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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Darryl Sutter is none too pleased with Jordan Nolan

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The Jordan Nolan situation has been simmering for quite some time in L.A.

Yesterday, Darryl Sutter turned up the heat.

After noticing Nolan was absent for Thursday’s morning skate — ahead of an eventual 4-1 home loss to Calgary — Sutter called out the 27-year-old forward, voicing his disapproval in the process.

“I couldn’t tell you,” Sutter said of Nolan’s absence, per L.A. Kings Insider. “I went out out on the ice today and I was trying to figure out who the hell wasn’t out there and I figured out halfway through he wasn’t out there, so that’s about as much as I can say.

“You want guys really interested in practicing and playing, right?”

As Kings Insider Jon Rosen notes, Sutter’s been irked with Nolan for a while. The burly winger has missed a good chunk of time with a leg injury, appearing in just six games in February and March.

Nolan’s last appearance came five days ago, when he played 8:48 in a 2-1 loss to the Coyotes.

Back in mid-March, Sutter criticized Nolan’s lack of availability after Nolan took part in a pregame skate against Buffalo (a game in which he didn’t play).

“It’s about time,” Sutter said, per the O.C. Register. “He’s played one game in six weeks. ‘Jordie’ hasn’t played much hockey. This is about what’s right for his career. He’s a 40-to-60-game (per season) player.”

Technically speaking, Sutter is correct. Nolan’s career-high in games played is 64 — back in the ’13-14 campaign — and he’s appeared in 46 this season. That said, he was a lineup regular during L.A.’s first Stanley Cup championship in 2012, appearing in all 20 playoff games.

This situation could be worth monitoring moving forward. Next year will be the last of Nolan’s three-year, $2.85 million extension, one that carries a $950,000 cap hit.

No Weber, Emelin or Benn for Habs tonight

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Needing a win to keep playoff hopes alive, Tampa Bay will have to face Carey Price in goal for the Habs this evening.

But in front of Price? There are some holes.

Montreal head coach Claude Julien announced that three defensemen — Shea Weber, Alexei Emelin and Jordie Benn — would all miss tonight’s affair, leaving Montreal with a blueline comprised of Andrei Markov, Nikita Nesterov, Brandon Davidson, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu and Brett Lernout.

Lernout was recalled from AHL St. John’s yesterday, and is set to play in just his second career NHL game.

Weber was sent home from the club’s recently completed two-game road swing to have his lower-body ailment treated. It’s not believed to be serious, and Julien said Weber will resume practicing on Monday.

Benn has been sidelined with an upper-body issue since Mar. 28, and missed the last four games. Like Weber, his injury isn’t of the long-term variety, and the Habs said he’ll be ready for the playoffs.

Emelin’s status is a little murkier. He’s been shut down for the final two games of the year — tonight against the Bolts, Saturday against the Red Wings — and Julien said he’ll reevaluated over the next couple of days.

As for tonight’s affair, the Bolts are looking for to beat Montreal for the second time in four tries this season. Their lone victory came back on Dec. 28, a 4-3 OT win at Amalie.

 

Giroux shoots down trade rumblings: ‘I’m not leaving’

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Claude Giroux was drafted by the Flyers in 2006, made his debut a year later, went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 and was named team captain in 2013.

As far as recent Philly athletes go, he’s had some legit success over a pretty long tenure.

But that hasn’t made him immune from trade speculation.

This week, Giroux was asked about the possibility of being shipped out of Philly, after the club missed the playoffs for the second time in three years. The 29-year-old wasn’t much for entertaining the idea.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said, per CSN Philly. “I’ve been in Philly for nine years and I don’t plan on leaving.

“Like I said, it’s not for me to make those decisions and I’m not leaving.

According to CSN Philly sources, GM Ron Hextall has “no intention” of trading Giroux or any of the team’s core members (Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn were the players mentioned).

Furthermore, Giroux has five years left on an eight-year, $66.2 million deal — one that carries a hefty $8.275M cap hit — and is armed with a no-movement clause.

Which begs the question — why is this question being asked?

Well, one has to wonder if Philly’s a tad concerned about Giroux moving forward. He turns 30 next season, and his offensive production has declined in four consecutive seasons. It’s also fair to say the Flyers’ future lies with a promising young core of Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Konecny, Samuel Morin, Travis Sanheim, Scott Laughton, Robert Hagg — all of whom are still on their entry-level deals.

Provorov, Gostisbehere and Konecny have emerged as full-time NHLers already. When the rest do, it may be time to signal a changing of the guard — and there’s no telling where Giroux’s trade value would be at that point.

But that conversation might just be that — conversation. Because it sure doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere soon.

Jackets recall d-man prospect Carlsson

First Linkoping, then Cleveland, now Columbus.

That’s the path Gabriel Carlsson has taken over the last few weeks — on Friday, the Blue Jackets announced they’ve recalled Carlsson from the AHL Monsters, the latest in what’s been a whirlwind trip.

In late March, Columbus brought Carlsson — the 29th overall pick in 2015 — over from Swedish League club Linkopings, where he’d spent the majority of the season.

Carlsson, 20, scored two goals and two assists for four points with six penalty minutes in 40 SHL games. Once his year was done, he immediately joined Cleveland.

With the Monsters, Carlsson posted one assist in three games.

Per the Dispatch, the recall comes as Columbus needed a seventh defenseman for a back-to-back series that’ll close the regular season. The Blue Jackets play on Saturday in Philly, then on Sunday in Toronto.

In other CBJ prospect news, the club has sent Vitaly Abramov to the Monsters. The club’s third-round pick last year, Abramov is coming off a terrific season with QMJHL Gatineau, winning both the league’s scoring title and MVP.

Sobotka returns to Blues, adds three-year, $10.5M extension

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Update: The St. Louis Blues made it official; Vlaidmir Sobotka will “fulfill his obligation” for the remainder of 2016-17. He’ll also stick around for a while, as the team also confirmed that he signed a three-year, $10.5 million extension that will begin in 2017-18.

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The on-again, off-again relationship between Vladimir Sobotka at the St. Louis Blues appears to be back on.

Per the Post-Dispatch, Sobotka’s contract with KHL Avangard has been terminated and according to Victor Shalev — the club’s GM — Sobotka is on his way back to the NHL.

Given he owes the Blues one year on his current contract — a $2.725M deal awarded in arbitration back in 2014 — Sobotka could be playing for St. Louis in the very near future. He’s playoff eligible, and could (theoretically) suit up for one of the Blues’ three remaining regular-season games:

Tonight in Florida, Saturday in Carolina or Sunday at home against the Avalanche.

There are two key dynamics at play here. The first? What the 29-year-old would bring to the table for the playoffs. Though he hasn’t faced NHL competition in three years, he has been a steady, consistent scorer in the KHL — 51 points in 53 games in his first season, then 34 in 44 and 30 in 41 in his second and third.

Prior to bolting St. Louis, Sobotka developed a reputation as a solid defensive forward and penalty killer, one that can win faceoffs. So on that alone, he’s a nice option to have come postseason time. It’s also the equivalent of getting a trade deadline acquisition for nothing.

The second dynamic at play? Sobotka might be around for longer than just this season.

From the Dispatch:

That figure [$2.275 million] would be pro-rated for the little that remains left in the regular season. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Blues had seemed reluctant in recent years to allow Sobotka to play a partial season and then become UFA. But if the club and the forward can agree on a multi-year contract extension, which is likely, then it would make sense to add him to the roster at this time. That appears to be where the situation is headed, and finally, the Sobotka saga will be over.

If Sobotka does join the club, the Blues’ roster will be pretty solid come playoff time. Jori Lehtera recently returned from a concussion, Carl Gunnarsson has come back from a lower-body injury and Paul Statsny (lower body as well) has been upgraded to day-to-day.