Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

After making NHL debut, Ducks’ Larsson returned to Swedish League

Whirlwind start of the season for Jacob Larsson.

Larsson, taken 27th overall by Anaheim at the 2015 draft, was returned to Swedish League side Frolunda this week, a move that comes after he surprised by making the Ducks out of training camp, then proceeded to play four games for the club.

Larsson, 19, also played in four games with AHL San Diego.

So, why the move back home? Apparently Frolunda had a loan agreement in place with Anaheim that allowed for the promising young d-man’s return, to the club that groomed him through the youth and junior ranks.

Last season Larsson played in 47 games for Frolunda, scoring 14 points.

The 6-foot-2, 191-pounder probably wasn’t going to see much more time at the NHL level this year — if at all — especially with Anaheim’s defense coming into full focus. Hampus Lindholm, who recently signed a six-year, $31.5 million extension, is expected to be back next week.

Gilbert to have hearing after boarding Ritchie


Kings blueliner Tom Gilbert will have a disciplinary hearing for his hit on Anaheim forward Nick Ritchie, the Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday.

The play in question, which occurred during Anaheim’s 4-0 win last night:

Ritchie left the game and didn’t return. Per Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, he underwent concussion protocol and was being re-evaluated today.

Ritchie won’t play in Anaheim’s game tonight against Pittsburgh.

As for the Kings, losing Gilbert for any length of time would hurt. The club is already down the services of Brayden McNabb, which has forced head coach Darryl Sutter to utilize the likes of Matt Greene and Derek Forbort on the blueline. The veteran Green only appeared in three games last year, missing extensive time with injury, while Forbort has just 24 games of NHL experience.

Gilbert has been a pretty steady contributor this year. He’s averaging over 16 minutes per night through eight games, and has registered three assists.

After five-game absence, Letang back for Pittsburgh


Matt Murray isn’t the only key player the Pens will welcome back tonight.

Kris Letang, out since Oct. 18 with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup this evening when the Pens take on the Ducks in Anaheim.

It’s a huge get for Pittsburgh, to say the least.

Prior to getting hurt, Letang averaged over 26 minutes per game, on par with the heavy workloads he’s shouldered over the last few seasons. His return also rounds out Pittsburgh’s d-man corps, as he’ll skate alongside Brian Dumoulin on the top pairing.

Olli Maatta will team up with Trevor Daley, while Ian Cole will skate alongisde Justin Schultz.


Goalie nods: Murray to make season debut for Pens


Quite a few developments from Pittsburgh’s crease today.

Earlier, in case you missed it, the Pens traded Mike Condon to Ottawa for a fifth-round pick. That move coincided with tonight’s development — Matt Murray, who hasn’t played this year due to a hand injury, will make his season debut when Pittsburgh takes on the Ducks in Anaheim.

With Murray back in the fold and Marc-Andre Fleury still firmly entrenched, Condon was the odd man out in Pittsburgh.

Now, we’ll  see who takes the reins as the club’s No .1.

Murray, of course, backstopped the club to the Stanley Cup last spring, leading to great speculation about Fleury’s future with the club. But Murray got hurt at the World Cup, opening the door for Fleury to get significant ice time — he’s played all but 20 minutes this year — and led GM Jim Rutherford to suggest that both netminders could be with the club for the foreseeable future.

So that’s the Pittsburgh side of things.

Anaheim has some questions in goal as well, though they pertain solely to this evening.

John Gibson, who’s shouldered a massive workload lately with Jonathan Bernier hurt, could get a rest after shutting out Los Angeles last night. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said Bernier is “available to the hockey club” this evening, so read into that what you will.


Ryan Miller gets the nod for the Canucks, who are in Montreal. Carey Price will go for the Habs.

— After allowing four goals on 10 shots and getting pulled against Florida on Sunday, Petr Mrazek returns to start for the Red Wings. He’ll be up against Michal Neuvirth who, along with Steve Mason, has struggled to start the year for the Flyers.

Trade: Sens acquire Condon from Penguins

It was evident Ottawa needed some help in goal last week, when Craig Anderson — who was away from the team following his wife’s cancer diagnosis — returned to the club in the wake of Andrew Hammond‘s injury.

Today, the Sens found a solution.

Ottawa has acquired netminder Mike Condon from Pittsburgh. Per TSN, a fifth-round pick is headed to the Pens.

Condon, 26, appeared in one game this season, stopping all seven shots faced in a 20-minute relief appearance of Marc-Andre Fleury. Condon is best remembered for being thrown into Montreal’s starting gig last year following the Carey Price injury, appearing in 55 games.

The undrafted Princeton product had a tough time with the assignment.

Though he showed flashes at times — and was often playing behind a disjointed team — Condon struggled overall, going 21-25-6 with a .903 save percentage and 2.71 GAA. The Habs opted to sign Al Montoya this summer to serve as Price’s new backup.

Despite that, Condon still enjoyed some good times with the Habs. He captured a couple third star of the week honors, and had an impressive win over Boston in the Winter Classic.

If anything, last year showed that Condon probably isn’t ready to carry a starter’s workload. But it will be interesting to see how he does in a backup role in Ottawa.

For Pittsburgh, this whole scenario played out well. They claimed Condon off waivers just prior to the start of the regular season, giving Fleury a capable No. 2 while Matt Murray rehabbed from his hand injury.

Now, with Murray set to return, the Pens essentially get free draft pick, given Condon was no longer needed at the NHL level.