Barry Trotz

Trotz laments Preds’ elimination: “This was a team that had all the depth”


To hear Barry Trotz tell it, the story of Nashville’s season went bad, good…then disappointing.

“The first 20 games, we were not a good hockey team,” Trotz told The Tennessean. “We were real young in some areas. We weren’t very detailed; we didn’t know how to win.

“And then we became a real good hockey team. And then, at the appropriate time, the ownership stepped up and added some pieces that we thought would be necessary to go deep into the playoffs.”

And then? For the second straight year, the team was bounced in the second round — this time by an upstart Phoenix club that seemed to out-Predator the Predators.

“We couldn’t solve the riddle of Mike Smith and the Coyotes’ defense,” Trotz explained. “In the first couple of games, it was our defense, or lack of, that prevented us from winning. Stealing Game 1 [4-3 in overtime] the way they did really gave them a lot of confidence.”

Trotz didn’t put much credence in the idea that suspensions to Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn derailed his club, though numbers suggest they played a part. The Preds only managed to score three goals over the final three games of the series (after scoring six in the first two) — a stretch that coincided with Radulov and Kostitsyn being banished for Games 3 and 4.

By the time Game 5 rolled around, the two were out of synch, combining for just three shots on goal in the elimination contest.

That said, Trotz believed his team had enough depth not just to overcome the Radulov/Kostitsyn fiasco, but also to beat the Coyotes and make a deep playoff run.

“This was a team that had all the depth,” Trotz said. “Whereas in the past we had some talented teams, but we didn’t quite have the depth at certain areas or enough experience in certain areas.

“This team had pretty good balance all the way through.”

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane
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On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.