Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/11/14 at 08:16 AM ET
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...
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