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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Pushing for playoffs, Isles lose Strome to broken wrist

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Busy day in Brooklyn on the news front.

Just hours after recalling Jaroslav Halak from AHL Bridgeport, Newsday reported that forward Ryan Strome suffered a broken wrist, an injury that will likely end his season.

Strome, 23, suffered the injury during last night’s big 3-2 win over the Rangers. He exited after playing just nine minutes, and didn’t return.

Though he’s been something of a disappointment this season — he was parked as a healthy scratch under former head coach Jack Capuano — Strome still racked up 13 goals and 30 points in 69 games, averaging 14:36 TOI per night.

So it’s definitely a loss, and a fairly significant hole to fill.

Newsday’s Arthur Staple suggests that one of Shane Prince or Alan Quine will get the call to fill Strome’s up front. That could result in some line juggling and switching players from wing to the middle.

The Isles are just two points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and are back in action Friday for a big tilt against the Penguins.

 

 

 

Sabres prospect Petersen named Richter finalist — will he sign in Buffalo?

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On Thursday, the five Richter Award finalists for the top NCAA goalie were announced and — to nobody’s surprise — Buffalo draftee and Notre Dame product Cal Petersen was among the five.

Petersen, 22, finished the year with a 21-11-5 record, .928 save percentage, 2.14 GAA and six shutouts, backstopping the Irish to the NCAA championships.

Petersen’s focus is currently on making the Frozen Four. But once that’s done, attention will undoubtedly turn to the pro game.

Taken in the fifth round (129th overall) at the ’13 draft, Petersen has become one of Buffalo’s more prized young assets. GM Tim Murray addressed as much in a recent interview with WGR 550 radio.

“We like him, obviously a lot, as a prospect,” Murray said. “We like his body of work — love his body of work — as far as development goes. He can’t do anymore than he’s done to develop and become better.”

Murray wants to get Petersen signed and into the pro ranks as soon as his collegiate season is done, but does acknowledge Petersen could hold off, be patient and test free agency if he so chooses.

“The decision is going to come to him, his family and his representatives,” Murray explained. “But I think that our staff has done a good job with him. He’s been treated more than fairly by the organization and I think that’s what you have to do for young players. You have to have them have a want to be part of your organization.

“Hopefully that is there with this kid right now.”

Buffalo has only drafted two goalies in the last four years — Petersen, and Sweden’s Jonas Johansson (third round, ’14). Linus Ullmark, 23, has been up and down between Buffalo and AHL Rochester this year while Robin Lehner, 25, remains entrenched as the club’s No. 1.

It’s worth noting that Lehner’s a pending RFA, in the last of a three-year, $6.675M deal. So it figures to be an interesting offseason for Murray on the goaltending front.

Stars’ Janmark won’t play this season, and there’s a ‘question mark’ about next year

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In a season filled with injuries, one of the biggest Dallas suffered this season was Mattias Janmark‘s knee issue.

The 24-year-old Swede has missed the entire season thus far, but recently resumed skating and practicing with the club. That said, Janmark confirmed he won’t play this year — meaning he’ll miss the entire 82-game campaign.

And what’s more, he might miss games next season as well.

“I think there’s a question mark (about next season), but we don’t know to what degree yet,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff, per the Dallas Morning-News. “He’s progressing nicely. He still has a ways to go, but I think the fact he is practicing now and has gone this far always gives a guy like that a better chance for next year.”

Janmark’s original injury occurred during the preseason, when he knee locked up in a game against Colorado.

“He had a small segment, approximately 21 millimeters by 11 millimeters, that became displaced and is locked in his knee,” GM Jim Nill said at the time. “It’s the bone and the cartilage, they both came off together.”

Janmark underwent surgery to correct the issue, but his recovery was plagued by a preexisting congenital condition called osteochondritis dissecans. Nill said the likelihood of a full recovery was 80 percent.

Losing his services was a big blow for Dallas. After surprising onlookers by making the team out of camp in ’15-16 — a “great story,” according to Nill — Janmark had a pretty successful rookie campaign, scoring 15 goals and 29 points in 73 games.

He also fared well in the playoffs, with five points in 12 contests.

Janmark’s contract situation complicates things. He’s a pending RFA, currently in the last of a two-year, $1.6 million deal with an $733,750 cap hit. The Stars would (presumably) like to keep him, but the uncertainty regarding his health might made negotiations difficult.

Fehr injures hand, spotted in cast following Leafs debut

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Eric Fehr finally played his first game as a Maple Leaf on Wednesday night, suiting up for the first time since being acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline.

It didn’t go especially well.

Fehr, who logged 10:44 TOI in a 5-2 win over Columbus, suffered a hand injury while blocking a shot in the third period and was seen afterward wearing a cast, per TSN.

According to the Toronto Sun, the 31-year-old forward confirmed he spent the night in hospital.

While a break or fracture might rule him out for the remainder of the season, it’s worth noting Fehr won’t be done entirely in Toronto. He’s in the second of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2M cap hit. Prior to joining the Leafs he appeared in 52 games for the Pens, scoring six goals and 11 points while averaging just under 11 minutes a night.

He was also a regular in last year’s Stanley Cup run, scoring three times in 23 games.

Though his role decreased, Fehr was still frequently used by head coach Mike Sullivan — albeit in a more limited capacity. He is a good PK contributor, and can play both center and wing. Those were some of the attributes the Leafs were hoping Fehr could bring down the stretch and, should they make it, into the postseason.

He’s back: With 10 games left, Isles recall Halak

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The Isles are in full playoff push mode, and on Thursday made a move to bolster their chances.

Jaroslav Halak, the veteran netminder that’s been in AHL Bridgeport since early January, has been recalled ahead of New York’s crucial three-games-in-four-days stretch, the club announced.

It’s the latest in what’s been a tumultuous move for the 31-year-old. Halak opened the year as part of an uncomfortable three-goalie rotation — along with Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube — and was soon on the trading block after agent Allan Walsh criticized the setup on Twitter.

With no takers — and after then-head coach Jack Capuano called him out for his poor play — Halak was placed on waivers, and sent to the minors.

Halak has been really good in Bridgeport. He’s posted a 17-7-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a pair of shutouts. And given how spotty Berube’s play has been as Greiss’ backup, there’s a shot Halak could be making a start for the Isles soon.

As mentioned above, the club is in the midst of a compacted part of the schedule. Greiss was excellent in last night’s win over the Rangers — stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 victory — but he was also busy.

The Isles head to Pittsburgh on Friday, then host the Bruins on Saturday, then host the Preds on Monday. The Boston game looms large because, after last night, New York found itself just two points back of the B’s for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Per Newsday, there’s a real chance Halak will face the Pens on Friday, which would open the door for Greiss to take on the Bruins the following day.