Francis Bouillon, T. J. Oshie

Francis Bouillon is working out again, but won’t be ready for some time

For some of us, it’s still stunning that the Nashville Predators essentially gave up Cody Franson for nothing but the monetary relief that also came with dispatching Matthew Lombardi’s contract. Even when you consider the fact that Predators GM David Poile had his back against the wall, it remains stunning that he could stomach such a rotten deal.

We’ve spilled more than a bit of digital ink talking about the team’s wide-open races to fill their lower defensive ranks, with Brett Lebda’s buyout and the addition of depth defenseman Jack Hillen being the most recent stories.

While there’s been plenty of discussion about the team’s prospects making an impact on defense next season, one guy whose been counted out in Francis Bouillon. (Or as I like to call him, “The Cube.”) He’s been dismissed because of concussion issues that seemed even more worrisome because of a recent setback. Josh Cooper provides a semi-promising update about Bouillon, even though it seems like a small victory.

Late last month, Cyberpresse quoted Bouillon as having a setback in his recovery. Not much has changed, but Predators General Manager David Poile struck a more upbeat tone recently.

“The good news is he’s feeling better again and he’s starting to work out again,” Poile said.

As with most concussion recoveries, working out doesn’t necessarily denote significant progress, although it provides a brighter outlook than the alternative. Either way, Cooper reiterates the thought that the Predators will probably have to look to one of their younger players to carry some of the burden, pointing to Roman Josi as possibly the strongest candidate for early action.

Though Josi compares favorably to Bouillon in mobility and puck-moving skills, he doesn’t play the same physical style. Last season, Josi notched only 22 penalty minutes.

But his mere presence in Nashville’s system exemplifies its luxury of defensive depth, how the Predators don’t have to just throw warm bodies on the ice because of injuries. They actually have players who can contribute.

“He’s a good kid, a character kid,” Predators Director of Player Development Martin Gelinas said. “He’s ready to take the next step. Nashville isn’t too far away with Roman.”

That could be good news if he gels with the Predators lineup, especially if Bouillon remains far away from full recovery.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.