Last season, the Nashville Predators scored nine fewer goals than the league average, finishing with 216 in 82 frequently miserable games. In 2012-13, they finished dead-last in scoring.
It remains to be seen if Peter Laviolette can get more out of the Predators than Barry Trotz could in the brutal Central Division, but in his meeting with Predators fans on Sunday, the Tennessean reports that he wasn’t shy about his points of emphasis. While puck possession and development ranked among the buzzwords, the fans really got excited when that word “offense” popped up.
“I guess my thought process on the game and the style early on is that I decided to play with the puck, and I would rather play somewhere else other than my end,” Laviolette said at the Music City Sports Festival.
Newly hired assistant Kevin McCarthy believes that Laviolette can really help talented-yet-frustrated forwards such as Viktor Stalberg and Colin Wilson while Laviolette specifically seemed interested in developing Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok. It’s not surprising that Laviolette seems most excited about Seth Jones, though.
Speaking of assistants, the structure for next season appears to be in some question as of Sunday.
The team was excited to add Phil Housley to work with the team’s talented group of blueliners, which still seems to be the case. McCarthy is one of Laviolette’s “guys.” It’s not quite as clear if the Predators will bring back well-regarded goalie coach Mitch Korn (no contract for next season) and Lane Lambert (has one more year left, also sports remarkable hair).
Laviolette indicated that side will work itself out and it doesn’t sound like that put much of a damper on today’s celebration of offense.
Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.
An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.
After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.
You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.
Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.
Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.
Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.
Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.
Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.
Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:
Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.
“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”
Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”
People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.
Matt Murray was just on another level in Game 3, giving the impression that the Washington Capitals would only beat him with perfect shots.
Jay Beagle got that memo … and maybe added a little element of surprise on top of that.
As you can see from the video above, Beagle beat Murray from an unexpected angle with a pretty resounding goal. It was one of those “Wait, did that just happen?”-type moments.
The Capitals saw their lead go away moments before this post was completed, so it’s now 1-1.