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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Hamonic, slated to miss 4-6 weeks, will return after sitting just three games

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On Nov. 5, Isles d-man Travis Hamonic suffered a hand injury that was supposed to sideline him for a month, maybe a month-and-a-half.

Turns out the timetable was a lot smaller than that.

Tonight, Hamonic will suit up to face the Lightning, after missing just three games with a suspected broken right thumb (per Newsday).

The news comes with the Isles still struggling to find their way this season — they’re 5-7-3 heading into Monday’s game, just one point ahead of last-place Carolina in the Metropolitan Division.

They’re also the only team in the NHL not to win a road game (0-4-1) thus far.

Hamonic’s return will undoubtedly help. A quality defensive defenseman, he formed a good pairing with Nick Leddy prior to getting hurt and was used by head coach Jack Capuano in all situations.

“Travis was playing power play, first-unit penalty kill, 21-plus minutes a night, alternate captain,” Capuano said, per Newsday. “It’s the same as always when we lose someone. It’s an opportunity for other guys to step up.”

In other Isles news, veteran Dennis Seidenberg was placed on IR on Monday — he suffered a suspected broken jaw on Saturday, further depleting New York’s d-man core.

That injury could’ve played a role in Hamonic returning from injury as early as he has.

Flyers send Laughton, Lyubimov down to AHL

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Philly made a pair of roster moves ahead of Friday’s game in Toronto, sending forwards Roman Lyubimov and Scott Laughton down to AHL Lehigh Valley.

Laughton, the club’s first-round pick in 2012, hasn’t played this year due to injury. He’s already spent a bit of time in the American League on a conditioning stint with the Phantoms, scoring two points in two games.

Lyubimov, 24, made his NHL debut earlier this year and has been a steady presence in the lineup, scoring one goal while averaging 9:14 TOI in 11 games.

At first glance, it’s unclear why Philly made these transactions today:

The Flyers are pressed against the cap ceiling, so it’s possible these moves could be financially driven. Boyd Gordon is currently on long-term injured reserve, a move that happened after the club activated defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

Babcock bag skates Leafs — in the dark — after ‘unacceptable’ blowout loss

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The lights went out at Toronto’s practice facility on Wednesday, but the Leafs kept skating.

And skating.

And skating.

Following an ugly 7-0 loss to L.A. on Tuesday, head coach Mike Babcock put his team to work, right through a power outage that forced the team to skate in the dark.

The scene, courtesy CBC:

Babcock said his players would do their “penance” at Wednesday’s practice, and indeed they did in a manner similar to the infamous scene in “Miracle” where 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) kept the team after an exhibition game to skate, putting them through a gruelling pace after a lacklustre effort against Norway.  

Jake Gardiner described the practice as the toughest yet in the Babcock era, which started last season.

“We’re not playing like that,” Babcock said of Tuesday’s effort. “It’s unacceptable to play that. It’s un-Leaf-like as far as I’m concerned now and we’re not playing like that.”

Tuesday’s loss came after a fairly successful three-game winning streak, though it’s hardly Toronto’s lone blowout loss of the year. The Leafs were thumped 5-1 in Brooklyn two weeks ago, and also allowed seven goals at home in a 7-3 loss to the Lightning back on Oct. 25.

Last night’s defeat, though, was clearly something different, and wasn’t just about the ugly scoreline.

 

Goalie nods: Condon gets second start for Sens, after posting shutout in debut

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Mike Condon is hopeful his second start with Ottawa goes as well at his first.

The Sens are hoping for the same, too.

Condon, who posted a 27-save shutout over Vancouver in his Sens debut, will be back in goal tonight when Ottawa takes on the Sabres in Buffalo.

That means Craig Anderson, who made 27 saves in a 3-1 loss to Nashville last night, gets a breather.

It’ll be curious to see how long Condon can extend his shutout streak. The Sabres have really struggled scoring goals this year, and have the third-lowest GPG rate (2.08) in the league thus far, but will get a boost tonight with the return of Evander Kane, who’s back after missing 11 games with a rib injury.

Kane had 20 goals in just 65 games last year, and will jump right onto Buffalo’s top line.

As for the Sabres’ starting netminder, it’ll be Robin Lehner once again. Lehner’s played very well of late, posting a 1.81 GAA and .947 save percentage over his last five starts.

Elsewhere…

Sergei Bobrovsky gets the nod for Columbus tonight. No word yet on a starter for the visiting Ducks.

— Both Chicago and St. Louis are rolling out their No. 1s for tonight’s Rivalry Night game: Corey Crawford for the ‘Hawks, Jake Allen for the Blues.

It took a while, but Al Montoya finally spoke about that 10-0 loss

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It’s been more than four days since Al Montoya suffered through one of the worst losses in Canadiens franchise history, allowing 10 goals in a now-infamous drubbing by Columbus.

Turns out Montoya needed all that time to compose his thoughts on the matter.

“It was a lot to process,” Montoya said, per TSN’s John Lu. “It’s good for me now. It was a tough day.”

In Montoya’s defense, it really was a lot to process.

Consider:

— He went into Friday’s game with a 1.47 GAA and .955 save percentage.

— He exited with a 3.15 and .908.

— He became the first Montreal goalie to allow 10 goals in a game since Andre “Red Light” Racicot did it back in 1992.

— The Habs responded to the blowout by winning their next two games with Carey Price in goal.

What’s more, head coach Michel Therrien’s decision to keep Montoya in for the duration of the Columbus nightmare came under heavy scrutiny, and was the topic of great debate.

So it’s understandable why the backup netminder wanted to take his time, collect his thoughts and come out with some sort of party line to share with the media.

That line?

One has to think this is what Therrien and goalie coach Stephane Waite told Montoya during the game. Therrien did say Waite went to the beleaguered netminder between periods, and told him he’d be playing out the string.