Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tennessean,
Jordin Tootoo will return from a five-game suspension tonight to the cheers of thousands at Nashville Arena, where he is loved by fans, appreciated by teammates and supported by coaches.
They recognize him for the hard-hitting, energy-supplying thunderbolt that he is.
Or is he?
Around the NHL, opposing players and fans have a decidedly different view of Tootoo. Some say he pushes the envelope too far; some call him reckless; and some say he’s just plain dirty.
from the Tennessean,
“They forecheck really well; they finish their checks well; and their forwards also chase you hard back to their zone,’’ Hamhuis said. “They just do a good job protecting the middle. That has to do with their speed and smarts.’‘
In a strange twist from yesteryear, the Wings’ tough defensive tactics also had the Predators complaining that they weren’t getting enough calls from the officials.
“There was an awful lot of clutching and grabbing going on out there,’’ Predators center David Legwand said. “It looked like the old NHL out there. But in the playoffs, that’s what we’re going to have to work through.’‘
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Peter Forsberg has been in Nashville since Feb. 15, and yet it seems as if he will add a fresh dynamic to the rivalry Thursday night when the Predators and Detroit Red Wings play for first place in the Western Conference….
The Predators acquired Forsberg specifically because of his reputation for bringing grit and high performances to big games, particularly in the playoffs. Thursday’s game has some qualities of a playoff game, only because Detroit is winning the season series and the Red Wings have long been a measuring stick for the Predators.
“Detroit is always hard to beat, no matter who you are,” Forsberg said. “I don’t think there is any mental hurdle. We know we are a good team. We know we can compete with them.”
from the Tenneessean,
Speaking hours before Saturday’s contest, Trotz said he’ll continue to give both goalies – Vokoun and Chris Mason – playing time in the immediate future before making a postseason choice.
“We want to keep them both going and at one point, probably here in the next five or six games, I’ll probably decide in my mind who I’ll start in the playoffs,” said Trotz, whose team has six games left in the regular season. “Hopefully someone gets really hot and takes that position. But right now, I don’t think I can go wrong (with either goalie).”
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The place is jam-packed and jumpin’ (they don’t use g at the end of many words here) and from the atmosphere inside you’d never know the club is fighting for its life.
Step outside, however, and you’d never know that Nashville even has a hockey team. You almost never see a Predators hat, or sweater, or licence plate cover. There’s no hockey buzz whatsoever. In a sports bar across the street from where the Predators are late in the third period against rival Dallas, long after the Vanderbilt game is over, every TV in the joint is still tuned to the hoops tournament.
That’s Nashville hockey in a nutshell: a loyal, vocal fan base—unfortunately, it usually fits under one roof.
“When we came here this was a market that had never seen hockey before in their lives,” said David Poile, the GM in Nashville since the Preds opened for business in 1998. “Over a nine-year period, the progress has been good, but, having said that, it needs to be better.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“It’s hard to jump into a team midway through the season,” said Forsberg, in an interview. “It’s never happened to me before because I’ve always been on a team that made the playoffs. I don’t think I’ve played as good as I want to, but it’s starting to get better. I’m starting to get used to my teammates and line-mates, so it should go uphill from here.”
The problem, from Nashville’s perspective, is that they haven’t had a chance to get their full team together since making the Forsberg trade. They currently have three top-nine forwards (Steve Sullivan, Martin Erat and Scott Hartnell) out of their line-up, with relatively serious injuries. Nashville’s strength is its balanced three-line attack. Forsberg is one point shy of 50 for the season; when he reaches that mark, he will be the eighth Predators’ forward to do so this season.
murch more on the Preds plus some NHL & PA talk…
from the Nashville Predators,
On Wednesday, the Nashville Predators responded to a column published in Wednesday’s Vancouver Province entitled “Preds offend the league, not just Modano.” The article, written by columnist Tony Gallagher, contends that Dallas Stars president Jim Lites didn’t go far enough when criticizing the Predators organization in the media earlier this week….
Gerry Helper, the Predators’ senior vice president of communications and development responded to Gallagher’s column in a letter to the editor sent to The Province on Monday. Here is the text of that letter:
Tony Gallagher’s column “Preds offend the league, not just Modano” in Wednesday’s Vancouver Province is so littered with inaccuracies, half-truths and outright lies that it appears as if lazy reporting and the author’s personal agenda have gotten the better of providing an accurate analysis.
via the Tennessean,
The Predators are leaving no stone unturned as they seek a cure for forward Steve Sullivan.
Predators Coach Barry Trotz said the team has sought guidance and assistance from doctors both locally and across the nation. Sullivan visited a Los Angeles doctor during the team’s recent road trip to the West Coast.
“We’re doing everything from running more tests to maybe even getting some more opinions,” Trotz said. “We’re going to open every door to make sure we’re covering all our bases and getting him ready and giving him peace of mind.
“We’re trying different things — everything from scans to see if anything’s structurally wrong. It may be something as simple as an irritated nerve that causes a little bit of spasm. Or it could be natural mechanics. The way your body moves might cause pressure on a certain area that mechanically doesn’t show up on X-rays.”
via the Tennessean,
The Predators have certainly seen their share of controversy over the past few days, with forward Jordin Tootoo getting suspended and Dallas president Jim Lites firing a broadside of criticism at the organization.
That’s okay with Trotz, who figures a team has to have achieved a certain status if it’s begun to irritate opponents.
“When you’re not a threat to anybody, people let you be,’’ Trotz said. “Now when you’re a threat to people, that’s where you start getting the rivalries. It’s good to be hated. You’ve got to be doing something right.’‘
from the Nashville Predators,
Monday afternoon, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile addressed members of the local media via a conference call to respond to two issues: 1) Comments about the Nashville organization made by Dallas Stars president Jim Lites in Monday’s Dallas Morning News & the five-game suspension to Predators forward Jordin Tootoo that the NHL announced Monday afternoon.
added Tuesday, 3/20 at 6:10am, from the Tennessean,
Perhaps he should take that up with the commissioner or probably he should contact the Predators directly,” Poile said. “That’s extremely unprofessional on Lites’ behalf. I can’t think for a second that we would ever do or say something like that about Dallas. It’s uncalled for and I’m sure we’ll take that up with the commissioner.’‘
The NHL took notice of the comments by Lites, according to league spokesman Frank Brown. He said Commissioner Gary Bettman had already contacted Lites.
“(Bettman) thought those comments were inappropriate and that was conveyed by the commissioner to the Stars,’’ Brown said.
Brown wouldn’t say if Lites will be subject to disciplinary action.
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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