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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Retirement could be in cards for Coyotes’ Michalek

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After clearing waivers in October, Zbynek Michalek has spent all of this year with Arizona’s AHL affiliate in Tucson.

For a 34-year-old rearguard with nearly 800 games of NHL experience, it looked like the beginning of the end. But that narrative switched a bit this past weekend, when the Coyotes brought Michalek up for the first time this season.

Now, with 11 games left, Michalek could be auditioning for a contract for next year.

Or this could be his swan song.

From the Arizona Republic:

It’s unclear if this season will be Michalek’s last as he planned to discuss his future with his wife and agent this summer. He said he’d have to determine if he wanted to continue playing first and if he did, the NHL would be his top choice but Europe is another option. But he stressed his family is his No. 1 priority and he wants to do what’s best for his wife and two children.

“Whether I like it or not if the right situation doesn’t come around,” Michalek said, “I might have to think about retirement.”

If it is the end, Michalek’s certainly put together a nice career.

Undrafted out of the Quebec League, he caught on with Minnesota as a free agent before getting shipped to the Coyotes (where he’s played over 600 of his 781 career contests). The older brother of Leafs winger Milan Michalek, Zbynek also represented his native Czech Republic on a number of occasions, including a pair of Olympic Games, and captured both silver and bronze medals at the World Championships.

 

Tkachuk to have hearing for Doughty elbow

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Matthew Tkachuk has been toeing the disciplinary line for most of his rookie campaign.

Now it appears he’s crossed it.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced Tkachuk would have a hearing for his elbow on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in Calgary’s 5-2 win on Sunday night.

The incident occurred late in the first period behind the goal line, as Doughty went to check Tkachuk, who, with his back turned to the Kings defender, threw up the left elbow, sending Doughty to the ice.

After slowly getting to his feet, Doughty did return in the second period.

Tkachuk wasn’t penalized for the hit, but did receive a roughing minor after being confronted by L.A. blueliner Derek Forbort.

Following the game, Doughty was steamed.

“He’s a pretty dirty player, that kid,” said Doughty, per LA Kings Insider. “To be a rookie and play like that is a little surprising. I don’t know exactly what happened because I got hit in the head, but I thought he elbowed me. I can’t tell you for sure, so I’m not going to really say if I think anything should happen, but whatever it was, it hurt pretty bad, and it’s going to hurt for a little bit.”

When asked about the incident, Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan naturally said he hadn’t seen a replay, but from the bench, it appeared to be what he called a “reverse hit.”

As mentioned above, Tkachuk has been a polarizing figure in his first NHL campaign. He ran wild in an early-season game against Edmonton — one of his first introductions to the rest of the league — and, in January, was accused of slew-footing in a loss to Toronto.

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.