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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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.

Sabres clean house, fire Murray and Bylsma

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Capping off a tumultuous week filled with reports of internal dysfunction and animosity, the Sabres have made sweeping changes.

GM Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma have been fired, the team announced on Thursday. The news comes just one day after a report from WGR radio in Buffalo claimed star sophomore Jack Eichel, who’s eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1, wouldn’t ink if Bylsma was still the club’s head coach.

“After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, Kim and I have decided to relieve General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma of their duties,” owner Terry Pegula said in a release. “We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their tenures with the club.

“We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately.”

Murray was brought aboard as GM in 2014, taking over from longtime executive Darcy Regier. After nearly one year on the job, Murray fired head coach Ted Nolan and replaced him with Bylsma, who’d previously led Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup in 2009.

Bylsma went 68-73-23 over his two years in charge of the Sabres, but was roundly criticized this year for regressing. Buffalo went from 35 wins and 81 points in his first season to 33 and 78 in his second, and there were reports of discord within the dressing room.

At his end-of-year media availability, Murray dropped his now-infamous ‘coffee’ line about Bylsma.

“The video that they do and the preparation is exhausting,” Murray explained. “I do have an opinion, and think that sometimes maybe they’re stuck in that room preparing and working hard, but maybe they can put a coffee in their hand once in a while and do two hours of video instead of three, and get out and get to know our players and talk to our players.

“It’s about coaching individuals a little more and coaching system a little less. That’s my opinion and I believe that’s the right way.”

Murray’s tenure as GM was marked by some of the worst seasons in franchise history, all designed for a massive rebuild. While the plan worked on some fronts — Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Alex Nylander were all acquired in the draft — Murray’s roster was incomplete, especially on the back end. That resulted in Buffalo lagging behind Toronto in the rebuild race, which was visibly frustrating for all involved.

Murray also pulled off some massive trades during his time as GM. Ryan O'Reilly was acquired in a blockbuster move with Colorado, and Evander Kane was pried out of Winnipeg. Both have put forth some good campaigns for the Sabres, yet haven’t been able to pull the team far enough out of the Eastern Conference basement.

Carlyle put no thought into his Game 4 goalie choice

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Apparently, Jonathan Bernier‘s terrific relief performance on Monday night did little to sway his head coach.

After John Gibson was first off the ice at today’s morning skate — the first indicator he’d start tonight’s potential series-clincher — Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle all but cemented his choice with this exchange:

Q: How much thought did you put into your goaltender for tonight’s game?

Carlyle: None.

OK then!

Through the first two games of their series against Calgary, the Ducks had zero questions in goal. Gibson started both, stopping 65 of 69 shots for a .942 save percentage.

Stream Ducks vs. Flames: Game 4 on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET, USA)

But then came Game 3.

Gibson started yet again, but was hooked after allowing four goals on 12 shots. It was at that point Carlyle made the switch to Bernier and, with it, changed the entire complexion. Bernier stopped all 16 shots faced, and the Ducks rallied for a 5-4 OT win.

“[Bernier] came in and calmed things down,” Carlyle said yesterday. “His whole demeanor, and the way he approached and played in the situation, he was a guy that settled everything down.”

Carlyle refused to announced his starter yesterday, only confirming that he’d already made up his mind. That left the proverbial door open for a possible switch.

There’s zero surprise he’s going with Gibson, though. Carlyle has played coy in the past about the starting goalie gig, yet almost always circled back to Gibson as the No. 1.