Mike Halford

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

‘Disappointing’ Avs are ‘just spinning in the mud again’

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Colorado lost for the third time in four games on Tuesday night, a 5-1 drubbing at home to the Predators.

It was the Avs’ second straight defeat at the Pepsi Center, and an ugly one at that. Just ask head coach Jared Bednar.

“It’s not at all how we want to play,” Bednar said, per the Denver Post. “It’s pretty bad. We didn’t find the intensity we needed for the game.

“It was disappointing because it was a chance for us to go a couple of games above .500 and now we’re just spinning in the mud again.”

Bednar wasn’t the only one brandishing verbal cleavers after the game.

Matt Duchene said the Avs are “very inconsistent” while captain Gabriel Landeskog said “the work boots and work hats weren’t on.”

The most troubling development? These complaints are largely similar to the ones heard while Patrick Roy was still the head coach. Roy repeatedly took his core players to task, saying they lacked leadership, and suggesting the club needed to add more character.

There were also remarks — from Roy and various players — that the Avs lacked consistency, had a habit of coming out flat and never developed a consistent work ethic.

Now, one has to wonder if the fan base is tiring of this group.

From Post columnist Mark Kiszla:

“The work boots and work hats weren’t on,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. Not that anybody in town noticed. It’s Raiders week and the Cubbies are wrestling a goat in the World Series. There were so many empty seats in the Pepsi Center, the Avs should have let folks in for free with a two-drink minimum.

It’s hard to watch this hockey team without a beer in your hand. Yes, Nathan MacKinnon can fly and Matt Duchene can score. But what Colorado management sees in goalie Semyon Varlamov at $6 million per year escapes me. What’s more, if the Avalanche really cared about Varly, why hasn’t Sakic gotten the 28-year-old goalie some meaningful help on the blue line?

It’s early, but Colorado can’t be thrilled about its attendance numbers. The Avs averaged just 15,428 through the first three games — 23rd in the NHL — and are coming off a year in which they finished 19th in the league (an average of 17,032.)

Tough times in Denver, to say the least.

No hearing scheduled for de Haan after Drouin hit


Isles d-man Calvin de Haan isn’t scheduled to face a disciplinary hearing for his hit on Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin, an NHL spokesman confirmed.

De Haan was given a five-minute interference major on the play, which occurred early in the first period of the Bolts’ eventual 6-1 win. Drouin left the game and didn’t return, finishing with just 18 seconds of ice time.

Following the contest, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Drouin was held out of the remainder of the contest for precautionary measures, and will be re-evaluated.

“He was in good spirits after the game,” Cooper added, per NHL.com.

De Haan doesn’t have a history with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, having never been suspended or fined during his six-year career.

Rakell ‘ready to go’ for Ducks in Freeway Faceoff

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After surgery, a contract dispute and visa issues, Rickard Rakell is finally ready to make his season debut tonight when the Ducks take on the Kings in the latest installment of the Freeway Faceoff.

“I think I’m ready to go,” Rakell said, per the Ducks website. “I’ve been skating hard with the coaches, so I feel conditioned. It’s more about timing because I haven’t played games in a while.”

In practice this week, Rakell centered the third line between Antoine Vermette and Chris Wagner, while also seeing second unit power-play time with Vermette, Jakob Silfverberg, Shea Theodore and Kevin Bieksa.

So it certainly looks like he’s ready to go.

The Ducks will certainly welcome it.

Signed to a six-year, $22.8 million extension two weeks ago, the 23-year-old should give his club a bump offensively. Rakell finished fourth on the Ducks in scoring last year, with 20 goals and 43 points, and led the team in game-winning markers.

Tonight’s game will mark the first matchup of the season between the Kings and Ducks, who have established a pretty healthy rivalry over the last few years. For what it’s worth, Rakell finished with a goal and an assist in four games against L.A. last year.

Related: The injury-riddled Kings just want to ‘stay in the race’


‘Valuable’ Murphy to make season debut for ‘Canes, who really need wins


With just two victories from their first eight games, the Carolina Hurricanes need to turn things around — and fast — to stay on track with their goal of snapping a seven-year playoff drought.

And tonight, they’ll get some help in that department.

Ryan Murphy, who hasn’t played at all this season due to a lower-body ailment, will make his debut when the ‘Canes take on the Sens in Ottawa.

The former first-round pick will be a welcome addition to the lineup. Specifically, 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.

Head coach Bill Peters said Murphy’s presence in the lineup will 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.”

Murphy, who’s really struggled with injuries over his four-year career, is a good skater and has nice passing vision — two attributes that should help Carolina get the puck out of its own end, which Peters alluded to.

This is also the time Carolina needs to make up ground in the standings. Having survived a tough six-game road swing to start the year, the ‘Canes have a quick two-game trip through Ottawa and Nashville before a nice stretch at home, which will see them play six of seven at PNC Arena.

Goalie nods: Isles start Greiss, again, as Halak trade rumors swirl


On paper, the Isles going with Thomas Greiss tonight against Tampa Bay seems like a straightforward decision.

Greiss was great in his last game — making 33 saves in a 5-1 win over the Leafs — and has been steady all season long, posting a 2.28 GAA and .925 save percentage.

But nothing is ever truly straightforward in Brooklyn.

Especially when it comes to goalies.

Over the weekend, Allan Walsh — the agent for Jaroslav Halaktook to Twitter to object to the Isles’ three-goalie setup, and what it’s doing to his client. According to Walsh, the practice time split between Halak, Greiss and J-F Berube has resulted in sub-optimal game prep. Walsh also noted this is the second straight year the Isles have rolled with a three-headed goalie monster.

Not long after those remarks, Sportsnet reported the Isles were open to trading Halak.

What’s transpired since is something of a mixed bag. Initial reports suggested the Isles didn’t receive any offers for Halak but, on Tuesday, TVA reported there are some teams interested in a potential acquisition.

It’s easy to see why Halak’s displeased with his current situation. Coming off a terrific effort for Team Europe at the World Cup — a tournament in which he beat out Greiss for the No. 1 gig — there was some thought he’d distanced himself as the Isles’ starter, too.

But it’s been the same old timeshare this season. After tonight’s start, Greiss and Halak will have split ’em equally, with five each.

For the Bolts, Ben Bishop is in goal.


— Good matchup at MSG, as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers host Jake Allen and the Blues.

— No surprises from the Blue Jackets, who will continue to ride Sergei Bobrovsky. The visiting Stars look as though they’ll go with Antti Niemi.

— After he and James Reimer split a weekend back-to-back, Roberto Luongo is in goal for the Panthers. He’ll likely be facing off against Tuukka Rask, who appears primed to start for the visiting Bruins.

— Following an emotional shutout against Edmonton, posted just days after announcing his wife’s cancer diagnosis, Craig Anderson is back in goal for the Sens. Carolina is going with Cam Ward.

— The red-hot Cam Talbot starts again for Edmonton, while Frederik Andersen is likely for the Leafs. The bigger matchup here, of course, is Auston Matthews vs. Connor McDavid.

Connor Hellebuyck gets the nod for Winnipeg after coming on to replace Michael Hutchinson in Sunday’s loss to the Sabres. No word yet on a Capitals starter.

Robin Lehner was great in his first game back from illness (37 saves in a win over the Jets), so he’ll go right back in against the Wild. Minnesota counters with Devan Dubnyk.

Brian Elliott has been great lately, going 3-1-0 with a 1.73 GAA and .941 save percentage in his last four games. That gets him the call against Chicago, who will go with Corey Crawford in goal.

— Seymon Varlamov for Colorado tonight, as the Avs host the Preds. No word yet on a Nashville starter.

— It’s Martin Jones versus Louis Domingue as the Sharks travel to Arizona to take on the Coyotes.

— Expect John Gibson to make another start for the Ducks, as they host the Kings. No word yet on a L.A. starter, though the Kings have been riding Peter Budaj as of late.