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Tag:Nashville Predators
Posted on: August 11, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: August 11, 2011 10:54 am
 

Daily Skate: Kovalev's burden, U.S. Juniors lose

By Brian Stubits

TOO GOOD FOR HIS OWN GOOD: Since Alexei Kovalev left the NHL to go to Russia's KHL, he fired some shots at Ottawa and then took plenty of shots in return. That's all on top of the criticism he's heard throughout his career. You know them: He doesn't play every game, he's hockey's Randy Moss, all talent and no heart, etc. Scott Cullen of TSN penned a column about Kovalev suffering the curse of being supremely talented and thus having expectations through the roof.

USA JUNIORS DROP: As the Junior camp rolls on in Lake Placid for Team USA and they try to whittle down the roster to the final 22, the Americans are playing some exhibition games. On Wednesday they squared off with the Swedes and fell 4-1. The only score of the U.S. came from Florida Panthers draftee Vincent Trocheck. The USA has two more games remaining at the camp, one rematch with Sweden and one against Finland.

SMASHING TICKET SALES: The Predators haven't had the best offseason on record, but it's not stopping them from selling tickets (Ticketnews.com). The numbers are up across the board for season ticket sales in Nashville, and in a rare site an NHL team is actually outperforming an NFL team (the Tennessee Titans). The team's first playoff series victory seems to be helping, as does the slight rebranding to further align themselves with Nashville's rich music history.

BIG RED BIRD III: The Detroit Red Wings showed off their new airplane on Wednesday that they will use this season, named Red Bird III. Take a look at these pictures (Hockey Town Blog). There are a multitude of reasons players want to go play for the Wings, but comfort in the sky like this will only hope give another reason.

DESERT SIGNING: The Phoenix Coyotes made a small move yesterday, re-signing forward Viktor Tikhonov to a one-year, two-way contract. In the AHL last season, he had 10 goals and 23 assists for the San Antonio Rampage. AZ Vibe says the deal contains a "European Assignment Clause" meaning if he isn't playing with the Coyotes, he can play in the KHL.

HOCKEY MEETS SOCCER: Perhaps soccer is just on the brain after Jurgen Klinsmann made his U.S. coaching debut last night and the announcement that NBC and the network formerly known as Versus will be showing MLS games. But check out these hockey-meets-soccer jerseys that were mocked up by majupra.imgur.com. Can't figure out why, but I find myself liking the nauseating Canadiens stripes (and red jersey).

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

Posted on: August 10, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Predators reportedly buy out defenseman Lebda

By Brian Stubits

The Nashville Predators won't be stuck with Brett Lebda and his contract for next season after all.

The Predators bought out the final year of the defenseman's contract, according to Josh Cooper of the Tennesseean. Lebda was going to make $1.4 million next season, the completion of the two-year, $2.9 million deal he inked with the Maple Leafs.

Lebda was acquired by the Predators in a trade that sent Cody Franson and Matthew Lombardi to Toronto, a trade so one-sided that it was immediately clear what Nashville was up to. The writing had been on the wall that it was a salary dump situation and that Lebda wasn't really wanted. He was placed on waivers and cleared, leaving Nashville with two options: keeping him in the organization or buying him out.

Now he's a free agent, looking for a team. Considering he got through waivers -- and the fact that he was genuinely bad last season for the Leafs -- it might be hard for him to find a new gig. But he is still on the right side of 30 (for another few months, at least) so he could intrigue some team at a much lower contract level.

It's no coincidence Lebda enjoyed his best seasons early in his career with the Red Wings when he played with Chris Chelios. But his numbers have gone down, to the point where he played only 41 games last season with the Leafs, posting a minus-14. Rough.

It will be interesting to see if he'll get another chance in the NHL to wipe away the stench of his Toronto tenure.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:25 am
 

Daily Skate: Next Islanders plan; Erat improving

By Brian Stubits

TAKING THE Islanders TASK: Since the arena vote was shot down, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has asked for privately funded proposals for the land to be submitted by Labor Day. Thanks to Randi F. Marshall at Newsday we know of at least one group that is putting together a plan to submit that will include an idea for the coliseum and the Islanders. Interestingly, former Isles star Bob Nystrom is on the task force with the plan, although Nystrom says he doesn't speak with the team. "My goal here is to figure out a way that we keep the Islanders here and to improve that building if we possibly can, but I agree we need development there, too," Nystrom said.

GETTING BACK TO IT: Martin Erat finished tied with Sergei Kostitsyn as the Predators' leading scorer last season despite missing 18 games with a nagging back problem. But now Erat is feeling better (The Tennesseean) after taking it easy over the summer and is expecting to be 100 percent when the season begins in October. The Preds certainly hope so as Erat's presence is key as Nashville would love to convince the trio of Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to stick around beyond next year.

CAPITAL VOICE: The Washington Capitals are welcoming a new play-by-play voice for their radio coverage, saying goodbye to former announcer Steve Kolbe and, just like they would on the ice, bringing up a replacement from the Hershey Bears, the team's AHL affiliate. Capcentre.net has a fond farewell to Kolbe.

DRINK UP: The Bruins' Patrice Bergeron recently had his turn with the Stanley Cup, and he took it to breakfast with him. Naturally, you can see where this is going. Bergeron and his guests were thirsty, so they found the biggest cup they could find ... Lord Stanley. I'm not a germophobe by any stretch of the imagination and I know it's common practice to drink out of the Cup, but I'd have to say I'd rather just have a glass.

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


Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:33 am
 

Daily Skate: Schwartz's motivation; Pronger rehab

By Brian Stubits

MOTIVATING MEMORY: You might remember the story of Mandi Schwartz, the Yale women's hockey player who became an inspiration to many in her fight against leukemia before eventually succumbing to the disease four months ago. Her brother Jaden is one of the Blues' top prospects and he is dedicating his season to his late sister, saying she is the biggest inspiration as he tries to make the Team Canada roster for the World Juniors. "From here on out, this tournament, this camp -- everything is for [my sister]," Schwartz told NHL.com following the opening day of Canada's development camp. "While I'm obviously trying to do this for me, my family and for Canada; most of all, it's for her."

STILL GROUNDED: Chris Pronger continues to move along in his rehabilitation efforts, trying to get back in playing shape to join the Flyers this season. In an interview with Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post, Pronger talked about his continued efforts to get back on the ice, but the snag at the moment is that he hasn't lifted weights in six months and strength is sort of important for a hockey player, especially a physical presence on the blue line. Back problems usually slow that process down. Pronger also has some thoughts on the offseason overhaul for Philadelphia, liking the move to defense first.

LEBDA STILL IN NASHVILLE: When the Predators acquired Brett Lebda in a one-sided traded with the Maple Leafs that saw the Preds ship Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson away, it seemed clear that it was a salary shedding move by Nashville and Lebda would be on his way to another team after going on waivers. Well that might not happen (via Pro Hockey Talk) as Lebda cleared waivers untouched yesterday. Now the Preds might be stuck with him and his $1.45 million salary that is on a one-way contract. It will be interesting to see if he will stay in the NHL or be stashed in the AHL.

DUCK IN A SHORT ROW: If Randy Carlyle makes it to the end of his new contract, he will have been the head coach of the Ducks for nine seasons. In today's NHL, that might as well be three decades. Eric Stephens of the O.C. Register looks at the long tenure of Carlyle in Anaheim and how rare a stay it is.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: For those that follow Eye on Hockey on Twitter, note a change in the account name. If you followed before, nothing has changed. If you weren't following, why not? Either way, for housecleaning purposes, the new address is @EyeOnHockey.

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

Posted on: August 8, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: August 8, 2011 11:53 am
 

Daily Skate: Top showings at junior tryouts

By Brian Stubits

HAPPY CAMPERS: In preparation for the hockey World Juniors at the end of this year, Team Canada held some scrimmages this weekend Alberta and a few prospects came away with very impressive weekends. Leading the way is Ottawa Senators prospect Mark Stone, who had two goals and three assists in the final game of the weekend, giving him a total of four goals in the camp, the highest total. Florida Panthers top pick in this past draft, Jonathan Huberdeau, also excelled with two goals in the final game, giving him three for the camp. As always, Team Canada will have quite a stock of players to pick from for its final roster that is set to open the Worlds on Dec. 26 in Edmonton. TSN had a wrapup of the scrimmages.

AMERICAN UPDATE: While the camp continues in Canada for the World Juniors roster, the same is going on in the good ol' U.S. of A. America's roster for the Juniors needs to be set, too, and so the 44 players in camp just finished a pair of intrasquad games before taking on Sweden and Finland for a few friendlies. The top performances in the scrimmages go to Kenny Agostino (drafted in 2010 by the Penguins), who tallied a goal and three assists. Austin Watson (2010 selection of the Predators) checked in with two goals and an assist. Rangers top pick in this year's draft J.T. Miller was among those who racked up two points on two goals.

RETURN TO GLORY? You might remember that the St. Louis Blues signed former Sharks star Jonathan Cheechoo to a two-way contract earlier this offseason, hoping he could find the magic that helped lead him to a 56-goal season with San Jose. Cheechoo talked with Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News about what he's been up to, the continued support he receives in the Bay Area and how he (and the Blues) are hoping a new workout regimen will help him regain his old speed and, hopefully, old game.

DISCOVERING THE PACIFIC: For a fun -- and informative! -- link, check out this submission by flyersgoalscoredby.com on the defunct Pacific Hockey League. Did you know that more than 20 years after he became the first African American to play in the NHL, Willie O'Ree played for the San Diego Hawks at 42? And how about the names Tucson Rustlers, San Francisco Shamrocks and Phoenix Roadrunners? Small-time hockey is awesome. This coming from a guy who grew up watching a league with teams named the Sabercats, Gila Monsters, Rage and Fog.

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



Posted on: August 7, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Daily Skate: Another Sharks-Wild trade

By: Adam Gretz

MINNESOTA SENDS SHEPPARD TO SAN JOSE For the third time this summer the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks completed a trade, with the latest one being a relatively minor transaction. On Saturday night the Wild sent forward James Sheppard to the the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2013. Sheppard was the ninth overall pick in 2006 and has been a disappointment thus far, having scored 11 goals in 224 NHL games.

DID THE FURRIES BREAK SOME NHL NEWS REGARDING THE 2012 DRAFT? Word has quickly spread over the past couple of weeks that the 2012 NHL Entry Draft could be held in Pittsburgh, and this past week the rumors managed to take a turn for the absurd. Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News points out that the rescheduling of a Furry convention (you know, the people that dress up like animals), which was supposed to take place in Pittsburgh the same weekend as the NHL Draft, could be a sign that the draft is returning to Pittsburgh for the first time since 1997. The city asked the Furries to reschedule due to an opportunity to host a rare event its wanted to host for several years, which is assumed to be the NHL Draft. IceBurgh would approve.

Iceburgh

LEBDA HITS THE WAIVER WIRE According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, the Nashville Predators placed defenseman Brett Lebda on unconditional waivers on Saturday, perhaps so they can buy him out. Lebda spent last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he scored one goal in 41 games, and was traded to the Predators, along with forward Robert Slaney, this summer in a deal that sent Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson to Toronto.

WHEN GLOBAL ECONOMICS AND HOCKEY COLLIDE In case you were wondering how the S&P's downgrade on US debt could impact the NHL (don't be afraid to admit it, you know you were asking), Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck has some possible answers. Interesting read.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 5, 2011 8:22 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 9:06 pm
 

Latest on Doughty contract situation

Doughty

By: Adam Gretz

The Los Angeles Kings and their young standout defenseman, Drew Doughty, have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract. Doughty, 21, is currently a restricted free agent, and because NHL teams are seemingly terrified of restricted free agents, there's almost no danger of him entertaining an offer sheet from another club. So it's not a matter of if the two sides come to an agreement, but simply a matter of when.

We're already into August, and with no new contract on the horizon it has to be getting at least a little frustrating for Kings fans to see their young franchise player remain unsigned. Especially now that there's some minor -- very minor -- rumblings of a possible holdout.

Deep in a profile about Jack Ferreira, the Kings special assistant to to the general manager, that appears in the Press-Enterprise is a quote from the long-time executive that brings up his previous experiences with Paul Kariya during his holdout with the Anaheim Ducks back in 1997, and how it relates to the current stalemate between the Kings and Dougty.

From Jim Alexander of the P-E:
And this is part of what veteran hockey men bring to the table: There is little that can happen that they haven't already seen. Today's Kings are still at a negotiating stalemate with defenseman Drew Doughty , a restricted free agent. That situation got no easier Wednesday when an arbitrator awarded Nashville's Shea Weber, a more experienced defenseman, $7.5 million for one year. "This year we were up in Toronto for the scouting combine and Dean had some meetings with Newport Sports (Doughty's agents)," Ferreira said. "He came back and they were discussing what went on, and I just looked at him and said, 'Dean, they don't want to make a deal. They're not ready to make a deal.' "That's gonna be a tough one. I would not be surprised if he was a holdout. I went through it with Paul Kariya, and Dean's been through it."
At this point we're still a long way from a holdout, as training camps are still over a month away, and the start of the regular season is still a month after that. No matter how far apart the gap may be right now, it can only take one phone call to change that and get the two sides on the path toward a deal. It's also worth pointing out that story -- Ferreira suggesting a holdout -- occurred during the NHL scouting combine -- which was over two months ago -- so it's also possible that something has changed since then.

Still, it's an intriguing quote and floats a possibility that hadn't really been discussed all that much. And it is more likely to happen than another team stepping up and throwing a huge offer sheet on the table, so it's probably the only way Doughty doesn't open the season in the starting lineup for the Kings, and even then it's a stretch.

Naturally, this week's arbitration ruling for Nashville's Shea Weber -- $7.5 million -- has sparked discussion as to what it means for Doughty and the Kings, and frankly, it shouldn't mean all that much. Weber is a better player and has been in the league for six years, compared to Doughty who is coming off just his third NHL season (and a season that saw his offensive numbers, which tend to be a big deal for a puck-moving defenseman, decrease from the previous year).

Earlier this summer Phoenix's Keith Yandle, who just completed his fourth full season in the NHL, signed a five-year deal worth over $5 million per season. Prior to last season Rangers defenseman Marc Staal signed a five-year deal coming off of his entry level contract that pays him $3.97 million per season.

It stands to reason that Doughty's inevitable contract will fall somewhere between the annual cap hit for Yandle and the one-year award that Weber received in arbitration. In other words: somewhere in the $6 million neighborhood seems fair. It's going to get done, it's just a matter of when.

H/T Surly & Scribe, via Puck Daddy

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:57 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:23 pm
 

Should the Predators consider trading Weber?

ShouldThePredatorsConsiderTradingWeber

By: Adam Gretz

Now that the Nashville Predators know the salary Shea Weber will be making during the 2011-12 season the question of where they go from here has been the hot topic of the day. They can't officially sign him to a long-term extension until after Jan. 1, and he still has one more year of restricted free agency (and potentially arbitration) before he would be free to test the open market.

Dirk Hoag at On The Forecheck thinks the Predators and their captain need to have a frank discussion about whether or not he wants to stay in Nashville for the long haul, and if the answer to that question is no, general manager David Poile should spread the word that he's available in order to maximize the return.

Josh Cooper, beat writer for the Tennessean, brings up the potential issues for next offseason when Weber, barring a contract extension after Jan. 1, will be up for arbitration again, while fellow defenseman Ryan Suter and No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne will be unrestricted free agents. He also asks if the Predators can invest similar long-term deals into Suter and Weber and have such a large portion of their payroll going to just two players.

Now, for teams that have the ability to spend close to the salary cap (or all the way to the cap) that shouldn't be much of a concern (actually, I'd encourage teams to do it). But Nashville doesn't appear to be that type of team with the funds to play with, currently sitting closer to the cap floor than the ceiling.

That definitely changes the game, and could bring up an interesting (if not frustrating) dilemma for the Predators front office. After all, these three guys are home-grown Stars, drafted and developed by the Nashville organization. Those are the type of players you want to keep.

You win with impact players, and the more of them you have, the better chance you have to win. That's obvious. Also because it's almost impossible to get fair value back in a trade for a player like Weber, especially when you're talking about a 25-year-old franchise defenseman that can score. (Or in the case of Suter, a steadier hand in the defensive end of the ice with a little less offense.)

If it should get to that point and the Predators decide to move in that direction, they would be better off being proactive and do it sooner rather than later in order to maximize the value coming back. Weber still has another year after this season before he's eligible for unrestricted free agency and he'll bring a larger return now than he will, say, at the trade deadline in March of 2013.

If it were me, (and it's most certainly not), I would make every effort to keep Weber and Suter as my foundation and, if needed, part ways with Rinne for this reason: it's easier to find a solid goaltender at an affordable price than it is to find a No. 1 defenseman at an affordable price.

That plan, of course, assumes Weber is committed to staying in Nashville, which may not be the case. And if it's not, you're pretty much out of options and are forced to make a difficult decision: part ways with a homegrown star in the prime of his career.

Photo: Getty Images

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

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com