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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Hansen ‘made it very clear’ he wants to remain a Canuck

Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen is fully aware that teams may want to trade for him ahead of the March 1 deadline.

The speedy winger is also aware that his limited no-trade clause (he can provide a list of eight teams he’d be willing to join) doesn’t give him full control of  the situation.

But for the record, he doesn’t want to be traded.

“If [Vancouver] comes to me, I give them my list and then it’s in their hands,” Hansen explained, per The Province. “I can’t veto a trade. If (Canucks GM Jim Benning) wants to trade me, he can trade me.”

Read more: Expansion draft complicates matters in Vancouver

On paper, Hansen would be a solid fit for a number of playoff-bound teams — something the Canucks aren’t, barring a major run down the stretch.

In the third year of a four-year, $10 million deal, Hansen carries a tidy $2.5 million cap hit. That’s good value for a 30-year-old who has tons of speed, the versatility to play up and down the lineup, and scored 22 goals last season.

Vancouver knows Hansen could fetch a nice return on the trade market. That, combined with the disaster of last year — Benning was pilloried for failing to flip Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata, assets that eventually walked away for nothing in free agency — has put major pressure on management to get this year right.

Hansen has even more value given he’s not purely a rental. The acquiring team would secure his services for next season as well. That, according to him, opens the door for more than the usual deadline suitors, in that Hansen’s eight teams don’t have to be guaranteed to make the playoffs.

He wants to remain a Canuck, though — so even if he’s asked for a list, he may not provide the easiest of trade options.

“I have another year on my contract, so maybe a team that’s not in the playoffs would want me for next year,” he explained. “It’s tough for me to figure out what’s going to happen. But I’ve made it very clear I’d prefer to stay here.”

Goalie nods: Bobrovsky looks to put rough stretch behind him

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It was a forgettable month of January for All-Star Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

After a terrific opening three months, Bobrovsky went just 4-4 in January while posting a mediocre .908 save percentage. Not surprisingly, the Blue Jackets cooled off following their torrid start, which led to some griping from head coach John Tortorella.

But things could be trending back in the right direction.

Bobrovsky has won two of his last three, making 80 saves on 86 shots for a .930 save percentage. Tonight’ he’ll get to build on that with a home date against the Rangers at Nationwide — a club he’s had some success against. Earlier this season, he made 25 saves in a 4-2 victory, and it’s worth noting he’s been very good at home this season, boasting an 18-6-0 record.

It’s no secret that Bobrovsky is hugely important to the Jackets, and it’s fair to suggest how far they go this season is entirely dependent on him. He’s been an absolute workhorse for Tortorella this season, sitting eighth in the NHL in games played (44) and sixth in shots faced (1254).

For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the nod tonight.

Elsewhere…

— Just one other game on the ledger, as the Coyotes travel to Calgary to take on the Flames. Mike Smith is back in goal for Arizona, after he beat the defending champion Penguins in a shootout on Saturday. For the Flames, Chad Johnson will start after he also beat the Penguins in his last start, a 33-save effort last Tuesday.

 

Kings play-by-play man Miller still out after mild stroke

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Bob Miller, the Hall of Fame television play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Kings, will miss another seven games while he continues recuperating from a mild stroke he suffered last month.

The team said Monday that Miller is recovering at home and “remains in great spirits.” The 78-year-old announcer was stricken on Jan. 28 and admitted to a hospital where he underwent an undisclosed procedure.

The Kings said Miller will provide another update on his return near the end of the month. He is in his 44th season with the Kings. Miller missed the final three months of last season because of quadruple bypass surgery.

Miller had already reduced his travel schedule during the team’s 50th anniversary season. He planned to call 58 games, including all home games, and the first round of the playoffs if the team advances.

The team said Ralph Strangis will pair with Jim Fox to call games on Fox Sports West from Feb. 16-28. Strangis has filled in for Miller this season and formerly was the voice of the Dallas Stars.

‘Hits too hard for college’ — Ohio State’s Healey drawing major NHL interest

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Keep an eye on Ohio State blueliner Josh Healey as the window to sign undrafted college free agents begins.

Also, keep your head up.

Healey, who’s emerged as one of the most lethal hitters in college hockey, is reportedly garnering interest from a number of NHL clubs, per TSN. The 6-foot, 196-pound defenseman is a fourth-year senior at OSU and, over the last two years, has run afoul of the Big Ten’s disciplinary board due to his physical play.

Healey had twice been suspended prior to this weekend, when he delivered this check in a game against Minnesota:

That one netted Healey a two-game suspension.

More on Healey, from TSN:

“Old school – keep your head up when he’s on the ice,” one NHL executive said of the 22-year-old from Edmonton who has generated interest from almost every NHL club.

“Hits too hard for college hockey,” another NHL scout said. “His game will be better suited to pro.”

Healey attended the 2016 summer development camps of both the Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators. In 2015, he attended the Edmonton Oilers’ summer development camp. Those clubs are among the large group of NHL teams that will be competing to sign Healey once OSU’s season is over.

Scouts say he’s a decent first-pass defenceman but his forte is open-ice hitting and playing a hard, physical game. He projects as a depth or perhaps third-pairing type defenceman. He’s not a sure bet to play in the NHL, but certainly worth a shot.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted it’s a “thin” year for college free agents, which could further spike interest in Healey.

Perry blasted for ‘dirty’ play for second time in as many weeks (Video)

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Exactly 14 days ago, Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault had some harsh words for Anaheim’s Corey Perry, accusing Perry of a “dirty” slash that broke his finger.

Today, Perry’s back in the news.

Following Saturday’s 6-4 win over the Ducks, Caps forward Daniel Winnik called out Perry for an ugly-looking trip (as seen in the video above).

“Completely,” Winnik told CSN Washington, when asked if he took exception to the incident. “That’s how that whole thing started. I thought it was a dirty play.”

Perry was given a tripping minor on the play, in addition to a second penalty for roughing Winnik after the trip.

If you’ll recall, this isn’t the first time Perry’s come under fire for a questionable bit of footwork.

At last year’s World Hockey Championship, Perry — playing for Team Canada — kicked Patrick Laine’s feet out from under him in a round-robin game against Finland.

Perry pleaded ignorance after the game, claiming he “had no idea” what an inquisitive reporter was talking about in addressing the Laine trip.

The former Hart Trophy winner avoided both in-game and supplemental discipline for his antics.