Predators blowing it at home

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The Nashville Predators lost a home game last night. Unfortunately for the team that’s in the midst of its most important season in franchise history, losing at home is becoming a nasty habit.

No team in the NHL has fewer home victories than the Preds, who fell to 4-5-3 at Bridgestone Arena with Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Phoenix.

On the bright side, Nashville is 8-6-1 on the road, one of the better records in the league.

“Right now, we seem to be better road warriors than we are at home,” coach Barry Trotz said, as per The Tennessean. “You want to be at least .500 on the road and then have a pretty good record at home, and that should put you in pretty good standing. But right now, we have to improve our home record.”

According to defenseman Ryan Suter, the problems at home aren’t for lack of support from the faithful.

“We have great fans, they’re loud. It’s an exciting building to play in,” Suter said. “We have to get that swagger back at home and we’ll be fine. You can’t hit the panic button yet.”

Nashville’s only two points out of eighth place in the Western Conference, so Suter’s right – it’s not time to panic yet. But speaking of UFA-to-be Suter, you have to wonder if he’s looking at the standings and wondering if he wants to go through this dogfight every season.

Perhaps Preds fans can take something positive out of Suter’s comments about realignment.

“Instead of going out west twice, we only have to go west one time. You play all the teams in your conference five or six times,” he said. “It’s easier on travel, for sure.”

At the very least, he didn’t say, “I think it’s great. It’ll really cut down on travel for us. All those trips from Detroit to the Pacific Coast really take their toll.”

Nashville is in Columbus Thursday to play the Blue Jackets. After that, it’s four straight at home. (Gulp.)

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.