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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Florida to interview NCAA champ Montgomery for head coaching gig

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Jim Montgomery, the University of Denver head coach that recently led the Pioneers to the national title, will interview with the Panthers for their vacant head coaching gig.

“I have spoken to Florida and I will meet with Florida over the next week to 10 days,” Montgomery told the Denver Post on Wednesday. “The date hasn’t yet been confirmed.”

Montgomery, 47, has spent the last three years at Denver, building one of college hockey’s most elite programs. This year’s squad was anchored by Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher, U.S. junior shootout hero Troy Terry and, perhaps most interestingly, freshman scoring sensation Henrik Borgstrom — Florida’s first-round pick at last year’s draft.

After missing the playoffs, Florida announced it would not retain interim head coach Tom Rowe, who took over from Gerard Gallant in November.

A former NHL center that spent time with St. Louis, Montreal, Dallas and Philadelphia, Montgomery has emerged as a in-demand candidate. Sportsnet reported he interviewed for the head coaching gig in Calgary last summer, which eventually went to Glen Gulutzan.

Boudreau rips Pietrangelo’s ‘cheap’ hit on Parise

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Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau was happy, quite obviously, with his team’s 2-0 win over the Blues on Wednesday night — the Wild’s first victory of the series.

But he wasn’t happy with the way it ended.

On Thursday, Boudreau sounded off on St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo for a hit on Zach Parise with time expiring.

“It was cheap,” Boudreau said, per Wild radio host Kevin Falness. “It was cheap. They knew the game was over, there was one second left.

“If this was 1984 or ’78, that guy would’ve had a stick right in his face. But they don’t do that anymore.”

Pietrangelo wasn’t penalized for the hit, which set off a fairly large scrum to end the contest.

Today’s remarks could be seen as further gamesmanship from Boudreau, who’s desperate to keep his team alive after it fell into a three-games-to-none series deficit. The veteran bench boss began pulling out the stops prior to Game 4.

From the Star-Tribune:

In a ruse to throw the Blues off his scent, Boudreau deployed four forward lines in pregame warmups that were different from the ones he used in the game.

The cunning coach, who was visibly and audibly uptight earlier in the day, scrambled everything and went with the publicized lines from Tuesday’s practice.

“When you’re down 3-nothing, it’s ‘all the tricks are out of the bag’ type thing,” Boudreau said.

Game 5 of the series goes on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, from Minnesota (on NBC).

Canucks offered Tryamkin two-year extension, ‘disappointed’ by KHL departure

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Vancouver has responded to Nikita Tryamkin’s surprising decision to leave the team, and sign in his native Russia.

“We are disappointed Nikita chose to sign in the KHL, but also recognize from what he told us in our exit meetings that this was a family decision first,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a statement. “He has a chance to be an impact player in the NHL and we offered him a two-year extension.

“But for now he is home and we will move ahead with building this team with other young players.”

Tryamkin, 22, was taken 66th overall by the Canucks at the ’14 draft, and made his NHL debut last season.

This year started slowly — he was held out of the first few weeks to work on his conditioning — but after getting in a groove, he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dim campaign. Tryamkin scored nine points in 66 games, averaging 16:44 TOI per night while emerging as one of the team’s most physically imposing players.

At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds, Tyramkin is a towering presence and losing him will undoubtedly hurt the Canucks moving forward. Per the Province, Tryamkin told a Russian media outlet he was displeased with his playing time and role in Vancouver, believing he could have seen more TOI.

The Canucks can retain Tryamkin’s NHL rights through 2022, so long as they make him a qualifying offer by June 27 (per Canucks Army).

Devils sign KHL d-man Dyblenko

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New Jersey added some blueline depth on Thursday, agreeing to terms with Russian rearguard Yaroslav Dyblenko.

Dyblenko, 23, has spent the last five years playing in the KHL. He’s been with Spartak Moscow for each of the past two seasons, and put up four goals and 11 points in 51 games during the ’16-17 campaign.

Despite a fairly decorated junior career, Dyblenko went undrafted by NHL clubs. He captured bronze with Russia at the 2013 World Juniors and, a year prior, was part of the Russian squad that won the Subway Super Series.

This isn’t the first time the Devils have looked overseas for experienced defensive depth. Last summer, they inked French blueliner Yohann Auvitu, who was playing for HIFK Helsinki of Finland’s SM-liiga.

Auvitu, 27, appeared in 25 games for the Devils last year, scoring four points.

Emelin to make series debut for Habs in Game 5

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Montreal will get an added physical presence on defense tonight when its series versus the Rangers heads back to the Bell Centre.

Alexei Emelin, who’s been out since the end of the regular season with a lower-body ailment, will draw back in for Thursday’s Game 5, per TVA.

Emelin sat out the final two games of the year, then the first four games of the playoffs. This came after he served as a regular lineup presence for the Habs, scoring 10 points in 76 games while averaging 21:19 TOI per night.

The 30-year-old Russian will undoubtedly bring some some energy for the Habs tonight. He led the team in hits during the regular season, with 241, and will probably throw his weight around as the Canadiens look to take a 3-2 series lead.

Based on this morning’s skate, Emelin will be paired with Nathan Beaulieu. Andrei MarkovShea Weber and Jordie BennJeff Petry made up the other pairs, meaning Brandon Davidson — who played 13:51 in the Game 4 loss — is the odd man out on defense.