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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Despite being ‘heavily pursued’ by NHL clubs, Sherwood returning to school

Kiefer Sherwood, the sophomore center that averaged better than a point-per-game for Miami (Ohio), will reportedly return to school rather than sign an entry-level NHL deal, per ESPN’s John Buccigross.

More on Sherwood, from the Columbus Dispatch:

Sherwood, who just completed his sophomore season at Miami University, is being heavily pursued by several NHL clubs with free-agent offers.

Sherwood is the older brother of Kole Sherwood, who signed with the Blue Jackets two summers ago and is playing in the Ontario Hockey League.

Per Buccigross, the Ducks, Flames, Capitals and expansion Golden Knights were all interested in Sherwood, who racked up 14 goals and 38 points in 36 games this season. The Dispatch reported the Blue Jackets “aren’t seen as a likely destination.”

 

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    ‘Hawks prospect Snuggerud leaves school, signs pro contract

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    Luc Snuggerud, Chicago’s fifth-round pick in 2014, will skip his senior season at the University of Nebraska-Omaha after signing his entry-level contract today, the ‘Hawks announced.

    Snuggerud — who’s uncle, Dave, played nearly 300 NHL games with the Sabres, Sharks and Flyers — just finished his junior campaign and performed well, scoring 11 goals and 31 points in 39 games. He finished tied first in the country for goals by a defenseman, and seventh in points.

    The 21-year-old’s departure comes one day after longtime head coach Dean Blais announced he was leaving Omaha after eight years behind the bench.

    Snuggerud, listed at 6-foot, 187 pounds, will join AHL Rockford on a tryout basis, and his ELC will kick in next year.

    Stars land talented NCAA blueliner Bayreuther

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    It’s been a tough year for Dallas, so some welcome news on Wednesday — the club will soon announce it’s signed St. Lawrence blueliner Gavin Bayreuther to an entry-level deal.

    Bayreuther, 22, just wrapped his senior season at SLU, leading the team with 29 points in 30 games. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported his decision came down to either Dallas or Buffalo and, in the end, the Stars won out.

    Undrafted out of the USHL, Bayreuther spent four years with the Saints and matured into one of the top collegiate free agents available. He’s expected to sign an amateur tryout with Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, and finish out the year there.

    Looking ahead, this is a nice coup for Stars GM Jim Nill. Despite everything that’s gone wrong this year, the organization has to be pleased about adding another prospect to a young blueline group that includes the likes of Julius Honka, Ludwig Bystrom, Esa Lindell, Jamie Oleksiak, Stephen Johns and John Klingberg.

    All of them are 24 or younger.

     

    Report: Pens draftee Byron expected to test free agency

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    Yesterday, Pittsburgh landed a prized collegiate prospect in Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese, the NCAA’s leading scorer this season.

    Today, it might’ve lost one.

    Per Sportnet, University of Maine senior Blaine Byron — Pittsburgh’s sixth-round pick in ’13 — is expected to pass on signing with the club and will instead test free agency this summer.

    It’s a similar move to what former Harvard star Jimmy Vesey did (and, before him, Boston College standout Kevin Hayes). Both balked on signing with the teams that drafted them, played through their senior years in college and were eventually able to sign with teams of their choosing.

    Ironically enough, both ended up inking with the Rangers.

    Byron, 22, is coming off a great year. He racked up 18 goals and 41 points in 36 games, finishing tied for 18th in the country in scoring. It’s unclear where he would’ve fit in the Pittsburgh organization, though, and one has to think the Aston-Reese signing might’ve played a factor.

    In a recent Tribune-Review piece, Byron did make a list of the club’s top-20 prospects, coming in at No. 17.

     

    U.S. women to boycott World Championships over stalled wage negotiations (Updated)

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    The U.S. women’s national team, who has won each of the last three World Hockey Championships, will not participate in this year’s tournament due to stalled negotiations with USA Hockey over fair wages and support.

    This year’s tournament begins on March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan. The U.S. team was set to begin training camp on March 21 but, on Wednesday, informed USA Hockey they wouldn’t participate unless there was significant development in negotiations.

    “We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” said captain Meghan Duggan, per ESPN. “We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”

    More on the situation, from ESPN:

    Half of the current team works second and third jobs just so they can continue to afford to play on the national team and represent their country.

    “Out of a four-year cycle, USA Hockey pays for only six months out of an entire four years. They pay us $1,000 per month in those six months. So, for the other 42 months we don’t get paid at all by USA Hockey,” says Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, a two-time Olympic silver medalist. “It is a full-time job and to not get paid is a financial burden and stress on the players, obviously.

    “That is the conversation my husband and I are having right now. Is playing going to be more stress than we can handle? Sadly it becomes a decision between chasing your dream or giving in to the reality of the financial burden.”

    The U.S. has won gold in six of the past eight world championships and has medaled in every Olympics, including winning gold in 1998. This is also the first time in four years the Worlds will to be played on American soil.

    UPDATE: USA Hockey has addressed the issue with the following statement…

    “We acknowledge the players’ concerns and have proactively increased our level of direct support to the Women’s National Team as we prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “We have communicated that increased level of support to the players’ representatives and look forward to continuing our discussions.”

    The support USA Hockey is implementing in order to prepare the Women’s National Team for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games includes a six-month training camp, additional support stipends and incentives for medals that could result in each player receiving nearly $85,000 in cash over the Olympic training and performance period. The sum is in addition to a housing allowance, travel allowances, meal expenses, medical and disability insurance and the infrastructure that includes elite-level support staff to train and prepare the players.

    USA Hockey has a long-standing commitment to the support, advancement and growth of girls and women’s hockey and any claims to the contrary are unfounded.

    While USA Hockey is disappointed that players from the Women’s National Team program have said today they do not intend to participate in the upcoming IIHF Women’s World Championship unless their financial demands are met, USA Hockey remains committed to continuing dialogue and will field a competitive team for the upcoming 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan.

    “In our role as the national governing body, USA Hockey trains and selects teams for international competition,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “USA Hockey’s role is not to employ athletes and we will not do so. USA Hockey will continue to provide world-leading support for our athletes.”