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

After Bishop injury, Bolts recall Gudlevskis

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Tampa Bay wasted little time in filling the Ben Bishop void, recalling goalie Kristers Gudlevskis from AHL Syracuse on Wednesday.

The recall came the day after Bishop exited Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Detroit with a lower-body injury. He appeared to get hurt making a save on Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen, and excited at 12:14 of the opening frame.

Andrei Vasilevskiy came on in relief, and got the win.

Bishop has a long history of injuries. In 2014, he suffered a wrist ailment that knocked him out of the final week of the regular season and playoffs. In 2015, he suffered a torn groin — which he played through — in the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.

Last spring, he got hurt 13 minutes into the Eastern Conference final against Pittsburgh, and missed the remainder of the series.

The big difference between those situations and this one, though, is that Bishop had some contract certainty, and was playing at a high level.

Now, he’s staring down free agency on July 1, and going through a really difficult stretch — he’s 9-10-2 on the year with a 2.79 GAA and .907 GAA.

It’s unclear exactly how serious this latest injury is. The one saving grace for Bishop and the Lightning could be the timing — while the Bolts do have two games left before the holiday break (Thursday versus St. Louis, Friday in Washington), they have four nights off before getting back into action on Dec. 28 against Montreal.

After getting hurt versus Bolts, Howard lands on IR


The severity of Jimmy Howard‘s lower-body injury hasn’t been revealed, but he’ll be out for at least the next seven days.

On Wednesday, the Wings placed Howard on seven-day IR, recalling AHL netminder Jared Coreau from Grand Rapids in the process. Howard’s designation comes just hours after he was knocked out of Detroit’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night — he was helped off the ice early in the second period, after being crashed into by Nick Jensen and Tampa Bay’s Erik Condra.

Prior to getting hurt, Howard had stopped 15 of 16 shots for a .938 save percentage.

Petr Mrazek allowed three goals on 15 shots, and was tagged with the loss.

If there’s a silver lining to this situation, it’s that Howard may not miss that much actual game time. Detroit plays just once more before the holiday break — on Friday, against Florida — before getting back into action next Tuesday against the Sabres.

The Wings can ill afford to lose Howard for any length of time. Though his record leaves something to be desired — he’s just 5-7-1 on the season — he has posted both a sparkling save percentage (.934) and GAA (1.96).

Sabres loan Nylander to Sweden for World Juniors

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Sweden’s entry into the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship received a huge boost on Tuesday, as Buffalo announced it would allow Alex Nylander to participate.

Nylander, taken eighth overall by the Sabres at this year’s draft, nearly made the team out of training camp this fall and has fared extremely well in his first AHL campaign, scoring 17 points in 29 games for the Buffalo’s minor-league affiliate, the Amerks.

The 18-year-old is among the top-20 rookie scorers in the AHL this season.

Landing Nylander is, as mentioned above, a huge step forward for Sweden’s chances of winning this tournament. He’s that dynamic a player. Last year, he led Team Sweden with four goals and nine points in just seven games, en route to a fourth-place finish.

Goalie nods: With East’s top spot on the line, Rangers start Raanta versus Pens

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Plenty of storylines at PPG Paints Arena tonight when the Penguins host the Rangers.

There’s the history: Pittsburgh ended New York’s season last year, and New York did the same to Pittsburgh two years ago.

There’s the stakes: The Rangers sit two points ahead of the Penguins for top spot in the Eastern Conference but, with a regulation win, the Pens can overtake the Blueshirts for No. 1.

As such, the goaltending decision by Alain Vigneault is an interesting one. Antti Raanta, who’s played very well lately, will get the nod ahead of Henrik Lundqvist, who has started the last three in a row.

To be accurate, Lundqvist didn’t just start three straight — he dominated them. A 2-0 shutout win over Dallas (in which he left momentarily after getting run by Cody Eakin), and back-to-back 2-1 shootout victories over Nashville and New Jersey.

That said, Lundqvist’s had recent problems with the Pens, especially in last year’s playoffs, which could be part of the reason why Vigneault’s turning to Raanta.

For Pittsburgh, Matt Murraay is in goal.


— The Islanders’ goalie carousel continues to spin. After J-F Berube made his first starts of the season on Friday and Sunday, Thomas Greiss draws in against the Bruins. No word yet on a Boston starter.

Cory Schneider will look to snap a personal four-game losing streak when the Devils host the Preds. Like the Bruins, Nashville has yet to announce a starter.

— Coming off a 29-save effort in a 1-0 loss to Boston, Peter Budaj is back in for the Kings in Columbus. The Jackets will give Sergei Bobrovsky the night off, and roll with Curtis McElhinney.

Robin Lehner starts again for Buffalo, after making 33 saves in a win over the Isles on Friday. He’ll be up against Roberto Luongo, who had a four-day break while James Reimer started Florida’s last game.

— In a rematch of last year’s playoffs, Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings take on Ben Bishop and the Bolts in Tampa.

Carey Price stopped 20 of 21 shots in a win over Washington on Saturday, and will be back in as the Habs host the Ducks. No word yet on an Anaheim starter, though it’s probably Jonathan Bernier as John Gibson got the win in Toronto on Monday.

Semyon Varlamov versus Devan Dubnyk as the Avs visit Minnesota.

Scott Darling will start his 10th game in a row when the ‘Hawks host Ottawa at the United Center. Andrew Hammond is injured and Craig Anderson is still away from the team, so the Sens are going with Mike Condon (Matt O’Connor will back up).

Even though he’s struggling, Jake Allen continues to start for the Blues. He’ll be up against Antti Niemi, who is starting his fourth straight.

Jacob Markstrom, who hasn’t played since coming on in relief of Ryan Miller in last week’s Carolina debacle, goes for the Canucks tonight. The visiting Jets will roll with Connor Hellebuyck.

Brian Elliott started against and beat the Coyotes last night, so Chad Johnson goes for Calgary. Martin Jones is in net for the Sharks.

Schlemko set to join Ward as healthy scratch for Sharks


Four days ago, Joel Ward was a surprising healthy scratch when the Sharks took on the Habs in Montreal.

Today? It’s Ward again, this time joined by veteran defenseman David Schlemko.

The pair will be in the press box when San Jose hosts Calgary, per the Mercury News. For Ward, the decision comes after he drew back in for Sunday’s loss to Chicago, in which he finished minus-1 in 13:38 of ice time.

“I thought he did a good job. I saw some good things,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said of Ward. “Definitely a step in the right direction.”

The 36-year-old winger has woefully under performed this year, with just two goals through 31 games. That has him on pace for just five this season, well off his pace of ’15-16, when he scored 21 times (his first year in San Jose, after signing in free agency).

As for Schlemko, he’s appeared in 28 of 32 games this year, while averaging over 17 minutes per night.

He’s been a decent contributor offensively — sitting third behind Brent Burns and Paul Martin in d-man scoring, with eight points — and was one of GM Doug Wilson’s biggest moves this past summer, agreeing to a four-year deal worth $8.4 million.

With Ward and Schlemko out, it looks like Micheal Haley and Dylan DeMelo will draw in.