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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Sekera out 6-9 months with torn ACL, a huge blow for Oilers

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The injury that knocked Andrej Sekera out of the playoffs was a big one — on Tuesday, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli announced that Sekera suffered a torn ACL, and will miss the next six to nine months as a result.

Sekera, 30, was a vital part of the Edmonton blueline this season. He finished second among all d-men in scoring (35 points) and average time on ice (21:29 per game). He was knocked out of the Anaheim series early in Game 5, and was ruled out for the remainder.

During the year, head coach Todd McLellan was full of praise for the veteran rearguard.

“He’s our No. 1,” McLellan said, per the Journal. “He’s playing his game in our system and when players do that they don’t over-extend themselves. He’s healthy and a year in and he understands what the organization is about. He has more experience with our team, not just experience in the league. He knows language and situations better. He’s playing to his strengths in our structure.”

Chiarelli already faced an offseason filled with decisions prior to this injury. It’ll be curious to see how it affects his strategy.

Defenseman Kris Russell, a pending UFA, has stated he’d like to re-up with the Oilers. Fellow d-men like Sekera, Adam Larsson and Oscar Klefbom are all signed long term, and it’s fair to suggest Russell isn’t going to sign another one-year deal.

So, do the Oilers lock him up? Or do they let Matt Benning and Darnell Nurse step into bigger roles? It’s also worth noting that Edmonton made a couple of nice picks in the 2015 draft, getting Caleb Jones (Seth’s brother) in the fourth round and Ethan Bear in the fifth.

More: Some big decisions remain for the Edmonton Oilers

Report: Coyotes sign KHL forward Kempe (Updated)

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Arizona has landed an intriguing player out of Russia: Swedish forward Mario Kempe, the older brother of L.A. prospect Adrian Kempe.

Mario, 28, has — per Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet — agreed to join the Coyotes after a three-year stint with KHL club Vityaz Podolsk. He had 14 goals and 34 points in 56 games this year.

Update: Arizona has confirmed the signing. It’s a one-year, two-way deal. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Kempe does have some experience in North America. He was Philly’s fifth-round pick at the 2007 draft and, following a couple of good seasons in the Quebec junior league, played a handful of games for the AHL Phantoms.

Kempe returned to his native Sweden after his minor-league stint, then played a few seasons in the SHL before jumping to Russia.

Some may remember Kempe from his role on the Swedish team at the 2008 World Juniors. He was part of the silver medal-winning team that featured a number of future NHLers, including the likes of Victor Hedman, Carl Hagelin, Patrik Berglund, Mikael Backlund and Magnus Paajarvi.

Rangers shake up AHL affiliate — Gernander fired, Drury replaces Schoenfeld as GM

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Big changes for the Hartford Wolf Pack on Tuesday.

New York’s top minor league affiliate shook things up in a major way today, firing longtime bench boss Ken Gernander while replacing GM Jim Schoenfeld with rising executive Chris Drury.

Gernander, 47, has been with the Wolf Pack for the last 12 years, 10 of them as the club’s head coach. His dismissal comes after the club missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, finishing with a dismal 24-46-6 record.

As for Drury… well, it’s becoming pretty apparent New York thinks very highly of his front office work.

Just days after turning down Buffalo’s request to interview Drury for the general manager gig — one that eventually went to Jason Botterill — the Rangers gave him some added responsibility of overseeing the AHL club. It’s a similar role Botterill held in Pittsburgh (with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) before getting hired by the Sabres.

Schoenfeld will remain with the Rangers, focusing primarily on his duties (AGM, primarily) with New York.

Drury, 40, has spent the last two years climbing the Rangers’ executive depth chart. He was brought aboard in 2015 as the club’s director of player development and, a year later, was promoted to assistant GM under Jeff Gorton.

The Rangers aren’t the only ones enamored by Drury’s front office skills. Recently, USA Hockey tabbed him — along with Pittsburgh AGM Bill Guerin — as the braintrust responsible for building Team USA’s entry at the World Hockey Championship.

Prized Swedish d-man Borgman signs in NHL — but where?

Here’s what we know about Andreas Borgman, the Swedish Hockey League’s reigning rookie of the year:

— He’s leaving his SHL club, HV71, to sign with an NHL squad. HV71 announced it on the club website today.

According to Swedish news outlet Sport JKPG, Borgman has been on the radar of several NHL teams since January, but waited until the SHL campaign was done to sign an entry-level deal.

— When asked what team he’s signed for, Borgman would only say “we’ll see.”

There’s certainly plenty of intrigue surrounding the 6-foot, 205-pound rearguard.

Borgman, 21, is coming off a very solid campaign. He had five goals and 15 points in 45 regular season games, then had a terrific playoff as HV71 captured the league crown, finishing with 10 points in 14 games.

Passed over in his draft year, Borgman had previously starred in the Allsvenskan — the Swedish second division — and represented his country at the 2013 World Juniors.

 

NBCSN presents ‘Game Changers’ featuring Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Crosby and Toews

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This Wednesday at midnight ET, NBCSN will debut NHL Game Changers | All-Time Greats, a 30-minute roundtable discussion featuring Stanley Cup champions and NHL legends Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

The show will be hosted by NHL on NBC play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emrick.

“I thought it would take the mythological hockey gods and a handful of thunderbolts to get these five together in one room, and for me to have a seat among them,” Emrick said. “I was wrong about the gods and thunderbolts. We just needed our Executive Producer, the very much alive Sam Flood.

“As we walked onto the set, I mentioned to Bobby… ‘If I’d never done a Stanley Cup Final before, this would be it!’ This experience is one of my all-time hockey memories. I hope it is for the viewers as well.”

Filmed in Los Angeles during NHL All-Star Weekend, Gretzky, Orr, Lemieux, Crosby, and Toews discuss a wide range of topics including the current state of the sport, playing in the Olympics, winning the Stanley Cup, Connor McDavid and other up-and-coming NHL stars, what it would have been like to play against each other, and Orr’s famous 1970 Stanley Cup winning goal.

The show will air following NBCSN’s coverage of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, as Crosby’s Penguins travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators.

Future airings will occur throughout the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs.