Mike Halford

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

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.”

Another ‘Hawk banged up during World Cup exhibitions — this time, it’s Kruger


Chicago Blackhawks fans were gritting their teeth yesterday upon learning that Marian Hossa needed x-rays after playing in Team Europe’s World Cup exhibition loss to Team North America.

Today, they’re gritting ’em some more.

Versatile penalty killer Marcus Kruger, who signed a three-year, $9.25 million extension in March, suffered an upper-body injury during Sweden’s OT loss to Finland:

Kruger plays an important role in Chicago, one that could increase this season given Andrew Shaw was shipped off to Montreal.

And the good news for the ‘Hawks is that Kruger’s being held out as a “precaution,” suggesting the ailment isn’t severe. But that likely won’t settle down the angst over mounting injuries, which has been a prevalent storyline throughout the WC exhibition campaign.

Hossa, as mentioned, got banged up in Europe’s first game. Same went for the Czech Republic’s Vladimir Sobotka, who suffered an upper-body injury in a 4-3 loss to Russia.

Journeyman Fraser signs in Swedish League


Matt Fraser, perhaps best remembered as one of the parts of the Tyler Seguin-to-Dallas trade, has taken his game overseas to sign with Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League.

Fraser, 26, broke in with Dallas in 2011-12 before getting shipped to Boston, where he scored five goals in 38 games over a two-year stretch.

That stint also included the biggest highlight of his NHL career, scoring a playoff OT winner against Montreal:

The B’s waived Fraser during the ’14-15 campaign, and he was claimed by Edmonton. He then proceeded to score five goals and nine points in 36 games for the Oilers, but wasn’t given a qualifying offer and later signed with the Jets in free agency.

Fraser never played for Winnipeg, though. He spent all of his time with AHL Manitoba before getting flipped to Chicago in the Andrew Ladd deadline blockbuster.

Fraser then closed out last year with AHL Rockford.