Mike Halford

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

After blowout loss, Wild recall prized prospect Tuch


Minnesota suffered one of its worst defeats of the season on Wednesday, a 5-1 thumping in Calgary.

Perhaps it was time to send a bit of a message. Just hours after the Saddledome debacle, the Wild recalled Alex Tuch from AHL Iowa.

Tuch, of course, is the ballyhooed youngster taken 18th overall at the ’14 draft. The big-bodied forward has starred at virtually every level — including the American League, where he scored a pair of goals in last weekend’s All-Star Game.

“At some point we have to see where he’s at,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said, per the Star-Tribune. “He’s a 6-foot-4 guy with skill that’s led our team in all the different metrics in Iowa, whether it’s Corsi, scoring chances or plus-minus.”

Tuch, 20, is only in his first year of professional hockey. He spent the previous two campaigns lighting it up at Boston College, and has transitioned seamlessly to the next level with 11 goals and 22 points in 34 games for Iowa — despite being one of the youngest players on the roster.

Tuch’s recall also comes with Charlie Coyle mired in an awful slump.

Coyle hasn’t scored a single goal in his last 17 games and has failed to respond to criticisms from head coach Bruce Boudreau. Things seemed to hit a low last night, when Coyle was demoted to the fourth line.

“I don’t know. I’m at a loss,” Boudreau said in trying to explain Coyle’s struggles. “We’ll figure it out. I’m told he’s gone through this every year. I’ll have a talk with him [Thursday] and see if we can’t get him straightened out.”

The Wild next play on Saturday, in Vancouver, which is where Tuch’s expected to make his NHL debut.

Chayka hasn’t talked Doan trade in ‘several weeks’


Coyotes GM John Chayka was a busy man on Wednesday — trading goalie Justin Peters to Dallas, and forward Henrik Samuelsson to Edmonton — actions that may speak louder than words.

That’s telling, because his words were pretty audible to begin with.

“I haven’t had any discussions in the last several weeks,” Chayka said of potentially trading captain Shane Doan, per Arizona Sports. “A month away [from the trade deadline], it’s not something that’s pressing on either side.”

Chayka essentially confirmed his attention has been elsewhere recently. He’s continually tinkered with his roster makeup over the last few weeks, first by acquiring ex-Jets center Alex Burmistrov off waivers.

Then he sent Anthony Duclair to the AHL — while giving yet another rookie, Christian Fischer, a recall and his NHL debut — before pulling off yesterday’s trades.

Chayka could also be focused on other, bigger deals that don’t include Doan.

Martin Hanzal is reportedly coveted by a number of playoff-bound teams, while veteran forwards — and pending UFAs — like Radim Vrbata and Ryan White are likely to be sold off as well.

Simply put, the Coyotes still need some significant retooling. Chayka sounds like he’s putting that atop the priority list, with a potential Doan trade somewhere below.

“We’re just focused on our own team here in terms of improving in the short-term and the long-term,” he said.

Coyotes make another move, flip Samuelsson to Oilers


Just hours after sending goalie Justin Peters to Dallas, Arizona made its second trade of the day by sending Henrik Samuelsson — the 27th overall pick in 2012 — to Edmonton in exchange for Mitch Moroz, the 32nd pick that same year.

Moroz and Samuelsson aren’t just draft-mates. The two were former teammates in junior, helping the WHL Oil Kings capture the ’14 Memorial Cup.

Samuelsson, 22, has only made three appearances for the Coyotes since being drafted, all of them coming in ’14-15. The son of longtime NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, Henrik’s spent most of his pro career in the American League, and only has three points in 20 games this season for Tucson.

Moroz has yet to make his NHL debut, and has played exclusively in the American League. Like Samuelsson, he’s struggled offensively this year, with just three points in 17 games.

In the end, this is pretty much a flip of one-time prospects who have plenty in common, including the need for a fresh opportunity (though it should be mentioned Moroz plays wing, while Samuelsson’s a center).

It also keeps with Coyotes GM John Chayka’s theme of tinkering with his club. He’s made a series of small moves this season, and has been active on the waiver wire.

Goalie nods: Flames go with Elliott out of All-Star break


Brian Elliott went into the All-Star break on a high, making 25 saves in a 3-2 OT win over Ottawa.

Now, Elliott will look to exit the break in a similar fashion.

He’ll get the start ahead of Chad Johnson this evening when Calgary hosts Minnesota at the Saddledome. The decision probably has to do with the fact Elliott posted a rare victory for the Flames last Thursday — the club skidded down the last half of January, going 3-6-1 over its last 10.

As we wrote last week, head coach Glen Gulutzan is employing the “win and you’re in” strategy, a testament to how desperate Calgary is for points. The Flames are currently outside of the playoff picture, even on 53 points with St. Louis but behind because of the tiebreaker.

For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk starts after Darcy Kuemper beat the Oilers last night.


— In Washington, Braden Holtby returns to the starter’s crease after Philipp Grubauer was tagged for the loss last night in Brooklyn. No word yet on who goes for the visiting Bruins. Tuukka Rask beat the Lightning last night, and the club recalled Zane McIntyre from AHL Providence.

Peter Budaj goes for the Kings at Staples, when they host the Avalanche. Colorado has yet to name a starter, but it will be one of Calvin Pickard or Spencer Martin now that Semyon Varlamov has been shut down for the year.

Kings waive veteran defenseman Gilbert

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Los Angeles has placed blueliner Tom Gilbert on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Gilbert, 34, signed on with the Kings last summer after two seasons in Montreal. He’s scored five points in just 18 appearances this year, spending most of his time in the press box as a healthy scratch.

He also missed three games to suspension for boarding Anaheim forward Nick Ritchie.

Earlier in his career, Gilbert was a decent offensive defenseman that racked up 45 points for the Oilers in ’08-09. But now, having suffered a season-ending knee injury in Montreal last year, he appears a step slow and doesn’t seem like a candidate to be claimed.

His $1.4 million cap hit probably won’t help any, either.

Speaking of that cap hit, the Kings will (presumably) stash Gilbert in the minors if he clears, and get some financial relief. Here’s CapFriendly with more…