Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
With the Predators leading the Jets by five early in the third period en route to a dominant 7-0 victory at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday, Jets forward Mark Scheifele shot the puck into the Predators’ net after a blown whistle, a definite no-no in hockey’s unwritten code of ethics.
"It was an offside, and the guy wanted to score a goal on (Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne) and I think we kind of lost it a little bit,” Predators center Mike Ribeiro said. "Physical game, a little bit out of control at the end."
A fracas immediately ensued, with Rinne even leaving his crease momentarily to lend a blocker in defense of his teammates.
“They had six guys on the ice,” Rinne said. "I’m not known for my physical presence, but I just wanted to go out there and see if somebody’s one-on-two or something just to help out.”
Video of the "fracas" is below...
"From a manager's standpoint, from a player's standpoint, we should be challenging each other to come up with ways to create more offense in our game if that is what we think the game needs. To me, that will be as important a topic as anything come March (BOG mtg.)."
-David Poile, GM of the Nashville Predators after the general managers meeting today. Much more on the meeting from Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
added 6:51pm, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN with his recap of the general managers meeting is below...
Ryan Suter with the slash on Colin Wilson and Wilson gets the slashing penalty.
The Predators did survive and won 3-2.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Ho-hum, just another great start for the Nashville Predators, who improved to 7-1-1 with a 2-1 road win over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.
You may remember the Preds opened last season 6-2-2 in October and improved to 16-5-2 through November, eventually finishing second in the crazy Central Division behind the St. Louis Blues, then losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in a hard-fought series in the opening round of the playoffs....
The time for Nashville to strike is now. I ask, though, whether the Predators have enough to make the Stanley Cup finals.
more on the Preds from the ESPN hockey writers...
from the Nashville Predators,
On Monday, the Nashville Predators locked up defenseman Mattias Ekholm for an additional six seasons with the Swede inking a six-year, $22.5 million contract extension ($3.75 million AAV). After the 6-4, 215-pound defenseman emerged as an elite NHL blueliner during a career-best campaign in 2014-15, Preds General Manager David Poile extended a long-term deal to Ekholm, who has become a key part of Nashville’s defensive corps for four major reasons:
Prototype d-man for Laviolette’s System:
Ekholm entered Predators Training Camp in 2014 with the coming campaign standing as a “prove-it” season. The Swede had shown he deserved minutes in the NHL in 2013-14, turning in a single goal and eight helpers in 62 games of action, but questions remained about whether he could be relied on as more than a situational, offensive defenseman.
from James Neal of The Players' Tribune,
So I’m the guy who’s supposed to put the little rubber puck into the back of the net. Pretty simple. The only thing is, there’s a 6’5” monster wearing pillows standing in my way — and for some reason the dude can do full splits on skates. It’s insane. When I came into the league, I was just like every other kid: “Uh yeah, you know, uh, just go out there and fire it hard and heavy, top-shelf.”
I’ll always remember my first day at training camp with the Dallas Stars. I skate out onto the ice and we’re all shooting around, getting loose. I’m seeing monsters like Jason Arnott, Bill Guerin, Mike Modano. Marty Turco is in net. It took literally one shot for me to realize that this was a whole different level of hockey. Arnott shot one from the top of the circle and got it past Marty. I tried to do the same thing. I went high glove, and Marty didn’t even have to flinch. The puck went right into his glove. I tried again — same thing. Then Modano comes down — bang. He scores five hole from the top of the circle.
I had to be in the middle of the circles between the hash marks to score on Marty. These guys were scoring from the top of the circles and from bad angles. They weren’t just shooting harder or more accurately than me. In the NHL, everybody shoots it hard. They were doing things before the puck even came off their stick to mess with Marty.
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
Even after missing three weeks because of a sprained knee sustained in January, Rinne still started 64 games, a total that only six other goaltenders surpassed last season. He won 41 games and was a legitimate MVP candidate midway through the season, leading his counterparts in wins (29), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.931) at the All-Star break.
Comparatively, the 32-year-old significantly struggled during the second half and playoffs, leading many to wonder whether his workload was to blame.
"It would be an easy game if you could say, 'OK, I'm going to play 60 really good games,' and then (backup goaltender Carter Hutton's) going to play 20 really good games," Rinne said. "It would be easy to say like that, but you never know what (the) situation is going to be during the season. Hopefully, I stay healthy and (am) able to play as many games as possible. Obviously, you want to play. That's the one thing you always want to do — is just play."
from Adam Vingam of The Tennessean,
T: Will there be an effort to reduce Shea Weber's minutes?
L: "Certainly, ideally you'd like to bring those minutes down a little bit if you could. Sometimes in the course of the game, it becomes a little bit challenging. I do think that we have the support and the depth to try to accomplish that this year, to see if we can't bring it down a little bit. One of the strengths on our team is defense, the depth of our defense. There's guys that still probably don't get the minutes or the situational play that they should, and that's got to be the challenge of the coaching staff, to make sure that these guys are getting the minutes, that they do get distributed a little bit more, that (Mattias) Ekholm's getting a little bit more and (Ryan) Ellis is getting a little bit more and Seth Jones is getting a little bit more and maybe Shea and Roman (Josi) come down a little bit. When you get into the game and the situational play, I think (assistant coach) Phil (Housley) does a pretty good job of putting players on the ice that give us a chance to be successful. ... I think Phil did a good job, but I think if we can try and watch that probably a little bit, we will."
T: Even after missing three weeks because of a knee injury, Pekka Rinne started 64 games last season. Preferably, how many games would you like him to start?
L: "I think a lot of it goes to the scheduling and where we're at, how Pekka's feeling, how the team's playing. There's a lot that factors into it. I don't think we're going to go into it and say we want Pekka to play 62 games this year. He'll probably be in that ballpark....
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
When the Hurricanes make the inevitable decision to move pending UFA Eric Staal, keep an eye on the Predators as a viable partner. Nashville’s current crop of centers—Mike Ribeiro, Mike Fisher, Cody Hodgson and Paul Gaustad—stands out as the weakest of any team with legitimate playoff aspirations. Ribeiro scored a respectable 62 points last season while Fisher chipped in 39 in just 59 games, but both players are now 35 years old, and it’s far more likely that their production will regress than match those levels....
Another team that might be looking to deal, maybe before the end of camp, is the Bruins. The upper-body injury that’s holding veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg out for a few days may turn out to be minor, but it exposes the wafer-thin state of Boston’s blueline. Best-case scenario: the team's top-six stacks up as Zdeno Chara–Zach Trotman, Seidenberg–Kevan Miller and Torey Krug– Adam McQuaid....
more on each of the above topics plus additional hockey talk...
“Where we’re sitting right now from a hockey franchise standpoint, we’re better poised as a franchise because of the talent we have and how long they’re locked up, than we ever have been in the history of the team. When you look throughout the League, there’s probably not another team that’s set up for the next five to eight years to be as consistent as we’re going to be. Hopefully we catch the magic in that run and win the Stanley Cup, but at least compete for it year in and year out…[Predators General Manager] David [Poile] has done an incredible job, and the business side is coming around to give him those resources.”
-Sean Henry, President of the Nashville Predators. Henry spoke at a luncheon yesterday and the Predator's website has more from him.
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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