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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Veteran forward Setoguchi signs in German League

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Devin Setoguchi is on his way back to Europe.

On Friday, German League club Adler Mannheim announced it had signed the veteran right winger for next season. Setoguchi, 30, spent all of last year with the Kings organization, scoring 12 points in 45 games for L.A. (and another three in nine games for AHL Ontario).

As mentioned above, this will be Setoguchi’s second stint overseas. He spent the ’15-16 campaign with Davos of the Swiss League, and his strong play — 24 points in 30 games — helped him score a PTO with the Kings, which he eventually converted into a contract.

Setoguchi is just one of several ex-NHLers to join Mannheim. Carlo Colaiacovo, Mathieu Carle, Marcel Goc and Aaron Johnson all played there last season.

 

Four key takeaways from the Terry Pegula presser

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One day after a stunning housecleaning that included the firing of head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Tim Murray, Buffalo owner Terry Pegula spoke to the media on Friday to discuss the future of his franchise.

Some of the key takeaways:

• “Discipline, structure, communication and character.” Those were the four words Pegula constantly re-iterated as the keys, or pillars if you will, of what the Sabres need moving forward. The view seemed to be that, organizationally, all of those areas were lacking under Murray and Bylsma — which can’t come as a huge surprise.

Though candid, Murray had a reputation of being blunt. One wonders if his, ahem, unique communicative style rubbed some people the wrong way. There also seemed to be a major divide between Murray’s preferred approach and the one Bylsma employed. Murray’s ‘cup of coffee‘ remarks largely hinted at that, and perhaps spoke to a bigger chasm between the front office and coaching staff.

• Pegula said he regretted not being more hands-on with the initial Murray/Bylsma hires, which was interesting. Murray, you’ll recall, was brought aboard by Pat LaFontaine, as part of a more structured front office staff (LaFontaine was president of hockey ops, Craig Patrick was special adviser and Murray was GM.)

LaFontaine spent all of four months on the job before resigning.

By contrast, Pegula has been incredibly hands-on with the Buffalo Bills, specifically with regards to coaching. Pegula was very outspoken following Rex Ryan’s dismissal earlier this year, and some suggested that approach led to internal dysfunction. Specifically, that Pegula was the one calling the majority of the shots, as opposed to GM Doug Whaley. That will be another dynamic to watch as the Sabres’ front office is rebuilt.

• Pegula said Jack Eichel had nothing to do with Bylsma’s dismissal, despite what was reported two days ago.

“Let me borrow what Jack’s agent, Peter Fish, said. Peter said ‘I don’t know where those stories come from, that’s ridiculous.’ Jack’s involvement, as it was reported, is a complete fabrication. I defend Jack, just as Peter did. It’s not a true story.”

It was a strong statement, though Pegula said the decision to fire Bylsma and Murray came after their exit interviews, along with interviews from Sabres personnel — and players. Regardless of what was said today, Eichel will remain an important figure in the coming months. Remember, he’s eligible to sign an extension on July 1, and the incoming GM will probably have that atop his priority list.

It would also stand to reason there will be some Eichel-led vetting of the next head coach, if only to avoid a similar situation to the one the Sabres currently find themselves in.

• Pegula emphatically shot down a Sportsnet report that he’d already interviewed ex-LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi to replace Murray.

“We haven’t talked to anybody. Put that in the Jack-demanded-his-coach-be-fired category. It’s a pure fabrication. I’m going to re-iterate what Peter Fish said. Where does this stuff come from?”

That same Sportsnet report claimed future interviews were set for this weekend. There’s been a bevy of names floated on the potential candidate list, though perhaps the most intriguing ones are ex-Sabres players currently in executive positions, like Chris Drury (currently the assistant GM for the Rangers) and Jason Botterill (currently the associate GM in Pittsburgh).

Finally, Pegula said the search for a new GM and coach would begin immediately. That’s not surprising, given what lies ahead — protected and available lists for the expansion draft are due in 58 days, and free agency opens in less than 11 weeks.

Sharks replace Donskoi with Boedker as series shifts back to Edmonton

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After playing the first two games — then sitting the next two — Mikkel Boedker will draw back into the San Jose lineup tonight when the Sharks take on the Oilers in Game 5 of their first-round series.

Boedker will replace Joonas Donskoi, who’s been a lineup regular thus far. Donskoi has appeared in all four games, registering an assist while averaging 13:15 TOI per night.

Boedker, meanwhile, was averaging 15:13 TOI prior to getting parked. Head coach Peter DeBoer has used the press box as a motivational tool for the 27-year-old previously — during the regular season Boedker was benched, then healthy scratched — so that could be what’s happening here.

Based on line rushes, Boedker will be on a line with center Logan Couture and fellow Danish winger Jannik Hansen.

This is a fairly big opportunity for Boedker to salvage his first season in San Jose. It’s largely been a disappointment. Signed to a fairly lucrative four-year, $16 million deal in free agency, the expectation was that Boedker’s lighting quick skating ability and familiarity with DeBoer (the two were in tandem in OHL Kitchener) would be a boon for San Jose.

Boedker proceeded to only score 10 goals and 26 points for the Sharks, well off the career-high 51 points he scored last year.

 

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).