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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With Eaves and Kase hurt, Ducks recall Kerdiles

Injuries have hit Anaheim up front, so they’ve made a call to the minors.

On Friday, the club announced that Nic Kerdiles has been brought up from AHL San Diego. The move comes after Patrick Eaves missed Game 4 of the Edmonton series with a lower-body injury, and with Eaves’ replacement — rookie Ondrej Kase — playing just 2:03 before a Milan Lucic crosscheck ended his night.

Kerdiles, 23, was Anaheim’s second-round pick (36th overall) at the 2012 draft, and made his NHL debut earlier this season. He’s coming off a stellar opening Calder Cup playoff round performance, scoring six points in five games as the Gulls dispatched of Ontario.

Neither Eaves nor Kase participated in today’s morning skate, putting their availability in question for tonight. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle could either go with Kerdiles at forward, or re-insert tough guy Jared Boll up front.

Boll has appeared in one game this postseason — Anaheim’s 2-1 loss to Edmonton in Game 2, in which he played just over four minutes.

 

Crosby won’t rule out playing Game 5

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After returning to practice on Friday and participating in full contact drills, Sidney Crosby looked like a guy ready to resume playing.

Then, he talked like one.

Despite suffering a concussion in Game 3 of Pittsburgh’s series against Washington and sitting out Game 4, Crosby wouldn’t rule out returning for Saturday’s potential series clincher.

“I feel good. You know, right now just kind of following what I’m told to do,” Crosby said of his recovery and plans for Game 5, per TSN. “We’ll see. I don’t want to rule it out. It’s not really up to me.”

Pens head coach Mike Sullivan was, not surprisingly, very non-committal about Crosby’ availability. He said the team would wait to see how the captain responds to today’s practice, noting that Crosby’s day-to-day status “hasn’t changed at all.”

Further to his health, Crosby said there was no knee or other lower-body injury on the controversial play that concussed him. There was some concern when he twisted awkwardly while falling after Alex Ovechkin‘s slash, then got knocked to the ice by Matt Niskanen‘s crosscheck.

No. 87 then addressed the incidents that led to his concussion.

He called the Ovechkin slash “a pretty common play” but stopped sort of classifying Niskanen’s in a similar fashion.

“It’s hard to say,” Crosby said. “I’m not going to sit here and guess, but it’s not one that happens often.”

In other Penguins news, fellow forward Conor Sheary — also currently sidelined with a concussion — made his return to practice today, and also took full contact. Like Crosby, Sheary wasn’t ruling out a return for Game 5.

“Mentally, I just have to be prepared to play if I get that call,” he told the Tribune-Review.

Karlsson will play Game 5, but the Rangers are wearing him down

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Hours after holding Erik Karlsson out of the third period of last night’s Game 4 loss to the Rangers, Sens head coach Guy Boucher confirmed Karlsson would play in Saturday’s pivotal Game 5.

Karlsson, who suffered an apparent leg injury on Thursday, skated just 14:52 before being shut down — well off the 28:45 he averaged through Ottawa’s first nine playoff games.

Yes, it was Boucher who made the call to sit Karlsson down for the final frame.

But the Rangers can take credit for forcing the coach’s hand.

New York was incredibly physical with the talented rearguard last night, laying the body whenever possible and trying to engage him physically during post-whistle scrums. J.T. Miller was at the forefront of these battles, though Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello got in there as well.

It was the execution of Alain Vigneault’s gameplan.

The veteran bench boss clearly saw the need for his team to ratchet up the physicality. That’s why Tanner Glass drew into the lineup for Game 4, and that’s why Glass started on a line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash.

To hear Glass explain it, that was a snippet of A.V.’s larger message.

“I think the message is pretty clear. He wants me to be physical,” Glass said, per the Hartford Courant. “A big thing in Game 3 was our urgency and we wanted to come out and match that.”

As for putting bodies on Karlsson, it seems the Rangers are employing the wear-him-down philosophy. It’s made easier by the fact that there are plenty of opportunities to hit the Swedish rearguard, given he plays nearly half the game.

“Playoffs is a war of attrition,” Glass explained. “Every bump counts. It’s like making deposits in the bank. You make enough one day, you’re going to be happy what’s in there.”

Report: Vegas interested in Dadonov, Shipachyov’s KHL teammate

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The Golden Knights may be building a Russian connection.

Just hours after surprising the hockey world by landing prized Russian sniper Vadim Shipachyov — a two-year, $9 million deal signed Thursday night — Vegas is now reportedly in the running for Shipachyov’s longtime KHL running mate, Evgeny Dadonov.

Per Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko and Russian news outlet Championat, the Golden Knights are believed to be after the 28-year-old Dadonov, who was drafted by Florida in 2007 and appeared in 55 games for the organization over a five-year span.

After leaving North America, Dadonov caught on with Donbass HC before landing with powerhouse SKA Saint Petersburg. There, he and Shipachyov have become one of the Russian circuit’s most lethal tandems. The two combined for 56 goals and 146 points in just over 50 games played this season.

Internationally, Shipachyov and Dadonov have been outstanding. The pair ran roughshod at the 2016 World Hockey Championship, finishing first and third in the tournament in scoring (with 19 and 13 points, respectively). The third member of their dominant line, Chicago’s Artemi Panarin, finished the tourney with 15 points.

If Vegas is able to pull off this signing, it would be a fairly big coup. Shipachyov and Dadonov are considered to be two of the most talented players outside the NHL and, as we’ve seen recently, elite offensive veterans have fared well coming over from the KHL. Panarin has been a star for the Blackhawks, while Alex Radulov enjoyed a terrific campaign in Montreal.

Stars sign prospect Hintz after terrific Finnish league playoff

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Dallas signed Roope Hintz, the 49th overall pick in 2015, to a three-year, entry-level deal on Thursday.

Hintz, 20, has spent the last three years playing in Finland’s SM-liiga, each of the last two with HIFK Helsinki. This season, Hintz scored 19 goals and 30 points in 44 games, then starred in the playoffs with 14 points in 14 games, emerging as the league’s top postseason scorer.

Previously, Hintz was part of Finland’s gold medal-winning team at the ’16 World Juniors, playing alongside the likes of Patrik Laine, Kasperi Kapanen, Mikko Rantanen, Sebastian Aho and Jesse Puljujarvi.

At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Hintz has good size and could be one to watch in Dallas next season. The Stars could have spots to fill up front — veteran forwards Patrick Sharp, Alex Hemsky and Jiri Hudler are all pending UFAs — and he should be well-positioned to make the leap, given he’s got plenty of professional hockey experience already.