Tag:Nashville Predators
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 27, 2011 10:12 am
 

Daily Skate: Marchand's champion tattoo typo

By Brian Stubits

WE ARE THE CHAMPIANS: Brad Marchand was one of the Bruins that celebrated the Stanley Cup victory by going out and getting inked up. Too bad the tattoo artist couldn't spell champions correctly. One of his teammates soon spotted the typo and Marchand had it corrected, but not before some photos were taken. (ESPN Boston)

STAAL STAYS BEHIND: While the Rangers headed to Europe after last night's controversy-filled game against the Flyers to finish out the exhibition schedule before the regular season begins in Sweden, Marc Staal stayed behind. The alternate captain of the Blueshirts is dealing with post-concussion symptoms, but coach John Tortorella expects Staal will join the team later and play in the games that count. (NHL.com)

QUESTIONING OVECHKIN: Here's an interesting question posed by Neil Greenberg of Capitals Insider: Is Alex Ovechkin an elite scorer or just a good shooter? The conclusion after stasticals analysis -- with charts! -- is that Ovie isn't the most skilled shooter around, he just gets more off than anybody by a large margin. (Capitals Insider)

BOOGAARD GETS A SHOT: After Derek Boogaard's death this summer, brother Aaron Boogaard was doing a lot of the speaking for the family, including explaining how his brother never quite overcame an addition to painkillers. But Aaron plays the game, too, and the former Minnesota Wild draft pick is all set to join the team's AHL affiliate in Houston. (Star Tribune)

ANOTHER WAIVER WONDER: It was about this time a year ago Dale Tallon was attempting to send Michael Grabner to the Panthers' AHL affiliate through waivers only for the forward to be claimed by the Islanders. we know how that turned out. Now another promising Panthers is on the wire, Michael Repik. While he doesn't seem to have Grabner's promise, here's one person who can't forget the gift Tallon gave them last year and would like to take a shot. (Lighthouse Hockey)

LOMBARDI AWARD: After the more high-profile cases of players sitting out after concussions such as Sidney Crosby and David Perron is Matthew Lombardi. The former Predators player who was shipped to the Maple Leafs this offseason is doing much better and looks like he'll be playing for Toronto. Feel-good story of the year candidate? Perhaps says James Mirtle. (Globe and Mail)

BATTLE UPDATE: In case you were wondering how the Battle of the Blades, the popular Dancing With the Stars meets ice skating show in Canada, here's your Week 1 recap. (Mile High Hockey)

ANYONE PUMPED UP YET? Came across this pump-up video for the Canucks this season. Surely they should have a lot of reason for optimism in Vancouver, but this video ... doesn't seem all that inpsiring. Set to Adele's Rolling in the Deep (which screams hockey) it mostly dwells on the Canucks losing to Boston, including Marchand punching Daniel Sedin. Excited?

Photo: ESPN Boston

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 26, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Daily Skate: Avalanche's Yip out 4-6 weeks

By Brian Stubits

LOSING THE YIPS: The Colorado Avalanche will be opening up the regular season with Brandon Yip on the sidelines after breaking a forearm this weekend against the Blues. He will miss 4-6 weeks. Avs defenseman Jan Hejda is also dealing with a setback, 2-4 works after suffering a knee injury in the same game. (Denver Post)

WHAT'S HIS NAME: Tomas Fleischmann is new to the Florida Panthers, and it showed over the weekend. Check out the jersey that he was sporting in the team's home game against the Lightning. (For those who can't see, it spells F-L-E-S-I-C-H-M-A-N-N) I guess the people in charge of putting names on jerseys didn't brush up on their offseason acquisition list. (Getty Images via Litter Box Cats)

SCOTT'S SCARE: Scott Hartnell played only nine minutes of the Flyers' game against the Red Wings over the weekend because of a heart scare. During the intermission it was discovered he had an elevated heart rate that didn't slow down during the break. A checkup on Saturday showed things were normal, but he will still be evaluated by a cardiologist. (flyers.nhl.com)

SUTERWATCH STARTS: It's almost another full year before free agency begins again, but fans in Nashville are already holding their collective breath. In addition to Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber, Ryan Suter doesn't have a deal for 2012-13 and LeBron James-like quotes aren't helping soothe the anxious Predators fans. (Pred Gold)

HEIDI STRIKES AGAIN: While it wasn't exactly the movie interrupting a regular-season NHL game, but it's close enough. In Montreal the television feed pulled away from the game just moments before Scott Gomez scored the winning goal. It is the latest positive step in a good preseason for the much-maligned Gomez. (Montreal Gazette)

MORE, PLEASE: The biggest concern for this season in Columbus has to be the situation in net for the Blue Jackets. Chris Mason hasn't exactly kept up his rookie form that saw him win the Calder Trophy in 2008-09. But optimism is rising in camp that a return to form might be coming for Mason. (Columbus Dispatch)

MEET MIKA: Branding is the big thing for athletes these days, you have to find a way to sell your "brand." Well Senators rookie Mika Zibanejad is already getting started. Take a look at his personal web site. Not too bad for a guy who hasn't played a game in the NHL yet. (Senators Extra)

OH BOY O'BERTO: Red Wings veteran Todd Bertuzzi is becoming a shootout star. Just check out his latest move on a hapless goaltender, going between his legs to pass it back up to himself and back-handing the puck into the net.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:00 am
 

Daily Skate: A new Islanders plan; Yashin to KHL

By Brian Stubits

ANOTHER ISLAND IDEA: Hope is not lost for the Islanders to not only stay on Long Island, but to remain in Nassau County. Since being turned down by a public vote, the team has been solicitin proposals for the land and they unveiled one on Wednesday that calls for a minor-league baseball park, outdoor ice rink, shopping and renovations to the Nassau Coliseum that would include raising the seat capacity. (Newsday)

BACK TO THE U.S.S.R.: Or at least Russia. After a summer of flirtation and rumors about rejoining the New York Islanders, Alexei Yashin will be returning to the KHL this season. Once he passes a physical, Yashin will be the newsest member of HC CSKA Moscow. (The Score)

DEEPER LOOK INTO ENFORCERS: This summer has illuminated the life of enforcers more than ever before with former fighters coming forward to tell their stories. Here's another player sharing his experiences as Brent Severyn. One of the most interesting parts for me is how no matter if he won or lost a fight, he was upset, either by his own embarrassment or knowing the embarrassment the other fighter is going to endure. (SI.com)

CHANGED MAN: Jordin Tootoo was once an up-and-coming prospect for the Predators who surprised everybody when he checked himself into the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program in December. Now he's back in Nashville camp and looking like a brand new player. (The Predatorial)

MIKKO READY TO WIN: This summer Mikko Koivu got a taste of winning, seeing his native Finland win the world juniors resulting in a massive party in Helsinki. Now the Wild captain is looking forward to bringing that same kind of success to Minnesota, where they haven't been to the playoffs since 2008. (Star-Tribune)

SIGNING SEAN: The Philadelphia Flyers got what some considered a gift when Sean Couturier fell to them in the NHL Draft, a top-5 talent slipping to No. 8. On Wednesday they gave him a gift of their own, signing him to a three-year entry-level contract. (NHL.com)

YEARNING FOR THE OLD DAYS: One of the best parts about franchises taking a turn for the worst is the hilarity that can come from grieving fans. Returning to their successful days at the beginning of last decade, a couple of Senators fans channel their inner Backstreet Boys below. (Senators extra via Puck Daddy)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 21, 2011 9:51 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 11:53 am
 

Daily Skate: Realignment decision needed by Dec.

By Brian Stubits

PROGRESS IN MOVING: In addition to getting the OK to on changes to the net and a goal verification line yesterday, the Board of Governors also opened up the discussion on realignment for next season. In order to prepare the schedule, they will need to make a decision by December. "Obviously we have to make arrangements to move Winnipeg west, and we had an opportunity to explore the issues," Commissioner Gary Bettman told NHL.com. "No conclusions were reached, but it's something I'm hopeful we can resolve at the December meeting."

NOT SO SHARP GLASS: With Zdeno Chara's check of Max Pacioretty into the stanchion in Montreal as the impetus for change, the glass at the Bell Centre has a new look to it. Instead of the sharp, 90 degree angle it was at before, it instead is rounded off, hoping to avoid another ugly incident. (@habsinsideout1)

STARTING OVER: Things hardly went well for Sheldon Souray in Edmonton, flaming out at the end of his career with the Oilers. But this offseason saw him make his way to the Stars where he gets another chance. “It’s not about finding extra motivation to go out and prove other people wrong. It’s about proving myself right.” (Montreal Gazette)

SOCIAL STUDY: The reactions continue to come in from players about the new social media policy the NHL adopted earlier this month. Numerous players on the Predators don't have any problems with it, helping to prove it was more of just a formality than anything Earth-shattering. (Puck Scene)

IS REIMER READY? It's a fair question to ask. The Toronto Maple Leafs are handing the torch over to their young goaltender for the start of this season. Nicholas J. Cotsonika takes a look at whether or not James Reimer is the real deal in Toronto or not. (Yahoo)

NHL'S TRIBUTE: The NHL has put together a video tribute that is being played before some of the preseasgon games, paying homage to all of the former NHL players who died this summer, including Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and all of those in the KHL plane crash. (On the Forecheck)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Daily Skate: Second Stars suitor; Sid's bodyguard

By Brian Stubits

INTEREST IN BIG D: The Stars sale is actually moving along, with the team agreeing last week to sell the team to Vancouver businessman Tom Gagliardi. Now, enter former Texas Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg and we might actually have a bidding war for the debt-ridden franchise on our hands. (Biz Journal)

SID'S BODYGUARD: There is a new enforcer in Pittsburgh, and he knows exactly what he is supposed to do. Steve MacIntyre, one of the game's most feared, says "My job is to make sure [Sidney Crosby's] transition back to hockey goes smoothly." (Pittsburgh Tribune- Review)

BROTHERLY LOVE: Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is struggling with post-concussion symptoms and is sitting out the first three preseason games for precautionary reasons. He seems to be OK, but that isn't helping the man who caused the concussion, his own brother Eric Staal with the Hurricanes, to feel better. (News Observer)

PLAYING THE GOAT: Todd Bertuzzi has a new role this season with the Red Wings, dropping down to the more defensive-minded third line. There he joins Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, resulting in one of the better line names: the Two Kids and a Goat line. For Bertuzzi, it's a whole new world. (Detroit Free Press)

SOPHOMORE STEP UP: In the playoffs, the Bruins had to turn to rookie Tyler Seguin in the playoffs after Nathan Horton's injury sidelined him. The former No. 2 pick responded immediately but then went quiet. After an offseason of heavy work, the B's might be ready to count on Seguin more. (Boston Herald)

SUPER HUBER: The Florida Panthers' No. 3 pick in this summer's draft isn't likely to make the team as a rookie. But he's doing all he can to make the roster instead of going back to the junior level, scoring a goal and an assist in the Panthers' doubleheader game against the Predators on Monday. (Sun- Sentinel)

READY FOR MORE: Shea Weber took the role of captain last season and the Predators went further than they ever have before in the postseason. Now, armed with a huge new contract for this season, he's excited about Year 2 wearing the C having learned a lot already. (Hockey Night in Nashville)

HOCKEY CRAZE: Throw this under less-than surprising tid-bits: sports fans in Toronto chose the Maple Leafs' first preseason game over one of the Blue Jays' final home games of the season. More than 18,000 showed up to see the Leafs while just over 11,000 were on hand to see the Jays. (The Canadian Press)

CAPS GM DEFENDS SEMIN: Washington Capitals general manager took his chance to defend forward Alexander Semin after he took heat this summer from former teammate Matt Bradley, saying Semin is just a quiet kid and Bradley regrets having said it. You can watch the whole interview on NHL Live! below.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Craig Smith and other prospect tournament news



By: Adam Gretz

By now you probably already know the story of the Nashville Predators and the way they have to construct their roster.

They don't have the funds at their disposal to acquire many big-name players in free agency or the trade market, and they may even struggle to keep the star players they draft and develop themselves (like defenseman Shea Weber, for example). The key to maintaining a competitive team on the ice is to have a steady pipeline of young, low-cost, homegrown talent flowing through the farm system.

In recent years they've done an admirable job putting together a playoff caliber team while playing in what is one of the toughest divisions in the NHL -- the Central Division -- going up against two Original Six power houses in Chicago and Detroit. They've qualified for the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons, and this past season advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

One of the prospects that has been gaining plenty of attention over the past year is their fourth-round pick from 2009, forward Craig Smith, who has spent the past two seasons playing at the University of Wisconsin. During the Predators prospects game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, Smith managed to score four goals (highlight video shown above; Smith is wearing No. 15) in a 7-3 win, before adding two more goals against the Florida Panthers prospects on Tuesday.

That's six goals in two games, and perhaps the most impressive performance of any player in any of the ongoing prospect tournaments.

Earlier this summer Smith represented the United States at the World Hockey Championships in Slovakia, and despite being the only collegiate player on the roster, finished as one of the leading scorers on the team, scoring three goals to go with three assists in seven games. Prior to that, he was the second-leading scorer for Wisconsin with 19 goals and 24 assists in 41 games.

The step from rookie tournaments in early September to the NHL during the regular season is, obviously, a massive one, but Smith's performance at all levels over the past year is an encouraging sign for the Predators organization. He's taken advantage of every chance he's been given and established himself as a player that may have some sort of NHL future.

Here are a few other notable performances from the many tournaments that are currently taking place.

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks: A year ago Brandon Saad was projected to be one of the first North American players off the board during the 2011 draft. His stock dropped a little during the season and he was eventually selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the middle of the second round. Saad was also left off the 2011 World Junior roster earlier this year, and is using that as a motivational tool as he described in an interview with Erin Nicks of NHL.com. The Blackhawks rookies are taking part in the Oshawa Rookie Tournament, and Saad, a power forward from the Pittsburgh area, has five points in his first two games. He has great size (already listed at 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds) and plenty of upside, and looked to be a nice find in the second-round right from the start. His early performance here has only reinforced that.

Here's what Ted Dent, the head coach of the Rockford Ice Dogs who is also coaching the Blackhawks rookies at the tournament, had to say about Saad's early performance, via NHL.com:
"I didn't know much about Brandon coming into the tournament this weekend, but I've been very impressed. He puts the puck hard to the net; he has good hockey sense, as well. He's been very good the past few games. I know a situation like missing out on the World Junior Championship would be a huge disappointment, but this is another chance for him to make an impression on those who see him. I think he'll continue to take advantage of that fact."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers: For the second year in a row the Edmonton Oilers had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and used it on playmaking center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He's making his Oilers debut at the Young Stars Tournament, and while his first appearance on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks didn't result in the type of goal-scoring clinic that we saw from Smith or Saad, observers, including Ian Walker of the Vancouver Sun, came away extremely impressed with his playmaking ability, on-ice vision and awareness. He's still a little on the small side (not as big of an issue as it used to be in the NHL), and the debate as to whether or not he should open the season in the NHL continues to rage on in Edmonton and across the league. But the early returns, for what they are based on one game against other rookies, are promising.

The Winnipeg Jets: Finally, fans of the Winnipeg Jets have been able to get their first look at players wearing the new uniforms, the surest sign of all that hockey is officially back in Winnipeg. It may not be the NHL roster playing a real game, but it's a start. Their rookies made their debut on Monday night against the San Jose Sharks prospects and picked up a 4-0 win, with the first goal going to Levko Koper. Mark Scheifele, the Jets first-round pick this past season (No. 7 overall) added a shorthanded goal in the win. You can check out the highlights in this video from the Jets website.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 10:45 am
 

Daily Skate: Ference's Cup day includes flash mob

By Brian Stubits

FLASH IN THE PAN: Andrew Ference recently took his time with the Stanley Cup and had said that his time would one-up everybody else's. Boy did it. In Boston's North End at the celebration, a flash mob busts out dancing and the show ends with a triumphant Ference standing amid the dancers holding the chalice high above his head (h/t to Puck Daddy). No word if this guy made it in the routine (I still love this).

CAN'T CUT IT: The Washington Capitals made a small move on Monday, waiving one-time hot prospect Dmitry Kugryshev (via DC Pro Sports Report), who will soon be on his way to NHL free agency. The Russian prospect had shown tremendous promise in lighting up the QMJHL, tallying 87 points in 66 games his last season there. But life in the AHL was a lot tougher and apparently the Caps have seen enough. You can surely expect some team to try and take a flyer on Kugryshev.

TESTING TIME: A few Carolina Hurricanes are taking part in an experiment from Nike, requiring the players to wear goggles while they train and setting them back in the disco era. From Chip Alexander at the News Observer: "use of the glasses can improve peripheral vision, reaction time, perception and focus. The disco reference? To the strobe effect of the glasses. Ah, the things people do for scienece.

REMEMBERING BELAK: Wade Belak's memorial service was held over the weekend and among those on hand were his former teammates with the Predators to honor the fallen player. “He was happy to be retired," Ryan Suter said. "He was happy to be moving on, because he had played for so long. He was going to finally be able to relax and enjoy it.” Josh Cooper at the Tennesseean has the full story.

IRONWOMEN: In Burnaby, Britich Columbia, a group of women finished playing the longest hockey game in history, going 243 hours and five minutes of consecutive (minus occasional zamboni appearances) of action to break the Guiness world record (via CTV news). The reason? To raise money for cystic fibrosis. The game that stretched 10 days had almost 2,500 goals scored. I guess nobody will complain about hockey being low scoring after that.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Belak's mother says he battled depression

By: Adam Gretz

The sudden death of Wade Belak rocked the hockey world this week and left everybody with more questions than answers.

On Friday, his mother, Lorraine Belak, spoke to CBC news and confirmed to them that her son had suffered from depression -- which had been reported earlier in the day by the Toronto Star, citing two sources that wished to remain anonymous -- though it remains unclear as to what sort of treatment he was receiving.

From CBC:
Lorraine Belak confirmed a Toronto Star report that her son had suffered from depression, but it is not clear what help he sought or how recently it was an issue.

"I think he was taking control of that," she said, admitting that they didn't talk about the subject a lot.

Toronto police are treating the death as a suicide, sources have confirmed to CBC.

It's just another example as to how complex an issue depression is, and that no matter what a person looks like on the outside it doesn't mean there isn't a deeper issue that troubles them below the surface. Belak, by all accounts, was a pleasure to be around as a person and a teammate, always smiling and one of the NHL's most quotable players and best interviews.

Belak is the third NHL player to pass away this offseason, along with Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien. All three players shared the same role on the ice which has sent the discussion in the direction of what -- if any -- their role as fighters had on their off-ice problems.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
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