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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Hertl leaves road trip, will undergo MRI in San Jose

The Sharks will finish their six-game road swing on Saturday in Arizona, and they’ll probably be glad to see it end.

Having lost their last two games — 1-0 in Carolina, and 3-2 in St. Louis — the Sharks have also lost the services of a key forward, as Tomas Hertl has been returned to San Jose to undergo an MRI.

“Any time you’re sending a guy back early on a trip to get looked at there’s concern, but you look around the league, everyone is dealing with injuries,” head coach Peter DeBoer said. “A lot of injuries to key guys.”

Per CSN Bay Area, it’s possible Hertl re-injured his right knee, which has given him problems throughout the last few years.

Hertl played just over 10 minutes in last night’s loss to the Blues, and was last seen limping up the tunnel during the second period. Losing him for any length of time will hurt — Hertl has been a steady producer for the Sharks this year, with four goals and five assists for nine points in 16 games.

“He’s a big part of this team,” Logan Couture said, per CSN Bay Area. “Great player. Really come into his own these last couple years. Some nights he’s our best player on the ice.

“Big hole to fill if he is to miss some time. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

The Sharks are thin at forward right now. Melker Karlsson, along with Hertl, missed Friday’s practice and there’s no update on his status for tomorrow’s game. Karlsson is dealing with a left ankle ailment.

Goalie nods: Flames stick with Johnson for a third straight start

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Interesting times in Calgary.

The Flames host the Blackhawks tonight and, for the third straight game, it’ll be Chad Johnson getting the nod ahead of No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott.

To his credit, Johnson is full value for the start. He’s posted back-to-back wins and looked sharp, stopping 47 of 48 shots for a .978 save percentage. For a Flames team looking to get things on track after a rough October, it’s something of a no-brainer.

But it’s not without controversy.

At the draft in June, GM Brad Treliving made a fairly big splash in acquiring Elliott from St. Louis, calling him “one of the best goaltenders in the league for the last number of years.” The belief was Elliot would finally solve Calgary’s longstanding goalie problem and, at the tail end of the preseason, there were reports the two sides were discussing a contract extension.

Then the regular season happened.

Elliott got off to a poor start. And though he’s had a couple of quality outings since, his overall numbers reflect that sluggish beginning — he’s 3-8-0 with a .882 save percentage, and 3.36 GAA.

This situation will be one to monitor moving forward. An important factor to consider is that both Johnson and Elliott are pending UFAs.

For Chicago, Corey Crawford starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

— After getting knocked out of an ugly 7-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday, Matt Murray is back in goal for Pittsburgh. The Isles will counter with Jaroslav Halak, who’s shouldered a heavy workload recently.

Jimmy Howard is back in for the Red Wings, who take on the Caps in Washington. He’ll be up against Braden Holtby.

— Quality matchup in Columbus, where a pair of former Vezina winners, Henrik Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky, go head-to-head.

— The Habs are in the first of a back-to-back, so Al Montoya goes in Carolina (Carey Price will, presumably, start tomorrow against Toronto). The ‘Canes are going with Cam Ward fresh off a 22-save shutout against San Jose on Tuesday.

Slumping Oilers waive Lander

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This morning, Brough touched on the struggling Edmonton Oilers, who lost their fifth straight game last night and are now barely above. 500.

Shortly thereafter, the club made a move.

Forward Anton Lander, who’s appeared in 16 of Edmonton’s 19 games this season, has been placed on waivers. The move comes with Lander having scored just three points in those 16 games, averaging 10:15 TOI per night.

(He was scratched for Thursday’s loss to L.A.)

The 40th overall pick in 2009, Lander has enjoyed some good times in Edmonton, most notably during the ’14-15 campaign when he scored 20 points in 38 games.

The Oilers locked him into a two-year, $1.97 million extension that summer — good for an average annual cap hit of $985,000 — but Lander struggled in year one of the deal, scoring just three points in 61 games last season.

Should he clear waivers, the 25-year-old Swede — a veteran of over 200 NHL contests — could be off to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

 

Welcome Ryan Murphy to the trade rumor mill

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We’ve written quite a bit about Carolina’s blueline this season — first, the high expectations for what looked like a promising young group, then, how badly things went through the opening month.

Now, another angle to cover: Trade talk!

From TSN’s Darren Dreger:

[Ryan Murphy] doesn’t seem to be a fit for Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters. Murphy’s name has been used as trade bait for months, but now the Canes are actively shopping him. With a salary of $750,000 this year and $825,000 next season, the 23-year-old, right-shot defenceman will likely be on the move.

The Hurricanes were among the clubs most interested in Anaheim’s Cam Fowler before Hampus Lindholm signed his extension, so clearly Carolina is hoping to upgrade its blueline and would include Murphy as part of a deal.

Murphy, a former first-round pick, only recently returned to the ‘Canes lineup after missing time with a lower-body injury.  The return was supposed to be a boon for sophomore Noah Hanifin, who’s struggled to find a consistent d-man partner this year after playing extended lengths of time with Murphy last season.

What’s more, Peters said Murphy’s presence in the lineup would make an impact.

“He’s a valuable guy,” Peters said, per the ‘Canes website. “He’s a puck-mover, and we’ve had a hard time moving the puck out of our zone in transition.”

Things haven’t exactly panned out for either party thus far. In just four games played, Murphy’s averaging a meager 13 minutes per night, and has just one point.

That said, Murphy could have some value across the league. He’s a right-handed shot, which is vital, and a good skater with nice passing vision. Injuries have been a problem throughout his four-year career, though, and he’s never played more than 48 games in a single season.

In the big picture, it looks like Carolina GM Ron Francis wants a mulligan on his plan for the defense. He’s already cut ties with stopgap signing Jakub Nakladal, and waiver wire pickup Klas Dahlbeck has been in and out of the lineup.

Those two were chosen in favor of young prospects Roland McKeown and Haydn Fleury, both of whom are currently with AHL Charlotte.

Craig Anderson’s wife diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma

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On Friday, Craig and Nicholle Anderson released a joint statement — through the Ottawa Senators — updating Nicholle’s health status following her cancer diagnosis last month.

From the Sens:

Nicholle has been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The treatment for this will require both chemotherapy and radiation, which will take place at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. She has already begun treatments and will continue these under the watchful eyes of the tremendous medical staff there.

Additionally, we felt it important to thank both the Philadelphia Flyers organization for helping set up the initial screening with our oncologist in the Lehigh Valley and the Ottawa Senators Foundation for its assistance. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity.

In the same statement, the Andersons asked for “discretion in allowing both of us to take on this challenge privately,” adding that any updates regarding Nicholle’s health would be sent through the Senators organization.

Anderson didn’t dress for last night’s 5-1 loss to the Senators, as Mike Condon played while Andrew Hammond served as the backup. Despite that, Sens head coach Guy Boucher expressed optimism about Anderson’s availability moving forward.

From the Sun:

Boucher also said that there was good news in terms of Anderson’s availability. The club originally believed the club’s goaltender would be spending considerable time away from the team after his wife, Nicholle, was diagnosed with cancer, but Boucher is now optimistic that Anderson will be around the team more often.

Anderson has been very solid for the Sens this year, going 8-3-1 with a .934 save percentage and 2.12 GAA.