Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
In a quiet room on the event level of Bridgestone Arena one recent afternoon, Ribeiro is animated, healthy and eager to discuss how those moments -- Was it really just a year ago? Somehow it seems longer -- have evolved into a most unexpected fit with the Nashville Predators.
To fit here, though, Ribeiro had to first find a fit with himself and with the family from whom he'd been separated.
Ribeiro voluntarily went into the NHL/NHL Players' Association substance abuse and behavioral health program at the end of the 2013-14 season after a long heart-to-heart discussion with Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.
Ribeiro's family -- his wife, Tamara, and their three children, two boys aged 14 and 10 and a daughter aged 9 -- was there when he left the rehab center a few weeks later, making the trip home somehow shorter, the future somehow less daunting, the possibilities within reach.
The trip back home with his family was the start of a different kind of journey, a dramatic divergence from the path Ribeiro had traveled in the preceding months.
"I think the kids were happy to see me and to see that Daddy was getting better," Ribeiro said.
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
Once firmly positioned as the NHL's best team, Nashville has staggered as the end of the regular season nears. The Predators have lost nine of 11 games since Feb. 26, turning their nine-point lead atop the Central Division into a one-point deficit with 10 games remaining.
"It's tight," defenseman Roman Josi said. "Chicago's right there; St. Louis is, I think, ahead of us now. It's a tight race. We've got to find a way to get points."
The Predators' ascent to the top of the league was unexpected before the season. It was an improbable run fueled by the on-ice aggressiveness preferred by new coach Peter Laviolette and a roster capable of high-scoring offense. Their 27-9-4 record through 40 games was the best in franchise history.
Nashville has barely resembled that team lately, struggling for offense with just 19 goals during a 2-8-1 slump. Before the start of the skid, the Predators averaged 2.7 goals per 60 minutes at even strength, tied for second-most in the NHL. However, that average has dropped to 1.7 goals, a total that puts them near the bottom of the league over that span.
"We're right in the thick of it," forward Matt Cullen said. "We had a real nice cushion, and for whatever reasons, we kind of let it evaporate here. Ultimately, it just comes down to, in here, we need to get our game in order."
from John Glennon of The Tennessean,
Despite the high-octane first period, the Predators surrendered the game's opening goal for the 10th consecutive time. In fact, the Islanders scored twice on five shots in the first period before Colin Wilson cut the lead to 2-1 just before the horn sounded.
"We need to stop getting down in these games," Wilson said. "We keep starting off behind and then we have to battle back. We keep having great efforts, but we need to start to get those goals."
And then there was the disappointment of the final period, when – three minutes after the Predators rallied from 3-1 down to 3-3 – Brock Nelson's shot from the slot won it for the Islanders. It was a bit of a fluke opportunity, as Michael Grabner's shot ricocheted off the endboards and bounced over Predators defenseman Seth Jones' stick in front before sliding to Nelson.
"It seems like that's where we're at right now," Laviolette said. "Our guys played hard, fought back and we catch a tough bounce on a rebound that jumps over a defenseman's stick."
John Glennon on the lawsuit filed by Mike Ribeiro's ex-nanny,
from John Glennon of The Tennessean,
The Predators' game Tuesday against New Jersey will mark the team's 20th in 36 days since the NHL All-Star break. Only one other team, Florida, has played 20 in 36 since the break, and only two teams, Washington and the New York Islanders, have played as many as 19 games in those 36 days.
"It's been a grinding schedule since the All-Star break," Predators general manager David Poile said, hours before his team tries to snap its season-high, three-game losing streak at New Jersey.
"It's been very, very busy, and it doesn't seem like it lightens up much. There have hardly been any practice days. I'm not trying to give excuses. I'm just trying to say it's been a grueling schedule.
"To me, the last couple of games, we just haven't had our legs. Other teams have been quicker than us the last two games, and we just need to get that back."
Grabovski did not return to the game and coach Capuano said post-game, “I’m sure he’s going to be out a while though.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"I can just watch you guys on TV this year and enjoy it," the Nashville Predators veteran general manager chuckled Sunday after pulling off an impressive trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs that landed him Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli.
Not that the Maple Leafs didn't do well, too, because GM Dave Nonis deserves full marks for pulling a first-round pick his way as well as prospect Brendan Leipsic -- two good assets. Plus the Leafs can also flip Olli Jokinen for a draft pick before March 2.
But for the Central Division-leading Predators to add a top-four blueliner of Franson's ilk plus versatile top-nine forward Santorelli, suddenly you have to consider the possibility that the Preds aren't simply going to get stomped on by a team like the Blues or the Blackhawks in the second round.
What's apparent more than ever is the Preds have the talent and the depth to take a long playoff run of their own.
Nashville, Tenn. (February 15, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Sunday that the team has acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Nashville’s first-round selection in the 2015 Draft, and forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen.
“In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the Trade Deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates.
"Both Cody and Mike were drafted, developed and began their NHL careers here. They know our organization and still have former teammates and friends on the roster. We are fully confident that they will seamlessly fit into our team.”
“Cody brings size, offensive ability and the capacity to play in all situations to our lineup,” Poile said. “He is the perfect component to round out our defensive corps and give us eight proven NHL defensemen.”
“Mike is a versatile player that can move up and down the lineup based on the situation,” Poile said. “He has fantastic speed, is excellent in the face-off circle, and can play all three forward positions if called upon. He is an excellent complement to our existing group of forwards.”
from John Glennon of The Tennessean,
So what might interest the Predators over the next few weeks? Here are some positions and names that might make sense:
Defensive depth. The Predators have a very talented and offensive-minded defensive corps when everyone is healthy, but outside of Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Anton Volchenkov, there's not a lot of experience on the blueline.
Nashville would be well-served to add at least one quality defenseman, most likely a player with size who is good in his own end and can log a decent amount of minutes. Some players that might fit the bill are Ottawa's Marc Methot, Colorado's Jan Hejda, Carolina's Andrej Sekera and Arizona's Zbynek Michalek.
Center depth. The Predators have fared well offensively with their one-two punch of Mike Ribeiro and Fisher, but scoring becomes more challenging in the postseason and it would be good to have more options in the middle. Along the same lines, injuries have to be expected in the playoffs, another good reason more is better.
It would be pretty challenging to find a No. 1 center at the deadline. But some players that could supplement Ribeiro and Fisher are Arizona's Antoine Vermette, Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly (if he's on the market), Colorado's Daniel Briere and even former Predator Mike Santorelli, now with Toronto.
Tyler Myers barely put some sweat on his new Winnipeg Jets sweater when late in the game, he decided to stand in front of a Shea Weber shot. And why quick to learn why that’s a bad idea.
Below, Myers talks post-game, saying his leg went dead but he is ok. Myers also talked about playing for the Winnipeg Jets.
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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