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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Flames prospect Parsons starts for U.S. in big WJC tilt against Russia

Tyler Parsons, who backstopped the U.S. past Switzerland in the quarterfinal round, has been tabbed by head coach Bob Motzko as the starter for today’s big semifinal tilt against Russia, per NHL.com.

Parsons, taken 54th overall by Calgary at last year’s draft, has largely split netminding duties with Leafs prospect Joe Woll, who beat Canada in the group phase and has the highest save percentage (.935) in the tournament.

Parsons has been the lead dog, however, getting five games to Woll’s three, including the aforementioned quarterfinal win over Switzerland. Parsons was arguably the best U.S. player on Tuesday — despite only facing 16 shots, he made several tough saves late to push the Americans to a narrow victory.

The 19-year-old now gets another shot at defeating the Russians in this tournament. Parsons made 25 saves in a 3-2 win back in the group stage and, per fellow Flame Matthew Tkachuk — who Parsons played junior with in OHL London — the talented ‘tender was full value for the win.

“He was unbelievable in the game against Russia,” Tkachuk said, per the Flames’ website. “In my opinion, he won them that game.”

Panthers send McIlrath to minors for conditioning

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Dylan McIlrath, the former 10th overall pick Florida acquired from the Rangers in November, has been sent to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate on a conditioning loan, the club announced on Wednesday.

The decision comes after McIlrath had appeared in just four games since being acquired. His last came on Dec. 15, when he played sparingly (6:09 TOI) in a shootout loss to Winnipeg.

A big (6-foot-5, 236 pounds), physical defenseman, McIlrath came into the league high on promise but has failed to materialize, due in large part to his average skating ability and lack of offense.

There was hope within the Panthers organization he would add some needed snarl to the lineup, but neither head coach — Gerard Gallant or Tom Rowe — dressed McIlrath enough to make an impact.

Conditioning loans are of the two-week variety, so this will give McIlrath a chance to play some games. But it’s hard to see him jumping back into the Panthers lineup after that, especially if the club is still in the thick of the playoff chase.

Crosby, Subban, Price, McDavid named All-Star Game captains

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The votes are in, and the four divisional captains have been named for the 2017 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

From the NHL:

Forwards Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, defenseman P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and goalie Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens topped their respective divisions in fan votes in the 2017 NHL All-Star Fan Vote to earn the first spots and captaincy in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 29.

Price and Crosby captured the most votes in the Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division, respectively, while Subban led the Central Division and McDavid topped the Pacific Division.

Today’s announcement shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given all four were leading their respective divisions when the NHL last updated voting totals.

Last year, in Nashville, John Scott captained the Pacific Division to victory over the Jaromir Jagr-led Atlantic in the tournament final. John Tavares captained the Metro, while Patrick Kane wore the “C” for the Central.

Goalie nods: Bobrovsky named December’s first star, looks to continue win streak

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First, the award — Columbus netminder Sergei Bobrovsky has been named the NHL’s first star for December:

Bobrovsky went 12-0-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average and .939 save percentage to guide the Blue Jackets (26-5-4, 56 points) to a perfect 14-0-0 December and the top of the League standings.

In doing so, Columbus equaled the second-longest single-season winning streak in NHL history (15) and became just the second team in League history to win every outing in a calendar month of at least 10 games (PIT: 15-0-0 in March 2013).

Bobrovsky allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 12 December appearances and also made 30-plus saves five times, including a season-high 37 stops Dec. 27 vs. BOS.

Needless to say, it was a pretty good month. Now Bobrovsky will look to continue that form — and Columbus’ 15-game winning streak — when the Jackets host Edmonton at Nationwide. This will be the second time Bob’s faced Connor McDavid and company this season, having previously stopped 33 shots in a 3-1 win in mid-December.

For Edmonton, Cam Talbot gets the nod. He too enjoyed a very good December, going 7-1-4 with a .924 save percentage and 2.26 GAA.

Elsewhere…

Eddie Lack is back on the shelf with a concussion, so Cam Ward starts yet again for the ‘Canes. No word yet on who goes for the visiting Devils.

Anders Nilsson gets the nod for the Sabres, who are in New York this evening. No word yet on a Rangers starter.

— Good matchup in Washington, where Braden Holtby and the Caps will host Frederik Andersen and the Leafs. Holtby is coming off a 23-save win over Ottawa on Sunday, and Andersen is riding a personal four-game winning streak.

— The Lightning will continue to ride Andrei Vasilevskiy, with Ben Bishop sidelined due to injury. The Russian ‘tender has won four of his last six starts, and will try for five in seven when the Bolts host Connor Hellebuyck and the Jets.

— In a much-ballyhooed game in Nashville, Carey Price and the Habs take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds. Price is looking to rebound after losing three consecutive starts, while Rinne is looking over his shoulder at backup Juuse Saros, who has played very well in limited minutes.

— The Sharks and Kings renew their rivalry in San Jose tonight and, unsurprisingly, both teams are going with their No. 1s: Martin Jones for the Sharks, Peter Budaj for the Kings.

Video: Pacioretty struck by Weber shot, helped off ice

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No shortage of storylines ahead of tonight’s Habs-Preds tilt in Nashville.

P.K. Subban is hurt, and unable to face his former team. Shea Weber is healthy, and is bracing for an emotional return to the Music City. And now, Weber’s involved in another development after his slapshot felled Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty during the morning skate.

Pacioretty is now questionable for tonight’s tilt, coach Michel Therrien said (per ESPN).

The Habs can ill-afford to lose Pacioretty, who leads the team in goals (15) and points (30). They’re already dealing with a slew of injuries to key players: Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw, David Desharnais and Andrei Markov, most notably.