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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Stastny injury not believed to be long-term

There was some concern among the Blues when Paul Stastny left Thursday’s win over Toronto with a lower-body injury.

On Friday, that concern was alleviated.

Head coach Mike Yeo said Statsny, who exited in the second period and didn’t return, is doubtful for Saturday’s game in Montreal but the ailment isn’t believed to be long-term.

Yeo likely breathed a sign of relief upon learning of the diagnosis. Stastny has been on fire since the dismissal of former head coach Ken Hitchcock, racking up six points over his last five games (in which the Blues have gone 4-1-0).

The 31-year-old currently sits fourth on the team in assists and points, while averaging 19:25 TOI per night, so he’s clearly a big part of the St. Louis attack. And given the Blues have already lost Robby Fabbri to a torn ACL, they certainly didn’t want to be down the services another productive forward.

Per the Post-Dispatch, there are no immediate plans for a recall from AHL Chicago. Nail Yakupov and Dmitrij Jaskin were the scratches against Toronto, so one of them could draw in Saturday if Stastny can’t go.

 

Canucks send Baertschi home from trip with concussion

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After sticking with the club following his concussion on Tuesday night in Nashville, Sven Baertschi is now on his way back to Vancouver.

Per the Province, Baertschi didn’t travel with the club for its Saturday matinee in Boston, and was instead returned to Vancouver for further testing. The 24-year-old was concussed on a hit from Preds forward Cody McLeod early in Tuesday’s game, didn’t return, then proceeded to sit out last night’s 3-0 win in Columbus.

Losing Baertschi will hurt — he had 27 points through 50 games, and sits third on the team with 13 goals — but head coach Willie Desjardins did adjust the lineup for last night’s game at Nationwide, and things worked out.

Mikael Granlund moved up to play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, while Loui Eriksson played with Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna.

Jannik Hansen filled Baertschi’s role on a line with Bo Horvat and Alex Burrows.

Looking ahead, Vancouver’s all-important road trip continues at TD Garden this weekend, Buffalo on Sunday, Pittsburgh on Tuesday and St. Louis on Thursday. The Canucks will need more results like the one in Columbus if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Report: Carter to make comeback attempt with Wild

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Ryan Carter, the gritty depth forward that’s spent the last two years in Minnesota, will try to come back from major shoulder surgery in the hopes of joining the Wild this season.

Per Star-Tribune sources, Carter will re-join his former teammates at practice on Friday, four months after going under the knife to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Carter, 33, scored seven goals and 12 points in 60 games for Minnesota last year, and appeared in a pair of playoff contests as well.

Playoff experience could be why the Wild are interested in bringing him aboard. Carter captured a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, went to the Final with New Jersey five years later and, all told, has nearly 50 games of postseason experience on his resume.

A Minnesota native, Carter didn’t try to test free agency last summer, insisting he only wanted to sign for his hometown team.

More, from the Star-Tribune:

Carter, who spent the past two seasons with the Wild, only wanted to sign with the Wild last summer. The Wild wasn’t able to commit a contract to him, so the team brought him to camp on a professional tryout.

Ultimately, he was released from the tryout because his shoulder wasn’t healthy enough to perform. He underwent surgery, but GM Chuck Fletcher didn’t close the door on a potential signing before this season’s trade deadline.

“He was really good and fair,” Carter said of Fletcher last September. “He just told me to get surgery, get healthy and depending where we both stand when I get healthy enough to play, we can go from there. He just said it’s not fair to me to play hurt and it’s not fair to the coach and team to not know if I can play through it.

The Wild would need to sign Carter by Mar. 1 in order for him to be playoff eligible.

Goalie nods: Another start for Reimer, who’s turned his season around

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James Reimer will start for the fourth time in seven games tonight, as the Panthers return to action with a home date against the Kings.

Reimer also started Florida’s last game — a 2-1 win over Anaheim last Friday — and played very well, making 22 saves. All told he’s now stopped 53 of his last 55 shots faced, good for a .964 save percentage, and in doing so has written a tale of two campaigns.

After signing a fairly lucrative five-year, $17 million deal with the Panthers last summer, Reimer had a tough start. He posted a .907 save percentage in October and a .890 in November, and had just one regulation win in his first nine appearances.

Since then, though, he’s been solid.

He posted a .941 in December and a .920 in January, playing a key role in keeping Florida’s playoff chances afloat. He’s also played quite a bit — tonight will be his 20th start of the year — which should help veteran starter Roberto Luongo, who showed signs of fatigue near the end of last season.

For the Kings, Peter Budaj starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

Martin Jones, fresh off an ugly outing in Buffalo (five goals on 36 shots), gets right back in to face the Bruins. No word yet on a Boston starter, as it had no morning skate.

Jacob Markstrom started Tuesday in Nashville, so Ryan Miller returns to start for the Canucks, who are in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are going with Sergei Bobrovsky.

— The Caps will go back to Braden Holtby, after he shut out Carolina on Tuesday. The visiting Red Wings will stick with Petr Mrazek, who has stopped 98 of his last 105 shots faced (.933 save percentage).

— The streaking Thomas Greiss, who’s won four of his last five, goes once again for the Isles. The host Flyers will go with Steve Mason, who hasn’t started since Jan. 31.

Pekka Rinne gets the night off, as Juuse Saros will start for Nashville in New York. Henrik Lundqvist, fresh off a 43-save win over Anaheim on Tuesday, goes for the Blueshirts.

— It’s John Gibson versus Robin Lehner as the Ducks take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

Frederik Andersen‘s play has come under scrutiny lately (more on that here), but he’ll go tonight when the Blues visit Toronto. Jake Allen, who’s on a roll and shut out Ottawa on Tuesday, goes for St. Louis.

— After Andrew Hammond got spanked by the Blues the other night, Ottawa goes back to Mike Condon. He’ll be up against Kari Lehtonen, who draws back in after Antti Niemi played last game.

— Two of the NHL’s youngest netminders do battle in Colorado, as Matt Murray and the Penguins take on Calvin Pickard and the Avs.

Carey Price will look to rebound from an ugly January when he and the Habs take on the Coyotes. Arizona will go with Mike Smith, who posted 38 saves in a win over San Jose his last time out.

Bruins-Sharks game still on, despite severe weather in Boston

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A storm that’s expected to drop between 12-18 inches of snow in the Boston area won’t postpone tonight’s Bruins-Sharks game, the B’s announced this afternoon.

More, from the club:

The Boston Bruins are aware of the severe weather in Boston and the surrounding New England region, and how it impacts fans planning on attending tonight’s game. Considering the circumstances, the Bruins organization asked the NHL to postpone tonight’s game and reschedule for a later date this season.

The NHL indicated that the remaining schedules for both teams, as well as TD Garden availability, does not allow for this game to be rescheduled. As such, the Bruins and Sharks were directed to play tonight’s game as originally scheduled.

Recognizing the impact and hardship this has on fans who were hoping to attend the game, the Bruins will be offering every fan who had tickets for tonight’s game the opportunity to exchange their tickets for a future regular season Bruins game between now and December 31, 2017.

There is a blizzard warning in effect for Eastern Massachusetts, with winds estimated to reach as high as 50 miles per hour.

Last January, a trio of games scheduled for Washington (x2) and Brooklyn were postponed due to heavy snowfall. The NHL was able to reschedule all three.

This season, only one game has been postponed — a Dec. 19 tilt in Carolina between the ‘Canes and Red Wings. A mechanical failure made the PNC Areana ice unplayable, forcing the league to move the game to Mar. 27 (resulting in a rare three-games-in-three-nights stretch for Detroit).