Therrien: Weise out for Game 6 with ‘body injury,’ not head injury

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After Dale Weise was temporarily knocked out of Game 5 following John Moore’s hit — which the NHL later deemed an illegal check to the head — Montreal head coach Michel Therrien announced that Weise will miss tonight’s Game 6… with a body injury.

Not a head injury.

For more, let’s go to the transcript!

Q. Is there any regret about having Dale come back given that the symptoms, obviously, came on after the game?

COACH THERRIEN: You’re presuming it’s a head injury.

Q. Am I not correct?

COACH THERRIEN: You’re not correct.

Q. I know you touched on it briefly, but can you explain the difference and what happened between the third period for Dale, when he was let back in the game, now not being able to play tonight?

COACH THERRIEN: Well, after the hit he went to meet the doctors, saw the doctors. He was feeling fine about finishing the game. For us, what is really important is player safety. This is important for us. It’s been like that all season long. It’s not going to change. For a player not able to play the next game, this is something that we could see on a regular basis. You can see [Derek] Stepan finished a game with a broken jaw, get an operation the next day, miss Game 4, and came back after his operation. So those are the things that you see at this time of the year. But right now he’s got a body injury. He won’t be able to play tonight.

There’s been plenty of gamesmanship throughout the Eastern Conference Final, so Therrien’s comments shouldn’t come as any huge surprise as the effectiveness of the “quiet room” and concussion protocol has been questioned repeatedly this postseason.

In Columbus’ opening-round loss to Pittsburgh, James Wisniewski had to be helped off the ice in Game 6 following a big hit from Tanner Glass, but returned in the second period. Wisniewski later said this to the Columbus Dispatch:

“My head didn’t feel great in Game 6. I said my back hurt so I didn’t have to do the 20-minute (concussion) protocol and go through that whole concussion process. I didn’t feel like going in and talking to the doctors for 20 minutes.”

Then there was Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was dealing with concussion symptoms while playing in Game 7 of the Colorado series and had to exit in the third period, clearly rattled from a collision that occurred in the middle frame.

As for Therrien, his comments might be troubling but they’re really par for the course. The issues are with how players can get around current head injury rules and regulations, and how easy it is for coaches to say “well, my guy said he was OK to return.”

Preds proving preseason hype was warranted

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They were a trendy pick to win the Stanley Cup.

And then the season started.

The Nashville Predators never really got rolling during their 82-game schedule. They’d have some good stretches, followed by some bad stretches. They ended up as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Most predicted they’d lose to Chicago in the first round.

Of course, most were wrong. The Preds swept the Blackhawks, and now they’re up 1-0 on the Blues in the second round.

“We come in, we’re supposed to be this awesome, amazing team and we didn’t start so hot,” d-man Ryan Ellis said, per NHL.com. “We started to get better, and then some injuries crept into our locker room. We battled the whole year, losing guys at various times in the year and some younger guys stepped up. But overall, it’s adversity that makes you stronger. This was one of those years we faced a lot of adversity.”

A quick glance at Nashville’s roster and it’s not hard to understand the preseason hype. The Predators have a No. 1 center in Ryan Johansen, a tremendous goal-scorer in Filip Forsberg, and one of the more underrated wingers in the league in Viktor Arvidsson.

But the real jewel is their blue line. Roman Josi is the No. 1 defenseman, paired with puck-mover Ryan Ellis, a former 11th overall draft pick. On the second pair is a former Norris Trophy winner, P.K. Subban, who skates with the dependable Mattias Ekholm.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better top four than that. And to think, the Preds also had Seth Jones, until they traded him to Columbus for Johansen.

The wild card heading into the playoffs was Pekka Rinne, the 34-year-old goalie who was spectacularly inconsistent during the regular season. He had a .949 save percentage in November, followed by an .875 in December. It was .933 in January, down to .888 in February, then back up to .923 in March.

So far this postseason, it’s .962.

Tonight in St. Louis, the Preds can make it six straight wins in the playoffs. More importantly, they can take a 2-0 lead over the Blues back to Nashville.

“Throughout the year, I think we’re a little bit inconsistent,” winger Colin Wilson told reporters. “But when we played our game, we were always unstoppable. We have a lot of talent, great D, great goaltending, all-around strong team with a lot of depth.”

Rangers won’t let Drury interview for Sabres GM gig

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As a former player and well-regarded young executive, there was a fit for Chris Drury in Buffalo’s front office.

Of course, there’s the exact same fit with the Rangers.

That’s why today’s news can’t come as a huge surprise. Per Sportsnet and TSN, New York has turned down Buffalo’s request to interview Drury for its vacant general manager gig.

Drury, 40, has spent the last two years climbing the Rangers’ executive depth chart. He was brought aboard in 2015 as the club’s director of player development and, a year later, was promoted to assistant GM under Jeff Gorton.

The Rangers aren’t the only ones enamored by Drury’s front office skills. Recently, USA Hockey tabbed him — along with Bill Guerin — as the braintrust responsible for building Team USA’s entry in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

As mentioned above, it was easy to see why the Sabres were interested. Drury played three seasons in Buffalo, served as team captain, and the club appears primed to make a splash with its next hire after dismissing Tim Murray.

Drury, of course, spent four seasons with the Rangers and also wore the “C.”

Should Erik Karlsson’s game-winning goal have counted?

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We’re only one game into the Sens-Rangers series, and we already have a little bit of controversy.

Ottawa won Game 1, 2-1, thanks to Erik Karlsson‘s game-winning goal from a seemingly impossible angle (seriously, he scored from the corner).

But should it have counted?

There’s no issue with the Karlsson shot going off Henrik Lundqvist‘s mask and in, but the Rangers felt that the referees missed an icing call moments before the goal happened.

Karlsson is standing near his own blue line when he sends a pass in Jean-Gabriel Pageau‘s direction. Did Pageau get a piece of it? It’s hard to tell from the angles we have at our disposal, but Alain Vigneault seemed to have had a good look at the play.

“We felt on their game-winning goal it should have been icing,” Vigneault said, per Sportsnet. “When we look at it, and look at the angles we get, I think it should have been icing. But at the end of the game you gotta play and you gotta do more than we did tonight to win.”

Challenging icing calls isn’t permitted, so when the officials decided that Pageau touched the puck, there’s nothing more the Rangers could do to reverse the call (except get the puck out of the zone when they had the chance).

 

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Friday, April 28

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Two games on the schedule tonight, as the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks look to avenge their losses to the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers in Game 1.

Here’s what you need to know:

Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues (Preds lead 1-0)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Check out the highlights from Nashville’s 4-3 win in Game 1.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks (Oilers lead 1-0)

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Check out the highlights from Edmonton’s 5-3 win in Game 1.