Mike Halford

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

Slumping Avs waive Mitchell, another Roy favorite

Less than 24 hours after a deflating 4-0 loss in Chicago, the Avs shook up their roster by placing veteran forward John Mitchell on waivers.

Mitchell, 31, had only appeared in four games this year, going pointless while averaging just 9:20 TOI.

A favorite of former head coach Patrick Roy, Mitchell has been with the Avs for the last five seasons. The only forwards with longer tenure are Matt Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog.

At times, Mitchell played a key role among the Colorado forward group — like last year, when he scored 10 goals and 21 points in 71 games, averaging a healthy 15:15 a night.

Mitchell’s best campaign in Colorado came in ’13-14, when he scored a career-high 32 points in 75 games, playing over 16 per.

Today’s move might not make huge waves — Mitchell is in the last of a three-year, $5.4 million deal, and set to be a UFA on July 1 anyway — but it is somewhat telling, from the “moving-on-from-Roy” perspective.

This past offseason, GM Joe Sakic traded away another Roy favorite, Nick Holden, to the Rangers in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Roy liked Holden so much that he called Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault, telling Vigneault “you just got one of my better defensemen.”

Not long after that call, Roy resigned as Colorado’s head coach. Jared Bednar was hired shortly thereafter.

Of course, there may be more to the Mitchell situation.

He’s had a myriad of injuries during his time with the Avs, including a series of concussion problems. This year, he missed time to an “annoying and very tedious” hip ailment.

Habs say it’s ‘way too early’ for Radulov extension

Getty
4 Comments

Alex Radulov‘s latest NHL return has gone swimmingly — three goals and eight points in 10 games thus far — and he’s played a big role in the club’s scintillating 9-0-1 start.

This, unsurprisingly, has some fans clamoring for Montreal to get him re-signed.

To that, GM Marc Bergevin has a message:

Relax.

“Way too early,” Bergevin said, per ESPN. “I remember when we traded for [Thomas] Vanek, and he really helped us get into the playoffs — he did — at the end it didn’t work out as well for him and us down the stretch. For the first month or so after we got him, some fans and media were saying, ‘Sign, sign, sign.’

Invoking Vanek’s name might seem like a huge powder keg, given how poorly his time in Montreal ended (see here and here and here).

But you can see where Bergevin’s coming from.

For starters, the Habs can’t sign Radulov — currently on a one-year, $5.75 million deal — to an extension until Jan. 1. That’s just under two months away. Plenty can transpire from now ’til then, like an injury or Radulov doing Radulov things.

Secondly, Bergevin has some other important deals on the horizon. Alex Galchenyuk is in the last year of his entry-level contract, as is Nathan Beaulieu. Decisions will also need to be make on a pair of tenured veteran UFAs — Andrei Markov and David Desharnais — and it’ll be interesting to see what the club does with backup netminder Al Montoya, who’s been a terrific addition thus far.

Add it all up, and it’s not surprising Bergevin is preaching restraint when it comes to Radulov.

“You’ve got to be patient,” he said. “There’s lots of time.”

DeBoer: Sharks ‘getting a lesson’ in having target on their backs

Getty
3 Comments

The Sharks are noticing something after making the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history:

They’re on everybody’s radar.

You can’t blame the defending Western Conference champs for being unfamiliar with this position — heck, this is new for everybody in San Jose — but according to head coach Peter DeBoer, the Sharks better get used to it, and quick, if they want to snap out of their uneven start (6-5-0).

From CSN Bay Area, following Thursday’s 3-2 home loss to Calgary:

Makes you wonder if DeBoer’s “target on our back” message has gotten through to everyone yet. Indications are that it hasn’t.

“If they don’t [understand the message], we’re getting a lesson in that pretty much nightly here,” DeBoer said. “The desperation level of the teams we’re playing is very high, and ours is high for stages of the game, but not for 60 minutes.

“This is a league where if you don’t play desperate for 60 minutes you’re really limiting your opportunities to win, and I think that’s where we’re at right now.”

One of the biggest issues in San Jose right now?

Offense.

Traditionally one of the league’s most prolific scoring teams, the Sharks sit 21st in goals per game, and there are a few key suspects in that regard. Big free agent signing Mikkel Boedker has found the back of the net just twice, the same amount Joel Ward and Tommy Wingels have combined.

But with that said, it’s not like the Sharks are playing poorly.

They’re top-10 in GAA and on the penalty kill, and the power play is clicking at a respectable 22 percent. They’ve also ripped off a three-game winning streak already.

The problem, it seems, comes from the opposition.

The Sharks are an elite team, and spent an awful lot of time in the spotlight last season. That usually translates into being a measuring stick for the other team or, if nothing else, a game they can get up for. It’s what DeBoer keeps harping on, and one wonders if he’s referring to his time in New Jersey, when the Devils followed up their surprise Stanley Cup Final appearance by missing the playoffs altogether the following season.

In that light, the next few weeks will be interesting.

The Sharks will take their show on the road beginning Nov. 8 for a huge six-game trip through Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, St. Louis and Arizona.

Gilbert suspended three games for driving Ritchie ‘violently’ into boards

PHT
5 Comments

The NHL has come down on Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert, suspending him three games for a check from behind on Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie.

“Approaching Ritchie from behind, Gilbert finishes with a solid hit through Ritchie’s numbers and left shoulder, driving him violently into the boards and causing an injury,” the Department of Player Safety explained.

The DoPS noted that Ritchie put himself in a vulnerable position, but did so well in advance of the Gilbert hit.

The incident, which occurred in the second period of Anaheim’s 4-0 win on Tuesday, knocked Ritchie out of action and kept him sidelined for last night’s game as well, a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

The Kings will now be without Gilbert for tonight’s game against the Pens, Saturday’s game against the Flames and Tuesday’s tilt in Toronto — their first of a five-game road swing.

Gilbert will be eligible to return on Thursday, Nov. 10 in Montreal.

With him gone, the Kings have recalled Kevin Gravel from AHL Ontario. Gravel will immediately jump into the lineup — L.A. was already down a defenseman with Brayden McNabb hurt — and likely skate alongside Alec Martinez.

Jake Muzzin will assume his usual role alongside Drew Doughty, while Derek Forbort and Matt Greene will make up the third pairing.

Of note, Gilbert — who does have a supplemental discipline history, having been fined for a high hit on Matt Stajan back in 2010 — will forfeit $23,333.34 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Goalie nods: Talbot to face Rangers for first time since trade

AP

Since getting dealt to Edmonton at the 2015 draft, Cam Talbot and the Oilers have faced the Rangers twice.

Talbot, however, was merely a spectator.

The now-departed Anders Nilsson got both games against the Blueshirts last year, meaning Talbot will finally get to face his former team tonight when the Oilers visit MSG.

Talbot struggled early in Edmonton, but really came on near the end of the year and has been terrific this season. He enters Thursday’s action sporting a 7-2-1 record with a .214 GAA and .932 save percentage, and was named the NHL’s first star of the week back on Oct. 24.

He’s established himself as a bonafide No. 1 in Edmonton, but first displayed that potential while serving as Henrik Lundqvist‘s backup in New York.

It’s a time Lundqvist remembers well.

“I think how hard you want to work when you come to the rink every day, that’s step one, and he had that,” Lundqvist said, per Yahoo. “Always a great attitude coming to the rink and wants to pay the price. But if you combine the hard work, the talent and paying attention to details, I think that’s going to pay off. That’s something I saw working with him, and he’s a competitive guy, too.”

Speaking of Lundqvist, he’s in for the Rangers tonight.

Related: AV shares key to Rangers’ winning ways

Elsewhere…

Jaroslav Halak goes for the Isles, after coming on in relief of Thomas Greiss during a ghastly 6-1 loss to the Lightning on Tuesday. Steve Mason is likely for the Flyers.

Frederik Andersen takes on Robin Lehner as the Leafs visit Buffalo.

— The Jets will continue the Connor HellebuyckMichael Hutchinson flip-flop tonight, as Hutchinson starts against the Caps (Hellebuyck got them on Tuesday night). As per usual, Braden Holtby‘s in for the Caps.

Mike Condon will make his first start for Ottawa, against the visiting Canucks. Condon was acquired from Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick yesterday, and is the temporary No. 1 with Andrew Hammond hurt and Craig Anderson taking a personal leave to be with his wife. Jacob Markstrom goes for Vancouver.

Tuukka Rask will start for the B’s in Tampa Bay. The Lightning will give Ben Bishop the night off, and go with Andrei Vasilevskiy.

— Former Vancouver teammates meet in Florida, as Roberto Luongo and the Panthers host Cory Schneider and the Devils.

— After getting yanked in a 5-0 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday, Jake Allen is back in goal for the Blues. He’ll be up against Antti Niemi, who hasn’t been great for Dallas this year (though neither has Kari Lehtonen.)

— Colorado goes with Semyon Varlamov in Chicago. The ‘Hawks counter with Corey Crawford.

Pekka Rinne will look to build on his 28-save victory over Colorado on Tuesday, with a start in Arizona. The Coyotes are going with Louis Domingue.

— After Matt Murray was victorious in his season debut last night, the Pens will turn to Marc-Andre Fleury in L.A. No word yet on a Kings starter.

Chad Johnson gives Brian Elliott the night off as the Flames visit San Jose. The Sharks will go with Martin Jones.