Is Tampa Bay ready to start selling? (Update: Kubina asked to waive no-trade clause)

5 Comments

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports that, after the Lightning’s 4-0 home loss to Ottawa on Tuesday, the “winds of change” may soon be blowing through the Bolts’ locker room.

Tampa Bay is 1-3-1 over its last five games and mired in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 10 points back of eighth-place Toronto. The Bolts have three games left on their current homestand and if they don’t emerge with three wins, GM Steve Yzerman could start moving assets.

“We are aware of [the trade deadline] and we know this home stand makes the job a lot easier or harder for management if we put ourselves in a position,” center Steven Stamkos said. “We obviously like the group that is in this room and we’d like to win with this group.

“And we realize that if things don’t go as planned, there are going to be some moves.”

So, who’s up for grabs? Sounds like Tampa’s five impending UFAs — Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina, Brett Clark, Adam Hall and Matt Gilroy — are in the mix (especially Moore, who has twice been a trade deadline acquisition.)

Erlendsson also notes that Steve Downie and Ryan Malone could be in dealt, the latter being an especially hot commodity given his playoff experience (Malone’s participated in two of the last four Eastern Conference finals.)

That said, Malone’s trying not to focus on the trade talks.

“We are just trying to win hockey games,” said Malone. “It’s been hard for me not to play in the previous  games [missed last eight with an upper-body injury] because we know there are only 20-something games left and you are already looking at the standings and these already feel like playoff games.

“We know that we have to beat the teams in front of us … and we need a great home stand to get back into the hunt here.”

UPDATE: Per Damien Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, defenseman Pavel Kubina will soon be on the move. He’s been asked to provide a list of teams to whom he would accept a trade and won’t play in the interim. Kubina has a limited no-trade clause; Yzerman wouldn’t say if a trade is imminent.

No mic? No problem: Oilers fans sing American, Canadian national anthems

Leave a comment

There was apparently an issue with a microphone used for the national anthems prior to Game 3 between the Ducks and Oilers in Edmonton.

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel was supposed to perform the anthems, however, as he stepped up to the mic, he soon discovered that there seemed to be a malfunction.

With some quick encouragement from Kissel, fans at Rogers Place stole the show with stirring renditions of both the American and Canadian national anthems.

Here is the Star Spangled Banner:

Here is O Canada:

Sami Vatanen returns to Ducks lineup vs. Oilers

Getty
Leave a comment

Good news for the Anaheim Ducks, who trail the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 in their second round series.

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen returns to the lineup Sunday for Game 3 — his first game since April 13, which was the opener of Anaheim’s first-round series with Calgary, because of an upper-body injury.

However, the Ducks will be without Kevin Bieksa, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Predators stifle Blues to take back series lead

5 Comments

The Nashville Predators have snapped their one-game funk in these Stanley Cup playoffs, taking back the series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

For long stretches of Sunday’s contest, the Predators kept the puck away from and stifled the Blues, including a stretch of almost nine minutes at the beginning of the second period in which St. Louis failed to register a shot attempt.

The Predators’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 was eventually secured on an unbelievably dominant shift late in the third period.

Joel Edmundson‘s (costly) turnover led to a dizzying attack from Predators, who had sustained puck possession inside the St. Louis zone for about 1:10.

By the end, Edmundson and Colton Parayko had exhausted themselves as the Predators tossed the puck around with increasing ease before Roman Josi halted the madness with a slap shot to the top corner, giving Nashville a two-goal lead.

That continues an impressive trend for the Predators.

They have scored nine goals in this series, with at least one defenseman contributing directly with either a goal or an assist on eight of those goals. Nashville’s group of blueliners — including Ryan Ellis, who has been on quite a productive roll throughout these playoffs — have combined for 11 points through three games in this series.

This series resumes Tuesday in Nashville, with the Predators leading 2-1.

VIDEO: Ryan Ellis continues his incredible postseason run for Predators

2 Comments

Playing in Nashville over the years it has been easy for Ryan Ellis to get overlooked, always playing in the shadow of bigger name stars on the team’s blue line.

Shea Weber (before he was traded). Roman Josi. P.K. Subban.

But Ellis has been a major part of the Predators’ blue line and he had a career-year in 2016-17, setting new personal bests in goals (16) and points (38) while matching his previous career high in assists (22).

He has continued that strong play in the postseason and is currently the team’s leading scorer after he netted his third goal of the playoffs (and eighth total point) on Sunday afternoon to give the Predators a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues.

You can see it in the video above.

After being held without a point in the Predators’ first playoff game, Ellis has now picked up at least one point in every playoff game since them and is now riding a six-game point streak.

The first half of Sunday’s game has been a defensive clinic by the Predators, by the way, limiting St. Louis to just 10 shots on goal through the first 34 minutes, and none through the first 14 minutes of the second period.

The Predators extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Cody McLeod deflected in his first goal of the playoffs to give the Predators some unexpected scoring depth. He had just five goals in 59 games during the regular season between the Predators and Colorado Avalanche.