Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
With less than six minutes left in the Predators' 3-1 victory against the Lightning on Monday, Predators defenseman Roman Josi was the recipient of a blindside hit from Lightning forward J.T. Brown.
It appeared that Brown's left shoulder made contact with Josi's head, forcing the latter out of the game. Josi, who angrily tossed his glove down the hallway to the Predators' locker room as he left, said he was fine and removed by a concussion spotter.
This season, the NHL updated its concussion protocol, authorizing in-arena spotters and those watching from the league's New York office to require teams to remove players if they deem it necessary. Josi has previously been concussed during his NHL career.
"I didn't see him coming," Josi said, referring to Brown. "I just saw (Lightning forward Brian) Boyle on the one side. He came around the net. I didn't see him."...
It wasn't the last time that Brown was involved in a hard-hitting play Monday. In the final two minutes, he and Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis collided as they pursued a puck in the corner. Brown then proceeded to punch Ellis multiple times as the two laid on the ice. Ellis received a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct, and Brown received a roughing minor and a misconduct.
Watch both incidents below...
from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
There are only so many points you can expect to get when you score as little as the Blues are right now. They snuck out one point on Wednesday against Chicago when they scored just one goal but on Thursday, one goal was not enough to get anything.
Even though the Blues took a rare early lead, scoring less than four minutes into the game, they never scored again and gave up three goals in about 6 ½ minutes spanning the second and third periods and fell 3-1 at Bridgestone Arena.
“I think after a while you start living on one goal, you’re not going to win many games,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.
“We had chances to score more than one goal,” said left winger Jaden Schwartz. “We couldn’t find a way and only end up scoring one. It’s tough to keep winning when you only score one or two goals.”
It has become the theme of this season for the Blues, and considering the struggles have spanned pretty much the whole season, this may soon no longer be a slump and start being the team’s identity.
Watch highlights from the 3-1 loss by the Blues to the Predators.
from John Glennon of NashvillePredators.com,
... the team was 4-5-3 heading into Thursday's game against St. Louis - doesn't mean the sky is falling.
Would the Predators like to be in a better position, given the excitement surrounding the team following the acquisition of defenseman P.K. Subban? Absolutely.
But very few teams roll through an 82-game regular season without hitting rough patches. It's just a matter of when they occur, how long they last and how well teams emerge from them.
"I can guarantee you the team that wins the Stanley Cup this year will have gone 3-5-2 in 10 games - we just caught ours right off the bat," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "It could be us, it could be somebody else. [But] no team, rarely, goes through a year where they play every 10-game segment above .500."
What might be some of the reasons the Predators - who'd claimed at least a point in four-straight games going into Thursday - are still seeking to find a greater level of consistency?
One is that it may take some time for the Preds to adjust to different pairings on defense.
from Sean McIndoe at Sportsnet,
We’ve flipped the calendar into the NHL season’s second month, and one of the biggest emerging stories can be found in the Central Division. Specifically, down near the bottom of the standings, where two teams that we all expected to be very good are struggling to find wins.
With three wins through nine games, the Nashville Predators are on pace for just 64 points on the season. The Dallas Stars‘ three wins and eight points have them in a little better shape, projecting out to 73 points. Those would be stunning totals for two teams that both played in the second round last year, and that came into this year as favourites in the Central.
But if you’re a Stars or Predators fan, you’re probably wondering just how troubling a bad start can be. After all, each team still has 73 games left to play, which seems like plenty of time to right the ship. Is this kind of start really as big a deal as it might seem?
One way to forecast the future can be to dig into the past. So today, let’s look through the salary cap era with a specific question: How often have good teams gotten off to starts this bad?
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
The list of things that the Predators want to correct is fairly long, as is expected with their 2-5-1 record being the second worst in the NHL entering play Tuesday.
One of those items is playing with a lead, which Nashville hasn't done much this season. According to the Corsica website, the Predators, who face the Avalanche on Tuesday, have led for the second-fewest minutes in the league. In seven of their eight games, they have allowed the first goal, with four of those goals being scored within the first 10 minutes.
"Typically, the team that scores first has a higher chance of winning," Predators forward Colin Wilson said Tuesday morning. "As a group, when you're not getting as many wins, it can kind of mess with you a little bit mentally, but I think once you start getting that confidence, it doesn't matter who scores first."
Post-game stories had no mention of the incident, so we are left to guess. Could have been some words were exchanged or a rules violation.
A disgruntled Montreal Canadiens season ticket holder says they will only be attending one game this season — when the Habs take on P.K. Subban's new team.
In a full page newspaper ad, which costs roughly $20,000, the self-described "lifelong fan" said the trade that sent Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber this summer has changed the way they feel about the team.
"Now, I feel anger, disappointment and embarrassment over the treatment of P.K. Subban by team management: the same sentiments that many felt after the Patrick Roy trade," reads the anonymous ad posted in Thursday's Montreal Gazette, signed by "Dr. CK and Family."
from Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated,
Around 3 p.m. EST on June 29, right before the news struck like claps of thunder—or, in one particular case, a bolt of Lightning—P.K. Subban was sipping red wine and studying the dinner menu at an upscale restaurant in Paris. North of his off-season home, Steven Stamkos had just teed off on the 15th hole at Goodwood Golf Club in Stouffville, Ont., and judged that it was his best drive of the summer. Across the continent, in British Columbia, Shea Weber was busy catching waves on the waters of Okanagan Lake. His cellphone, stashed away ashore, was starting to buzz.
Consider this: Had the NHL simply returned to its usual summer rhythm after the Oilers’ trade of winger Taylor Hall (the No. 1 pick in 2010) for Devils defenseman Adam Larsson (No. 4 in ’11) broke at 3:34 p.m., talking heads and fans would have considered themselves well-fed. Instead, six minutes before the hour, an even bigger blockbuster hit Twitter—Subban to Nashville, Weber to Montreal, a straight-up swap of the league’s two highest-paid defensemen, made even more intriguing by their divergent playing styles and dispositions. “People said it was a hockey trade,” Subban says. “I think it’s the furthest from that. I think it was a personality trade.”
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
Like anything else, the NHL works in cycles, and the current trend is speed. It came about as the rest of the league watched the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup this spring by blazing past their opponents, made possible in part by having a mobile, puck-moving defense.
Having designed their defense in such a way for years, the Predators are ahead of the curve in that respect. But by trading former captain Shea Weber for P.K. Subban on June 29 and buying out now-retired Barret Jackman the following day, the construction is complete.
The Predators don't have a crease-clearing, rugged defenseman on their roster because they don't need one. Instead, Nashville will use its slick-skating defense to steer play.
"There's no one skill in my mind that trumps skating now," Predators general manager David Poile said on the first day of training camp.
via the Nashville Predators,
As the Nashville Predators continue to make their push for their first Stanley Cup, General Manager David Poile made it clear he doesn't want anyone else behind the bench guiding them there.
Poile announced a two-year contract extension for Head Coach Peter Laviolette during the team's annual Skate of the Union address on Saturday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena, a deal which will keep Laviolette in Nashville through the 2019-20 season.
Laviolette, who is beginning his third full season with the Preds, enters 2016-17 just 77 games shy of the 1,000 games coached mark, a milestone only 26 others have reached entering the season, and only 23 victories shy of the 500-win mark, a mark attained by just 23 other coaches entering 2016-17.
A native of Franklin, Massachusetts, Laviolette was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in his first season with the Predators and guided the club to Game Seven of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the further Nashville has ever advanced in the postseason.
Laviolette has also been the head coach of the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers during his time in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Hurricanes and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final with the Flyers in 2010.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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