Mike Halford

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

With another shutout win, Johnson tightens grip on Calgary’s starting gig

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Journeyman goalie Chad Johnson, in his first season with Calgary, is beginning to show he can be a source of stability for the up-and-down Flames.

Johnson made 34 saves for his second shutout in five starts, leading Calgary over the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 on Wednesday night.

“We just wanted to come in here and stick to our system,” said Johnson, who also blanked the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 15. “Get some pucks deep and wait for our opportunities and we did that and capitalized on the chances that we had.”

Johnson is 4-1 in his past five starts.

Troy Brouwer and Micheal Ferland scored for Calgary, which has sought consistency between the pipes during the early part of the season. The Flames, whose maligned special teams came up big in this one, have traded wins and losses for five games.

“Johnny made some big saves for us and that breeds confidence throughout the lineup,” Calgary’s Matt Stajan said.

Columbus dropped to 10-3-3 in its last 16 and has lost two straight at home since rolling off seven wins in a row, a franchise record.

“We were on the outside all night long,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “Chad saw every shot. I thought our first period was good but from then it went downhill.”

Calgary, ranked 29th in penalty killing entering the game, was perfect during a long Columbus power play in the second period, and then its league-worst power play added a goal in the third.

Calgary led 1-0 despite being significantly outshot before Ferland snapped one past Sergei Bobrovsky from the slot at 6:25 of the third. Leading to the score, Dennis Wideman kept the puck in the zone on a play that Markus Hannikainen tried to skate out of danger.

Johnson did the rest, calmly turning aside shot after shot.

“There were times when we were on our heels but I think we still stuck together and battled as a group,” he said.

After a scoreless first period, the action picked up in the second. Matthew Tkachuk‘s double minor for high-sticking 14 seconds in put the Blue Jackets on the man advantage, but the league’s top power play only mustered one shot. The Flames allowed three power-play scores Monday in a loss at Buffalo.

“Sloppy, it hurt us momentum wise,” Tortorella said. “Four minutes we really had nothing accomplished. I think they end up with a couple of scoring chances.”

Calgary took the lead shortly after aided by a bad sequence for Seth Jones. He was flat footed in his own zone when his pass was easily intercepted by Brouwer at the blue line. Kris Versteeg got the puck and marched around Jones, threading a pass back to Brouwer for the doorstep tap-in to make it 1-0 at 6:35.

“I just tried to make a play and get it over to Brouwer going to the net,” Versteeg said.

Five minutes later, Cam Atkinson zoomed in on a breakaway, but Johnson gloved his shot.

“We were able to turn a corner after he (Johnson) stopped that breakaway in the second and we know it wasn’t pretty before that,” Stajan said. “But then we started to get pucks deep and shots on net. We played a solid third period. It’s a good road win.”

NOTES: Brouwer’s goal was his first in 10 games. … Jones played his second game since missing six with a foot injury. … Columbus LW Matt Calvert, who last Friday scored an overtime goal to down the Rangers after getting 36 stitches in his forehead during the game, was scratched with an upper-body ailment. … Versteeg returned after missing nine games with a bad groin. …Calgary C Sam Bennett skated in his 100th career game.


Blue Jackets: Visit Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Flames: Play the third of a season-long six-game road trip Sunday in Boston.

Here are the 66 veteran NHLers that have to be protected at expansion draft


The NHL has released a memo to all 30 teams outlining which 66 veteran NHLers are currently exempt from the expansion process — meaning they have to be protected — because of their no-movement clauses.

And Sportsnet has the memo.

Per Chris Johnston, the list was finalized late Tuesday evening after the league reviewed “the parameters of each individual contract” with the NHL Players’ Association.

The league was unable to institute a “blanket rule” to all NMCs, because those clauses are entirely negotiable and can be worded in whatever way the club or player — or, agent — sees fit.

You can read about some of the more surprising developments (Rick Nash has to be protected, Bobby Ryan doesn’t) here.

As for the list of players, here you go. Chicago leads the way with eight veterans requiring protection while Calgary, San Jose, St. Louis and Washington don’t have any.

Anaheim: Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry

Arizona: Alex Goligoski

Boston: David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci

Buffalo: Kyle Okposo

Carolina: Jordan Staal

Columbus: Sergei Bobrovsky, David Clarkson, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell

Chicago: Artem Anisimov, Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews

Colorado: Francois Beauchemin, Erik Johnson

Dallas: Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza

Detroit: Frans Nielsen

Edmonton: Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera, Cam Talbot

Florida: Keith Yandle

Los Angeles: Anze Kopitar

Minnesota: Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Ryan Suter

Montreal: Jeff Petry, Carey Price

Nashville: Pekka Rinne

New Jersey: Ryane Clowe

N.Y. Islanders: Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd, John Tavares

N.Y. Rangers: Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, Marc Staal

Ottawa: Dion Phaneuf

Philadelphia: Claude Giroux

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin

Tampa Bay: Ryan Callahan, Valtteri Filppula, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos

Toronto: Nathan Horton

Vancouver: Loui Eriksson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin

Winnipeg: Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom

As established earlier this year, teams have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:

a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

Also, all first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

After failing to catch on with Blues, Galiardi signs in KHL


T.J. Galiardi, the journeyman forward that attended St. Louis’ training camp on a PTO, has signed with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL, the club announced on Wednesday.

Galiardi, 28, came back to North America this fall after spending last season in the Swedish League, with the Malmo Redhawks. The former Avalanche, Shark, Flame and Jet appeared in over 300 NHL contests over a seven-year span, which included a career-high 15 goals and 39 points for Colorado during the 2009-10 campaign.

Galiardi was at Blues camp with a number of other veterans — Eric Nystrom, Mike Weber, Chris Porter — none of whom cracked the opening-night roster.

With Medvescak, Galiardi will skate alongside a slew of ex-NHLers, including Drew MacIntyre, Shaone Morrisonn, Alex Bolduc, Bobby Butler and Lucas Lessio


Goalie nods: Flames start Johnson for fifth time in six games


Things sure are getting interesting in Calgary.

After Brian Elliott made just his sixth start of the month on Monday — a loss to the Sabres, in which he allowed four goals on 32 shots — the Flames have decided to go back to Chad Johnson, who will make his fifth start in the last six games in Columbus.

The move from St. Louis to Calgary has proven to be a struggle for Elliott. His numbers with his new team are ugly — 3-9-0, .882 save percentage, 3.42 GAA — and first-year head coach Glen Gulutzan doesn’t seem ready to let Elliott play through it.

Part of the reason for that is Johnson, who has been the Flames’ savior lately. The journeyman has been solid in November, going 4-2-0 with a .917 save percentage, and has helped the club ever-so-slightly right the ship after a 5-10-1 start to the year.

For the host Blue Jackets, there are no such problems in goal. Sergei Bobrovsky has been terrific, and he’ll start once again tonight.


— For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk‘s back in after a rare night off (Darcy Kuemper started Monday versus Dallas). He’ll be up against Connor Hellebuyck and the Jets.

Jimmy Howard starts his third in a row for the Red Wings, who are in Buffalo. The Sabres will continue to ride Robin Lehner, who snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Calgary on Monday.

Jhonas Enroth was the first goalie off at Toronto’s morning skate, so he projects to give Frederik Andersen the night off in New Jersey. The Devils are going with Cory Schneider.

— No word yet who Pittsburgh will start in the second of a home-and-home series against the Rangers (Marc-Andre Fleury played in Monday’s 5-2 loss). New York will start Henrik Lundqvist.

Braden Holtby goes for Washington, as the Caps host the Blues. No word yet on a St. Louis starter. Jake Allen, who has been excellent lately, stopped 39 of 41 shots in last night’s win over Boston.

— Philly hasn’t confirmed, but many thought tonight would be the night for Anthony Stolarz’s NHL debut. Steve Mason made 38 saves in a 3-1 win over Florida last night, so he could get this evening off. For the Bolts, Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s in goal.

— It’s Kari Lehtonen versus Pekka Rinne as the Stars take on the Preds in Nashville.

Martin Jones, coming off a 26-save shutout of the Devils on Monday, will be back in goal for the Sharks. Chicago has yet to announce a starter.

Cam Talbot, coming off a 31-save shutout of the Blackhawks on Monday, will be back in goal for the Oilers. He’ll be up against Semyon Varlamov, who was huge for Colorado in an OT win against the Jackets last time out.

Ryan Miller makes his first start since Nov. 13, when the Canucks visit Arizona. Mike Smith goes for the Coyotes, in a veteran-laden matchup.

Jaroslav Halak returns to No. 1 duties for the Isles, after Thomas Greiss beat the Ducks in a shootout last night. He’ll square off against Peter Budaj, in goal for the host Kings.

Avs to healthy scratch Grigorenko for first time this season


Earlier today, we passed along news of Nikita Zadorov responding — positively — to Colorado making him a healthy scratch.

Now, the Avs are doing the same with another key piece acquired in the Ryan O'Reilly trade.

Mikhail Grigorenko, who has six points while appearing in all 18 games this year, will be parked in the press box when Colorado hosts Edmonton this evening, per the Denver Post.

Grigorenko got off to a reasonably solid start this year, scoring four points in his first seven games, which included a season-high 16:48 of ice time in a win over the Bolts. But things have tailed off in November — he’s failed to crack 10 minutes played in three of his last four games, which included just 9:32 in Monday’s win over the Jackets.

It’s a bit surprising that head coach Jared Bednar would tinker with a winning lineup. Colorado has won back-to-back games for just the second time this year, and is about to embark on a five-game homestand that runs through Dec. 3.

It looks as though Joe Colborne — a healthy scratch against Columbus — will draw back into the lineup tonight.