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

Cunningham recovering well after on-ice collapse, expects hospital discharge this week


Some fantastic news on the health of Coyotes farmhand and AHL Tucson captain Craig Cunningham — per a release, he’s is recovering well and expects to be discharged this week from Banner–University Medical Center.

What’s more, Cunningham will meet with reporters on Wednesday to discuss the medical techniques that saved his life, and to thank the doctors and health care providers that administered them.

More, from a release:

On Nov. 19, Tucson Roadrunners hockey captain Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice before a game in the Tucson Arena at the Tucson Convention Center. Medics performed chest compression only CPR, the no-breaths technique developed at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, until Cunningham arrived by ambulance at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital, where CPR was continued.

At St. Mary’s, the emergency department team quickly determined that he needed to be transported to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson where he could receive advanced life-saving therapy using ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).

ECMO is a highly specialized procedure for patients who are so critically ill that no other support for the heart and lungs is adequate. A pump circulates blood through a circuit of tubing supporting heart function and through an “oxygenator” which functions as an artificial lung. It is used to help patients of all ages with life-threatening conditions that impair heart and/or lung function. Most patients who need ECMO are almost certain to die without this level of support.

The ECMO Services Program at Banner – UMC Tucson dispatched its rapid-response ECMO team to St. Mary’s to initiate ECMO on Cunningham and carefully transport him via ambulance to Banner for continued treatment.

The team—consisting of a cardiothoracic surgeon, a perfusionist and an ICU nurse—can travel by ground or airplane transport anywhere in the country to reach patients in need of ECMO. Banner – UMC Tucson is the only facility in Southern Arizona with ECMO services.

At Banner – UMC Tucson, Cunningham’s condition continued to worsen. A new procedure developed by Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, using a left ventricular assist device, Oxy-LVAD, allowed Cunningham’s heart to recover.

The quick action of bystanders who performed effective CPR, the actions of St. Mary’s staff and the advanced technology and care provided at Tucson’s academic medical center have led to a truly remarkable recovery.

Related: On Craig Cunningham, one of the good guys in the game

Pouliot knows Pens have ‘really tough roster to crack,’ and now’s his chance to do it


When the Pens made Derrick Pouliot the eighth overall pick in 2012, they did so with the impression he’d blossom into a quality NHL defenseman.

Four years later, they’re still waiting — so is Pouliot, for that matter — which is why the next few weeks are vitally important. With Kris Letang and Trevor Daley sidelined (week-to-week) by injuries, the 22-year-old has a big opportunity for significant playing time.

“This is a really tough roster to crack,” Pouliot said, per the Post-Gazette. “It is a really big opportunity to kind of show coaches and management what I can do. They’re [Letang and Daley] not going to be out for very long, so I’ve got a short period to do it.”

Pouliot’s played a grand total of three NHL games this year, missing extended time with a back injury. That ailment did allow him to log some important minutes in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during a conditioning stint, rather than “just sitting around” in Pittsburgh (his words, not ours).

In Saturday’s OT loss to the Leafs, Pens head coach Mike Sullivan rolled a defensive unit comprised of Pouliot, Ian Cole, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, Steve Oleksy and Justin Schultz. Pouliot finished with a healthy 19:19 TOI, which included a career-high 3:03 on the penalty kill.

This really is the time for Pouliot to try and make his mark. There’s always been considerable pressure on him, given his lofty draft position and what the Pens gave up (Jordan Staal, essentially) to get into that spot.

But now, there’s an added dimension. Several of his draft mates are well ahead in their development, including the blueliner taken one spot later — Jacob Trouba, who has six points in 19 games for the Jets since ending his holdout, while averaging just under 24 minutes per night.

Related: Under Pressure: Derrick Pouliot

‘Little rat’ Richard to make NHL debut for skidding Bolts


The Lightning have worked in a few of their young prospects already this season — like Brayden Point, Slater Koekkoek and Joel Vermin — and tonight, they’ll add another to the list in Tanner Richard.

Richard will make his NHL debut tonight when the slumping Bolts take on the Wings in what should be a testy affair, given 1) Tampa Bay’s recent slide, and 2) the fact these two have met recently in the playoffs, where things have gotten ugly.

It’s little Richard, the 71st overall pick in 2012, is drawing in for the Detroit game.

“I’m pretty hated by most teams in the AHL,” Richard said, per the Bolts website. “So that tells me I’m doing an alright job being a little rat.”

The 23-year-old might’ve made his name as an agitator, but has show some serious offensive upside this season. Richard sits fourth in Syracuse in scoring, with 17 points through 22 games, and is being counted on to provide a lift a Lightning team that’s just 2-7-2 over its last 11 games.

“He deserves this opportunity,” Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said, per the club’s Twitter account. “He competes, and he’ll go to those dirty areas.”


Sens bring up another goalie — this time, former BU standout O’Connor

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Ottawa could have yet another in the goalie mix when it plays in Chicago tonight.

Matt O’Connor, the former Boston University standout that’s been plying his trade in the American League, could be backing up Mike Condon this evening after getting recalled from Binghamton.

O’Connor, 24, was a prized undrafted free agent coming out of BU, but has only appeared in one game for the Sens at NHL level thus far. His professional career has been spent almost exclusively in Bingo, where he’s struggled to find consistent form.

That said, Ottawa doesn’t have many options at the moment.

No. 1 Craig Anderson is away from the team while his wife goes through cancer treatment. Andrew Hammond can’t stay healthy — he made just his third start of the season on Sunday against the Isles, got hurt, and was unable to finish — which means Mike Condon has become the club’s new starting netminder.

In a weird twist, Condon and O’Connor actually faced each other at the beginning of last season, when the former was with the Habs and the latter got a surprise start from then-head coach Dave Cameron.

Report: Rangers lose Nash to another groin injury

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Four days ago, we wrote about how Rick Nash recovered from a groin injury and rejoined the Rangers.

Now, a new problem.

Same injury, different area.

After playing just 37 seconds of New York’s shootout win over the Devils on Sunday, Nash has reportedly been diagnosed with another groin strain, per the Post. It’s believed the injury occurred during the overtime session, but is on the other side from the original ailment.

That initial one, suffered in a Dec. 6 loss to the Isles, wasn’t especially severe — but was the first groin strain of his career.

“I was turning on the backcheck, took one bad stride and heard it pop,” Nash explained at the time, also per the Post. “After I went through the testing, the doctor called me and said, ‘If you’re going to have this, it’s the best place it could be.’ ”

Nash was second on the Rangers in goals (with 11) at the time of his injury, then scored twice in his first two games back to move into a tie with Michael Grabner for the team lead. Throughout this year he’s been an important trigger man for one of the NHL’s best offenses, which is why this latest setback could prove costly.

There is no clear timeframe for Nash’s return to action. If there is a silver lining here, it’s the schedule — thanks to the holiday break, the Blueshirts play just three times in the next nine nights: Tuesday against Pittsburgh, Friday against Minnesota, then Dec. 27 against Ottawa.