Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Neal can score but people say he isn’t a life of the party kind of guy. The feeling in some quarters is he thinks he’s better than he is, too, also he’s been suspended for some foolish stuff. Everybody gets traded in this game but Neal–a scorer in a league where teams crave scorers– has been dealt twice and he’s only 26. From Dallas to Pittsburgh, and now from the Penguins to the Predators, where they’re also trying to get more offence, although they still need a centre for Neal. Hello Paul Stastny, if they can afford the unrestricted Colorado Avs’ playmaker and he might have a hankering to play with Shea Weber on defence, as well.
Neal’s a one-shot scorer. “Exactly,” said Preds’ GM David Poile.
Hornqvist is a better skating Tomas Holmstrom. “Exactly,” said Poile.
Scores his goals 10 to 15 feet from the net. “Closer than that,” laughed Poile.
“He can get 30 goals if he plays with Malkin. This might be one of those trades that turn out for both teams.”
from Josh Cooper of The Tennessean,
There will be some changes for the Predators television broadcast team next season.
Longtime color analyst Terry Crisp will no longer travel with the team, and will move to a "behind the desk" role during home broadcasts.
Stu Grimson, who had been handling radio broadcasts, will take Crisp's spot next to Pete Weber as color analyst, a team spokesman confirmed to The Tennessean.
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed goaltender Carter Hutton to a two-year, $1.45 million contract. He will make $700,000 in 2014-15 and $750,000 in 2015-16.
Hutton, 28 (12/19/85), spent his first full season at the NHL level in 2013-14. After starting the season with just one game of NHL experience, he finished the season as the sixth 20-game winner in franchise history, posting a 20-11-4 record to go along with a 2.62 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage and a shutout. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native went 13-4-2 in his final 19 decisions of the season, which included a personal five-game winning streak to close out the campaign; he had a 1.77 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and a shutout in those five contests. Hutton also posted a 6-0-1 record when facing at least 35 shots in 2013-14.
from Josh Cooper of The Tennessean,
The new Predators coach is scheduled to be on the main stage at the Music City Sports Festival to talk about his plan for returning the team to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season....
After missing the playoffs for two straight seasons — and having the same coach since the beginning of the franchise — the Predators had turned stale.
Attendance remained steady for the most part, but the franchise would be on the brink of irrelevancy with another non-playoff year.
Laviolette needs to sell his vision hard this weekend, and do it with both gusto and bravado. He is known as a stirring speaker, and he'll need to deliver a haymaker Sunday.
Fans need to come away from his appearance and simply say "Wow."
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
In 2009-10, as coach of the Flyers, Peter Laviolette rolled out Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, and Braydon Coburn as his top four defensemen. The Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final before their slipshod goaltending — they leaned on Michael Leighton, Brian Boucher, and Johan Backlund — did them in against Chicago.
Laviolette, hired Tuesday as Barry Trotz’s replacement in Nashville, will take over a team with a comparable defense and an even better goalie.
Shea Weber is a superstar. Roman Josi scored 13 goals and 27 assists while averaging 26:25 of ice time, not far off Weber’s pace (26:54). They have young pace-pushers in Seth Jones, Ryan Ellis, and Michael Del Zotto, who will be expected to support the attack in Laviolette’s go-go system. If Pekka Rinne is healthy, the Predators have an ace goalie.
“I’m so bullish on our defense,” GM David Poile said after announcing Laviolette’s hiring. “It doesn’t have a lot of experience. But we’re getting there. It’s a defense that will be intact for 10 years. Give me Pekka and our defense for the next 10 years.”
Rinne and the defensemen will be critical if Laviolette wants to lead the Predators back to the playoffs. Nashville has neither a go-to scorer nor up-front depth. Opposing coaches don’t need to hard-match against Craig Smith (24 goals) or Patric Hornqvist (22). Poile is counting on Rinne, an active defense, and Laviolette’s ability to get more out of Colin Wilson and Viktor Stalberg.
more topics including a look at Landon Ferraro...
As to why I'm walking away, I'm simply out of gas, having written online about hockey since the mid-90's. It's been a feeling of obligation rather than desire which has compelled me to post articles here lately, and when this becomes more like a chore than a hobby that's not good for anybody.
-Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck, where you can read more from Dirk.
You've done well Dirk, best wishes moving forward.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
He’s been running the Preds for 15 years, but you do get the sense the team is at a crossroads.
“We’ve been going an okay job,” said Poile. “But okay is not good enough.”
Laviolette will be expected to make a team that was shutout nine times last season and held to one goal another 16 times into a more dangerous offensive team.
Help in that area could have come in last year’s draft but the Preds were surprised when Nathan MacKinnon, Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin went with the first three picks. That left defenceman Seth Jones for Nashville, not a bad construing prize, but not the flashy offensive help the club was hoping to get.
“We clearly have to find a way to be more dynamic offensively,” said Poile.
Weber’s 23 goals and 33 assists made him the third-leading scorer among all NHL defencemen this season, another reason why he’s invaluable to the Predators.
Obviously, there’s a temptation to move him for several pieces that might spread out the burden on the Nashville roster. But Poile knows from experience — he declined to match Scott Stevens’ four-year, $5.145 million offer sheet from St. Louis in 1989 while running the Washington Capitals — that when you have that kind of blue-line stud, you pay him and you keep him.
more plus shooting down the Babcock to Toronto talk...
Nashville, Tenn. (May 6, 2014) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has hired 2006 Stanley Cup-winning coach Peter Laviolette as the second head coach in team history and signed him to a multi-year contract. Also joining the coaching staff is Kevin McCarthy, who will serve as an assistant alongside Lane Lambert and Phil Housley.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So Barry Trotz is out as the Nashville Predators’ head coach after 15 seasons at the helm, the longest-tenured coach in the league finally paying the price for two consecutive playoffs absences. What Trotz could have done differently to keep Pekka Rinne healthy is a question for another day, but the overriding sense was that the Predators were going to make a coaching move after this year unless they miracle playoff run.
The name most closely linked to Nashville is that of former Philadelphia Flyers’ coach Peter Laviolette, with whom David Poile, the Nashville Predators’ president of hockey operations and general manager, has a good relationship with through their USA Hockey backgrounds.
Trotz immediately goes to the top of the list of possible replacement for other teams that did not immediately fire coaches Monday morning. Could he be a fit in Vancouver, for example, if the Canucks ultimately decide to part ways with John Tortorella? Trotz has all of Tortorella’s experience, but a far greater ability to work with players and get the most out of them. If the plan in Vancouver is to retool rather than rebuild and hope the Sedins bounce back in a meaningful way, then Trotz could be a good choice.
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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