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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Slumping Flyers lose Konecny for 4-6 weeks

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Philly’s struggling offense took another hit on Tuesday, as GM Ron Hextall announced rookie forward Travis Konecny would miss the next 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury.

The injury occurred in last night’s shutout loss to the Blues.

Konecny, 19, is in the midst of a solid rookie campaign, with seven goals and 22 points through 51 games. Though he did sit as a healthy scratch recently, Konecny remains tied for fifth on the team in points with fellow rookie Ivan Provorov.

Philly has just 12 goals in its last nine games and have been shut out in back-to-back contests, so losing any offensive contributor stings.

This injury, though, could have more ramifications — the Flyers are fighting for a playoff spot, and Konecny will now be out until after the trade deadline.

If his recovery takes four weeks, that puts him on track for a Mar. 7 return against Buffalo. If it goes the full six, he’s looking at a Mar. 21 tilt against Winnipeg.

Konecny averages 14:36 TOI, so it’s a decent-sized hole to fill.

Myers, who’s missed the last 39 games, now out 6-8 weeks after surgery

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Chances are Tyler Myers won’t be looking back at this season fondly.

Myers, who’s already miss the last three months with a lower-body injury, underwent surgery on Monday to deal with said ailment, and will miss the next 6-8 weeks.

The 27-year-old Jets rearguard last suited up on Nov. 11, in what was just his 11th game of the year. Since then, his has been a story of rehab, timetables, an attempt to resume skating and a subsequent “plateau” in recovery.

Frustrating, no doubt.

Looking at the timetable, Myers could be back in action by around Mar. 21 if his recovery is on the six-week side of things. That would give him 9-10 regular season games.

If recovery goes the full eight weeks, Myers is looking at an early April return, with maybe 3-4 games left. The x-factor in all this, it would seem, is if the Jets are still in playoff contention at that point.

If not, there’s a case to be made for shutting down Myers for the remainder of the season and starting fresh next year.

What’s next for Claude Julien?

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As we wait to hear from Boston brass on the firing of head coach Claude Julien — GM Don Sweeney will meet with the media later this morning, smack in the middle of the Patriots’ Super Bowl parade — we should turn our focus to the recently departed.

What’s next for Julien?

The well-regarded bench boss, known as one of the NHL’s best defensive minds, shouldn’t be out of work very long — assuming he wants to get right back in. With the ’11 Stanley Cup and ’09 Jack Adams on his resume, Julien boasts the kind of credentials only a handful of active coaches can match.

And oh yeah, he’s the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

Let’s take a quick look at some potential landing spots.

Las Vegas: This seems like the most obvious one. The NHL’s newest expansion franchise really couldn’t do much better in terms of landing its first-ever coach, and owner Bill Foley said there’s a chance they hire their man prior to the end of this season.

What’s more, Foley said GM George McPhee is looking for a guy with experience.

“He’s not looking for a first-termer,” said Foley. “Some may or may not be available. … I would say the coach that we name is going to be a recognizable individual.”

Vancouver: It’s easy to connect the dots on this one. The team is led by GM Jim Benning, who for years worked with Julien in Boston. The pair won the aforementioned Stanley Cup together. Current bench boss Willie Desjardins has been under heavy scrutiny at times this year and, though the club did climb back into playoff contention over the last month, it’s about to embark on its toughest part of the schedule.

If they crater, the Canucks could be looking for a change.

Florida: While the Panthers seem committed to interim head coach Tom Rowe, could the allure of having Julien on board for a playoff push — and beyond — change things up?

The bottom line is that Julien’s the hottest free agent coach to hit the market since Barry Trotz in 2014. The Caps, you’ll recall, fired Adam Oates with a year left on his deal in order to land their guy, as it was reported both Carolina and Florida were in the mix for Trotz’s services at the time.

That last bit is important. If teams are uncertain with their current coaching situation and knows this could be their one shot at getting Julien, how big a splash will they be willing to make?

Goalie nods: Reeling Blues turn to Hutton

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Carter Hutton will make his first start under new head coach Mike Yeo when the Blues take on the Flyers tonight at Wells Fargo.

It’s a start worth paying attention to.

As has been well-documented, Jake Allen‘s had a tremendously difficult year. One of former head coach Ken Hitchcock’s final moves as Blues coach was to park Allen in late January, while rolling with Hutton and AHL recall Pheonix Copley.

Hutton had three straight starts from Jan. 14-17, scoring a pair of wins over the Sharks and Ducks. The third, a 6-4 loss to Ottawa, opened the door for Allen’s return, which was disastrous — a 7-3 loss to the Caps in which Allen was hooked after allowing four goals on 10 shots.

Then came Allen’s “mental reset,” and more starts for Hutton. He did play well in one of them, stopping all 34 shots faced for a 3-0 shutout win in Pittsburgh.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see how much Yeo uses Hutton in the coming weeks. Tonight kicks off a five-game road trip for the Blues, one that will continue through Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Detroit.

For the Flyers, Michal Neuvirth gets the start.

Elsewhere…

Cory Schneider, coming off a 32-save win over the Blue Jackets on Saturday, is back in goal for the Devils as they host the Sabres. No word on a Sabres starter yet, as they kick off a week in which they’ll play five games.

Thomas Greiss, who’s been a big part in the Isles’ turnaround following the dismissal of Jack Capuano, gets the call as the Leafs come to Brooklyn. Frederik Andersen is expected in net for Toronto, as per usual.

In statement, Hitch says Blues are in ‘good and capable hands’ with Yeo

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It’s been total silence from Ken Hitchcock since he was fired as Blues head coach last week — but on Monday, Hitchcock finally spoke.

Well, sort of.

Though he’s turned out repeated interview requests from the Post-Dispatch, Hitchcock did release a statement to the paper. Here it is, in full:

“When I reflect on my time in St. Louis, I remember it as some of the best years of my career. I would like to thank Tom Stillman and the entire ownership group, Doug (Armstrong) and the rest of the Blues management for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a storied franchise.

“I am very proud of our record on the ice over my time in St. Louis and would like to thank all of the coaches that I have had the pleasure of sharing the bench with: Gary Agnew, Ray Bennett, Danny Brooks, Jim Corsi, Sean Ferrell, Corey Hirsch, Scott Masters, Scott Mellanby, Kirk Muller, Brad Shaw, Steve Thomas and Rick Wilson and the Blues’ equipment and medical staffs for all of their support during my tenure. Without their hard work and dedication, we could not have had the success we achieved. A special thanks and good luck also goes to Mike Yeo. Mike was a true professional and an incredible source of knowledge and support as an associate coach. The Blues are in good and capable hands going forward with Mike.

“I was very fortunate to coach many wonderful players during my tenure and I truly appreciate your dedication over the years as we tried to make our goal a reality. I have made some special friends with many of you and I know our paths will cross again soon.

“I also want to recognize the front office staff in St. Louis. Their commitment and passion for connecting the team with the community is inspiring and did not go unnoticed. They continue to play an important role in keeping the organization moving in a positive direction.

“Finally, to the St. Louis Blues fans, I want to thank you for your unwavering support. I have received countless notes of appreciation over the last few days and it truly means the world to me. St. Louis is an amazing sports town with some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. I am eternally grateful to have been part of the Blues organization and to have made St. Louis my home over the last six years. The friendships I’ve developed and the memories I have made here will last me a lifetime.”

It’s a nice gesture from Hitch who, as Armstrong put it, paid the price “for all our failures, including mine.” One gets the sense this was a heartbreaking conclusion to his time in St. Louis, something made evident by Armstrong choking back tears in announcing the dismissal.

Related: The challenge for Yeo? Make better use of Blues’ speed