Mike Halford

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

Blues, Blackhawks unveil Winter Classic jerseys

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We now officially know what Chicago and St. Louis will be wearing on Jan. 2.

Today, both the Blackhawks and Blues unveiled their jerseys for the 2017 Winter Classic, which will be played at Busch Stadium on the second day of the new year.

Chicago released its jerseys via Twitter:

The Blues, meanwhile, opted for the more traditional PR route.

From the club:

“We are excited to unveil our jerseys for the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic,” said Blues Chairman and Governor Tom Stillman. “In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we are proud to pay tribute to our original uniforms and the franchise pioneers who first wore them in 1967.”

The Blues’ Winter Classic uniform is a re-creation of the club’s inaugural look from the 1967-68 season. The gear features historically-accurate fonts and team striping, a ribbed crewneck collar, the vintage blue color and the original Blue Note crest from the first season, making this an authentic design to create a true outdoor game original.

The Blues will be playing in their first-ever outdoor game on Jan. 2. The ‘Hawks, meanwhile, will be participating in their third winter Classic, the most of any NHL club.

After 11-game absence, Kane back for Sabres

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It was way back on Oct. 13 — during Buffalo’s first game of the year, against Montreal — when Evander Kane slammed hard into the end boards, and suffered a significant rib injury.

Nearly a full month and 11 games later, Kane’s ready to return.

On Wednesday morning, the Sabres announced that Kane would be back in the lineup tonight, when they take on the Senators. It should be a big boost for Buffalo, to say the least — Kane, who scored 20 goals in just 65 games last year, will provide an offensive spark for a club that’s had a difficult time finding the back of the net lately.

Buffalo is 2-2 over its last four games, but has scored only five goals over that span.

On Monday, the club was shut-out 4-0 in Boston.

Kane projects to play on the club’s top line next to Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo, though that’s not 100 percent certain for tonight — O’Reilly, who head coach Dan Bylsma listed as questionable, missed this morning’s skate. His spot was filled by Hudson Fasching.

Injury-plagued, cap-strapped Wild recall three and put Scandella on LTIR

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We’ve written quite a bit already about the problems facing Minnesota — a multitude of injuries, and minimal space under the salary cap — so now, an update:

On Wednesday, the Wild recalled three players from AHL Iowa — Zach Mitchell, Christoph Bertschy, Mike Reilly — and put Marco Scandella (high ankle sprain) on long-term injured reserve, where he’ll join forward Zac Dalpe (knee surgery).

The cap savings from Scandella and Dalpe have allowed Wild GM Chuck Fletcher to bring up Reilly, who’s played well for Iowa this season.

He has seven points in seven games and has been productive on the power play, which is important — Minnesota’s PP is an ugly 5-for-34 this season.

Bertschy has been up-and-down repeatedly this year, so there’s not much new on that front. Mitchell, an undrafted free agent that’s been with the organization for three seasons, could make his NHL debut tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.

As for the injured guys…

Scandella and Dalpe are out long-term, obviously. The Wild also don’t expect Zach Parise or Erik Haula to play on this current road swing, which started with Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Colorado and continues through Pittsburgh (tomorrow), Philly (Saturday) and Ottawa (Sunday).

As you’d expect, all these injuries — and constant roster flux from cap-related recalls — has taken its toll. Minnesota was off to a solid start this year but has come back to earth recently, scoring just one goal in consecutive losses to the Sabres and Avs.

Lindholm secures work visa, joins Ducks at practice

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Hampus Lindholm is one step closer to rejoining the Anaheim Ducks.

One big step, actually.

Fresh off securing his work visa, Lindholm took part in Anaheim’s practice on Tuesday and could be made available when the Ducks take on the Blue jackets tomorrow.

“Whenever they want to put me in, I’m ready,” he said today, per the Ducks’ Twitter account. “I’m ready, I feel comfortable.”

The 22-year-old rearguard signed a six-year, $31.5 million deal at the end of October, ending what had been a lengthy contract squabble. He’s missed the 13 games of the year, during which the Ducks went 6-5-2.

A crucial part of Anaheim’s defense, Lindholm scored a career-high 10 goals last year, finishing with 28 points. He averaged 22 minutes per game during the regular season, then saw that bumped to 23:34 during an opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.

If Lindholm doesn’t play in Columbus, he probably won’t have to wait long for his season debut. The Ducks are right back in action the following night in Carolina, then wrap their three-game road swing with a date in Nashville on Saturday.

Chicago’s Motte out 2-3 weeks after crashing heavily into boards (Video)

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The Blackhawks delivered some unfortunate news on Tuesday, as head coach Joel Quenneville announced rookie forward Tyler Motte would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a lower-body ailment.

Motte, who has six points through 13 games this year, was hurt during Sunday’s win over Dallas after getting tangled with Radek Faksa, and crashing heavily into the boards.

Though his play has been up-and-down, Motte has been one of the rookies Quenneville’s leaned on most this season.

Of the five freshman to suit up — Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz, Gustav Forsling and Vinnie Hinostroza are the others — Motte sits first in points and second in TOI per game, at 12:37 per.