Over at Brodeur is a Fraud, the Contrarian Goaltender digs into the question of who, relative to the era in which they played, has been the greatest playoff goaltender over the last 40 years (the period for which the data he’s using was available).
Some familiar names are near the top of the list (Hasek, Dryden, Roy); but you might be surprised who comes out on top...
From the Nashville Predators:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled forward Patric Hornqvist from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. To make room on the roster for Hornqvist, defenseman Alexander Sulzer was placed on the injured reserve list.
Hornqvist, 22 (1/1/87) has seven points (2g-5a) in 15 games with the Predators this season. He was assigned to the Admirals on Nov. 20, and posted 23 points (9g-14a) in 33 games with Nashville’s primary development affiliate. The Sollentuna, Sweden native is just the ninth player to appear in an NHL contest after being selected with the final pick of an entry draft – he was chosen by the Predators with their seventh choice (230th overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft.
Hornqvist, it was hoped, was to provide some goal-scoring from the wing, and struggled in that regard during his first stint in Nashville. He appears likely to play in place of Jordin Tootoo, who injured his wrist in a game last week in Calgary. Alexander Sulzer separated his shoulder in just his 2nd NHL game in Vancouver on January 28.
The exodus of some NHL talent (most notably Alexander Radulov) to Russia’s KHL over the summer caused some concern that perhaps the NHL would have to deal with the most threatening rival league since the old WHA in the 1970’s. However, as the Russian economy has been among the hardest-hit in what is now a global economic recession, the bags of rubles being tossed around by KHL teams to attract talent may instead be turning into Fool’s Gold. This update comes from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF):
After years of prosperity, the endless stream of Rubles by Russian entrepreneurs is coming to a halt. Hampered by the long arms of the financial crisis, the KHL faces its first existence test already halfway into its inaugural season.
Things are getting severe over the water; there’s even talk about unilaterally slashing player salaries:
KHL managing director Vladimir Shalayev confirmed the claim. “The teams do not want to wait until next season and most of all would like to see a central reduction of wages through a new agreement.”
A hat tip goes out to kivaerijo at the Predators’ message boards for pointing this story out. And yes, Alex, this Predators fan would welcome you back to Nashville if you’d like some reliable American greenbacks in your paycheck.
Over at Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, Greg Whyshynski continues his “jersey foul” series with a fascinating sample for Nashville Predators fans:
For those unfamiliar, #47 was worn by Alexander Radulov…
Despite being routinely brought up by commentators around North America as a prime candidate for relocation, the Nashville Predators appear to be making progress in this first full season under local ownership. This morning’s Tennessean provides some details:
A Predators franchise that reported $70 million in losses under Craig Leipold is on target to make money for the second straight season under new ownership, majority owner David Freeman said.
The Predators are forecasting a tiny profit of $145,000, but — considering the team’s player salaries jumped by about $10 million this season — it’s one of a few figures that appear to indicate the franchise is weathering current economic hardships.
Paid attendance is up, and new corporate sponsorships have been struck as well. Continuing to make a modest profit in the face of this season’s rising payroll ($44.8 million vs. $35.4 million), along with the general economic headwinds that all businesses are facing, is a welcome piece of good news.
Shortly after the Super Bowl concluded last night, Predators fans all over Nashville got an unexpected treat; a new commercial featuring Taylor Swift, the young country/pop music star. It’s another example of how the new ownership group is bringing fresh energy to their advertising campaign, and doing a fine job getting their message out to the broader audience (in the past, the only time you saw a Preds commercial was during a Preds game!).
Just in case anybody took my earlier tirade against the “New York Islanders deserve revenue sharing” idea as mere invective against a struggling NHL team, I thought I’d try to reframe this whole question in perhaps a more constructive light:
“What, if anything, should the NHL do to assist teams with upgrading their arenas?”
Good old Larry Brooks of the New York Post is at again, crying to the heavens that the NHL’s revenue sharing guidelines are “unfair”, because the woeful New York Islanders are unable to tap into those funds. Specifically, since the Islanders play in a market with more than 2.5 million households (PDF), they are excluded from any distributions under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Larry understands this much, for as he says, “NHL owners couldn’t bear the prospect of giving a portion of their revenue-share money to the Blackhawks back in 2005 when Bill Wirtz was doing his very best to drive his historic franchise into the ground.” The NHL was, somewhat understandably, reluctant to dish out revenue sharing to a team that could tap into a major metropolitan market, but failed to do so purely through its own misguided policies.
Why, then, should the Islanders deserve anything different today?
A big part of Tuesday night’s big win in Vancouver was the contribution of the Nashville power play, which scored three times in a game for the first time in nearly two years (March 3, 2007 vs. Los Angeles). John Glennon makes the case that the mere presence of Steve Sullivan, even despite the fact that he only has two assists in six games so far, is perhaps the difference maker.
Sullivan has only recorded assists on two of the seven power-play goals, but he was on the ice for two more of the scores and is being credited with injecting a little more unpredictability in the extra-man attack.
“Our power play has confidence that when something gets taken away, he has the ability to think outside the box,’’ Coach Barry Trotz said. “He understands where people are and sort of freelances a little bit. Our power play has gone from being more static to a little more freelance concept, just by having him there.’‘
It’s a good observation by Glennon, and the advanced statistics from Behind the Net back the argument up…
The last time the Nashville Predators played in Calgary, it was one of the wildest games in recent memory; after falling behind 5-0, the Preds clawed their way back to pull within a goal at 7-6 in the final moments, and had possession in the offensive zone as the final horn sounded. That determination to keep fighting despite early troubles is still a hallmark of this team, as evidenced by recent comeback victories over Pittsburgh and Vancouver, each of which saw Nashville overcome a 3-1 deficit to score 4 unanswered goals and win 5-3.
While it would be nice to see the boys make things easier on themselves by taking an early lead and locking things down, that will be a tough task tonight as the Flames are one of best teams in the league over the last several weeks (29 points in last 19 games).
According to John Glennon at the Tennessean, either Ville Koistinen or Greg de Vries will replace Alexander Sulzer tonight, as Sulzer’s shoulder will keep him out for weeks. There’s been no word yet on another potential call-up from Milwaukee.