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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Florida releases veteran d-man Pardy from PTO

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Adam Pardy’s quest to crack the Panthers’ new-look defense is over.

Pardy, signed to a training camp PTO back in early September, was released on Thursday morning, the club announced.

Pardy, 32, split last season between Winnipeg and Edmonton after the Oilers picked him up off waivers in late February.

At 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Pardy’s always been a robust physical player that plays with an edge (something the Panthers lost in trading away Erik Gudbranson this summer).

His skating and offensive ability have been called into question, though — he’s never scored more than 10 points in a single season — and there are concerns about his ability to keep up.

Could be why he failed to crack the opening-night roster. Pardy’s release, along with yesterday’s waiving of Jakub Kindl, leaves nine defensemen left in the mix: Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Jason Demers, Alex Petrovic, Mark Pysyk, Mike Matheson, Ian McCoshen, Steve Kampfer and OHL Owen Sound product Thomas Schemitsch.

Panthers, Lightning won’t make up game cancelled by Hurricane Matthew

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Yesterday, we passed along word that a Thursday preseason game between the Bolts and Panthers in Sunrise had been cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew.

Today, the two sides decided not to reschedule it.

The storm, expected to hit Florida either Thursday evening, strengthened yet again on Thursday as many residents evacuated the area.

More, from NBC News:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott pleaded with residents to follow evacuation orders.

“Do not surf. Do not go on the beach. This will kill you,” he said at a press conference Thursday. “There is no reason not to leave.”

Scott activated 2,500 members of the National Guard to assist with the storm and warned Floridians that projected winds of 100 to 150 mph will destroy houses and “millions will lose power, possibly for a long period of time.”

“My goal is to make sure everyone is prepared,” he said, urging residents to fill up on gas and other supplies now. “Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

The cancellation means Florida will play just one more exhibition game — on Saturday, Oct. 8 against the Devils — before opening the season against those same Devils on Thursday, Oct. 13.

The Lightning, meanwhile, will wrap their preseason on Saturday against Nashville, then open next Thursday at home against Detroit.

No hard feelings: Bolts to retire Martin St. Louis’ No. 26

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In Tampa Bay, they’re letting bygones be bygones.

Martin St. Louis, the Lightning’s all-time leading scorer, will have his No. 26 jersey retired this season when Tampa Bay hosts John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets on Jan. 13.

“Everyone in the organization is excited to celebrate and thank Marty for his immense long-term contributions to the Lightning’s past successes and the Tampa Bay community,” owner Jeff Vinik said in a release. “As Marty enters his second year in retirement from the game, we believe this season is the time to hang his number from the rafters at AMALIE Arena.

“Marty had a terrific career in Tampa Bay, making six All-Star appearances while setting numerous team records, all highlighted of course by the Stanley Cup win in 2004. We look forward to a wonderful retirement ceremony, recognizing him for all that he accomplished as a member of the Lightning.”

This will mark the first in franchise history the Bolts have retired a number.

Undrafted out of the University of Vermont, St. Louis landed with the Lightning in 2000 and went on to a stellar career, highlighted by the aforementioned Cup victory in ’04 (under Tortorella, a nice touch for the Jan. 13 ceremony).

Statistically, he finished with 365 goals and 953 points in 972 games. He also served as captain, inheriting the role from Vincent Lecavalier in ’13.

He played nearly his entire career in Tampa Bay, though his time with the organization ended acrimoniously. After Bolts GM Steve Yzerman elected not to select St. Louis for Canada’s 2014 Olympic squad, St. Louis requested a trade from Tampa and eventually moved to New York, helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Though there were some bitter moments at the time of the trade, both sides tried to  move past the situation. St. Louis constantly re-iterated his love for the fans, city and community and, in his first game back in Tampa Bay following the trade, the organization honored him with a video tribute.

“To have my number retired by the Lightning is a tremendous honor and I’d like to thank Jeff Vinik and everyone in the organization for recognizing me this way,” St. Louis said in today’s release. I have many great memories in Tampa Bay, including our great Stanley Cup win, and this night will be extremely special and emotional for my family and me.  

“I am happy I will get to share the evening with all the Lightning fans who have always supported me throughout my career – Tampa Bay will always feel like home to me.”

Kings’ Pearson suspended for preseason, two regular season games for ‘forceful’ headshot

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has come down on L.A.’s Tanner Pearson for his illegal check to the head of Oilers d-man Brandon Davidson.

The incident, which occurred Monday evening, earned Pearson a game misconduct. Davidson left the contest and did not return.

“[Pearson] takes an angle of approach that makes a full bodycheck impossible to deliver,” the DoPS said in a video release. “Pearson then extends his body up and outward, picking Davidson’s head with a forceful blow.”

The DoPS said it accepted Pearson’s explanation that he wasn’t intentionally targeting Davidson’s head, but mitigating factors resulted in a suspension — specifically, the fact that Davidson suffered an injury on the play.

Pearson, who had never previously run afoul of the player safety department, will now miss the Kings’ final two preseason contests — Friday against Dallas, Saturday against Colorado — and the first two games of the regular season: Wednesday, Oct. 12 in San Jose and Friday, Oct. 14 versus Philadelphia.

He’s eligible to return on Oct. 18, when L.A. takes on the Wild in Minnesota.

In addition to the suspension, Pearson will also forfeit $15,555.56 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Devils lose Merrill (finger), Gazdic (foot) for four weeks

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Not a great day in New Jersey as this morning, the Devils announced a pair of injuries: Jon Merrill will miss the next four weeks with a right finger injury, while tough guy Luke Gazdic will miss the same amount of time with a broken foot.

Of the two, Merrill is the more profound loss.

The 24-year-old, who underwent major shoulder surgery this summer, only played in 47 games last year due to a variety of injuries. He’s looking to rediscover the form shown during impressive rookie and sophomore campaigns in New Jersey. His second year was especially solid — 14 points in 66 games, averaging over 20 minutes per night — and he boasts good size, going 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.

Merrill’s problem, obviously, is his inability stay healthy.

Gazdic, 27, caught on with the Devils this summer after several seasons fighting his way through the Western Conference, with Dallas and Edmonton. He split last year between the Oilers and their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, and made his “mark” on the NHL during the ’13-14 campaign, when he fought 15 times.

Gazdic signed a two-way deal back in July, so it was expected he’d be on his way to AHL Albany at some point.