Mike Halford

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

Elsewhere…

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.

Ducks place Raymond on unconditional waivers

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Looks like Mason Raymond’s time with Anaheim is over.

On Wednesday, the Ducks played Raymond on unconditional waivers, per TSN — a mechanism that usually leads to the mutual termination of a contract.

Raymond, 31, was acquired by the Ducks this offseason on a one-year, $675,000 deal. The hope was a reunion with Randy Carlyle would provide a spark — back in ’13-14, Raymond attended Leafs camp on a PTO and impressed Carlyle (then the head coach in Toronto), earning himself a one-year deal before scoring 19 goals and 45 points.

But things didn’t play out the same in Anaheim. Raymond was waived after appearing in just three contests, failing to make much of an impact.

It’s unclear what the future holds for Raymond. His NHL future seems bleak, given he was bought out by Calgary prior to getting waived by the Ducks (and, of course, he passed through waivers unclaimed.)

He could try his hand in Europe — during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, Raymond did spend some time with Obreo of the Swedish League.

Another day, another injury for Jets as Matthias goes on IR

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Tough times in Winnipeg.

On Wednesday, the club announced that veteran forward Shawn Matthias suffered a lower-body injury in last night’s loss to Washington, and has been placed on injured reserve.

On its own, the loss hurts. Matthias has been productive this season, with five assists through eight games.

On the whole?

Yeah, Winnipeg’s in trouble.

The Jets already had two key forwards on IR prior to the Matthias designation: Bryan Little, a versatile center and offensive producer, and veteran winger Drew Stafford, who scored 21 goals last year.

Lest we forget, Winnipeg also played last night’s game against the Caps down the services of three defensemen: Tyler Myers, Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba.

The first two were dealing with lower-body injuries (of the day-to-day variety), while Trouba remains away from the team while embroiled in a contract dispute.

Add it all up, and there’s little surprise Winnipeg’s started the year 4-6-0, and — with all the recent losses at forward — there’s little surprise the club has only scored 10 times in the last six games (this after scoring 14 in the first four).

Things don’t get any easier for the Jets, either. They now head out on the road for three straight — in Washington, Detroit and MSG — and pretty much spend most of November on the road:

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With Matthias on IR, Winnipeg recalled Andrew Copp from AHL Manitoba. Copp had 13 points in 77 games for the Jets last season.

‘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.