Could Radulov be returning to Nashville…soon?


The Nashville City Paper ran a really interesting article over the weekend, titled “Is Alexander Radulov the final piece to a Stanley Cup for Predators?”

In it, David Boclair examines the possibility of Radulov returning to play in Nashville for the first time since bolting to Russia (signing with KHL club Ufa Salavat Yulayev) in 2008.

More, from the City Paper:

All the necessary mechanisms for him to resume his NHL career with Nashville are in place. Because he signed with the KHL while he still had a year remaining on his entry-level deal, the NHL froze his contract. If, or when, he ever returns, he is bound by that remaining year, and any progress toward unrestricted free agency must be satisfied in the years that follow.

There actually is incentive for Radulov to come back late in this — or any — season. According to [Preds GM David] Poile, if he plays just one regular-season game, he satisfies the remaining year of his contract, which sends him into the ensuing offseason as a restricted free agent.

It’s not as if he ever completely cut ties to Middle Tennessee either. He maintains a residence and an automobile here, and his parents come to town several times a year (as recently as December they attended a Predators game). According to one local real estate source, he’s in the process of refinancing his Nashville residence in a manner consistent with someone who plans for a decrease in income.

Few other things to note:

— When Radulov bolted Nashville, he was 22 and the third-leading scorer on a veteran-laden team (led by J.P. Dumont and Jason Arnott.) Apparently there was some friction there — during Game 3 of the 2008 playoff series against Detroit, he celebrated one of his goals so enthusiastically that he rammed Arnott into the boards, forcing him out of the series with a concussion.

— Now the team’s leaders are Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, both good friends of Radulov’s.

“We didn’t really have girlfriends or wives here, it was just fun,” Suter said of their early days in Nashville. “When he was here, me, Webs and Rads hung out a lot. He was a fun guy to be around.”

— Radulov has torn apart the KHL since going over (last year he had 80 points in 54 regular season games). To emphasize, I’ll leave you with this quote from Poile:

“He’s a top-six forward that a lot of people would say we’re missing. He’s the best player not playing in the NHL.”

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?