted a 1.89 GAA and .932 save percentage (fourth-best in the league), and will now join the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton on an amateur tryout.

The Sens took Hogberg in the third round (78th overall) at the ’13 draft, and he could soon find himself moving up the depth chart. Andrew Hammond is on the outs, while minor-leaguers Chris Driedger and former BU standout Matt O’Connor have failed to impress.

Ottawa’s had extension talks with backup netminder Mike Condon, while No. 1 Craig Anderson — who turns 36 in May — is in the second of a three-year, $12.6 million deal with a $4.2 million cap hit.

Flyers’ Read done for year with suspected arm injury

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Philly is still clinging to its slim — very slim — playoff hopes, thanks largely to its current three-game winning streak.

Matt Read will not be part of the final push.

Read, who exited last night’s victory over the Isles after blocking a Nick Leddy shot, suffered an upper-body injury that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks, effectively finishing his campaign. Per CSN Philly, the injury could be a broken arm.

It’s a tough ending to what’s been a difficult campaign. Read, 30, scored just 10 goals and 19 points in 63 games this year, missing four weeks with an oblique ailment, then sitting as a healthy scratch in early February.

Read’s production has been on a steady decline after scoring 24 goals in his first season with the Flyers, then 22 in the ’13-14 campaign. Next season will be his last of a four-year, $14.5 million deal — one that carries a $3.625M cap hit — and Read has been floated as a potential candidate for Las Vegas in the upcoming expansion draft.

‘Canes ink pair of junior prospects

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Carolina locked in two of its draftees on Friday, agreeing to terms with QMJHL Saint John forward Spencer Smallman and OHL Erie winger Warren Foegele (pictured).

“Warren had an impressive rookies’ camp last September,” GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He has continues to improve his overall game and should help Erie challenge for a championship this spring.

“Spencer took a big step forward this season,” Francis continued. “He’s been in a leadership role for his team for the last three years, and helped Saint John to the best record in the Quebec League this year.”

Foegele, 20, was the club’s third-round pick (67th overall) in ’14. He’s had a nice run with Erie recently, racking up 32 points in 33 games (and another six in four playoff contests).

Smallman, also 20, was a fifth-rounder in ’15. He’s scored 30 goals and 79 points in 60 games for the Sea Dogs this season.