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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‘Canes lose d-man Murphy (lower body) for 3-4 weeks

This summer, we profiled two of Carolina’s brightest young blueline prospects — Roland McKeown and Haydn Fleury — and their quest to make the Hurricanes this season.

Well, both their chances just increased a bit.

Ryan Murphy, who’s appeared in over 120 games for the ‘Canes over the last three years, has suffered a lower-body injury and will miss the next 3-4 weeks, per the News & Observer.

The 12th overall pick in 2011, Murphy has dealt with a number of health issues since making his NHL debut, which has resulted in him never playing more than 48 games in a single season. While the ‘Canes aren’t writing him off or anything, it will be interesting to see what happens with him moving forward.

Do remember that Murphy was one of the highest picks from a previous regime — Jim Rutherford was the GM at the time, and Paul Maurice was the coach.

So, back to the present.

Here’s what the ‘Canes lined up on defense ahead of tonight’s game versus Washington:

That’s not far off what the opening-night lineup could resemble, with Fleury being the No. 7 guy. That said, another prospect — Trevor Carrick, a fourth-round pick in 2012 — could also be in the mix, as he’s still on the active roster.

Report: Sharks, Burns have started contract extension talks

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According to a CSN Bay Area source, the San Jose’s begun negotiations with prized defenseman Brent Burns.

More:

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson doesn’t comment on contract negotiations, and Burns’ agent is also keeping mum with one week to go until the start of the regular season, although there have been talks between the two sides according to a source.

Burns, though, painted a slightly hazier picture than [Sharks head coach Peter] DeBoer. Here’s the back-and-forth with him after Thursday’s skate:

You’re going into the last year of your deal here, does that weigh on your mind at all?

Burns: “No, I don’t really think about it, to be honest.”

Are you involved in the process?

Burns: “Yeah. Pretty involved.”

Burns, 31, is heading into the last of a five-year, $28.8 million deal with a $5.76M average annual cap hit. He’ll undoubtedly get a raise with his new contract, as he’s really come into his own over the last few seasons.

Especially last season.

Burns scored a career-high 27 goals and 75 points in ’15-16, and was named a Norris finalist for the first time. He also racked up 24 points in 24 playoff games, playing a huge role in San Jose’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance.

That spring-boarded Burns onto Team Canada at the World Cup, where he finished with three points in six games.

In terms of comparables, one would think Burns could haul in Dustin Byfuglien money — by that we mean the five-year, $38 million pact Big Buff signed with the Jets this past spring. That deal carries an average annual value of $7.6 million, making Byfuglien one of the highest-paid rearguards in the NHL.

Of course, we have no idea if Burns is angling for that kind of money — but one thing is certain. Both he and the Sharks want to get the deal done sooner rather than later because, as a pending UFA, the distraction of going without a contract can be intense.

Former ‘Canes d-man Jordan signs in KHL

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Fresh off representing the Czechs at the World Cup of Hockey, Michal Jordan is on his way overseas.

Jordan, who appeared in 79 games over the last four seasons for Carolina, has signed with KHL side Ak Bars Kazan, the team announced on Friday.

Jordan, 26, was Carolina’s fourth-round pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and made his big league debut during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.

His best season came in ’14-15, when he scored six points in 38 games for the ‘Canes, averaging just under 16 minutes per night.

Last month, Jordan was a key fixture on the Czech defense at the World Cup, and finished the tournament well, playing 21:18 in a win over the U.S. while finishing plus-2.

Though he’s got a reasonably decent NHL resume, Jordan was unable to stick with the ‘Canes after his one-year, $625,000 deal expired in July. Carolina has some young guys looking to crack the blueline this year — Haydn Fleury and Rolan McKeown chief among them — and Jordan was jettisoned, in part, so those kids could have a shot at making the team.

‘Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup champion!’ — President Obama welcomes Penguins to White House (Video)

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The Pittsburgh Penguins had their day at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Thursday, and it started in fine form.

“It is wonderful to be here, welcome to the White House,” President Barack Obama said in his opening remarks. “We are here to celebrate an extraordinary achievement — Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup champion!”

Zing.

What followed was the usual presidential fare — some jokes, some congrats and a bunch of player references (Sidney Crosby, Matt Murray and Kessel’s HBK running mates, Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino).

Obama also made mention of Pittsburgh’s last visit after winning the Cup in 2009, when Evgeni Malkin took a bunch of pictures on his flip phone.

Pittsburgh bid farewell to the outgoing president with (another) No. 44 jersey — the Pens gave him one seven years ago as well — and a mini-Stanley Cup.

Banged-up Stars sign Fontaine to PTO

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Justin Fontaine is getting another shot with another NHL club.

Fontaine, recently released from his professional tryout with Florida, has caught on with the Dallas Stars, GM Jim Nill confirmed on Thursday.

The move comes with Dallas dealing with a depleted forward group. Mattias Janmark is out 5-6 months following knee surgery, Cody Eakin is sidelined with a knee ailment, Ales Hemsky is dealing with a groin problem and Tyler Seguin is still recovering from a hairline fracture in his heel.

Also, Valeri Nichushkin signed in the KHL.

Fontaine, 28, spent the last three seasons with the Wild, scoring five goals and 16 points in 60 games last season. His career high in points is 31 from the 2014-15 campaign, and 13 goals from his rookie year.

The Stars are familiar with Fontaine, having faced him and the Wild several times in the Central Division, and in last year’s opening playoff round.

The diminutive winger won’t have a ton of time to impress Dallas brass, however. The Stars have just one exhibition game remaining — on Saturday, in Los Angeles — before opening the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 13, at home against Anaheim.