Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

Radulov: Reports of asking Habs for eight-year deal ‘not even close’

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Hockey Twitter was set ablaze yesterday when a report from TSN 690 in Montreal claimed Alexander Radulov asked for an eight-year extension from the Habs.

TSN’s Insider Trading panel then discussed the report later Thursday evening, adding to the fire.

Today, Radulov emphatically shot down the report.

“It’s not even close, what they saying,” he said, per TSN’s John Lu. “I don’t even know how this — I just don’t even want to discuss that because it’s nothing I can really control.

“I was sick yesterday and I got a phone call from my agent, [who said] ‘There’s something going on, some people talking.’ So I was like ‘Who’s talking? No one knows anything about it.’ I even talked to Marc [Bergevin, Habs GM] today and it’s like someone throw it in the Internet, or whatever it was, and it doesn’t make sense.”

Radulov, who turns 31 in July, returned to the NHL this year after four-year stint with KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow. The Habs rewarded him handsomely for coming back — one year, $5.75 million — and Radulov has responded, scoring 15 goals and 47 points in 65 contests.

He’s been lauded for his passionate play and has become one of the club’s most dependable forwards. He’s averaging over 18 minutes a night, and trails only captain Max Pacioretty in terms of scoring.

But an eight-year deal?

To be fair, Radulov is probably looking for some term, and rightly so. Bergervin hasn’t been shy about handing out lengthy contracts — Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher and Jeff Petry all got six-year deals — and the talented Russian does have some leverage right now, given he’d likely score big money if he tested free agency this summer.

After 15-game absence, Burakovsky back for Caps

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Losers in five of their last six, the Capitals will get a nice piece of the lineup back tomorrow when they take on the Bolts in Tampa Bay.

Andre Burakovsky, out since Feb. 9 with a hand injury, will draw back in on Saturday at Amalie Arena, he confirmed this afternoon. Based on today’s line rushes, he’ll skate on the club’s third line next to Lars Eller and Brett Connolly.

Washington’s first-round pick in ’13, Burakovsky was having a solid year prior to getting hurt. He had 11 goals and 29 points through 52 games, and was on pace to break his career high of 38 points (set last year, in 79 contests).

With the 22-year-old back in the fold, Washington will be as healthy as imaginable heading into the stretch drive. There are no significant injuries to speak of, and trade deadline pickup Kevin Shattenkirk has returned to the fold since serving his two-game suspension for charging.

It’ll be interesting to see how head coach Barry Trotz opts to utilize his depth in the coming weeks. The Caps have a two-point lead on Columbus for first place in the league, though the Jackets do have a game in hand.

Hobey Baker finalist Kelleher signs with Nashville’s AHL team

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Tyler Kelleher, the New Hampshire senior that finished tied as the top scorer in college hockey, has caught on with Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, the club announced on Friday.

Kelleher, 22, scored a whopping 63 points in 40 games this year and was named a Hobey Baker finalist earlier this week. There were earlier rumors he would sign a pro contract with New Jersey, so it was a bit surprising to learn he’d inked with an American League team (and through ‘2017-18, as well).

Of course, Kelleher’s size may have played a role. Listed at just 5-foot-6 and 154 pounds, Kelleher may need to go the AHL route to prove his collegiate success can translate to the professional level.

More (more!) injuries in Pittsburgh: Malkin out tonight, Hainsey week-to-week

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Prior to today, the Penguins had already lost Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, Bryan Rust, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist and Carl Hagelin to injury.

So what’s a couple more?

For Pittsburgh, that’ll have to be the mentality after learning that Evgeni Malkin would miss tonight game against New Jersey with a lingering upper-body ailment and, perhaps more distressingly, that trade deadline pickup Ron Hainsey is week-to-week with an upper-body issue of his own.

Malkin, who sits second on the team in points with 72, doesn’t appear to be seriously hurt. He briefly took to the ice for the morning skate before exiting. Head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t comment on the nature of the injury, or the severity.

Hainsey’s injury could be a problem. On its own, that’s a difficult void to fill — the veteran blueliner had appeared in 10 games since coming over from Carolina, and was averaging a shade under 21 minutes per night.

The ailment is even more problematic given the current state of Pittsburgh’s defense.

As mentioned above, Maatta, Daley and Letang are all out of action (part of the reason why Hainsey’s minutes had increased). That left Sullivan to ice a defensive unit comprised of Hainsey, Ian Cole, Brian Dumoulin, Chad Ruhwedel, Justin Schultz and Mark Streit in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to the Flyers.

In a related move, the Pens recalled Derrick Pouliot from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday. That left them with the following d-pairs…

It’s official: Sens, Habs to play outdoor game in Ottawa

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Yesterday, we passed along reports that the Senators were prepping to announce an outdoor game at Lansdowne Park.

Today, they made it official.

With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in attendance, the Sens confirmed they would be hosting the Habs in the NHL 100 Classic on Saturday, Dec. 17.

The game will be played at Lansdowne Park’s TD Place Stadium, current home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. Of note, TD Place will also host the 105th Grey Cup a few weeks earlier — Nov. 26 — and officials have said the plan is to add about 10,000 additional seats for the game, bringing the capacity to around 35,000.

Per the Citizen, the Senators plan to leave those additional seats in for the NHL 100 Classic.

More:

The price of tickets for this game will be interesting because by NHL standards for an outdoor game it will be a small seating capacity.

The lowest attended outdoor game was held this season Oct. 16, 2016 in Winnipeg when 33,240 watched the Jets faceoff against the Edmonton Oilers at Investors Group Field.

In a nice bit of timing, today’s announcement leads into a huge home-and-home weekend series between the Sens and Habs. The two will face off on Saturday in Ottawa, then get right back at it on Sunday at the Bell Centre.