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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After winless start, Ducks waive Raymond

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Mason Raymond‘s reunion with Randy Carlyle has hit a snag.

On Monday, the Ducks placed Raymond on waivers — just three games into his stint with Anaheim, who signed Raymond in the hopes of reviving his career.

And the hope, of course, is that Carlyle would be the catalyst.

Back in ’13-14, Raymond attended Leafs camp on a PTO and impressed Carlyle — then the head coach in Toronto — and earned himself a one-year deal.

Raymond proceeded to score 19 goals and 45 points for the Leafs, which netted him a three-year, $9.45 million deal from Calgary.

After two disappointing years with the Flames, he was bought out in June.

Just a few days later, Raymond signed a $675,000 deal with the Ducks.

The 31-year-old did appear in all three games for Anaheim this year — all losses — going pointless with a minus-2 rating. After getting less than nine minutes in his first two games, he received a season-high 12:31 TOI in Sunday’s OT defeat to the Islanders, finishing with just one shot on goal.

It’s possible this move was made in connection to Anaheim claiming speedster Emerson Etem off waivers from Vancouver. Etem has yet to play for the Ducks, but could replace Raymond in the lineup.

It’s worth noting that Anaheim cleared a roster spot for Etem by waiving forward Joseph Cramarossa, and sending him to AHL San Diego.

 

Price (flu) skates, but Montoya will start Habs’ home opener

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The good news for Carey Price? He’s back on the ice after missing a week with a severe case of the flu.

The bad news? He’s still not ready to play.

Price skated for 40 minutes ahead of Montreal’s practice on Monday, but it’ll be Al Montoya in net — yes, again — on Tuesday, when the Canadiens make their home debut against the defending Cup champion Penguins.

Price has been out since Oct. 10 with the illness, causing him to miss Montreal’s first two games of the season — a 4-1 win in Buffalo, and an 4-3 OT loss in Ottawa.

Per TSN, Habs head coach Michel Therrien said that Price’s energy levels and weight loss are still issues, which is why Montoya will face Pittsburgh.

The veteran backup has been very solid in relief thus far. Montoya’s posted a 1-0-1 record with a 1.92 GAA and .942 save percentage over two starts, facing an average of 34.5 shots per contest.

Today’s news means that Montreal fans will once again have to wait for their star netminder to make his season debut.

Price, who suffered a season-ending MCL sprain last season, hasn’t played Nov. 25 — he hasn’t played at home since Nov. 22 — though he did return to game action for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey, backstopping the squad to the tournament championship.

Goalie nods: With Quick hurt, Zatkoff makes first start for Kings

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It’s Zatkoff time in Los Angeles.

Jeff Zatkoff, the career backup with just 36 games on his resume, will get the biggest opportunity of his NHL career tonight when the Kings host the Flyers at Staples.

Zatkoff will replace the injured Jonathan Quick tonight, and for the foreseeable future. Quick, injured in L.A.’s opening-night loss to the Sharks, doesn’t sound as though he’ll be returning anytime soon.

From L.A. Kings Insider:

Right now, no decision on how to proceed has been made, but Lombardi expressed the desire to have that decision made expeditiously so that it’s not “weeks,” as he said, before there’s any consensus or executive decision on how to proceed.

Lombardi stressed that this is not a short-term injury. Though the term “week-to-week” has been shared by the team, don’t expect to see [Quick] back in the crease for the home stand that opens a week from Saturday.

The injury, per Lombardi, is in the “same area” as the groin, generally speaking. The location wasn’t pinpointed – it’s not necessarily the groin, and in fact sounded as if it was in an area near the groin – but Lombardi said that it wasn’t a knee injury.

Zatkoff, 29, did look sharp in relief of quick on Wednesday night, stopping 15 of 16 shots faced for a .938 save percentage. He also had 11 starts last year for Pittsburgh, so this isn’t completely unfamiliar territory.

For the Flyers, Michal Neuvirth has been named their opening-night starter.

Elsewhere…

Corey Crawford, who allowed three goals on 32 shots in an opening-night loss to St. Louis, will go for Chicago tonight in Nashville. The Preds, to nobody’s surprise, are starting off their campaign with No. 1 netminder Pekka Rinne in goal.

Brian Elliott and Cam Talbot were in goal for Edmonton’s 7-4 win over Calgary on Wednesday, and those two will be back in tonight as the matchup shifts to the Saddledome. Elliott definitely wants to rebound from a shaky performance in his Flames debut.

Ducks sign Rakell to six-year, $22.8M deal

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Anaheim opened its campaign with two key unsigned RFAs: Hampus Lindholm, and Rickard Rakell.

And now, only Lindholm remains without a deal.

Anaheim has agreed to a six-year, $22.8 million extension with Rakell, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.8 million. It’s a nice contract for the 23-year-old, and a good bump from the $894,166 he was making annually on his previous deal.

Not that Rakell didn’t earn it.

Rakell finished fourth on the Ducks in scoring last year, with 20 goals and 43 points, and led the team in game-winning markers. His emergence over the last two seasons — he had 31 points in 73 contests in ’14-15 — his age (only turned 23 in May) and his versatility (can play center or right wing) are the big reasons why he scored such a sizable raise.

Now, all the Ducks need to do is get Rakell back in the lineup as he recovers from surgery to remove scar tissue that build up after his appendectomy in March. After Anaheim announced the deal, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Bob Murray, provided an update on Rakell:

All this makes the Ducks a team to watch in the coming days. It’s believed Lindholm is angling for an eight-year deal at $6 million per, which — after the Rakell deal — would put the team in a financial bind.

Anaheim has been mentioned in numerous trade rumblings over the last few weeks, as GM Bob Murray will likely have to move a substantial contract to get Lindholm signed.

Winnipeg’s Little out ‘long-term’ after collision with Bickell

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Some tough news for the Jets following last night’s dramatic comeback win over Carolina — veteran center Bryan Little has been lost “long-term” with a lower-body injury, per head coach Paul Maurice.

Little appeared to go knee-on-knee with ‘Canes forward Bryan Bickell during the contest, and exited after playing just 2:48.

The club didn’t offer any specific timetable for return, only saying that Little is out indefinitely.

Losing the 28-year-old will hurt. Little opened the year as the club’s No. 2 center, on a line with Drew Stafford and Shawn Matthias, and was in on the club’s opening goal, setting up Matthias’ first-period marker.

It’s a tough blow for Little as well. He suffered a compression fractured vertebrae last season — an injury that ended his campaign — and, all told, suited up for just 57 of Winnipeg’s 82 games.

When healthy, he’s a productive contributor for the Jets. Little posted a career-high 64 points during the ’13-14 campaign, and a career-high 24 goals the season following. He’s also one of the club’s top faceoff men.

With him gone, Winnipeg looks as though they’ll insert Alex Burmistrov into the lineup, after he sat out against Carolina.