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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Goalie nods: Elliott makes rare start for Flames

Last week, we wrote about Calgary keeping Brian Elliott in the “resetting” phase as Chad Johnson continued to pile up starts in goal.

Now the reset is over.

Elliott will make his first start in three weeks tonight, when the Flames take on the Coyotes in Arizona. Elliott did get some game action in relief of Johnson last week — stopped 12 of 13 shots in a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay — but hasn’t actually started a game since Nov. 28, a 2-1 OT loss to the Islanders.

This nod comes with Johnson having come back to earth recently. After getting the hook against the Isles (four goals on 21 shots), he then allowed four goals on 29 shots in Friday’s loss to the visiting Blue Jackets.

It was assumed Elliott would eventually get another shot at the starting gig in Calgary, and this could be the start of it.

For the Coyotes, Mike Smith is in goal.

Elsewhere…

— After Juuse Saros started on Saturday, Pekka Rinne is back in goal for the Preds. He’ll be up against Steve Mason, who continues to be a workhorse for the Flyers.

Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek continue to alternate starts for Detroit, and tonight it’ll be Howard’s turn as the Wings visit Carolina. Cam Ward starts for the ‘Canes, who welcomed Eddie Lack back into the fold after he’d been sidelined with a concussion.

Frederik Andersen will face his former team, the Ducks, for the first time tonight as Anaheim takes on Toronto. Andersen will go up John Gibson.

Jake Allen hasn’t played well lately, and was hooked on the weekend against Nashville. As such, Carter Hutton gets a crack with a start against the visiting Oilers. Edmonton will go with Cam Talbot, who stopped 31 of 33 shots against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

 

Flyers healthy scratch Weise, he of the $9.4 million contract

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Philly will host Nashville tonight at Wells Fargo, but Dale Weise won’t be part of the proceedings.

Weise, in the first of a four-year, $9.4 million contract with the Flyers, will be a healthy scratch this evening, per Philly.com. The decision comes after the 28-year-old received less than 10 minutes in three of his last five games, including a season-low 8:17 in last Saturday’s 4-2 win over Dallas.

It’s been a tough season for Weise overall.

He went pointless in his first four games, then received a three-game suspension for a headshot on Anaheim’s Korbinian Holzer. Upon drawing back in, it took him an awfully long time to score his first goal — coming on Nov. 22 — and, after scoring again the following night, has now gone 12 straight games without scoring a point.

All told, Weise has just two goals and four points through 29 games this year.

 

 

Pat Cannone, 30, will play his first-ever NHL game on Tuesday

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Tomorrow night’s game at Xcel will be a special one for Pat Cannone.

Cannone, the 30-year-old AHL journeyman, will make his long-awaited NHL debut when the Wild host the Avs in Minnesota, per the Star-Tribune.

What’s more, the debut comes after his first-ever NHL recall.

A former Miami (Ohio) University forward, Cannone went undrafted but transitioned quickly to the pro game, making his American League debut with Binghamton in ’10-11. He spent a few years with the Sens organization before getting traded to the Blues, then spent a few more years playing for St. Louis’ AHL affiliate in Chicago.

This past summer, Cannone signed with the Wild and was dispatched to the minors during the preseason.

Along the way, he’s become a pretty good scorer. He netted a career-high 20 goals and 52 points last season for the Wolves — in addition to serving as team captain, he was also named the AHL All-Star Game MVP — and this year, has 16 points in 29 games for Iowa.

It’s fitting that his debut comes under Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau.

An AHL legend — he’s still one of the top goalscorers in league history — Boudreau spent considerable time as a minor league coach before making the jump to the bigs. He spent 17 seasons in the IHL, ECHL and AHL before scoring the Caps gig in 2007, when he was 52 years old.

Huberdeau ‘right on schedule’ for February return

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It’s been a very tumultuous season in Florida, and you can point to the Panthers losing Jonathan Huberdeau on the eve of the regular season as the incident that kicked everything off.

But now, some good news on that front. Huberdeau traveled with the team last week, and has returned to both the ice and the gym — significant steps in his recovery from a torn Achilles.

According to head coach Tom Rowe, everything is pointing towards a February return for the former Calder winner.

“He’s right on schedule, but he feels real good,” Rowe said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The fact he could spend as much time in the weight room getting stronger and getting in better shape because of the injury is all good.

“He’s an elite level player and it will be good for us when he is back; it makes us a stronger, deeper team.”

Huberdeau, 23, is coming off a career-best 20 goals and 59 points last season, one in which he further developed chemistry with No. 1 linemates Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr. Florida has spent much of the first two months of the season trying to fill Huberdeau’s spot on the top line, with mixed results, and it’s become clear the organization is both anxious and excited about the prospect of getting him back.

Given the timing, it will almost be like a deadline pickup for the Panthers (this season’s deadline is on Feb. 28).

Florida made a big investment in Huberdeau with his six-year, $35.4 million extension, which kicks in next season. So there’s no doubt the club is more than ready to see him back in action.

 

 

Coyotes prospect Strome to captain Canada at World Juniors

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Canada’s world junior team features three players that played in the NHL this season.

On Monday, those three were named to the club’s leadership group.

Arizona’s Dylan Strome, who appeared in seven games this season and scored his first NHL point, has been named captain for the tournament, Hockey Canada announced.

Islanders forward Matthew Barzal — who played two games before getting sent back to WHL Seattle — is one of the alternates, along with Ottawa d-man Thomas Chabot, who played in one game this year prior to returning to the QMJHL.

This figures to be a big tournament for Strome, who was part of the disappointing Canadian team that lost in the quarterfinals to Finland last year.

Strome finished tied with Mitch Marner for the team lead in scoring, with six points in five games, and will now have a chance to follow in the footsteps of Curtis Lazar, the last player to captain Team Canada to gold on home soil (Lazar was the leader of a dynamic ’15 team that went undefeated en route to gold in Montreal and Toronto).