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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Going pro? Ottawa wasted no time contacting prospect White

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Colin White, the Boston College sophomore taken 21st overall by Ottawa at the ’15 draft, had his collegiate season end over the weekend with a loss to UMass Lowell.

And the Sens got right down to business.

From the Citizen:

Senators assistant GM Randy Lee, who is handling the talks, reached out to White’s camp after the loss and the club is weighing its options to try to determine the best route.

White was a standout for Team USA at the world junior championships but that doesn’t mean he’s NHL-ready, which is why Ottawa wants to do what’s best for both sides.

White, 20, has had a terrific last couple of years. He’s been a point-per-game player at BC and, as mentioned above, was a major catalyst at the world juniors. He finished second in the tournament in goals, with seven in seven games, and was a force in the U.S.’s gold medal win over Canada.

According to the Citizen’s Bruce Garrioch, “it doesn’t sound like either White or the Senators” are interested in him returning to school for his junior season. Which leaves two landing options: Ottawa, on an entry-level contract (and the potential for White’s NHL debut) or AHL Binghamton, on an amateur tryout (the Sens don’t lose a year off his ELC this way).

White could leverage going back to school to get Ottawa to sign him to an ELC. He would be no doubt thrilled at the prospect of making playing in the NHL — especially for a team that looks playoff-bound — but the Sens still have much to play for, and might not have the luxury of getting White into the mix.

Canucks announce Granlund to undergo season-ending wrist surgery

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The best season of Markus Granlund‘s professional career is ending on a down note.

Granlund, who’s posted career highs in goals (19) and points (32), will undergo season-ending wrist surgery, the Canucks announced on Monday.

“Markus has had an ongoing wrist injury which we’ve treated through regular maintenance and rehabilitation,” Vancouver GM Jim Benning said in a release. “Our Canucks medical team and Markus believe that surgery is the best course of action for his long-term health and by having the procedure now it will allow him to have more time to rehabilitate and work out in preparation for next season.

“Markus is an important part of our team and we are confident he’ll have a full recovery.”

Granlund, 23, was one of the biggest bright spots in a fairly disappointing campaign for the Canucks. He sat second on the team in goals at the time of his injury — one behind Bo Horvat, who has 20 — and had his TOI spike to 17:19 per night, by far his highest since breaking in with Calgary during the ’13-14 campaign.

It’ll be interesting to see how Granlund’s absence affects Vancouver’s slide down the standings. The Canucks head into tonight’s action sitting 27th in the NHL with 65 points, just four out of 29th (currently held by Arizona, with 61 points).

 

McLellan: Workhorse Talbot ‘has been better than I thought he’d be’

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To hear Edmonton head coach Todd McLellan explain it, not much went to plan in goal this year.

The club didn’t expect Jonas Gustavsson to go bust as Cam Talbot‘s backup (which he has). It didn’t expect Talbot to play in 64 of 71 games thus far (which he has). And it didn’t expect Talbot to play this well.

Which he has.

“We had a group of goalies we thought could play and contribute and he was at the top of the list,” McLellan said, per the Edmonton Sun. “He has been better than I thought he’d be, to be honest, but he works at his craft.”

It’s understandable that McLellan had tempered expectations.

After acquiring Talbot from the Rangers at the ’15 draft, the Oilers knew they were taking a gamble on a talented, yet unproven entity — and that gamble looked troubling following Talbot’s start in Edmonton. The first three months of the ’15-16 campaign were a disaster to the point where, in December, he said the situation had become “extremely frustrating.”

But things changed.

Talbot played well over the second half of the year, finishing with a respectable .917 save percentage while emerging as the club’s No. 1 netminder. Edmonton cemented that with a three-year, $12.5 million extension, and that security seemed to propel Talbot to the next level.

This year, his numbers are terrific and there’s a major case for co-team MVP consideration alongside Connor McDavid. Talbot sits first in the league in starts, shots faced, saves and time on ice, sitting top-five in wins and shutouts.

“This group plays for Talbs, not with him,” McLellan explained. “That’s a huge thing for goaltending.”

 

Retirement could be in cards for Coyotes’ Michalek

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After clearing waivers in October, Zbynek Michalek has spent all of this year with Arizona’s AHL affiliate in Tucson.

For a 34-year-old rearguard with nearly 800 games of NHL experience, it looked like the beginning of the end. But that narrative switched a bit this past weekend, when the Coyotes brought Michalek up for the first time this season.

Now, with 11 games left, Michalek could be auditioning for a contract for next year.

Or this could be his swan song.

From the Arizona Republic:

It’s unclear if this season will be Michalek’s last as he planned to discuss his future with his wife and agent this summer. He said he’d have to determine if he wanted to continue playing first and if he did, the NHL would be his top choice but Europe is another option. But he stressed his family is his No. 1 priority and he wants to do what’s best for his wife and two children.

“Whether I like it or not if the right situation doesn’t come around,” Michalek said, “I might have to think about retirement.”

If it is the end, Michalek’s certainly put together a nice career.

Undrafted out of the Quebec League, he caught on with Minnesota as a free agent before getting shipped to the Coyotes (where he’s played over 600 of his 781 career contests). The older brother of Leafs winger Milan Michalek, Zbynek also represented his native Czech Republic on a number of occasions, including a pair of Olympic Games, and captured both silver and bronze medals at the World Championships.

 

Tkachuk to have hearing for Doughty elbow

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Matthew Tkachuk has been toeing the disciplinary line for most of his rookie campaign.

Now it appears he’s crossed it.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced Tkachuk would have a hearing for his elbow on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in Calgary’s 5-2 win on Sunday night.

The incident occurred late in the first period behind the goal line, as Doughty went to check Tkachuk, who, with his back turned to the Kings defender, threw up the left elbow, sending Doughty to the ice.

After slowly getting to his feet, Doughty did return in the second period.

Tkachuk wasn’t penalized for the hit, but did receive a roughing minor after being confronted by L.A. blueliner Derek Forbort.

Following the game, Doughty was steamed.

“He’s a pretty dirty player, that kid,” said Doughty, per LA Kings Insider. “To be a rookie and play like that is a little surprising. I don’t know exactly what happened because I got hit in the head, but I thought he elbowed me. I can’t tell you for sure, so I’m not going to really say if I think anything should happen, but whatever it was, it hurt pretty bad, and it’s going to hurt for a little bit.”

When asked about the incident, Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan naturally said he hadn’t seen a replay, but from the bench, it appeared to be what he called a “reverse hit.”

As mentioned above, Tkachuk has been a polarizing figure in his first NHL campaign. He ran wild in an early-season game against Edmonton — one of his first introductions to the rest of the league — and, in January, was accused of slew-footing in a loss to Toronto.