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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Jets have had extension talks with Cheveldayoff, none with Maurice

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After missing the playoffs for a second consecutive year, Winnipeg faces a number of questions this summer.

And many of those questions start at the top.

The future of GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach Paul Maurice are chief among those queries and, during Monday’s end-of-year media availability, both individuals touched on what the future has in store.

Both are heading into the final year of their respective deals. Per the Sun, Cheveldayoff’s had discussions about an extension while Maurice has yet to open similar talks.

Cheveldayoff’s been in charge of the Jets since their relocation from Atlanta in 2011. Reviews have been mixed. There’s an obvious level of disappointment with just one playoff appearance but, at the same time, the 47-year-old has stockpiled a tremendous amount of young, promising talent, primarily through the draft.

Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey have all come aboard on Cheveldayoff’s watch, and become important pieces. This year also saw the debuts of two highly touted ’15 draftees — Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic — while Eric Comrie, regarded as the team’s potential goalie of the future, also saw his first NHL action.

Other Cheveldayoff picks like Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp and Nic Petan have also graduated to the big club.

As for Maurice, Cheveldayoff said the veteran bench boss has his “full support.”

The 50-year-old has been in charge of the Jets since taking over from Claude Noel in ’13-14 and, like Cheveldayoff, reviews have been mixed. The Jets have been one of the league’s least disciplined teams under Maurice — the Jets took 307 minor penalties this year, fourth-most — and that issue was compounded by an awful penalty kill that finished 26th in the NHL.

But Maurice has also been somewhat undone by lacklustre goaltending, a signature problem of the Cheveldayoff era. Ondrej Pavelec, Al Montoya, Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck were Maurice’s primary options over the last four years, and none really got the job done.

Guerin, Drury named to U.S. management team for Worlds

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USA Hockey is going with a collaborative approach for selecting this year’s roster for the World Hockey Championships.

The National Team Advisory Group — led by USA Hockey’s Jim Johannson — was announced on Monday, and included a pair of former NHLers now in managerial roles: Bill Guerin, currently the assistant GM in Pittsburgh, and Chris Drury, who serves the same role for the Rangers.

More:

[The National Team Advisory Group also] includes NHL general managers Stan Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), Dean Lombardi (L.A. Kings), David Poile (Nashville Predators), and Ray Shero (New Jersey Devils), along with Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon and Carolina Hurricanes President Don Waddell.

Guerin, 46, retired from playing in 2010 and moved immediately into hockey ops. He spent three years as the Penguins’ developmental coach before transitioning to front office work in 2014.

Drury, 40, wrapped up his career in ’11, only to circle back with the Rangers four years later. He came on in ’15 as the director of player development and, last summer, was promoted to work under GM Jeff Gorton.

It’s worth noting that both Guerin and Drury are members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Tavares hopeful for extension with Isles, Weight hopeful to return

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Though the offseason is usually filled with various subplots, it’s safe to predict which two will be front and center for the Isles this summer.

The first is the negotiation of captain John Tavares‘ contract.

The second is the decision to keep interim head coach Doug Weight, or go in a different direction.

Under the CBA, Tavares is eligible to sign a new deal with the Isles on July 1. Back at January’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, the 26-year-old said he was hoping to get something done.

“Yeah, of course. Yeah, for sure,” Tavares said. “I mean, I’ve always stated how much I enjoy playing on Long Island, and the organization, how well they’ve supported me. Obviously, we’ve had some new ownership come in. They’ve brought some real good commitment and show their vision for the future.

“I’m excited about where the Islanders are headed, and hopefully we can work something out.”

Today, he reiterated as much.

Tavares is heading into the last of a six-year, $33 million deal with a $5.5M cap hit. It’s already been suggested he could join Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar in the $10 million cap hit club, but deals of that magnitude take time to negotiate. Kopitar, you’ll recall, had to wait until January of the final year of his contract before securing an eight-year, $80 million extension from the Kings.

In addition to extension talks, Tavares also touched on Weight today.

“[He] sparked the great finish we had, a lot of guys responded,” No. 91 said, per WRHU Sports. “Have a lot of respect for [Weight].”

The Isles went 24-12-4 after Weight took over from Jack Capuano, and made a furious push for the playoffs. New York’s two big veteran free agent signings, Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera, seemed to come alive under Weight after struggling to start the campaign under Capuano.

Unsurprisingly, Weight said he really wanted to be back behind the bench next season.

“It’s going to be healthier for us as a franchise and an organization to move forward as quick as we can and figure things out,” Weight said Sunday, per NHL.com. “That’s where I’ll leave that. I’m going to meet with everybody. First of all, no matter where I am, hopefully in this organization somewhere whether it’s here or somewhere else helping this team win, the city, the fans get what they deserve, a consistent winner.

“We’ve got to get the players off and talk about what they have to do in the offseason and talk about this year and to focus on getting off to a good start next year. But I’m going to think everything over, I’m going to talk to my bosses, which I think we all know we have to do, and figure this out.

With Ruff gone, who are some coaching candidates for Dallas?

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The Lindy Ruff era in Dallas is over.

And with that, the search for a new head coach begins.

Replacing Ruff — who, on Sunday, learned he wouldn’t be brought back for a fifth year behind the bench — will be a crucial decision from GM Jim Nill. The Stars floundered this year after a banner ’15-16 campaign, and there were constant issues about the club’s style of play, organization and structure. There were also concerns about individual players too often going off-script to search for offense.

With that said, here’s a quick look at some names making the rounds.

Ken Hitchcock: This one has been out there for quite some time, and with good reason. Hitchcock is one of the most celebrated figures in franchise history, the bench boss responsible for leading Dallas to its first and only Stanley Cup back in ’99.

At 65, he’s probably looking for a team that’s closer to competing — rather than overseeing a rebuild project — and in that regard, the Stars do fit the bill. Hitch is also still known as one of the NHL’s better defensive tacticians, which could alleviate some of the aforementioned structural concerns.

Kirk Muller: Another guy with major ties to the organization. Muller spent his final four years playing in Dallas, helping the team to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2001, and has since honed his coaching craft as the head man in Carolina, along with assistant gigs in Montreal and St. Louis (where he worked under Hitchcock).

Muller has a reputation as an innovative, creative coach. That creativity earned him praise with the Habs this year, as he helped orchestrate the NHL’s 13th-best power play.

Gerard Gallant: His ties are more to Nill than with the Stars organization, but they’re still pretty deep. Gallant and Nill played together in Detroit. A Jack Adams finalist with Florida last season, Gallant was controversially fired by the Panthers this year and has been linked to a number of jobs since, including the still-to-be-filled Vegas gig.

Paul MacLean: Currently an assistant in Anaheim, MacLean has a terrific resume (winning the Adams in ’13) and, like Gallant, has ties to Nill. MacLean was a longtime Mike Babcock assistant in Detroit — while Nill held a similar AGM title under Ken Holland — and the pair won a Cup together in 2008.

Todd Nelson: A darkhorse candidate, but one worth mentioning. Currently the head coach of AHL Grand Rapids, Nelson is another guy with ties to Nill (he actually played for Detroit’s minor-league affiliate while Nill was there) and is considered one of the better bench bosses on the minor league circuit. Nelson has NHL experience, having served an interim stint in Edmonton, and has enjoyed good success with the Griffins over the last two years.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round schedule

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Here are the schedules and TV information for the first round. For the sixth consecutive year, every Stanley Cup playoff game will be presented nationally across the platforms of NBC Sports Group and select NBCUniversal networks.

(Games listed by date, start time, teams and network.)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

Wednesday, April 12 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Montreal NBCSN (Game 1 highlights)
Friday, April 14 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Montreal USA (Game 2 highlights)
Sunday, April 16 7 p.m. Montreal at NY Rangers NBCSN (Game 3 highlights)
Tuesday, April 18 7 p.m. Montreal at NY Rangers NBCSN (Game 4 highlights)
Thursday, April 20 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Montreal USA (Game 5 highlights)
Saturday, April 22 8 p.m. Montreal at NY Rangers NBC (Watch)
*Monday, April 24 TBD NY Rangers at Montreal TBD

Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Thursday, April 13 7 p.m. Toronto at Washington USA (Game 1 highlights)
Saturday, April 15 7 p.m. Toronto at Washington NBCSN (Game 2 highlights)
Monday, April 17 7 p.m. Washington at Toronto NBCSN (Game 3 highlights)
Wednesday, April 19 7 p.m. Washington at Toronto NBCSN (Game 4 highlights)
Friday, April 21 7 p.m. Toronto at Washington NBCSN (Watch)
*Sunday, April 23 TBD Washington at Toronto TBD
*Tuesday, April 25 TBD Toronto at Washington TBD

Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins

Wednesday, April 12 7 p.m. Boston at Ottawa NHL Network (Game 1 highlights)
Saturday, April 15 3 p.m. Boston at Ottawa NBC (Game 2 highlights)
Monday, April 17 7 p.m. Ottawa at Boston CNBC (Game 3 highlights)
Wednesday, April 19 7:30 p.m. Ottawa at Boston USA (Game 4 highlights)
Friday, April 21 7:30 p.m. Boston at Ottawa USA (Watch)
*Sunday, April 23 TBD Ottawa at Boston TBD
*Wednesday, April 26 TBD Boston at Ottawa TBD

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Wednesday, April 12 7:30 p.m. Columbus at Pittsburgh USA (Game 1 highlights)
Friday, April 14 7 p.m. Columbus at Pittsburgh NHL Network (Game 2 highlights)
Sunday, April 16 6 p.m. Pittsburgh at Columbus CNBC (Game 3 highlights)
Tuesday, April 18 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Columbus CNBC (Game 4 highlights)
Thursday, April 20 7 p.m. Columbus at Pittsburgh NHL Network (Game 5 highlights)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators

Thursday, April 13 8 p.m. Nashville at Chicago NBCSN (Game 1 highlights)
Saturday, April 15 8 p.m. Nashville at Chicago NBC (Game 2 highlights)
Monday, April 17 9:30 p.m. Chicago at Nashville CNBC (Game 3 highlights)
Thursday, April 20 8 p.m. Chicago at Nashville NBCSN (Game 4 highlights)

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

Wednesday, April 12 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota NBCSN (Game 1 highlights)
Friday, April 14 8 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota NBCSN (Game 2 highlights)
Sunday, April 16 3 p.m. Minnesota at St. Louis NBC (Game 3 highlights)
Wednesday, April 19 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at St. Louis NBCSN (Game 4 highlights)
Saturday, April 22 3 p.m. St. Louis at Minnesota NBC (Watch)
*Monday, April 24 TBD Minnesota at St. Louis TBD
*Wednesday, April 26 TBD St. Louis at Minnesota TBD

Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames

Thursday, April 13 10:30 p.m. Calgary at Anaheim NBCSN (Game 1 highlights)
Saturday, April 15 10:30 p.m. Calgary at Anaheim NBCSN (Game 2 highlights)
Monday, April 17 10 p.m. Anaheim at Calgary NBCSN (Game 3 highlights)
Wednesday, April 19 10 p.m. Anaheim at Calgary USA (Game 4 highlights)

Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks

Wednesday, April 12 10 p.m. San Jose at Edmonton USA (Game 1 highlights)
Friday, April 14 10:30 p.m. San Jose at Edmonton NBCSN (Game 2 highlights)
Sunday, April 16 10 p.m. Edmonton at San Jose NBCSN (Game 3 highlights)
Tuesday, April 18 10 p.m. Edmonton at San Jose NBCSN (Game 4 highlights)
Thursday, April 20 10:30 p.m. San Jose at Edmonton NBCSN (Game 5 highlights)
Saturday, April 22 10:30 p.m. Edmonton at San Jose NBCSN (Watch)
*Monday, April 24 TBD San Jose at Edmonton TBD

*if necessary