Trotz Radulov

Radulov wants to play Game 4, but won’t ask Trotz to get back in


Shortly after skating on a “scratch line” with Craig Smith and fellow curfew-breaker Andrei Kostitsyn, Predators forward Alex Radulov said he’s unsure if he’ll play Game 4 on Friday.

According to TSN’s Katherine Dolan, Radulov said he doesn’t know his status but won’t ask to return to the lineup — instead, he says he’ll leave that decision up to the coaches.

This uncertainty echos what Predators head coach Barry Trotz said on Thursday — he wasn’t sure about lineup changes, but commented “I know it’s going to be tough if I do [change] anything.”

Okay, so there are three major issues facing Nashville right now:

1. Despite the fact they’ve both been shamed publicly, Radulov and Kostitsyn haven’t offered up much in the way of apology. Radulov stumbled through a mea culpa (including the “I didn’t come back that late” line) while Kostitsyn said nothing.

From CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

Tried to make contact Tuesday with some former players to ask if they’d come across anything like this. There were three common threads. First, was the apology heartfelt? Second, was this a first-time offence or repeat behaviour? Third, how important was the situation?

The answers are 1) Not publicly, 2) Don’t know, and 3) Pretty Freaking Important.

Win or lose, can Barry Trotz afford to play them again?

2. The guys that drew in (Jordin Tootoo and Matt Halischuk) really contributed to the return to “Predator hockey”. Tootoo led all skaters with five hits, Halischuk had two takeaways, a hit and a blocked shot.

3. Trotz could lose both guys if he keeps holding them out. Say what you will about Radulov’s sloth like performance in Games 1 and 2, but don’t forget he led Nashville with five points in five games during the first-round ouster of Detroit. And for all of Kostitsyn’s flaws, he can still put the puck in the net.

If the Preds eventually needs an injection of offense — and based on their postseason history, they will — they won’t want Radulov or Kostitsyn frozen out.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?