Mike Halford

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

Brian Burke goes full Brian Burke in shooting down Hamilton trade rumors


Rumblings of Calgary potentially moving young d-man Dougie Hamilton were seemingly silenced on Wednesday, when GM Brad Treliving told Fan 960’s Pat Steinberg the rumors were “completely false.”

Team president Brian Burke also addressed the reports. He was, ahem, a little more verbose on the matter.

“It’s very frustrating when you have to deal with leaks,” Burke told TSN 1050. “As soon as one of the team that’s in the mix with the leaks is the Toronto Maple Leafs — now, it’s an army of leakers. An army of people that have no goddamn idea what they’re talking about, who’ll happily go on and say the Toronto Maple Leafs are in on this, and doing that.

“This is one where we think we can trace the leak. [GM Brad Treliving] got a call from a team — who shall remain nameless, at least for now, if this goes on much further I’m probably not going to remain them nameless — and said ‘would you move Dougie Hamilton?’ And [Treliving] said no.”

OK then!

Hamilton’s name has been making the rounds lately, which included reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie. It’s believed one of the most interested suitors was, as mentioned, the Toronto Maple Leafs, in a deal that would (theoretically) help both teams — Toronto would get some much-needed help on the blueline, and Calgary would receive a winger, potentially one that could play on the top line alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

(Once Gaudreau returns from injury, that is.)

It’s been speculated that James van Riemsdyk could be a fit in the proposed trade.

As for Hamilton, this is the latest in what’s been an up-and-down transition since being acquired from Boston two years ago. Though his offense production in ’15-16 was impressive — 12 goals and 43 points, making him one of the top-25 d-man scorers in the league — there have been questions about his defensive play, and usage.

Hamilton makes a lot of money. The Flames gave him a six-year, $34.5 million extension — one that carries a $5.75 million cap hit — but he averaged less than 20 minutes per game last season, and that’s continued this year (19:17 TOI, down from 19:46 in his first season with Calgary).

That said, Burke remained fully committed to his 23-year-old blueliner.


“He’s 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, he’s a right shot, skates like a deer — he’s a good hockey player. Yeah, let’s move him! Let’s get rid of him. It’s not hard to get guys like that,” Burke said. “We told this team — and by the way, the offer they made was insulting — we told them not we’re not moving him and next time you have an idea that stupid, just save the quarter.

“Don’t go to the payphone.”

Bolts recall pair of forwards as losses, injuries pile up


The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost four of their last five games — getting out-scored 19-10 over that stretch — and, in Tuesday’s ugly 5-1 loss in Columbus, were without three of their most experienced players in Ryan Callahan, Anton Stralman and captain Steve Stamkos.

So on Wednesday, the Bolts went calling to the farm.

Joel Vermin, tied for the AHL Syracuse team lead in goals this season, has been brought up, along with former Habs winger Michael Bournival.

Both have NHL experience. Vermin appeared in six games for the Bolts last season while Bournival has 89 career appearances on his resume, including 60 in his rookie campaign with the Habs (when he scored seven goals and 14 points).

Looking to Syracuse for a spark is a familiar move from head coach Jon Cooper. Last year — around this exact same time, with the Bolts off to a sluggish start — several farmhands were recalled: Slater Koekkoek, Tye McGinn, Mike Angelidis, Mike Blunden and Luke Witkowski, to name a few.

Preds sign Pardy to one-year deal


Veteran d-man Adam Pardy could soon be back in the NHL.

Pardy, who attended Panthers camp on a PTO before signing an AHL contract with the Preds, has agreed to a one-year deal with Nashville, agent Ben Hankinson confirmed via Twitter.

Pardy, 32, acquitted himself quite well with the Admirals, scoring five points in 12 games. But in order to join the Preds, he’ll need to clear waivers first (Nashville exposed him today, in a related move).

Pardy split last season between Winnipeg and Edmonton after the Oilers picked him up off waivers in late February. At 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Pardy’s always been a robust physical player that plays with an edge, and an opening popped up on Nashville’s blueline after the club terminated the contract of Matt Carle, who subsequently announced his retirement.

Right now, the Preds have eight d-men in the mix: Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Anthony Bitetto, Matt Irwin, Petter Granberg and Yannick Weber. Ellis is currently on IR, though, and Bitetto was knocked out of last night’s game against Colorado, so there could be a temporary spot available.

Life moves fast: Fayne back with Oilers after being waived, demoted

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Mark Fayne’s wild week continues.

Fayne — he of the $14.5 million contract — was recalled by the Oilers on Wednesday, just one day after clearing waivers and being demoted to AHL Bakersfield.

An injury to d-man Eric Gryba opened the door for Fayne’s return. Gryba has been placed on IR, though the Oilers didn’t announce what the ailment is.

The last few days were a microcosm of Fayne’s tenure in Edmonton — tumultuous, and dotted with transactions.

In July of 2014, the Oilers signed him to the aforementioned $14.5 million deal, with then-GM Craig MacTavish calling him “a very good defender” that made plays “highly effectively.”

Roughly 17 months after inking that contract, Fayne fell out of favor with new head coach Todd McLellan, and saw his role drastically reduced. The former Devils rearguard averaged just 16:43 TOI last season, got waived in December, and appeared in 69 contests (and four for the Condors, his first AHL stint since the ’10-11 campaign).

Then, on Monday, Fayne was waived for the second time in as many seasons.

Bednar rips Avs’ lack of intensity, a familiar refrain this season


There have been a few familiar postgame statements from the Avalanche this season, and they were trotted out once again following Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Preds.

“The lack of focus or a lack of intensity, we’re giving other teams easy goals,” head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Denver Post. “I didn’t feel like they had to work for their goals.

“Too many guys wading into the game, seeing how the game goes. We need more passion. We need more intensity for 60 minutes. It’s that simple for me.”

These remarks are not much different from what was said following a 5-1 loss to those same Preds back in early November. Bednar said the Avs “didn’t find the intensity needed for the game,” while captain Gabriel Landeskog said “the work boots and hard hats weren’t on.”

One week later — after another 5-1 loss, this time to the Blues — veteran d-man Francois Beauchemin said “we’ve got to look at each other and ourselves in the mirror,” adding that all the players needed to “step up their game.”

Tuesday’s loss moved the Avs to 9-11-1 on the year, and seventh in the Central Division. So it’s easy to see why Bednar is upset — the Post said his presser following the Nashville game was his most animated of the year — and it’s easy to see why players are upset, too.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a change from the Patrick Roy era, at least in terms of consistent effort. It was one of Roy’s big complaints about the club prior to his abrupt departure in August — that the group’s core players didn’t have the type of character and leadership qualities to take the team where Roy wanted it to go.

The question now is, what can GM Joe Sakic do about it? He’s been loathe to shake up his roster (another reported reason why Roy eventually stepped down) and could always fall back on the “it’s still early” mantra.

But if things don’t get turned around soon in Colorado, Sakic and the crew will be firmly planted outside the playoff picture — like they have been for the last two seasons.