To the surprise of few, Sergei Kostitsyn’s time with the Nashville Predators officially ended on Friday, as the Tennessean’s Joshua Cooper reports that his contract was terminated. Sovetsky Sport’s Genadi Boguslavski reports that the winger signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
This is the second summer in a row that the team decided to part ways with a polarizing European winger who ranked as one of the team’s top scorers. As you may remember, things ended pretty poorly with Alexander Radulov in the 2012 offseason, who also escaped to the KHL.
Kostitsyn, 26, didn’t break curfew like his brother Andrei and Radulov did to get on head coach Barry Trotz’s bad side.
Instead, he saw his numbers drop significantly, although Predators fans will probably remember this moment from March most of all:
When Nashville signed him, there seemed to be two schools of thought: he wouldn’t mix well with Trotz’s worldview or he’d be a steal as a skilled scorer at a low price.
Really, it seems like both sides were right. Kostitsyn tied Martin Erat for the team’s scoring lead in 2010-11 with 50 points and was nicely productive until things went south in 2013. Still, it seemed inevitable that he would fall out of place in Nashville’s grinding system.
With that all in mind, it makes sense that the two sides parted ways. Still, one cannot help but wonder how much the Predators will struggle to score in 2013-14, even with their considerable free agent spending.
Keith Urban sang the national anthem for Game 3. Kelly Clarkson did the honors for the Nashville Predators before Game 4. Next up: Trisha Yearwood for Game 6.
The Predators hope to close out the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, and they got off to a nice start with Austin Watson scoring a quick 1-0 goal. Not long after, the Predators added another to build to a 2-0 lead.
Garth Brooks spoiled Yearwood’s appearance a bit before the contest.
Brooks also revealed Yearwood’s early fan creds:
Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie scored a goal in Game 4, but he won’t be able to provide such a scoring boost for his team in Game 6.
That’s because he was ejected during the first period after hitting rising Nashville Predators star Viktor Arvidsson from behind, bloodying the slick Swede.
Ritchie was whistled for a game misconduct and major. Remarkably, the Ducks killed the entire five-minute power-play opportunity, with Ryan Kesler‘s shorthanded chance being one of the better opportunities for either team.
It’s still a big blunder, but if the Ducks can get back in it, remember that big kill.
Video of the hit is coming soon. For now, check out the GIF:
Oddly, Arvidsson left the ice with a wound that more or less spelled out “R,” presumably for Ritchie, maybe celebrating the return of “Twin Peaks.”
(Such an obvious move might not be surreal enough for David Lynch, though. Alex Prewitt’s Zorro reference might be more, um, on the mark.)
It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.
Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.
There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?
The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.
Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.
The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.
Click here for the official roster report.
Game 5 is airing on NBCSN right now. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
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