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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No hearing scheduled for Giordano after Fowler hit

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Calgary captain Mark Giordano isn’t scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing for a hit that injured Ducks d-man Cam Fowler, an NHL spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in the third period of Anaheim’s 3-1 win over the Flames on Tuesday night. Giordano went knee-on-knee with Fowler, and wasn’t penalized on the play. Fowler crumpled to the ice and had to be helped off by teammates, and didn’t return.

“He came through the middle with a lot of speed and I was honestly coming across trying to make a hit on him and I got to watch the game, but I think our legs collided. I don’t know how bad, I just hope he’s OK,” Giordano said after the game, per Yahoo. “You don’t like to see guys get hurt. There was no intent to hurt him there.

“I was just trying to come across in a 2-1 game to try to stop him from getting to our net, trying to make a hit and the result was, I don’t know if our legs collided or not, I think they did and I hope it’s nothing too serious.”

Ducks blueliner Kevin Bieksa wasn’t happy with the hit. From the L.A. Times:

Bieksa said he didn’t get a good live view at the play but said, “It didn’t look clean. It didn’t sound clean.

“We’re a team that sticks up for each other. That’s always been one of our MOs. We’re a physical team. But you know what? We care about each other. We care about Cam. We don’t want to see a teammate on the ice, getting helped carried off, so we’re going to respond the way we did.”

The Giordano-Fowler hit was part of a nasty affair that boiled over in the third period:

— Shortly after that incident, Josh Manson fought Giordano, landing some heavy shots before they hit the ice.

— After throwing a huge hit on Matthew Tkachuk at the blue line, Ducks d-man Korbinian Holzer fought Matt Bartkowski, while a near line brawl broke out on the other side of the ice, with Ryan Kesler and Michael Frolik jousting. Bartkowski was given an instigator penalty and a game misconduct, as well.

— Holzer had been previously involved in a large scrum after he went after Micheal Ferland, who was given a misconduct.

— The two teams combined for 106 minutes in penalties in the final frame.

Panthers AGM won’t confirm Rowe is out

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Will Rowe go, or no?

That was the question posed to Florida assistant co-general manager Eric Joyce on Wednesday, in the wake of reports that interim head coach Tom Rowe would be relieved of his duties following this season.

Joyce wouldn’t say yes, but he wouldn’t say no either.

“This sounds like a stock answer. I don’t think those decisions have been made yet,’’ Joyce told radio station WQAM 560, per the Sun-Sentinel. “Every year we take stock in how the season went. We try to improve as a group. Obviously, I thought this year was a frustrating season, a frustrating finish.

“We were in third place after that great road trip we had, then we came home and lost eight of nine. Obviously, something wasn’t going well there. We just have to figure out [what], but we haven’t really thought about that.”

Rowe has increasingly come under fire in recent weeks. There was the questionable handling of Aaron Ekblad‘s return from a concussion — Rowe expressed regret over playing Ekblad and potentially letting him return too soon — and the bench boss also raised eyebrows by calling out Reilly Smith following a loss in early March.

Prior to Monday’s loss to the Canadiens, a plane flew overhead the BB&T Center towing the message: “Rowe must go! Call him a cab!”

The Panthers were 11-10-1 upon firing former head coach Gerard Gallant (the inspiration for the “call him a cab” part of the aforementioned banner).

Under Rowe, they’ve gone 22-25-10, and will miss the playoffs for the 14th time in the last 16 seasons.

Russia wants players back in KHL for Olympics

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MOSCOW (AP) The Russian Hockey Federation wants as many players as possible back in the Kontinental Hockey League next season in preparation for the Olympics without the NHL.

Board chairman Arkady Rotenberg said in a statement Wednesday that the federation will try to keep KHL players from leaving for North America and bring NHL free agents back this summer. He said some Russian players want to go to the Olympics even with an NHL contract. He says that decision is worthy of respect.

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin reiterated Tuesday he plans to represent Russia in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea despite the NHL announcing it would not participate.

Rotenberg said the federation will help players with legal issues so they can play.

Marchand to have hearing for spearing Dotchin

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Brad Marchand is back in hot water with the league.

Marchand, who was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for spearing Tampa’s Jake Dotchin in a 4-0 win on Tuesday, will have a disciplinary hearing for his actions, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced.

The incident occurred late in the first period, essentially costing Marchand the majority of the game. It’ll be very curious to see what kind of punishment is levied — if any at all — given the Bruins have just two games left before the playoffs start, and given Marchand’s history as a repeat offender.

Marchand has never really curtailed the recklessness that’s earned him a myriad of punishments over the last six years:

— March 2011: Suspended two games for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the head.

— December 2011: Fined for slew-footing Matt Niskanen.

— January 2012: Suspended five games for clipping Sami Salo.

— January 2015: Suspended two games for slew-footing Derick Brassard.

— November 2015: Fined for roughing Gabriel Landeskog.

— December 2015: Suspended three games for clipping Mark Borowiecki.

Marchand has also found himself under scrutiny this year for tripping and slew-footing, most recently against another Tampa Bay blueliner, Anton Stralman.

Related: The dangerous line Marchand skates with the NHL

Goalie nods: Leafs start McElhinney with chance to clinch playoffs

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Toronto can secure a postseason berth with a win over the Caps tonight, and some help on the out of town scoreboard.

And they’ll look to do it with Curtis McElhinney in goal.

McElhinney, who came up huge last week in relief of the injured Frederik Andersen, will get the call on Tuesday as the leafs host the Caps at the ACC. The start comes exactly one week after McElhinney stopped 25 shots in a 3-2 win over Florida, a game that kicked off the Leafs’ current four-game unbeaten streak.

Calling the Panthers game the biggest start of his career, the veteran backup did very well. But tonight is certainly a more difficult task.

The Caps come into Toronto boasting the NHL’s second-best offense and third-best power play. They’re also on the verge of clinching the Presidents’ Trophy, so plenty at stake for them as well.

Washington is going with Philipp Grubauer in goal.

(For more on Toronto’s playoff-clinching and Washington’s Presidents’ Trophy-clinching scenarios, click here).

Elsewhere…

— In a game the Leafs will be paying close attention to, the Lightning are going with Andrei Vasilevskiy in Boston. No confirmed B’s starter yet, but chances are Tuukka Rask will be in goal, as the Bruins can clinch a postseason berth with a regulation win.

Matt Murray goes for Pittsburgh, who hosts Columbus in a likely first-round playoff preview. No word yet on a Blue Jackets starter.

— No confirmed starters from Detroit and Ottawa, who played each other last night. Petr Mrazek and Craig Anderson were the goalies of record, so we could see Jimmy Howard and Mike Condon. (Update: It’s Anderson for Ottawa.)

— It’s Cam Ward versus Devan Dubnyk as the ‘Canes visit Minnesota.

— The Isles’ playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, and they’re hoping Jaroslav Halak can keep them alive in Nashville. The Preds have yet to announce a starter.

— The Jets continue to give Michael Hutchinson late season looks, and he’ll start tonight in St. Louis. Jake Allen starts for the Blues, as expected.

— It’s Mike Smith versus Antti Niemi as the Coyotes take on the Stars in Dallas.

— Like Hutchinson in Winnipeg, Devils backup Keith Kinkaid is getting more and more looks down the stretch, including tonight’s home date against the Flyers. Steve Mason goes for Philly.

Scott Darling gives Corey Crawford the night off, and gets the start in Colorado. He’ll be up against Calvin Pickard.

— Speaking of nights off, Brian Elliott gets one for Calgary as the Flames look to snap an 11-year (yes, year) losing streak in Anaheim. Chad Johnson gets the call, and no word yet on who he’ll face.

Jonathan Quick gets another start for the Kings, as he was first off the ice at this morning’s skate. Edmonton hasn’t unveiled its starter yet, but Cam Talbot literally plays every game, so….

— In San Jose, Martin Jones gets to face the visiting Canucks. He’ll be up against Richard Bachman.