Mike Halford

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

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.

Duclair addresses trade rumors with Chayka, Tippett

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Last month, Arizona sent slumping sophomore Anthony Duclair to its AHL affiliate in Tucson, so he could “regain his scoring touch” and “rejoin the team soon.”

That was 25 days ago.

Since then, Duclair’s scored just one goal in nine games for the Roadrunners, and seen his name surface in trade talks. With no recall in sight, the 21-year-old acknowledged he’s spoken with GM John Chayka and head coach Dave Tippett about his future with the organization.

“It’s obviously there,” Duclair said, per the Arizona Republic. “It’s tough to get away from that but at the same time, I’m not too worried about it. I talked with Tip and (General Manager) John (Chayka) about that, about trade speculation and stuff like that.

“We’ll talk contract this summer. I’m not too worried about that. It’s just a matter of keep working hard and get back up here as soon as possible.”

After scoring 20 goals and 44 points in 81 games last year, big things were expected from Duclair this season. But he struggled mightily not just to score, but also produce scoring chances — and after just three goals and nine points in 41 games, he was sent packing.

Tippett minced few words in describing Duclair’s season. He said the 21-year-old has underwhelmed and failed to live up to expectations, adding that Duclair “can’t just hope to score — he needs to put the work in.”

A pending RFA, one has to wonder if Duclair will be in play at the deadline. Chayka has several assets in play — UFAs Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata chief among them — and there’s always the potential of flipping captain Shane Doan to a contender.

That could push the Duclair situation to the backburner, allowing the organization to circle back this summer when it comes time to qualifying him or not.

‘Phone has started to ring’ in Anaheim, but Murray won’t trade young d-men for rentals

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As we get closer to the trade deadline, the Ducks continue to emerge as potentially huge players.

With a boatload of good young defensemen and an offense that could use a punch — Anaheim sits 19th in the NHL in goals per game — all the makings are there for a significant move.

So where do things stand?

“The phone has started to ring,” GM Bob Murray said, per the O.C. Register. “Not specifically about the young defensemen but more about teams preparing for the deadline.”

Ah yes, the young defensemen.

Anaheim has one of the best 25-and-under collections in hockey. Last month, AHL standout Brandon Montour made his big league debut, thereby joining a group that already included Shea Theodore, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson.

The latter three are already established as full-time NHLers. Beyond those, there’s also ’15 first-rounder Jacob Larsson (who made his NHL debut earlier this year) and Swedish blueliner Marcus Pettersson, who was taken 17 spots ahead of Montour at the ’14 draft.

Fowler, of course, has been floated in trade rumors for a while. There was widespread speculation he’d be moved at last year’s draft, to the point where even he expressed surprise that he wasn’t dealt. But such a move seems unlikely now, largely because he’s been arguably Anaheim’s best blueliner this season.

Which points to other assets potentially in play.

Also in play? The looming specter of this summer’s expansion draft.

From the Register:

Murray also has to factor in the expansion draft and the three defensemen to protect in order to make seven forwards off limits. Being able to get defender Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause will be key in any 7-3-1 expansion plan.

But if he’s going to move one of his prized assets, it is going to be for someone who is going to remain with the Ducks beyond this season. “Any young player deal would be a hockey deal,” Murray said, “not a rental.”

At this stage, it’s hard not to connect the dots to Colorado. The Avs are in major need of blueline help, have two good forwards in Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene — both under contract through 2021 and 2019, respectively — and Avs GM Joe Sakic was in attendance for recent Ducks game.

Related: Is Anaheim readying to move a defenseman?

Report: Oilers interested in acquiring Brian Boyle

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Sounds like Edmonton’s in the market for some size and depth at center, per the Journal:

If you’re wondering what Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has been up in full buyer mode to with the NHL trade deadline three weeks away, he’s been looking at third-line centres.

He was spotted in Minnesota a few days ago when Tampa Bay was there.

Chiarelli was looking at Lightning unrestricted free-agent Brian Boyle, who’s averaging almost 14 minutes a game, is winning more than 50 per cent of his draws and has 12 goals.

Boyle, 32, would certainly be a fit with the Oilers, especially in the size department.

Edmonton already boasts some big bodies at forward — Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon, Zack Kassian and Matt Hendricks — but all four play the wing. The 6-foot-6, 244-pound Boyle would provide a size upgrade down the middle, given bottom two centers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Letestu aren’t exactly the most physically imposing specimens.

Boyle also has a ton of playoff experience, with over 100 games and back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances with the Rangers (’14) and Lightning (’15). Last year, he scored five times in 17 postseason appearances.

Two things to note here.

One, it’s still unclear if Bolts GM Steve Yzerman will sell off any assets (yes, even a pending UFA like Boyle). Tampa’s made a push lately, going 3-0-1 in its last four, and is just four points back of the final wild card spot in the East.

Two, it’s interesting to hear that Chiarelli’s in the market for forwards because — for a good chunk of this season — the talk in Edmonton has been about upgrading the blueline.

Back in late December, head coach Todd McLellan addressed his club’s need for more on the back end.

“It’s Christmas and we all have wish lists,” said McLellan, per the Edmonton Journal. “We’re coaches and we’re never happy but when you talk of those type of players … say a power play quarterback, somebody who puts up points, we don’t have that.”

History suggests Chiarelli would be more than happy to oblige. In Boston, he made it a near-annual tradition of stocking up on defensemen at the deadline: Andrej Meszaros in ’14, Wade Redden in ’13, Greg Zanon/Mike Mottau in ’12 and Tomas Kaberle in ’11.

Of course, the Oilers could be getting a boost on the back end with the return of Darnell Nurse, who’s been out since mid-December following ankle surgery. Nurse has resumed skating, and could be ready to rejoin the club in a few weeks.

Huberdeau’s ‘phenomenal’ comeback takes Panthers by surprise

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Given he missed the first 51 games of the year to a major injury — a lacerated Achilles tendon — Jonathan Huberdeau was expected to ease his way back into the Panthers lineup, limit expectations and get re-acclimated to the rigors of the NHL.

Suffice to say he’s blown that plan out of the water.

“No way did we think he’d jump in and produce the way he is, but he’s in phenomenal shape,” head coach Tom Rowe said, per the Sun-Sentinel. “He’s a terrific hockey player.

“Being on the bench with him every day he’s a lot better than I thought he was.”

Huberdeau has two goals and five points in his three games since returning — and, not coincidentally, the Panthers are 2-1-0 over that same stretch. He’s been reunited on a line with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr, and is averaging 16:14 TOI per game.

That’s down from last year’s 18:09 — expected, given the severity of Huberdeau’s injury — but the TOI could be back up soon, what with Florida in the midst of a playoff push.

Things already appear to be trending in that direction.

Huberdeau only played 15:27 in his most recent game, Saturday’s 7-4 win over the Predators. But he absolutely stuffed the stat sheet — a goal, two assists, five shots on goal, plus-2 rating — and all facets of his game appeared sharp. Rowe spoke of the fitness level, and captain Derek MacKenzie noted there was no rust in the skill department, either.

“He may have some of the best hands in the league,” MacKenzie said, per the Miami Herald. “He worked hard to get his feet under himself to be able to make plays.”

Looking ahead, it’ll be curious to see how Huberdeau’s play affects what Florida does at the trade deadline. Dale Tallon could look at Huberdeau — along with Barkov — as a virtual deadline acquisition, and opt to stand pat.

Of course, Tallon does have a history of adding. Like last year, when he went out and acquired Teddy Purcell, Jiri Hudler and Jakub Kindl in advance of Florida’s first playoff appearance in four years.