Mike Halford

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

Ray Bourque apologizes in drunken driving case, gets probation


LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque has apologized to his family, friends and fans for driving drunk last month.

Bourque apologized in a statement Wednesday after admitting in Lawrence District Court that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him of driving under the influence when he rear-ended a minivan in Andover on June 24.

Bourque’s “admission to sufficient facts” plea will resolve the case without a guilty finding if he successfully completes a year of probation. A judge also suspended Bourque’s driver’s license for 45 days.

Police said Bourque had a blood-alcohol level of 0.249, three times the state’s legal limit to drive. In his statement, Bourque said he takes full responsibility for his actions.

Bourque played for the Bruins for 21 seasons, then helped the Colorado Avalanche win a Stanley Cup in 2001 before retiring.

Staal ready to ‘hit the refresh button’ after disappointing stint in New York


Upon signing Eric Staal to a three-year, $10.5 million deal on the opening day of free agency, the Wild said they needed him to be “the Eric Staal that he was in the past.”

That, apparently, includes Staal playing the position he did in the past — center.

There’s a good chance he’ll reprise that role in Minnesota on the top line between Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle, ditching the move to left wing he underwent with the Rangers last year.

“A lot of things just went wrong,” said Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said, per the club website. “I don’t think he liked playing left wing. I think he’s the kind of the guy that wants the puck in the middle and wants to handle it and play with it.

“He wants to be the guy.”

Staal was less direct about his desire to play the middle. But he did suggest the chance to start anew in Minnesota, and revive himself as a top-line center, was something he relished.

“It’s an opportunity for me hopefully to hit the refresh button, and go out there and enjoy playing the game,” Staal said. “For me, the first time going through the free agent process, it was more or less about looking for the opportunity to play an important role on a good team.

“Minnesota is a good team, and I felt like there were some spots I could fit to help make a difference.”

The 31-year-old will be one to watch this season. Minnesota’s lack of depth at center has been well documented — former winger Thomas Vanek had a pretty telling take on it, prior to getting bought out — and rather than make a big splash via trade or a more expensive upgrade in free agency, GM Chuck Fletcher saw Staal as a potential reclamation project.

The biggest plus from adding Staal might be the domino effect. As mentioned above, it could allow Charlie Coyle to play in a top-six winger role, and it could allow Fletcher hold onto the “trade a defenseman” card until the beginning or middle of the season, should the club need a boost.

Of course, there is the age issue. Staal joins the likes of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter, Jason Pominville and Devan Dubnyk as core guys on the wrong side of 30, at a time where Wild fans are clamoring for the team to get younger and faster.

Related: With an aging core, the Wild could be Boudreau’s biggest challenge yet

Detroit files for arbitration with Mrazek

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On Tuesday, Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek opted not to file for salary arbitration.

On Wednesday, his team decided to.

Per MLive:

The sides will continue negotiations on a new contract in an effort to avoid the hearing in Toronto. Arbitration hearings take place between July 20 and Aug. 4.

If the sides go to arbitration, Mrazek can ask for a one- or two-year contract.

If they agree to a deal before the hearing it likely will be two or four years, possibly for between $4 million and $5 million a season.

Mrazek played last year on a $737,500 deal and, given what he accomplished, figures to be in line for a pretty hefty raise.

The 24-year-old supplanted Jimmy Howard as the club’s No. 1 netminder and, for a time, was in conversation for a Vezina nomination.

Though he did struggle down the stretch and briefly relinquished the starting gig to Howard, Mrazek ended the year as Detroit’s No. 1 and finished with good numbers — 27-16-3 record, .921 save percentage, 2.33 GAA and four shutouts.

Mrazek has some pretty good leverage in negotiations. He’s clearly the team’s goalie of the future, and GM Ken Holland could be forced to deal Howard (and his $5.29 million cap hit) sooner rather than later.

If that happens, Detroit would be left with just Mrazek and Jared Coreau in goal, and Coreau is completely untested at the NHL level.

Sens extend d-man Claesson — one year, $700,000


Ottawa locked in another piece of the blueline on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Frederik Claesson on a one-year extension.

The deal — of the two-way variety, worth $700,000 at the NHL level — comes after Claesson made his NHL debut last season, appearing in 16 games for the Sens. A fifth-round pick in 2011, Claesson had previously spent all of his North American pro career with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

The 23-year-old will have to battle for minutes in the Canadian capital next season. With a projected top six of Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf, Cody Ceci, Marc Methot, Mark Borowiecki and Chris Wideman, it’ll be Claesson battling with the likes of Mike Kostka and Patrick Sieloff to fill the extra depth defenseman role.

Journeyman blueliner Sanguinetti signs in Swiss League


Bobby Sanguinetti, a former first-round pick that’s spent time with a few different NHL organizations, has signed overseas with Kloten of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Wednesday.

Sanguinetti, 28, spent last year with the Sabres’ AHL affiliate in Rochester, scoring 15 points in 40 games. Prior to that he’d spent time with the Canucks, Hurricanes and Rangers (New York drafted him 21st overall in 2006).

A veteran of 45 career NHL contests, Sanguinetti’s best year came with the ‘Canes in 2013, when he had six points in 37 games.

The move overseas shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Sanguinetti has always been a standout at the AHL level — including a second-team All Star nod in ’15, with Utica — but has failed to find similar success in the bigs.

Sanguinetti also has experience overseas, having played in the KHL during the ’13-14 campaign.