Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Josh Cooper of the Tennessean,
Checking in on the Predators roster as the 2014-15 season approaches:
Reason for optimism: Neal brings one of the best one-timers in the NHL to the Predators. He's a pure goal scorer, someone who immediately upgrades the attack, and is probably a lock for 30 goals. He adds a dimension the Predators have probably never had in their history.
Reason for pessimism: Neal has had discipline problems – the NHL has suspended him three times – and he has a reputation for being surly. Also, it's unclear how Neal will perform without All-Star pivot Evgeni Malkin – his centerman with the Pittsburgh Penguins – feeding him the puck.
from John Matisz of Canoe,
In today’s NHL, where each player is media trained almost exclusively in cliches, it’s rare to come across an unplugged interview.
Nashville Predator Rich Clune’s recent Q&A with nofilterblog.com, however, is certainly an exception.
Among the highlights in this doozy is Clune’s insight into the “hottest wife in the NHL” (hint: she’s a country music singer) and an intriguing anecdote about Clune and James Neal butt-dialing a veteran player whom they insulted via voicemail by accident.
Below are a few candid answers from Clune, a 27-year-old enforcer who had seven points and 166 penalty minutes in 58 games for Nashville last season.
(To read the entire transcript, click here.)
[WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE]
Who is your favorite person to fight in the league?
from Josh Cooper of The Tennessean,
“He knows he has to get stronger and fill out,” general manager David Poile said. “He’s a pretty determined and dedicated kid.”
It’s somewhat rare for Predators players to stay in town during the offseason. Most scatter for the offseason. Captain Shea Weber heads to his summer home in British Columbia. Goaltender Pekka Rinne goes to his native Finland. Forward Eric Nystrom resides in the Los Angeles area.
Predators strength and conditioning coach David Good has been able to monitor how the fourth overall pick of the 2013 draft is developing physically. Jones said he has gained about five pounds of muscle so far and weighs 210. The Predators like that trend.
“Physically he needs to mature more,” assistant coach Phil Housley said. “He has to get stronger on his feet. He has to get more leverage, starting with the basic foundation of his legs up. That’s just going to come with maturity and having seasons of working out as he grows. Mentally, I think he’s mature.”
from Jos Cooper of The Tennessean,
After three sub-par years, Derek Roy knew his training needed to change. He knew he needed to work on his nutrition.
So this summer, the newest Predator -- who signed yesterday on a one-year $1 million contract -- enrolled in Gary Roberts' fitness program in Toronto....
"I know coming into this summer I wanted to come in the best shape I could possibly coming into the season, and that's why I sought out Gary Roberts and his workout program," Roy said. "I'm feeling great right now and hopefully at the end of the summer I'll be feeling better and not focusing on injuries."
Mike Ribeiro and David Poile answered questions from the media after Ribeiro signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators.
Watch the 15 minute video below...
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent forward Derek Roy to a one-year, $1 million contract.
“Derek brings us added depth, playmaking ability and experience at center, helping complement our young, developing wingers,” Poile said. “He has played in a number of roles, averaging about 19 minutes of ice time throughout his career, and is effective on the power play. He provides our coaching staff with some added skill and maturity down the middle when putting together our lineup for the coming season.”
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent forward Mike Ribeiro to a one-year, $1.05 million contract.
“Mike is a talented veteran center who has produced offensively everywhere he has played,” Poile said. “We have done our due diligence and believe Mike has a lot to offer to our team, improves us at our center ice position and will fit in with our group and contribute.”
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile released the following statement today regarding forward Mike Fisher.
“Predators forward and alternate captain Mike Fisher sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon during a training session and underwent successful surgery on Thursday, July 3. We expect Mike to make a full recovery in four-to-six months, and look forward to his return to the ice.”
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed free-agent defenseman Anton Volchenkov to a one-year, $1 million contract.
“Anton provides a strong veteran presence that will complement our young, talented defensive corps nicely,” Poile said. “He is a physical, left-handed shooting defenseman who can match up with top-line forwards and effectively kill penalties.”
Volchenkov, 32 (2/25/82), has suited up for 650 games for New Jersey and Ottawa (where he played with both Matt Cullen and Mike Fisher) since the 2002-03 campaign, posting 126 points (19g-107a) and 424 penalty minutes. Since 2005-06, the 6-1, 225-pound blueliner has the second-most blocked shots among all skaters (1,395) and the 10th-most hits among defensemen (1,313).
from Josh Cooper of The Tennessean,
Why do players not want to come to Nashville? It’s a tough question to answer. This place has a lot of elements going for it. For one, this is a growing hockey market that plays to big crowds at Bridgestone Arena on most nights.
There’s no state income tax, it’s an inexpensive place to live in, the winter weather is mild (a big deal for Canadians), and the team has a few good players in defenseman Shea Weber, forward James Neal and goaltender Pekka Rinne, and younger talents in defensemen Seth Jones and Roman Josi.
Yet, Poile must grimmace when he hears this from players — since he has basically built this franchise from the ground up.
Three posible reasons why the Predators may be on players’ no-go lists.
1. FEEL OF AN EXPANSION TEAM
A former player joked with me on the phone during a recent interview “are the Predators still rebuilding?” It was said in jest, but players talk, and if that’s the vibe about here from other players, then that’s not good.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com