Mike Halford

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

Chiarelli once traded Versteeg, now he’s ‘close’ to getting him back (Update)


Looks like there could be a Kris Versteeg-Peter Chiarelli reunion in Edmonton.

Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, Versteeg is “close” to agreeing to a training camp PTO with the Oilers, this after insurance complications prevented him from cementing a deal with Swiss club SC Bern.

The Chiarelli-Versteeg relationship dates back 10 years. Versteeg, originally picked by Boston at the ’04 draft, was flipped to Chicago for Brandon Bochenski in 2007 — considered to be one of Chiarelli’s worst moves during his time as Boston’s GM.

Chiarelli was familiar with Bochenski as the two spent time together in the Ottawa organization, but that familiarity failed to translate to success with the Bruins. Bochenski appeared in just 51 games for the B’s over two seasons, and had a stint in AHL Providence.

Versteeg, meanwhile, put up two 20-goal seasons in Chicago, was named a Calder finalist and helped the ‘Hawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010.

Bringing Versteeg into camp makes sense for Edmonton on a number of fronts. One, it’s a low-risk move for a guy that had a productive campaign last year — 15 goals and 38 points in 77 games split between Carolina and L.A.

Two, it gives them another natural right winger. Based on the club’s website, the depth chart currently has Jordan Eberle on the top line, followed by Nail Yakupov, Zack Kassian and Iiro Pakarinen.

Of course, this year’s first-round pick, Jesse Puljujarvi, is also a right winger and expected to play in the NHL right away.

Update: The Oilers have made it official announced the signing of Versteeg to a tryout contract.

Prosecutor submits new evidence against Evander Kane

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Without revealing any details, prosecutors have submitted additional evidence they say supports the charge of trespassing against Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane in a case he is also alleged to have grabbed three women during an altercation at a downtown Buffalo bar in June.

Erie County assistant district attorney Lynette Reda submitted what she called a deposition to Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee during Kane’s appearance at Buffalo City Court on Friday morning.

The 25-year-old Kane faces four counts of non-criminal harassment, one count of disorderly conduct and a count of misdemeanor trespass. He is accused of grabbing the women by the hair and neck during separate encounters inside the bar in the early hours of June 24.

The trespassing charge stems from a bouncer forcibly removing Kane from the bar.

Kane pleaded not guilty to all charges last month. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 31.

Related: Evander Kane sued by woman claiming he injured her

EIHL lands another tough guy as McGrattan signs in Nottingham

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Veteran enforcer Brian McGrattan, who spent last season with Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in San Diego, has decided to try his hand overseas.

On Friday, EIHL club Nottingham announced they’ve signed McGrattan for the upcoming campaign.

“I think the fans will love this guy,” head coach Corey Neilson said, per the club’s website. “We wanted to sign a player with this kind of reputation for the fans.

“We’ve got our man.”

McGrattan, 35, appeared in 317 career contests with the Flames, Senators, Predators and Coyotes, racking up over 600 penalty minutes. As evident by that PIM total, McGrattan’s been an incredibly active fighter over his career, which includes a staggering 39 scraps during the 2004-05 AHL campaign (per HockeyFights).

His pugilistic endeavors haven’t slowed down with age, either.

McGrattan fought seven times last season, which included being on the wrong end of a vicious knockout in January:

McGrattan shrugged off the incident, saying he was “fine” and “not dead.”

As mentioned above, the EIHL has brought over several tough guys recently. The McGrattan signing was preceded by Patrick Bordeleau signing with Welsh club Cardiff, and Jay Rosehill catching on with Scottish club Braehead.

Report: Isles considering camp PTO for Gionta

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Stephen Gionta, who appeared in all 82 games for the Devils last season, is reportedly in discussions with the Isles about attending training camp on a PTO, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Gionta, 32, is best known as the younger brother of Sabres captain Brian Gionta, but has forged out a decent NHL career of his own. Undrafted out of Boston College, he worked his way through the Devils organization to debut in 2010-11, and play in nearly 300 games with the team over the last six seasons.

He’s had some good spells along the way, too.

In 2012, he was part of a energetic fourth line that helped the Devils advance to the Stanley Cup Final — Gionta finished with three goals and seven points in 24 games.

Last year, as mentioned above, he was a regular fixture in the lineup while averaging just over 12 minutes per night.

He could be a useful depth guy for an Isles team that saw the likes of Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin depart in free agency, or he could be a veteran presence for organization’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

It’s worth noting Isles GM Garth Snow has some history with bringing in former Devils on PTOs. He did the same with Steve Bernier last fall, and Bernier parlayed the opportunity into a one-year deal.

Interested in hiring Patrick Roy? Go talk to the Avs first


QUEBEC CITY (AP) Patrick Roy is looking forward to his first winter off in memory.

“I never really travelled, other than hockey-wise,” Roy said Thursday at the Centre Videotron. “I’m certainly planning to do some trips. It will be very different but I’m excited about it.”

Roy resigned as coach and vice president of hockey operations of the Colorado Avalanche in July, saying he needed more input in decision-making. He isn’t seeking another job for the moment and, with a year left on his deal with Colorado, anyone interested in hiring him would need to go through the Avalanche.

“I have a year left on my contract with the Avalanche and right now, I just want enjoy myself,” he said. “It’s been a great journey and it’s nice now to take some time off.”

Roy got a big ovation at the packed new arena when he the dropped the puck in the ceremonial faceoff before a World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament game between North America and Europe. The Quebec City native, a Hall of Fame goaltender with Montreal and Colorado, coached and managed the junior Quebec Remparts before taking his first NHL coaching job in Denver.

He said he had no regrets about his time with the Avalanche or how it ended.

“We had different philosophies and sometimes it’s better that way,” he said. “I took my time (deciding to resign) because I was close to my players and I really enjoyed them.”

He was impressed with the turnout at the 18,259-seat Centre Videotron, where fans are hoping to get an NHL team back after losing the Nordiques in 1995.

“It’s pretty impressive,” he said. “They did a really good job. We’ll see in time if it’s going to happen. It would be a great market for the NHL, but there’ll be 31 teams next year and they’re all good markets.”