Jonas Hiller

Report: Preds have inquired about Hiller, other goalies


The Nashville Predators have spoken with the Anaheim Ducks about potentially acquiring goalie Jonas Hiller, ESPN reports.

The Preds have been without franchise netminder Pekka Rinne for the last four weeks due to complications from offseason hip surgery. Rinne will have a MRI on his hip sometime next week, at which time Nashville will have a clearer understanding of his timetable for return.

According to ESPN, Preds GM David Poile has kicked the tires on Hiller but also explored options elsewhere. The 31-year-old Swiss ‘tender probably makes the most sense, though, as he’s a UFA at season’s end and expendable, given Anaheim’s outstanding depth in goal.

Current No. 2 Viktor Fasth is locked in ’til 2015 and the club is extremely high on Frederik Andersen, the 24-year-old rookie that starred in his NHL debut, going 6-1-0 with a 1.66 GAA and .943 save percentage before getting sent back to AHL Norfolk.

Anaheim has a fourth goalie in this mix: John Gibson, the 39th overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He beat out Ben Bishop for Team USA’s No. 1 gig at last year’s World Championships, a stellar performance spurred his former OHL Kitchener goalie coach to remark that Gibson “is ready for the NHL right now.”

As for Nashville, the club could always continue to roll with Marek Mazanec. The 22-year-old rookie has one each of his last three starts — vs. Chicago, in Detroit and in Toronto — and has essentially taken the No. 1 gig away from Carter Hutton.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.