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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Injuries mount for Detroit at forward — this time, it’s Helm

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Already down the services of Andreas Anathasiou and Thomas Vanek, the Red Wings were dealt another blow on Tuesday night as speedy forward Darren Helm was injured against Tampa Bay.

On Wednesday, the outlook was bleak:

These are difficult times for the Red Wings.

Any positives from their 6-2-0 start have effectively been wiped out as last night’s loss, their seventh in nine games, dropped them to 8-8-1 on the year. Injuries have forced them to dip into the AHL Grand Rapids pool — Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha have both been recalled — and it sounds like they’ll make another dip tonight, following the Griffins’ game against Texas.

As for Helm, his loss will be felt. He currently sits tied for second on the team in goals, with four, and averages over 15 minutes per night.

Report: Gaudreau broke finger, will require surgery (Update: Flames confirm)

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Calgary’s disastrous start to the year just got worse.

Per Sportsnet, star forward Johnny Gaudreau — who scored the game-winning goal in last night’s 1-0 victory over Minnesota — has suffered a broken finger and will require surgery.

The loss is a critical blow to an underachieving Flames team that’s already calls for Glen Gulutzan’s job. Gaudreau hasn’t been great to start the year — though few Flames have, which is why they’re 6-10-1 — but he does lead the team in scoring, with 11 points, and has been the club’s most dynamic offensive performer for the last two seasons.

The club has yet to confirm the Sportsnet report, though multiple outlets suggested the injury is believed to be serious, and that Gaudreau was set to undergo tests today.

All eyes will now be on Calgary president Brian Burke. The oft-outspoken executive recently called out Gaudreau and Sean Monahan for their lack of production, suggesting the holdout for — and pressure of — Gaudreau’s new six-year, $40.5 million extension played a role in his slow start.

Update: Calgary has confirmed the original report.

Bolts send Stamkos (knee) home from road trip, will be evaluated in Tampa

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The knee injury Steven Stamkos suffered during Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Detroit is serious enough to end his road trip.

Well, presumably end it.

On Wednesday, the Lightning announced that Stamkos had been returned to Tampa Bay for further medical evaluation, adding they had “no other updates at this time.”

The Bolts are currently two games into a five-game road swing, with dates remaining in Buffalo, Philly and Nashville — meaning that, barring a good diagnosis and speedy recovery, Stamkos won’t rejoin the team until it returns home for a date with Philly on Nov. 23.

Losing Stamkos for any length of time would hurt.

He’s off to a fantastic start this year, with 20 points through his first 17 games, and established terrific chemistry alongside Nikita Kucherov on the club’s top line. Despite playing just 2:07 against Detroit last night, Stamkos still managed to score his ninth goal of the year.

Of course, Tampa Bay does have experience dealing with Stamkos’ absence. He missed more than half of the ’13-14 regular season with a broken leg, and missed almost all of last year’s playoff run while dealing with ramifications from a blood clotting issue.

Snow gives beleaguered Capuano a vote of confidence

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The Islanders are mired in the Eastern Conference basement with a 5-8-3 record, which has many calling for the head of bench boss Jack Capuano.

But Isles GM Garth Snow isn’t having it.

“Jack is an excellent coach,” Snow told TSN, giving his head coach a vote of confidence in the process. “We have good players. I love our coaching staff.”

The Isles have been bad to start the season, and there are several reasons for it. Prized free agent signing Andrew Ladd has just three points through 16 games. Jason Chimera has struggled to produce as well. On defense, the club has dealt with injuries to Ryan Pulock, Dennis Seidenberg and Travis Hamonic — the latter now playing through a suspected broken thumb.

Capuano, though, is the one that’s ended up in the crosshairs.

He’s been taken to task for an inability to replace the offense lost when Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo left in free agency. At times, he’s shouldered the blame — in Monday’s shutout loss to the Bolts, he said it was “on him” to find better line combinations — but at other times, he’s alluded to the fact a good chunk of his offense walked out the door this summer.

“Where are we going to get point production?” Capuano asked reporters after a shootout win over the Flyers. “One hundred and thirty-four points out of our lineup that we lost. Now we have to find a way. Like everything gets magnified, I get it. You guys are talking about the (losses) lately…but we have to find a way to get some balanced offense in our hockey team.”

Some saw those remarks as a shot at Snow, which in turn led some to predict Capuano’s firing was on the horizon.

It still might be. The Isles have a really tough stretch of the schedule coming up — a game this Friday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, then a three-game western road swing through Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose.

Related: No production from Ladd among many concerns for Isles

Smith, Hanzal ‘real close’ to rejoining Coyotes

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Arizona, one of the youngest teams in the NHL this season, will soon get a veteran injection into the lineup.

Martin Hanzal, who’s been out the last two weeks with a lower-body injury, is traveling with the club for its upcoming two-game swing through Vancouver and Calgary.

So too is No. 1 netminder Mike Smith, who has missed the last 12 games with a lower-body ailment of his own.

Getting the pair back would be a huge boon for the Coyotes. Hanzal, 29 is one of the club’s best centers — if not the best center — and had four points through nine games prior to getting hurt.

Smith, 34, has been missed. His absence has forced Louis Domingue into the starter’s position and while Domingue has fared well at times, he’s struggled with consistency.

“Some good games this year and some not so good,” head coach Dave Tippett said of Domingue’s season, per the Arizona Republic.

The Coyotes made waves at the start of the year by putting a bunch of kids on their opening-night roster: Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse, Jakob Chychrun and Christian Dvorak, most notably.

Each has had varying degrees of success, but overall the club has struggled and currently finds itself in the Pacific Division basement, with a 5-9-0 record.

Update: In moves that further suggest Smith and Hanzal are close, Dvorak and backup netminder Justin Peters have been assigned to AHL Tucson.