Mike Halford

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

Sabres’ Kane out ‘weeks’ after crashing heavily into boards

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Hard to imagine Buffalo’s season starting any worse.

On Friday, head coach Dan Bylsma announced the latest in a series of bad news — Evander Kane suffered three broken ribs in a scary collision during Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Montreal, and will be out “weeks” with the ailment.

Given how things have gone lately, you would’ve thought the Sabres walked under a ladder while a black cat crossed their collective path.

First, the club learned that prized free agent signing Kyle Okposo (knee) would miss the season opener. Then, on the eve of the regular season, star sophomore Jack Eichel suffered a high ankle sprain in practice, which will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.

That left the Sabres pretty undermanned for their home opener against Montreal last night (in addition to Okposo and Eichel, Dmitry Kulikov was also out due to injury).

Things got worse when Kane got hurt, and got even worse as the night went on — the Habs scored four times on just 24 shots against Robin Lehner, and the Sabres were unable to get much of anything past backup Al Montoya, subbing in for Carey Price (flu).

No suspension for Shaw after slew-footing Larsson

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Montreal forward Andrew Shaw, who’s already had an eventful start to his time with the Canadiens, will not face any supplemental discipline for his slew-foot on Buffalo’s Johan Larsson, an NHL spokesman confirmed.

Shaw received a match penalty for the incident, which occurred late in Montreal’s 4-1 win on Thursday night. The match penalty meant Shaw was suspended until the league had a chance to rule on the matter, and the Department of Player Safety opted not to assess supplemental discipline.

As mentioned above, Shaw is certainly pushing his luck when it comes to suspensions.

He’s already been dinged three games for boarding Washington’s Connor Hobbs during the preseason and, prior to that, was suspended for making a homophobic slur during an opening-round playoff loss to St. Louis in the spring (as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks).

And prior to that:

— Avoided suspension for a high hit on Francois Beauchemin.

— Allegedly bit Victor Hedman during the ’15 Stanley Cup Final.

— Was fined $2,000 for diving.

— Avoided suspension for charging Barret Jackman.

— Avoided suspension for headbutting Brock Nelson.

And those are just the infractions since 2015.

Lightning are ‘the best team in the East,’ says Vanek

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Thomas Vanek had one major takeaway from Thursday’s season-opening loss to the Bolts.

One, Tampa Bay is pretty good. Two, Tampa Bay’s power play is also pretty good.

“This is the best team in the East in my opinion,” Vanek said, per the Free Press. “You give them these power play opportunities, the momentum slowly shifted there.”

Tampa Bay wiped out a pair of two-goal deficits to win 6-4, and those comebacks were largely sparked by a man advantage that went 3-for-6 on the night.

Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn all scored on the power play, and that spread-out scoring underlined a theme for the Bolts on the night. Nine different skaters had at least one point.

And this, really, is why Vanek said what a lot of people already have. Tampa Bay heads into this season as one of the deepest and most talented teams in the league — especially at forward — and that talent will not just win them plenty of games, but also keep them in games where they fall behind.

Oh, and speaking of Vanek — pretty good Red Wings debut. The maligned winger scored a pair of goals and finished with a team-high five shots on goal.

Tkachuk caused quite a bit of damage in Edmonton last night

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Matthew Tkachuk might want to keep his head up tomorrow night.

That’s because, on Friday, Tkachuk and the Flames will face the Oilers in the second of a home-and-home series — and suffice to say, Edmonton is none too pleased with the rookie.

In Wednesday’s 7-4 loss, Tkachuk boarded defenseman Kris Russell in the first period, looked to have slew-footed defenseman Brandon Davidson in the second, then delivered a high hit on defenseman Adam Larsson in the third.

Of all the incidents, it’s the alleged slew-foot that’s getting the most attention today.

That’s because Davidson, who only played 11 shifts for 7:49 of ice time before exiting, will now be “out a while” head coach Todd McLellan said, per CHED 630 radio.

Both Davidson and Larsson were absent from today’s practice, though McLellan said Larsson was having a maintenance day.

No word yet if the 18-year-old Tkachuk will face any supplemental discipline for his actions, but one thing’s for certain — he’s quickly inserted himself into the Battle of Alberta rivalry.

To be fair, that’s exactly what Flames president Brian Burke expected when the club took Tkachuk sixth overall at this year’s draft.

“Kid’s a kind of pain in the ass,” said Burke, per the Calgary Herald. “We don’t have enough guys who are pains in the ass. And the way I like to play, I like guys who are pains in the ass.”

It’s a big, big night for Jimmy Vesey

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Consider, for a moment, what’s laying in front of Jimmy Vesey.

Tonight, the ballyhooed Harvard product will make both his NHL and New York Rangers debuts, at Madison Square Garden.

He’ll be doing so on the club’s top line — next to Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello — and he’ll be doing it against one of the Rangers’ biggest rivals, the New York Islanders.

All things considered, it’s a pretty big stage.

And considering how long Vesey’s been in the news, it’s easy to forget that, y’know, he’s never been on the stage before. He balked at signing with the team that drafted him (Nashville), which caused an minor uproar, then balked at signing with the team that acquired his rights (Buffalo), which was slightly less uproarious.

Vesey signing with the Rangers was a big deal personally, and could end up being an even bigger deal for the Blueshirts.

New York has some young prospects, but the cupboard is bare compared to other NHL clubs. Part of this is nature of the beast — the Rangers have been in a Stanley Cup window over the last few years, which meant jettisoning off picks and prospects at the deadline to bolster playoff runs.

But with that window closing, GM Jeff Gorton knew he had to try and implement some youth into the lineup.

That’s why he traded Derick Brassard to Ottawa for Mika Zibanejad — the latter is six years younger — and that’s why the Rangers have an opening-night lineup that includes the likes of Pavel Buchnevich (21-years-old), Brady Skjei (22) and Adam Clendening (23).

And, of course, the 23-year-old Vesey.

The Rangers aren’t going to bring Vesey along slowly. From the get, he’ll be treated as a top player — he’s going to get first-line minutes, and first-unit power play time.

Whether that’s too much, too soon remains to be seen.

His head coach is willing to take the risk.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that talent has no age,” Alain Vigneault said, per the New York Post. “It’s just a matter of getting it out of young players by giving them opportunities and putting them in situations where they can be successful.”