Tag:Pekka Rinne
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:33 pm
 

Paul Gaustad traded to Nashville

SabresPredatorsBy: Adam Gretz

The Nashville Predators made two of the biggest trades on Monday, and after picking up Andrei Kostitsyn from Montreal earlier in the day, they also landed center Paul Gaustad and a fourth-round draft pick from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

The first-round pick was the rumored asking price for much of the day, and the Sabres were able to find a team willing to give one up.

Gaustad was one of the most talked about players heading into the deadline, which should have given us an idea as to how quiet Monday would be, and gives the Predators a big body down the middle that can play a number of different roles. The most valuable asset he brings to the team might in fact be his ability in the faceoff circle as he's one of the best players in the league on draw, consistently near the top of the NHL. That fills a pretty big need for the Predators as they are currently one of the worst faceoff teams in the NHL.

It's certainly a high price to pay for Gaustad, an unrestricted free agent after this season, but it's also a clear sign that the Predators are going for it this season. Over the past week they've added Gaustad, Kostitsyn and Hal Gill to go to a team that already has two of the best defensemen in the NHL (Shea Weber and Ryan Suter) and one of the top goalies in the league in Pekka Rinne.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:16 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 9:20 am
 

Morning Skate: close to a must win for Ducks, Avs

Ducks

By: Adam Gretz


The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

DucksAvalanche9 PM, Anaheim vs. Colorado

All eyes will be on the NHL trade deadline on Monday, but it's also a huge day in the NHL playoff race.

It's hard to say a game at this point in the season is a "must win" for any team, but if the Anaheim Ducks are going to find a way to pull off this miraculous comeback (and that's really what it would be) to make the playoffs they're going to have to win games like this, against one of the many teams they're still chasing. Preferably in regulation. The Ducks enter Monday's game in Colorado four points behind the Avalanche in the standings, and still six points behind Dallas for the No. 8 (and final) playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Anaheim is coming off yet another win on Sunday night, knocking off the Blackhawks by a 3-1 margin, and have won seven of its past 10 games. Despite all of the Ducks wins over the past month-and-a-half it's been difficult for them to gain any significant ground or move up in the standings. With a win on Monday the Ducks can jump ahead of the Minnesota Wild to move into 12th place in the West.

It's still going to take a ton of work, and Monday's game is one of the big ones.

It's also a big game for the Avs, who also remain in the jumbled mess that is the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race, and a win could move them into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot.

PredatorsKings8 PM, Los Angeles vs. Nashville

Another team that could move into a tie on Monday night? The Los Angeles Kings, fresh off their 4-0 win on Saturday night in what was Jeff Carter's debut with the club. He didn't make an impact on the scoreboard, but Dustin Brown stepped up after his name was mentioned in trade rumors, recording a hat trick and a four-point game.

It was only the fourth time in their past 17 games that the Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the league, scored more than three goals in a single game. So that was a bit of a rarity, and perhaps a sign that the addition of Carter, a top goal-scorer in the NHL over the past few years, can open some things up for other players on the team. If nothing else, it was a nice start.

It's going to get a bit tougher on Monday night as they head into Nashville to face Pekka Rinne and the always stout Predators defense, and a team that's still fighting for potential home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

This is also the first of three meetings for these teams over the next three weeks. So they better get familiar with one another.

BluesFlames9 PM, St. Louis at Calgary

After losing four of their past five, including a shootout loss against Philadelphia on Saturday, a game that saw them blow a 3-0 lead, the Calgary Flames could really use a win on Monday night when the St. Louis Blues come to town. And while a matchup with the Blues, one of the top teams in the West, doesn't seem like a favorable matchup to get back in the W column, the Blues have done most of their damage this season on home ice.

On the road, where they will be on Monday to continue what is a four-game road trip, they've been a losing team this season and carry a 12-13-3 record into Calgary, which is the second worst road record (behind only Chicago) among the current playoff teams in the West.

Others worth watching

7:30 ET, New York Rangers vs. New Jersey: It's always fun when the Rangers and Devils get together and they continue their rivalry on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The Devils have won two of the first three meetings this season.

8:30 ET, Winnipeg vs. Edmonton: With a win against Edmonton the Winnipeg Jets can, once again, take over first place in the back-and-forth crazy world that is the NHL's Souteast Division.

Your promised miscellany
Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:27 pm
 

Pavel Datsyuk extends Wings home streak (Video)

By: Adam Gretz

It's starting to feel like the Detroit Red Wings are never going to lose another home game.

The Nashville Predators certainly gave them a fight on Friday night, but Detroit managed to find a way to extend its NHL record home winning streak to an incredible 22 games with a 2-1 win, and it couldn't have happened with a more beautiful play. And that's really the only way to describe it. Just beautiful.

With just 5.8 seconds to play in the third period of a tie game, Pavel Datsyuk, always one of the most exciting players in the NHL, completed one of the prettiest plays you'll see in the NHL this season finishing a series of no-look passes from Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom to beat Pekka Rinne for the game-winning goal.



That is simply great players at their very best, and let's not overlook that the defenseman Datsyuk completely turned around at the end was none other than Ryan Suter, one of the best defenseman in the NHL.

The win pushes Detroit to an NHL best 40-17-2 record, including 25-2-1 mark at Joe Louis Arena. The Wings will look to extend the streak again on Sunday afternoon against the San Jose Sharks.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 5, 2012 4:06 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 4:16 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Nothing to Laich in Caps loss

By Brian Stubits

The Washington Capitals lost to the Bruins on Sunday on their home ice, 4-1.

As big of a loss as that is for the Caps, seeing Brooks Laich go down in the game is as big of a concern as anything for Washington right now.

In the second period, Laich was playing the puck behind the Bruins net when Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg delivered a check into the boards. It looked innocent enough but there was some contact on the play that pinned Laich's knee against the boards. Moments later he was being helped off the ice and down the tunnel toward the locker room without putting any pressure on his leg.

He came out during a television time out to test the knee but he couldn't go on. He left the arena with a brace on his knee and with the help of crutches.

More from the weekend
Recaps
Stories

"I’m not a doctor, but with these things sometimes there’s some swelling ... But I don’t think it’s anything serious," Laich said after the game. "I'll get some ice on it and see how I feel when I wake up."

"He's day to day right now," Caps coach Dale Hunter said after the game. "We're just going to wait and see."

They better hope so. It's no secret that this season the Caps are in a dog fight just to make the playoffs. With the loss today, they remain out of the playoff seedings in the East at the moment. If they are going to sans Laich for any length of time, that makes things even tougher.

The Capitals already have a weakness up the middle with Nicklas Backstrom still on the sidelines since he was hit in the head by Rene Bourque. They can't afford to lose another center like Laich, who is one of their more consistent players and is a big piece for a team that hasn't been scoring much.

The good news for Washington is that despite the loss, they actually outshot an opponent on Sunday afternoon. They had 36 shots to the Bruins' 30, so there's that. Their pace of shooting has been way too low for well over a month now so that's a step in the right direction.

But they need to keep their fingers crossed Laich will be OK. He's a very underrated player for the Capitals, a solid two-way guy that probably every team in the NHL would like to have on their side.

With a win over the Canadiens on Saturday, normally you'd say a weekend split isn't bad. But depending on how Laich comes out of this, it could be.

Hit of the weekend

Watch Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik send Daniel Paille of the Bruins flying through the air at center ice.

I'm not sure it's 25 feet as the Penguins announcers says. I have a hunch they might have been dabbling in the art of hyperbole, something I do myself from time to time. But that still is probably the greatest hit in the history of hockey hits.

In this day and age you're not used to seeing the Bruins players acting as the ragdolls, they're usually the ones doing the pushing.

Shootout shutdown

The Colorado Avalanche are historically good when it comes to the shootout. They just don't lose in the "skills competition." That was until Saturday.

On the season the Avs were 7-0 in shootouts. Go back to last season and the streak was 10 consecutive shootouts. For an event that is statistically close to a tossup, that's pretty remarkable.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. The Avalanche finally lost a shootout this Saturday to the division rival Vancouver Canucks, failing to score in their three attempts.

Their shootout success has been a big reason why the Avs are as close in the playoff picture as they are. Those are crucial points to be picking up. And while losing the extra point to the Canucks doesn't seem like the biggest thing in the world considering they likely aren't catching the reigning Western Conference champs in the Northwest, it is obviously critical in the hunt for that eighth spot.

What a game

Speaking of shootouts, the only other team this season who had yet to fall in a shootout also suffered the fate on Saturday.

Despite two goals from Todd Bertuzzi (his first was the 300th of his career), the Detroit Red Wings couldn't hold onto their late third-period lead against the Edmonton Oilers.

Of course Sam Gagner played a huge part in the Oilers effort. He scored a point on each of the Oilers' eight goals against the Blackhawks in Edmonton's last game and then he was in on each of the Edmonton's first three goals against Detroit.

While he didn't get in on the game-tying goal in the final minute for the Oilers to snap his streak, Gagner did tally a score in the shootout, helping the Oilers eventually prevail thanks to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' shootout goal in his first game back, giving the Red Wings their first shootout defeat.

It was one of the better games of the season, a very entertaining, back-and-forth game. Minus the shootout, it had everything most every hockey fan likes to see.

Hit of the weekend Part II

I'm not sure this can compete with the Orpik-on-Paille hit, but it's still worth watching. I mean, who doesn't love guys being dumped over the boards?

The Wild and Stars got together for a crucial game for the West playoff picture and at least this hit showed how big it was. Watch Jake Dowell get dumped over the boards and into the camera well by Jed Ortmeyer of the Wild.

I'd say that's as good as time as any for a line change.

Quote of the weekend

“It was a party. It’s always fun. It keeps you in the game. Who knows, though? The next game I might get 15 to 20 shots, and you have to be ready for that, too.” -- Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators goalie on facing 43 shots against the Blues. (from the Tennessean).

Only a goalie could think his team facing 43 shots in one game could be considered a party.

Then again, when you beat a division rival 2-1 and move second place in the ultra-competitive Central, well then it might feel pretty good.

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

Posted on: January 30, 2012 6:31 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Report: Predators unlikely to trade Ryan Suter

Odds are Suter will stay with the Preds at least through this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Drooling over your team's chances of getting their hands on Ryan Suter at the trade deadline? According to Frank Seravali of the Philadelphia Daily News you shouldn't get your hopes up.

There wasn't much actual news that came out of the All-Star weekend in Ottawa, but that doesn't mean there was none. Suter, the Nashville Predators star defensemen who is in line to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, caused a little bit of a ripple on media day when he said that he didn't want to sign an extension with the Preds before the trade deadline on Feb. 27.

The rationale, which didn't make much sense to me, is that he doesn't want it to be a distraction. I would think signing a new deal -- if that's indeed what he wants to do -- would eliminate the distractions, saying you won't sign before the deadline doesn't do much to quiet things down. Instead, people everywhere start clicking on Cap Geek's trade calculator to figure out how they can make it work.

But it might be a moot point. Sources told Servali that don't expect Preds GM David Poile to move Suter.

“The consensus among us is that Nashville will be hanging onto him, even if they know the odds are not in their favor of re-signing him,” one Eastern Conference GM told the Daily News on condition of anonymity. “If he does decide to trade him, [David] Poile has the market cornered. There are very few defensemen of Suter’s caliber in the league and Nashville has two of them.

“You have to wonder whether the Predators can continue to trade away their top players for prospects because they can’t afford to pay them.”

I've been on the limb all season long that I believe the Predators will re-sign all three free agents (Pekka Rinne already taken care of, Shea Weber will be a restricted free agent again) and I think Poile is still believing the same thing.

To answer one of the obvious questions here; why is this coming from Philadelphia? Well the Flyers have been one of the names mentioned with Suter for some time, particularly since Chris Pronger was shut down.

Adding to that intrigue, Suter was paired with Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen in the All-Star Game and of course Timonen took the chance to talk to Suter a little bit about Philly.

“He’s going to take his time and see what’s going to happen,” Timonen said. “If he gets the money he wants, obviously he will stay there. You don’t know what’s going to happen, how much they’re going to spend, if they want to keep both of those two guys. He’s been there so long, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t want to stay there.”

The Predators don't historically spend a lot of money, that's why people don't think they'll keep all three. But the reverse side of that is it means they have a lot of money under the cap to spend. With the franchise at the highest level it has ever been at the moment, this is the time to spend the money.

The risk in it all obviously is seeing Suter walk for free. If he goes all the way to the free-agent period without a deal, he will get big-time bucks thrown his way as one of the biggest free agents in years.

That's why it's hard to envy Poile right now. His two star defensemen he needs to sign, Suter and Weber, need to see a team committed to winning. But what better way to do that than re-sign their two best players? It's a catch-22, so the best he can do at this point is take a chance on the team winning this season, and with how the Preds are playing, you like the odds they can make some noise.

The Nashville fans have already seen the team lose one stellar defenseman for nothing in return when Dan Hamhuis left a few seasons ago. Obviously they don't want to see that happen again. I don't think Poile wants it to happen again either, this would clearly signal he thinks they can sign Suter.

More from Eye on Hockey

Suter doesn't plan to sign before trade deadline
Trade Deadline coverage

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

Posted on: January 27, 2012 5:43 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 5:50 pm
 

Suter doesn't plan to sign before trade deadline

SuterBy: Adam Gretz

The most difficult job in the NHL leading up to the trade deadline has to belong to Nashville Predators general manager David Poile. He has to decide what to do with one of his franchise players, defenseman Ryan Suter, an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He can either hold on to him, make a serious playoff run and hope he can be re-signed before hitting the open market, or he can trade him to the highest bidder to guarantee that he isn't lost for nothing. Suter's words on Friday during his media availability probably didn't help things as he said he doesn't intend to sign a new long-term contract extension before the trade deadline, in part because he wants to see what the Predators do as an organization, and also because, as he put it, he doesn't want to be a "distraction," according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

This can't be encouraging news for Predators fans (of all ages).

It's unclear how actually signing a contract would be a distraction for the Predators (the contracts talks themselves might be a distraction. The rumors are a distraction, I imagine), but this is no small decision for Poile and the Predators front office.

Suter, along with his blueline partner Shea Weber, an unrestricted free agent himself after next season, is one of the Predators' top-two defensemen, and arguably their best all-around player. If he hits the open market after this season he's going to be the most sought after player available in an otherwise weak free agent class. Not only because he's a No. 1 defenseman and a franchise-type player, but also because he's still only 27 years old. Players that good, at that position, in the prime of their career, don't become available to the highest bidder all that often, and there's going to be no shortage of teams looking to throw large sums of money in his direction.

If the Predators were out of the playoff race this wouldn't be that difficult. If you're a bottom-feeder and confident that he isn't going to re-sign, you put him on the market and trade him for the biggest return you can get.

But that's not the case for Nashville. The Predators are very much in the playoff race, entering the All-Star break holding the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with 64 points, just one point out of what would be home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.

Making any sort of a postseason push without Suter isn't likely (it certainly decreases their chances). But he's also too valuable of a player to risk losing for nothing, even though the Predators have some impressive blue line depth coming up through their organization (such as Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Jonathan Blum), as they always seem to do.

This Predators team has been built entirely around the trio of Suter, Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne. All three entered this season eligible to become unrestricted free agents over the next two years. The team already managed to lock up Rinne, signing him to a massive seven-year contract earlier this season, leaving Weber and Suter as unknowns.

Poile has been one of the NHL's better general managers during his run in Nashville, consistently putting a playoff caliber team on the ice with one of the league's lowest payrolls, mainly through a steady pipeline of talent through his minor league system. The same one that's produced players like Suter, Weber and Rinne.

This is going to be his biggest test (and decision) of his career.

Photo: Getty Images

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Predators sign Pekka Rinne for seven years
Toddler's message to Suter: please sign

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:00 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 2:00 pm
 

Toddler's message to Ryan Suter: Please sign

By Brian Stubits

The Nashville Predators are in an unenviable situation. They entered the season with their three biggest players all needing new contracts. They got one taken care of early by signing goaltender Pekka Rinne. That leaves defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

Suter has appeared to be next on the list for the general manager David Poille considering he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer while Weber will still be restricted. Obviously as of yet no deal has been reached, so the fans in Nashville are getting in the wooing effort. Even the 1-year-olds.

Predators blog On the Forecheck got a little more background on the video and no, it's not completely staged. A married couple who happen to be big fans of the Preds were discussing the possibility of their favorite player, Suter, leaving.

One of us said out loud "We HAVE to sign him" ( Suter). and my 18-month-old daughter repeated it. We werent sure what she said so we asked her again. and she said "Please sign". I had just gotten the family custom jerseys for Christmas, so we slapped it on her and prayed that she would say it again. She did and we filmed it, as it seemed to sum up exactly what we wanted to say.

They better hope this video helps get Suter under a new contract, and soon.

With every passing day that Suter remains without a contract for next season, the trade speculation will only increase. Point me to a team in the NHL and I'll show you one that would love to add Suter to their defensive corps. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com just mentioned today that he knows the Flyers, who are looking for some help at defense after Chris Pronger was shut down for the year, covet Suter. As I said, probably most every team does, frankly. He's an excellent and still young defenseman.

I'm still a firm believer that the Predators can and will have all three players back for next season. But I admit, my confidence is getting shaky on the Suter situation.

Suter wants to see that the Predators will be a franchise that can win, and I think they have shown that in the past year. They made it to the playoffs last season and won a series for the first time. They are right in the hunt again this season despite playing in the ridiculously tough Central Division. By committing to Rinne I think it shows their willing to spend some more than the salary floor too. Before the trade deadline, I don't know what else the Predators can do.

That's where this video could come in. I don't think it will do much to help, but it can't hurt.

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

Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 11:24 am
 

Nashville's other star defenseman, Ryan Suter

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- There's a certain young defenseman who plays in Nashville that gets a ton of praise. He also just got a ton of dough and will surely get more this offseason with what is shaping up to be a season worthy of another Norris Trophy nomination.

He is Shea Weber, without a doubt the biggest star skating in a Nashville Predators jersey. His booming slap shot is a thing of legend. Didn't you that one about how you can hear it breaking the sound barrier?

Weber, no doubt is excellent and deserves all the accolades that come his way. In addition to his strong defensive play, he is also tied with a few of his teammates for the team's leading goal scorer this season with eight. It's almost a case of no such thing as being too much praise.

My only problem with all of that is how it takes away a lot of attention from one of Nashville's other young and supremely talented defensemen, Ryan Suter.

The chances of it happening are remote, but if there were two teammates in today's NHL that could be named finalists for the same award it would be Weber and Suter in the Norris discussion. That's because this season is going as well or maybe even better than any of Suter's six other seasons with the Predators -- offensively speaking he has five goals and 16 assists already.

"It's going good," Suter said. "The main thing is our team, how our team plays. We've been playing well; we're kind of up and down. But when we're on our game we're playing good and it's fun to be out there."

They have been on that up side as of late. Before losing 4-1 to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, Nashville had won five games in a row. The confidence was growing again for a team that made it to the second round of the playoffs last season and had every intention of keeping that franchise momentum moving this year.

Of course, a large part of continuing what they have begun in Nashville is getting the star players under contract beyond this season. They already took care of that with goaltender Pekka Rinne, signing him to a monster seven-year deal. But that still leaves Weber and Suter.

In the case of Weber, the Preds still have a little control as he will be a restricted free agent this summer, just like he was last summer when he received the biggest arbitration settlement in NHL history. But much the case with his attention as a player, Suter's situation seems to be a little overshadowed by his All-Star partner.

There are a lot of people who doubt that the Predators, operators for a long time on a budget in line with the NHL's lowest, will be able to sign all three to the deals they will command. So that leaves a lot of people believing Suter is the odd man out. Personally speaking, I believe the Predators can and will do their best to keep all three players. One is already down.

It's sort of an elephant on the season for the Predators, the contract situations. If neither Weber nor Suter is under contract come the trade deadline, GM David Poille will have some serious thinking to do. Does he want to risk seeing Suter, an unrestricted free agent, walk away for nothing in return? That quandary will haunt a GM.

But for now it's not bothering Suter much. Either that or he's just saying all the right things.

"You try not to think about the future, you just think about the present," Suter said regarding his contract situation. "You are just playing as good as you can and helping your team win. You're helping to get the young guys better. So far I think it's been going well."

In years past it would have been easy to write off the possibility of Suter returning to Nashville for another season. Let's be honest, Tennessee didn't exactly scream attractive NHL market. But the market in Nashville is proving what a little winning can do for any non-natural team (except Phoenix, unfortunately): increase the popularity.

"It really is [becoming a good hockey market]," Suter said. "The fans get better every year. They get -- I don't know how to say it -- more educated I guess. It gets bigger and bigger every year. The ownership group is doing a great job getting fans in the building."

The fans in Smashville, as they like to call it, have turned Bridgestone Arena into one of the tougher venues to play at in the league. Part of that is the sea of mustard yellow both on the opposing jerseys and in the stands, but it's also the atmosphere.

One way you can tell how excited and hockey smart the city is becoming is just to peruse the blogosphere. There is no shortage of ways you can find information on the Preds.

"It all comes back to us winning," Suter acknowledged. "If we continue to play well at home and on the road and continue to get wins, then it's going to be a fun year."

They sure hope so in Nashville. But nothing would make for a fun year more than keeping Suter and Weber around to ensure many fun years to follow.

Photo: Getty Images

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