Stu Grimson

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Nashville Predators

When you’re one of the newer expansion teams in the NHL, creating a look that everyone can rally around can be tough to do. For the Nashville Predators, they’ve had a hard time warming people up to them with their sweaters and even an dalliance with a mustard yellow look hasn’t swayed their fans from revolting. Not too much anyhow.

Best: All right so the Predators don’t exactly have a timeless look to them. Everything about them since their inception has had that really modern look about them and that tends to make many old school hockey fans twitch a bit. With the team being located in Nashville, it didn’t do much to help the gut reactions by those fans to wig out over being a southern hockey team.

That said, there’s one look they’ve had that seems to meet most everyone’s approval and it’s their original road sweater. The navy blue with silver lined sleeves and the massive Predators logo on the front gave them their identity. It’s a simple look but a good one, especially for a new franchise which sometimes means they can try too hard.

Worst: As much as it pains me to say it, I’d be run out of town for not picking the Predators third sweater from 2001-2007. The mustard yellow sweaters were resoundingly hated by most fans outside of Nashville for a host of reasons. They hated the color, they hated the cartoony crest logo, and they were intimidated by the haunting saber-toothed tiger skull on the shoulders. You name it, fans had a reason to dislike it. I, personally, liked the sweater but as I’ve mentioned throughout this I have an affinity for the best of the worst too. Mustard couldn’t have been too bad since yellow is making a big comeback in Nashville this year. That said, go ahead and have fun telling Stu Grimson he looked ugly in mustard yellow, I dare you.

RBK Edge unkind: The Preds were one team that didn’t take advantage of the NHL’s switch to the RBK Edge system. When teams redesigned their look many teams used the opportunity to do something new and different. The Predators, instead, tried their best to make it look exactly like what they had originally. The one difference that happened came when their road white sweaters looked really white as they cut out most of the blue from that sweater. White and silver don’t exactly help each other stand out.

Assessment: After looking so bland since the lockout, the Predators are changing things up big time going to a brighter yellow home sweater with lots of little nuances that help make it a more original sweater. Their road whites are going to be super white again but with blue and yellow highlights throughout it to make it pop a bit more. I’ll have to see it in action to see how it plays out on the ice, but seeing a yellow home sweater has me excited. Doing things different is a good thing and yellow is really different.

For Sens, Phaneuf brings experience and ‘security on the back end’

OTTAWA, CANADA - APRIL 12: Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs passes the puck against Erik Condra #22 of the Ottawa Senators on April 12, 2014 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
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If it felt like this morning’s Dion Phaneuf trade came out of the blue, well, it kinda did.

According to Senators GM Bryan Murray, talks only got “serious” this past weekend during a phone call with Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello.

“He called me about something else,” said Murray. “I brought up Dion’s name.”

The way the Sens had been playing, it’s no surprise to hear that Murray had been looking for a “little more security on the back end,” as he put it.

“You hear people talk all the time that we’re dreadful in our own end,” he said. “We haven’t been great. We’re getting better. This we believe will be a good addition. It’s about getting an experienced leader, good person, hard-working, competitive guy to add to the mix in our top four.”

Phaneuf is expected to start on the Sens’ second pairing with Cody Ceci. Ottawa’s top d-man, Erik Karlsson, typically skates with Marc Methot.

While Murray called the multi-player deal a “hockey trade,” he conceded there were financial considerations involved.

“It had to work financially for us, as well as for Toronto,” he said. “It gives them relief in the latter part of the contract, I suspect, and it gives us some working pieces to go forward with for the next couple of years.”

What do the Sens expect from Phaneuf?

“Just to be a solid person, player,” said Murray. “Come in and give a little experience to the back end. Play his game the way he plays it.”

“He’ll just bring, we hope, a presence to this organization,” Murray continued. “It appears right now that we’ve got a lot of young guys that are going to be fitted in and playing. Our depth and youth, it’s good. We just needed a little bit of help.”

One thing Murray doesn’t expect?

“We don’t expect him to come in here to be a savior. We expect him to come in here and just be the hockey player that he is.”

Ottawa plays tomorrow in Detroit, where Phaneuf is expected to make his Senators debut.

The Sens and Leafs play March 5 in Toronto.

No hearing scheduled for Abdelkader after Barkov hit

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There’s no disciplinary hearing scheduled for Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader following his big check on Florida’s Aleksander Barkov last night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

The incident, which occurred early in the second period, left Barkov woozy and forced him from the game entirely. Abdelkader wasn’t penalized on the play — that, along with the hit itself, infuriated the Panthers and head coach Gerard Gallant.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald.

“I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way,” Gallant added, noting that Abdelkader “left his feet a little and got [Barkov] in the jaw.”

Abdelkader has run afoul of the Department of Player Safety before. He was suspended two games during the ’13 playoffs for a hit on then-Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman.

The Panthers are back in action tonight, as they take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

Detroit doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when it hosts the Sens at Joe Louis.

Dion Phaneuf traded to Senators

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  Jordan Nolan #71 of the Los Angeles Kings is knocked off balance by Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Staples Center on January 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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And this is why we listen when Bob McKenzie says something.

The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, and Ryan Rupert and undrafted defensive prospect Cody Donaghey from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg, plus Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 draft.

No salary will be retained by either team.

From the Leafs’ perspective, the trade provides even more cap flexibility for their rebuild. Phaneuf is signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million; he’s entirely on Ottawa’s books now. As for the guys coming to Toronto, Michalek, Cowen, and Greening are only under contract through next season, for a combined cap hit of around $10 million. And according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, both Cowen and Greening could be bought out by the Leafs this offseason.

The Sens, meanwhile, get to add a workhorse defenseman to a blue line that already includes Erik Karlsson. Plus, they rid themselves of some onerous contracts.

Report: ‘Lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter’

Dion Phaneuf
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This isn’t the first time Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf has come up in trade rumors — far from it — but since it’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie putting it out there, we should probably listen.

“Hearing lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter,” McKenzie tweeted this morning. “Starting to think he could actually be dealt before the deadline.”

Phaneuf has three goals and 21 assists in 51 games this season, while logging an average of 22:02 in ice time. The big factor in trading the 30-year-old is his contract — he’s signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million. 

Responding to McKenzie on Twitter, TSN’s Darren Dreger seemed to suggest Ottawa as a potential landing spot. The Sens, as we’ve noted recently, have had all sorts of defensive issues this season.

In the past, Detroit has come up as a potential destination for Phaneuf, though the Wings reportedly withdrew their interest in June.