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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Goalie nods: Bobrovsky looks to put rough stretch behind him

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It was a forgettable month of January for All-Star Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

After a terrific opening three months, Bobrovsky went just 4-4 in January while posting a mediocre .908 save percentage. Not surprisingly, the Blue Jackets cooled off following their torrid start, which led to some griping from head coach John Tortorella.

But things could be trending back in the right direction.

Bobrovsky has won two of his last three, making 80 saves on 86 shots for a .930 save percentage. Tonight’ he’ll get to build on that with a home date against the Rangers at Nationwide — a club he’s had some success against. Earlier this season, he made 25 saves in a 4-2 victory, and it’s worth noting he’s been very good at home this season, boasting an 18-6-0 record.

It’s no secret that Bobrovsky is hugely important to the Jackets, and it’s fair to suggest how far they go this season is entirely dependent on him. He’s been an absolute workhorse for Tortorella this season, sitting eighth in the NHL in games played (44) and sixth in shots faced (1254).

For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the nod tonight.

Elsewhere…

— Just one other game on the ledger, as the Coyotes travel to Calgary to take on the Flames. Mike Smith is back in goal for Arizona, after he beat the defending champion Penguins in a shootout on Saturday. For the Flames, Chad Johnson will start after he also beat the Penguins in his last start, a 33-save effort last Tuesday.

 

Kings play-by-play man Miller still out after mild stroke

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Bob Miller, the Hall of Fame television play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Kings, will miss another seven games while he continues recuperating from a mild stroke he suffered last month.

The team said Monday that Miller is recovering at home and “remains in great spirits.” The 78-year-old announcer was stricken on Jan. 28 and admitted to a hospital where he underwent an undisclosed procedure.

The Kings said Miller will provide another update on his return near the end of the month. He is in his 44th season with the Kings. Miller missed the final three months of last season because of quadruple bypass surgery.

Miller had already reduced his travel schedule during the team’s 50th anniversary season. He planned to call 58 games, including all home games, and the first round of the playoffs if the team advances.

The team said Ralph Strangis will pair with Jim Fox to call games on Fox Sports West from Feb. 16-28. Strangis has filled in for Miller this season and formerly was the voice of the Dallas Stars.

‘Hits too hard for college’ — Ohio State’s Healey drawing major NHL interest

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Keep an eye on Ohio State blueliner Josh Healey as the window to sign undrafted college free agents begins.

Also, keep your head up.

Healey, who’s emerged as one of the most lethal hitters in college hockey, is reportedly garnering interest from a number of NHL clubs, per TSN. The 6-foot, 196-pound defenseman is a fourth-year senior at OSU and, over the last two years, has run afoul of the Big Ten’s disciplinary board due to his physical play.

Healey had twice been suspended prior to this weekend, when he delivered this check in a game against Minnesota:

That one netted Healey a two-game suspension.

More on Healey, from TSN:

“Old school – keep your head up when he’s on the ice,” one NHL executive said of the 22-year-old from Edmonton who has generated interest from almost every NHL club.

“Hits too hard for college hockey,” another NHL scout said. “His game will be better suited to pro.”

Healey attended the 2016 summer development camps of both the Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators. In 2015, he attended the Edmonton Oilers’ summer development camp. Those clubs are among the large group of NHL teams that will be competing to sign Healey once OSU’s season is over.

Scouts say he’s a decent first-pass defenceman but his forte is open-ice hitting and playing a hard, physical game. He projects as a depth or perhaps third-pairing type defenceman. He’s not a sure bet to play in the NHL, but certainly worth a shot.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted it’s a “thin” year for college free agents, which could further spike interest in Healey.

Perry blasted for ‘dirty’ play for second time in as many weeks (Video)

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Exactly 14 days ago, Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault had some harsh words for Anaheim’s Corey Perry, accusing Perry of a “dirty” slash that broke his finger.

Today, Perry’s back in the news.

Following Saturday’s 6-4 win over the Ducks, Caps forward Daniel Winnik called out Perry for an ugly-looking trip (as seen in the video above).

“Completely,” Winnik told CSN Washington, when asked if he took exception to the incident. “That’s how that whole thing started. I thought it was a dirty play.”

Perry was given a tripping minor on the play, in addition to a second penalty for roughing Winnik after the trip.

If you’ll recall, this isn’t the first time Perry’s come under fire for a questionable bit of footwork.

At last year’s World Hockey Championship, Perry — playing for Team Canada — kicked Patrick Laine’s feet out from under him in a round-robin game against Finland.

Perry pleaded ignorance after the game, claiming he “had no idea” what an inquisitive reporter was talking about in addressing the Laine trip.

The former Hart Trophy winner avoided both in-game and supplemental discipline for his antics.

Duclair addresses trade rumors with Chayka, Tippett

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Last month, Arizona sent slumping sophomore Anthony Duclair to its AHL affiliate in Tucson, so he could “regain his scoring touch” and “rejoin the team soon.”

That was 25 days ago.

Since then, Duclair’s scored just one goal in nine games for the Roadrunners, and seen his name surface in trade talks. With no recall in sight, the 21-year-old acknowledged he’s spoken with GM John Chayka and head coach Dave Tippett about his future with the organization.

“It’s obviously there,” Duclair said, per the Arizona Republic. “It’s tough to get away from that but at the same time, I’m not too worried about it. I talked with Tip and (General Manager) John (Chayka) about that, about trade speculation and stuff like that.

“We’ll talk contract this summer. I’m not too worried about that. It’s just a matter of keep working hard and get back up here as soon as possible.”

After scoring 20 goals and 44 points in 81 games last year, big things were expected from Duclair this season. But he struggled mightily not just to score, but also produce scoring chances — and after just three goals and nine points in 41 games, he was sent packing.

Tippett minced few words in describing Duclair’s season. He said the 21-year-old has underwhelmed and failed to live up to expectations, adding that Duclair “can’t just hope to score — he needs to put the work in.”

A pending RFA, one has to wonder if Duclair will be in play at the deadline. Chayka has several assets in play — UFAs Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata chief among them — and there’s always the potential of flipping captain Shane Doan to a contender.

That could push the Duclair situation to the backburner, allowing the organization to circle back this summer when it comes time to qualifying him or not.