Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/22/12 at 12:33 PM ET
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN discuss topics of the day,
BURNSIDE: Whether Alexander Radulov plays Thursday night or not, lots of attention on the Nashville Predators, especially with their visit to Pittsburgh, where they’ll tangle with the smokin’ hot Penguins (the game will now be seen on the NHL Network). Watched Pittsburgh destroy Winnipeg 8-4 the other night with Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and a guy named Sidney Crosby combining for 13 points and, assuming this Penguin squad stays healthy, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the East dislodging them through a seven-game series. The question as it related to Thursday night’s tilt is whether this is a Stanley Cup finals preview.
I know some hockey writers who wouldn’t mind shuttling between Pittsburgh and Nashville in early June, if that was the case. Radulov figures mightily into that equation one way or another, though. What’s his conditioning going to be like, how does he mesh with new teammates, most of whom have come to Nashville since he scurried back to Russia after the 2008 season, even though he still had a year left on his entry level deal with the Predators? What is the ripple effect of his arrival in terms of ice time for other players and does that rock the boat internally? Valid questions. The Preds are coming off a disappointing home loss to Edmonton and are in a dog fight with Detroit (overtime losers to New York Wednesday) and red-hot Chicago for home ice in the first round. This one should be a dandy, Radulov or no Radulov.
LEBRUN: Preds head coach Barry Trotz discussed with me Wednesday evening the challenge of adjusting his lineup with Radulov, not to mention all the other faces his GM David Poile added before the trade deadline.
more plus Doan and Chicago/Vancouver talk too…
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