Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Sandwiched between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues in the Central Division standings is a Nashville Predators team that keeps hanging with the Western Conference powers that we like as potential Stanley Cup contenders.
Does that make the Predators Cup contenders? Not yet.
We'd take goalie Pekka Rinne in a seven-game series against nearly any other goalie in the league, but scoring depth at forward remains a question, especially compared to Chicago and St. Louis. That's why Monday night's win over the Blue Jackets was impressive.
Nashville got two goals from Craig Smith and a goal apiece from Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson. There needs to be production up front from forwards besides Mike Ribeiro, James Neal and Filip Forsberg, and for one night, the Predators got it. That's a good sign.
read on for Burnside on the Flames, LeBrun on the Ducks and Strang on the Coyotes...
from the Nashville Predators,
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the team has placed forward Viktor Stalberg on waivers with the intention of assigning him to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals.
After missing six weeks of action due to a knee injury, Stalberg is prepared to return to action. With the NHL roster freeze going into effect on Friday at 11:59 p.m. CT and lasting until 12:01 a.m. CT on Dec. 28, and the team being at the 23-player roster maximum, the move was necessary before the team heads out for its final three games before the holiday break.
added 5:34pm, video of the Neal dive is below...
NEW YORK (Dec. 17, 2014) – Nashville Predators forward James Neal has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.
Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Fines are assessed to players and head coaches on a graduated scale outlined below:
from Jamie McLennan of TSN,
It's no secret, when I've been asked if I had to build a goaltender, what would it look like, the simplest reply I can offer is: Pekka Rinne.
- unreal flexibility
- elite lateral movement
- great puckhandling
- the Finnish relaxed but intense mental makeup
- durability (can play 70 games in a season)
- structure, but worries about stopping the puck by any means necessary
- elite rebound control because he catches pucks - and this is why I believe Pekka and most Finnish goalies work to give themselves the edge
There are a few reasons I am biased, one being I had the great fortune of playing with one of the most talented goaltenders I've ever come across in Miikka Kiprusoff. Second, I had the opportunity to go to Finland three summers in a row and work with some of their goaltenders and the coaches involved in their development, and watch firsthand the philosophy and thought process behind what they believe to be important in the mechanics of goaltending.
from Eric Stromgren of The Tennessean,
PETA wants Predators fans to stop throwing catfish onto the ice after goals.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the Predators on Wednesday and offered to ship 1,000 plastic fish in exchange for prohibiting the practice.
While the practice of throwing a catfish is not a routine after every goal at Predators at Bridgestone Arena, a catfish was thrown out after Ryan Ellis' goal during the second period in Tuesday night's 4-3 shootout win over Los Angeles.
The tradition goes back more than a decade as a Music City response to Detroit's octopus.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
He was supposed to be back a year ago, back from hip surgery, back to his old self. But then came an infection, another surgery, another rehab and the worst season of his NHL career. And then came something else, something you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist with a seven-year, $49 million contract.
“You come back, and in your own head, you think you’re going to be the same player that you’ve always been and you’re going to start where you left,” Pekka Rinne said. “When it doesn’t happen, it’s mentally pretty demanding.”
Rinne is finally back now, for real. Among the reasons the Nashville Predators are off to one of the best starts in their history – new coach, new players, new up-tempo style, hot rookie, better 5-on-5 play – it’s important that they have a healthy, happy, elite goalie again. He entered Tuesday night tied for the lead in wins (13), second in goals-against average (1.92) and third in save percentage (.930).
“He’s invaluable,” said Predators captain Shea Weber. “You see when he’s in the lineup how good we are.”
from Eric Stromgren of The Tennessean.
Shots. Goals. Wins. Losses.
Those are just byproducts of what is simply known as 'the process' for Peter Laviolette's Nashville Predators.
"I think when you're in the regular season, you want to continually develop your game and work at it so you're game is good," he said. "Ultimately, I think that leads to wins."
It's hard to argue with the results with the Predators 13-5-2 record heading into Tuesday's game against Los Angeles - good for second in the Western Conference standings. The record through 20 games tied the 2006-07 team for the second-best start in team history.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
With every goal and assist, Filip Forsberg is helping the Nashville Predators continue their hot start, and making a 2013 deadline trade look more lopsided by the day.
The 20-year-old Forsberg is 10th in the NHL in scoring with 20 points on eight goals and 12 assists. He’s a big reason why Nashville is pushing Chicago for first place in the Central Division more than a month into the season.
“We knew he was going to be good; I don’t think we expected him to be this good this early,” defenceman Ryan Ellis said. “He’s got some unbelievable hands and his confidence is high right now, which goes a long way on the ice.”
Confident but not cocky, Forsberg has grown physically and mentally from the player the Washington Capitals somewhat reluctantly drafted 11th overall in 2012. Projected to go in the top three, the Swedish forward with the slick skill slipped down the board.
It's not going to be a good night in Toronto, the Leafs are down 8-0 to Nashville at home with about 12 minutes to play in the 3rd at the time of this post.
The Wings play in Winnipeg on Thursday night then head to Toronto for a Saturday night game.
Babcok may want to lay low until the puck drops.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet with the story.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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