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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Still unsigned, Seidenberg hopeful ‘something comes up’ — but he wants a contract, not a PTO

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UFA blueliner Dennis Seidenberg made his Team Europe debut on Sunday in a World Cup exhibition loss to North America, the first step in what he hopes is a path to an NHL contract.

And according to TSN, something might be in the works.

“A few teams are circling,” said the 35-year-old veteran, per Frank Seravalli. The catch, of course, is that Seidenberg wants a contract heading into next season as opposed to a professional tryout.

That contract could be hard to come by.

Seidenberg, bought out by the Bruins in late June, has a lot of miles on the odometer — nearly 800 games over a 13-year career — and is just three years removed from a torn ACL/MCL, an injury that seems to have had a lingering affect on his playing abilities.

Though he did return to play all 82 games in ’14-15, the German rearguard missed time with a herniated disc last season and, after recovering, sat as a healthy scratch. It was evident his foot speed and skating had diminished.

Seidenberg did play a handful of games this summer with the German national team, in an effort to stay in shape, but admitted contests against Austria, Latvia and Japan hardly prepared him for the speed and pace of an NHL game.

As for his mental state, Seidenberg said “shock” of his buyout has passed, and he’s prepared to focus on the future.

“I have to go into this tournament, play my game, and hopefully something comes up,” he told the Boston Globe.

It’s tough to see where Seidenberg would fit. One would have to think Edmonton could be in the mix, given the Oilers’ general lack of depth on defense, and Seidenberg’s relationship with former B’s GM Peter Chiarelli. But the Oilers might not be ready to offer up a contract, especially with another veteran — Kris Versteeg — already coming to camp on a PTO.

Could San Jose be in the mix? The club lost a veteran depth guy in Roman Polak and Seidenberg does have history with Peter DeBoer, from their time together in Florida.

Whatever the case, it’ll be curious to see if Seidenberg can play his way into a deal with a strong showing at the World Cup. He and Team Europe open tournament play on Saturday against the U.S.

After avoiding surgery, Malkin says elbow is ‘pretty strong right now’

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Breathe easy, Penguins fans — the elbow injury that plagued Evgeni Malkin throughout the final four months of last season is a thing of the past.

“Everything’s good,” Malkin said over the weekend, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s pretty strong right now. I worked all summer. There’s nothing wrong, no pain. I feel good.”

Malkin, who turned 30 this summer, was initially hurt back in early March on a check from Columbus d-man Dalton Prout. That sidelined the big Russian for the final 15 games of the regular season — and Pittsburgh’s first playoff game — though Malkin did return to help the Pens capture their first Stanley Cup since 2009.

But it wasn’t easy.

Malkin was clearly in discomfort throughout the playoff run. Pens GM Jim Rutherford classified the elbow ailment as a “real serious injury” and praised Malkin, because he “played before most guys would  have played.”

Statistically, Malkin was strong (18 points in 23 games), but there were signs he was limited. His TOI dropped to 17:31 — down from 19:22 in the regular season — and, during the final series against San Jose, head coach Mike Sullivan acknowledged there was “another level” Malkin could reach after going pointless through the first three games.

Malkin had an MRI following the season and, shortly thereafter, the decision was made to avoid surgery and undergo rehab.

Is Jordan Staal primed to be Carolina’s next captain?

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Though it won’t be Eric, the ‘Canes could still have a Staal serving as team captain.

Jordan Staal — Eric’s younger brother, who remains in Carolina after his brother departed at the trade deadline and since signed in Minnesota — recently told 99.9 The Fan it would be a “great honor” to inherit the role his brother held for six seasons.

“It’s a big deal. To be a captain of an NHL team is huge,” Staal said, per WRAL Sports Fan. “When you grow up, you dream of just playing in the NHL never mind being the leader of a group.

“There’s no question it would be a great honor for anyone on this team to accept that responsibility.”

Though it might seem odd to give Jordan the “C” after Eric’s departure — he said there’s still a strange feeling about not having his brother in Carolina — the move would made sense on a number of fronts.

Consider:

— Jordan is one of Carolina’s longest-tenured players, having appeared in nearly 300 games over the last four seasons.

— He’s served as an alternate captain since 2012.

— He’s actually coming off a nice campaign. Jordan hit the 20-goal plateau for the first time as a ‘Cane, after hitting that mark four times as a Penguin, and finished with 48 points in 82 games, receiving a handful of Selke votes.

One also has to consider that, at 28, Staal is a virtual graybeard. Carolina projects to be an extremely young team next season and while it does have some older guys in Ron Hainsey, Cam Ward, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell, it’s tough to see any of them (outside of maybe Hainsey) playing as integral a role as Staal.

‘Canes GM Ron Francis said he and head coach Bill Peters have discussed who will serve as the team’s next captain, but aren’t locked into the idea of starting the season with one.

“We’ll be very patient going into the season (and) see how things play out,” Francis said back in July, per the News & Observer. “If we’re comfortable putting the ‘C’ on somebody we’ll do that.

“If we want to take the route of multiple assistant captains we’ll look at that as well.”

Luc Robitaille and Pat LaFontaine are going to the Vatican

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Hockey Hall of Famers Luc Robitaille and Pat LaFontaine will be part of some elite company this fall, when they attend the “Sport at the Service of Humanity” event at the Vatican, hosted by Pope Francis.

More, from the Kings:

[Robitaille and LaFontaine] will represent the NHL at the three-day event which will also feature additional sports legends such as Pele, Roger Federer and Yao Ming.

“This is an incredible honor for myself, the NHL, the LA Kings and AEG,” said Robitaille. “This will be a historic global conference with the goal to discuss how faith and sport can work together to promote positive values, inspire youth and better serve humanity. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The event will be held October 5-7 and includes an opening ceremony with the pope, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.

This is the organization’s first conference, having previously participated in a two-day working session last September to formalize plans for this year’s event.

Johnny Gaudreau, $8 million man?

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Here’s the latest on the Johnny Gaudreau-Calgary Flames contract impasse, from Eric Francis:

The Calgary Sun has learned the chasm between what the Flames are offering their franchise player and what Gaudreau’s camp is looking for is $1.5 million annually.

Sources say Gaudreau’s agent, Lewis Gross, is asking for a payday in the $8-million range while the Flames are pushing to pay between what Sean Monahan signed for ($6.375 million annual average value) and what captain Mark Giordano makes (a team-high $6.75 million AAV).

Gaudreau, a restricted free agent, finds himself in a unique situation. He hasn’t played enough games for arbitration rights and he’s also ineligible to sign an offer sheet with another club.

Translation: Calgary wields a pretty big stick in negotiations.

Still, that hasn’t (reportedly) stopped Gross from gunning for a massive payday. The AAV would make Gaudreau one of the highest-paid forwards in the game, putting him alongside Phil Kessel, Jakub Voracek, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Steve Stamkos, Corey Perry, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the $8 million-or-more-per-season club.

Gaudreau is still only 23 years old, so the pricetag could be seen as an investment for a future star. And it’s important to remember he did finish sixth in the NHL in points last season, with 78.

Still, one has to wonder if the Flames will buckle and make Gaudreau their highest-paid player. Giordano is the clubhouse leader and captain, and Monahan is regarded as one of the best young centers in the game.

One also has to wonder how much Gross is willing to come off that $8 million ask.