Mike Halford

You've heard the expression "let's get busy?" Well, Mike Halford is a blogger who gets "biz-zay!" Consistently and thoroughly.

NHL unveils 20 greatest teams of all time


In conjunction with its centennial celebration, the NHL on Thursday announced its latest initiative — the Top 20 Greatest Teams.

Two rounds of voting narrowed the field of 96 Stanley Cup winners down to the following list, presented in reverse chronological order:

· 2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins
· 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks
· 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings
· 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche
· 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings
· 1993-94 New York Rangers
· 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins
· 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins
· 1988-89 Calgary Flames
· 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers
· 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers
· 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers
· 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers
· 1982-83 New York Islanders
· 1981-82 New York Islanders
· 1979-80 New York Islanders
· 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens
· 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens
· 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens
· 1969-1970 Boston Bruins

The third and final round of voting starts today (click here to cast your ballot), and will close on Thursday, May 25.

During the Stanley Cup Final, the league will announce the Top 10. The Greatest NHL Team of all-time will be unveiled during Game 4.

Boughner ‘definitely ready’ to become NHL head coach


For a while, signs have pointed towards Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner eventually running his own bench. He was a candidate for the Colorado job that eventually went to Jared Bednar, and will soon interview for the vacant Florida gig.

This week, Boughner came out and said it — he wants to be a head coach.

“I’m ready,” Boughner told WindsorEssexTV last week. “I’m definitely ready and I want to get my own team.”

Boughner, 46, has a fairly impressive resume. After a lengthy pro career, he immediately transitioned to the coaching side with OHL Windsor, capturing a pair of Memorial Cups. From there, he spent a year as Scott Arniel’s assistant in Columbus before returning to junior, then moved back to the NHL as Peter DeBoer’s assistant in San Jose in 2015.

Appearing in over 600 NHL games as a rugged defenseman, Boughner has worked primarily with the Sharks’ blueline and penalty kill. He’s been praised by a number of the club’s rearguards, including Brent Burns, while veteran Paul Martin said Boughner “definitely has the pedigree” to become a head coach.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson has granted Boughner to speak with Panthers GM Dale Tallon about the job, but Tallon plans to speak with a dozen candidates. Boughner acknowledged he’s “on a list with some other amazing candidates.”

Yet that might not be the only gig he’s in line for.

Sportsnet reported Boughner could be considered for the Buffalo job as well. He spent three years playing with the Sabres — helping them advance to the Eastern Conference final in 1998 — and was a former teammate of new GM Jason Botterill (with the Calgary organization from ’00-02).

It’s been a frustrating year for Jesse Puljujarvi


Not much has gone right this season for Jesse Puljujarvi.

The No. 4 overall pick at last year’s draft lasted just 28 games in Edmonton — scoring one goal — before he was sent down to AHL Bakersfield.

He never made it back up.

Not even for the playoffs. Rather than serve as a Black Ace while the Oilers came within one win of the Western Conference final, Puljujarvi was instead loaned to Finland for the World Hockey Championship.

There, he’s gone pointless through five games, and been healthy scratched twice.

It wasn’t surprising, then, to hear Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli talk of a frustrated player when Puljujarvi came up during end-of-year media availability.

“He’s a kid from northern Finland and was frustrated because he wasn’t scoring,” Chiarelli said, per the Sun. “When he was here, he started well and lost confidence so we sent him down. I saw him play a few times and saw a lot of his video and he actually had a pretty good year with 29 points in 39 games in the American League.

“He had a period of apprenticeship, maybe something he didn’t think he’d have. I’m not unhappy with his development.”

Of course, Chiarelli said Puljujarvi was also “very frustrated with his game” in Bakersfield, feeling he didn’t score enough. And there’s no doubt the 19-year-old saw fellow draftees Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine light up the NHL this year, which probably added to the frustration.

Read more: Draft-day shocker sees Blue Jackets take Dubois over Puljujarvi

The big question for Edmonton is how this affects plans for next season.

There’s been widespread speculation Chiarelli could jettison Jordan Eberle this summer — and his $6 million cap hit — and replace him in the top-six forward group with Puljujarvi, who has two years left on his entry-level deal.

But that’s asking an awful lot. For as badly as he struggled in the postseason, Eberle still had 20 goals and 51 points during the regular season, and played a big role in Edmonton snapping its 11-year playoff drought. Can Puljujarvi replicate that? Or anything close to it?

If Chiarelli thinks he can, it makes moving Eberle easier.

If Chiarelli thinks he can’t, it makes a tough offseason that much tougher.

Grubauer ready to ‘be a starting goalie somewhere’


This summer’s goalie market was expected to be a fluid one, and there’s already been significant movement.

So where does Philipp Grubauer fit in all this?

Grubauer, 25, has served as Braden Holtby‘s capable backup in Washington for the last two years. He’s coming off an excellent campaign — 13-6-2, .926 save percentage, 2.05 GAA — and sounds like he’s ready to make the next step in his career.

“I would like to stay here; Washington is awesome and the whole organization’s been awesome the last couple of years,” Grubauer said, per the Post. “But I’m ready if the opportunity comes to make the next step and try to be a starting goalie somewhere.”

It’s been speculated the German ‘tender could be Vegas bound.

Golden Knights GM George McPhee was the boss in Washington when it took Grubauer in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. What’s more, McPhee hired former Caps goalie coach, Dave Prior, to oversee things in Vegas.

Prior has spoken highly of his former pupil.

“Philipp does things effortlessly,” Prior said, per the Washington Post. “That’s the talent that not everybody is lucky enough to be equipped with. He also stays between the puck and the net instinctively.”

Grubauer ticks several boxes for Vegas. He’s young and projects to be affordable (a restricted free agent, coming off a $750,000 cap hit).

But that means there could be other suitors as well.

Calgary has a void in goal, with both Chad Johnson and Brian Eliott as unrestricted free agents. Philly is still searching for someone to work in tandem with Michal Neuvirth. Winnipeg is looking to add something in goal, too.

The big question will be how much teams are willing to commit to Grubauer, who has just 66 career NHL appearances. It’s a small sample size, though clubs are probably willing to take the risk in the hopes of landing the next Cam Talbot. That’s clearly what Carolina is banking on following the Scott Darling acquisition.

As for the Caps, they do have some options in reserve. Vitek Vanecek, the 39th overall pick in 2014, is only 21 years old but showed well for AHL Hershey this year. Pheonix Copley, acquired from St. Louis in the Kevin Shattenirk trade, is older (25) but it’s unclear if the organization sees him as a capable NHL backup.

What exactly happened between Calgary and Ben Bishop?


Last summer, Ben Bishop was sure he was getting dealt to the Flames.

So sure, in fact, that he was reportedly discussing a contract extension with Calgary, before GM Brad Treliving flipped the script and traded for Brian Elliott at the draft.

Bishop then muddled through a difficult season that started in Tampa Bay and ended in Los Angeles. When the offseason rolled around, Calgary once again expressed interest. But this time, it was Bishop who flipped the script, agreeing to a trade to Dallas before signing a six-year, $29.5 million deal.

In the aftermath, Sportsnet reported Bishop had list of teams he wouldn’t accept a trade to.

Calgary was on it.

At this time, it feels prudent to unpack a few things:

• Per the Kelowna Daily Courier, Treliving made three different attempts to get Bishop over the last 11 months. The first was, as mentioned above, at last year’s draft. The second was reportedly prior to this year’s trade deadline, before Bolts GM Steve Yzerman consummated the deal with L.A. And the third, obviously, was prior to Bishop getting dealt to the Stars.

• Treliving shot down the Courier report this week, in speaking with the Calgary Sun. “I’ve heard I’ve tried to get him three or four times,” Treliving said. “Which isn’t correct.”

• Treliving continued discussing the Bishop situation, and rather candidly. Read into this what you will.

“We’re looking at goaltending, so it’s natural we’d be poking around. Did we look at it as an option? Yes.

“But the assumption we can make is that for the American guy who played minor league hockey in Texas coming to Calgary was probably not choice No. 1.

“And if he was, it was probably for a long time for a lot of dough.”

• It’s fair to suggest “a long time for a lot of dough” was the holdup last summer, given the Flames and Bishop talked contract before Treliving made the move for Elliott (who had one year left, at an affordable $2.5 million). It’s also possible Treliving negotiated, didn’t like how things were shaping up, and took the calculated risk of holding off on Bishop for a year to circle back in free agency.

• But was that too big a risk? In the aftermath, it’s become clear Bishop didn’t just think there was a possibility of getting traded. He thought he’d become a Flame.

“I thought the deal was done and whatnot,” he told Sportsnet’s Fan 590. “Obviously, it wasn’t. They went out and got Elliott.”

Eleven months later, Bishop wouldn’t even put Calgary on his trade list. So yeah.

In the end, it feels like both parties traveled an awful long way to get back where they started. The Flames, like last summer, are still on the hunt for a No. 1 netminder. Bishop, meanwhile, is in Dallas, which is where he says he wanted to be in the first place.

Related: Bishop says health not an issue — important, since he’s signed through 2023