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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Oilers lose Pitlick to season-ending ACL tear

Edmonton will be without the services of energy forward Tyler Pitlick for the remainder of the season — on Friday, GM Peter Chiarelli announced Pitlick suffered a torn ACL, which will prematurely end his ’16-17 campaign.

The 31st overall pick in 2010, Pitlick was enjoying his finest stint in the NHL at the time of his injury. He’d posted career-highs across the board — 31 games played, eight goals, 11 points — all while averaging just under 10 minutes per game.

He also ranked fifth on the team in hits this season, with 70.

 

That ‘Canes-Wings game canceled due to unplayable ice has been rescheduled

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Remember that unfortunate incident at PNC Arena on Monday? You know, when a leak in the cooling system rendered the ice unplayable, and the ‘Canes had to postpone their game against Detroit?

Well, the game has a new date. From the NHL:

The postponed game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings, originally scheduled to be played on Dec. 19, has been rescheduled for Monday, March 27, 2017 at PNC Arena, the National Hockey League announced today.

The start time for the game will be 7 p.m. ET.

The result here is that Carolina and Detroit will play a back-to-back set on the 27th and 28th, both at PNC. For the ‘Canes, it abbreviates what would’ve been a nice little break — they play New Jersey at home on the 25th, and would’ve had two nights off — and for Detroit, it makes for a very busy end of March.

The Red Wings host Minnesota on the 26th, then play in Carolina on the 27th and 28th — the rare three-games-in-three-nights stretch.

Related: Rescheduling postponed game will be ‘extremely tough,’ says Francis

Red Wings lose Howard for 4-6 weeks with a knee sprain

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Injuries have been a major theme in Detroit this year (see here), and that carried over on Friday, when the club announced that goalie Jimmy Howard would miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee sprain.

First reported by the Detroit News, Howard’s injury confirmation comes just days after he was hurt in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was helped off the ice early in the second period after being crashed into by Nick Jensen and Tampa Bay’s Erik Condra —  prior to that, Howard had stopped 15 of 16 shots for a .938 save percentage.

Unlike most teams, Detroit is equipped to deal with the loss of a starting netminder. Because they have two of ’em, see. Petr Mrazek has shared starts with Howard throughout the year and will now have the No. 1 gig all to himself, with AHL Grand Rapids recall Jared Coreau serving as his backup.

That said, this is still a big loss for the Wings. Though his record leaves something to be desired — he’s just 5-7-1 on the season — Howard has posted both a sparkling save percentage (.934) and GAA (1.96) this season.

Mrazek, meanwhile, has the better record — 9-7-3 — but significantly lower save percentage (.899) and a higher GAA (3.06).

 

Legwand, first pick in Predators history, calls it a career

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David Legwand, the veteran center that appeared in over 1,100 games with the Predators, Red Wings, Senators and Sabres has announced his retirement from the NHL.

“What a great ride this was,” Legwand said in a release through the NHLPA. “Especially having the chance to play nearly 1,000 games for my drafting club in Nashville, and seeing the growth of the game there; to fulfilling a dream of playing for my hometown Red Wings; to experiencing the positive vibe of playing in Canada’s capital of Ottawa; and to end with the talented players of the Buffalo Sabres in my final season.”

Though Legwand played for four different teams, he’s most closely associated with the Predators — for a variety of reasons. Taken second overall at the 1998 draft, he became one of the first faces of the franchise and would later cement his status as one of Nashville’s most prominent players.

Nobody played more games in a Preds uniform. And Legwand retires as the club’s all-time leader in in goals (210), assists (356), points (566) and game-winning goals (41).

Legwand’s best year in Nashville came in 2006-07, when he posted career-highs in goals (27) and points (63), earning a handful of Selke votes in the process.

He was also front and center for the franchise’s first playoff series win — beating Anaheim in 2011 — and had a terrific postseason all told, finishing with six goals and nine points in 12 games.

Goalie nods: Marquee matchup in Montreal, as Price takes on Dubnyk

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Devan Dubnyk leads the NHL in goals against average (1.55) and save percentage (.948).

Carey Price sits third in both those categories, at 1.87 and .936.

As such, it’s hard to expect much offense tonight when Dubnyk and the Wild take on Price and the Habs at the Bell Centre.

Both sides and most fans are bracing for a low-scoring affair between the two best goalies in the league right now (all apologies to Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray who, statistically, is right there with Price and Dubnyk).

Yet to hear Dubnyk explain it, it’s not really him “versus” Price — because Price remains in a class all by himself.

“He’s the guy everybody is pushing to get to,’’ Dubnyk told the Star-Tribune. “He’s the best. He does it every year. To be able to be talked about in the same sentence as him, it’s exciting for me.’’

Should be a fun one. Unless you like goals.

Elsewhere…

Cam Ward, who hasn’t played since Saturday due to Carolina’s postponed game against Detroit on Monday, will get the nod in Buffalo. He’ll be up against Robin Lehner, who had 36 saves in a shootout loss to Florida two nights ago.

The slumping Cory Schneider goes for the Devils, who host Philly. No word yet on a Flyers starter yet, but Steve Mason did face 38 shots in last night’s shootout win over Washington. This could be an Anthony Stolarz game.

— Excellent matchup in Columbus, where the aforementioned Matt Murray starts for Pittsburgh. The Jackets will counter with their star netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky.

A night off in Florida for Roberto Luongo, meaning James Reimer gets the call. He’ll take on Tuukka Rask, who was yanked from his last start (a loss to the Isles on Tuesday).

— Life without Ben Bishop begins for Tampa Bay, who will start Andrei Vasilevskiy at home against the Blues. Jake Allen is in the other net.

— No surprise that Ottawa is going with Mike Condon, as it’s essentially his net for the foreseeable future. The visiting Ducks have yet to name a starter.

Peter Budaj, who continues to exceed expectations as Jonathan Quick‘s replacement in L.A., gets another start. He’ll go up against Pekka Rinne, who stopped 31 of 32 shots in a shootout win over the Flyers last time out.

Frederik Andersen, who’s played very well lately despite losing three of his last four, goes for the Leafs in Colorado. The slumping Avs counter with Semyon Varlamov.

— In Vancouver, Ryan Miller gets the call for the second of a two-game series against the Jets (Jacob Markstrom beat them on Tuesday). It looks like Winnipeg will make a switch as well, as Michael Hutchinson gets a turn after Connor Hellebuyck lost two nights ago.