Nashville wants to host one of the NHL’s marquee events, and has submitted a bid to get it.
According to The Tennessean, the Preds have thrown their hat the ring to host the NHL’s All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Reports of the bids broke following a recent budget hearing for the city’s Metro Sports Authority.
Sean Henry, chief operating officer of the arena and its main tenant, the Nashville Predators, said Thursday that the bid was submitted this week.
“We’re pretty optimistic that we’re going to have one in the very near future,” Henry said during a budget hearing for the Metro Sports Authority. “We should be hearing some positive news, I think, in the next few weeks.”
“That is super to hear,” said Councilman Charlie Tygard, who had asked Henry about the possibility.
In a phone interview today, Henry said the recent openings of the Music City Center and the Omni Hotel mean “we have the facilities to do it. And I feel pretty good, pretty confident.”
In an email, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Tennessean he couldn’t comment on individual bid proposals but did say the league would hopefully “be in a position to make an announcement on the 2016 All-Star Game” by July 1.
The All-Star Game hasn’t been played since 2012 — when Ottawa hosted — due to the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The 2015 edition will be held in Columbus, and it’s fair to speculate that Nashville would be in line to host such an event. The organization has never held an All-Star Game and only hosted one draft, back in 2003.
We’ve gotten pretty good at identifying vulnerable hockey teams these past few years as the analytics movement has taken hold. The 2013 Toronto Maple Leafs were due for a regression, and regressed. Ditto for the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche and 2014-15 Calgary Flames.
Sometimes, teams can survive an entire season while bucking the odds. Which is why the Ottawa Senators will be interesting to watch the rest of the way in 2016-17.
Under new coach Guy Boucher, the Sens are an impressive 15-9-2, good for second place in the Atlantic Division.
But the Sens also have many of the statistical markings of a vulnerable team:
— A score-adjusted Corsi that ranks 27th out of 30
— A 9-0-2 record in one-goal games
— A goal-differential of minus-3
After last night’s 8-5 loss in Pittsburgh, the Sens head to California with just one win in their last four, and without their starting goalie, Craig Anderson, who’s taken another leave to be with his wife.
Anderson has been brilliant this season, going 12-6-1 with a .924 save percentage. He’s been a huge key to their success, twice earning the NHL’s first-star-of-the-week honors.
The starting duties will now fall temporarily on Mike Condon, who’s gone 3-1-1 with a stellar .943 save percentage since coming over from Pittsburgh. The Sens’ No. 3 goalie, Andrew Hammond, has been recalled for the road trip, which starts Wednesday in San Jose, continues Saturday in Los Angeles, and wraps up Sunday in Anaheim.
“It’s a good test to see where our team is at,” forward Derick Brassard told reporters prior to last night’s defeat. “We’re going to play four of the best teams in the league. It’s good for the team to get together and battle through this.”
Remember those Dougie-Hamilton-to-Toronto trade rumors Brian Burke shot down last week? Well, in case you don’t, a refresher:
The Leafs, reportedly in the market for a defenseman, were reportedly willing to part with a winger — a position Calgary is looking to upgrade — which led many to speculate on a Hamilton-for-William Nylander swap.
Or, a Hamiton-for-James van Riemsdyk deal.
This week, JVR responded to the banter.
“You don’t really worry about it too much,” he said, per the Toronto Sun. “(Blocking it out) comes from experience.
“It tends to eat at you a little bit more (when you’re younger), but now you realize it is completely out of your control and it does not really faze you as much.”
Van Riemsdyk, who leads the Leafs with 11 goals and 20 points through 24 games this year, is fairly tantalizing as far as potential additions go. He’s on a good contract (two years left at $4.25 million per) and has been a pretty consistent scorer for the Leafs, which included a career-high 30 goals in ’13-14.
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, he’s got solid size and has long been viewed as one of the better power forwards going.
This, of course, is the exact reason why Toronto would want to keep van Riemsdyk. It’s important to remember that he only turned 27 in May, and could easily be a part of the core group of Nylander, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri et al.
The New York Rangers may be winning, but their head coach, Alain Vigneault, knows they need to be better.
Hmmm…this feels familiar for some reason.
Oh right, that’s because it was the same story last season, when the Rangers got off to a great start before tailing off then fizzling out in the playoffs.
The Rangers head into tonight’s game in Brooklyn with a record of 17-8-1. That’s the good news.
Here’s the bad — in five of their last six games, they’ve been held to 25 shots or fewer. On the season, their score-adjusted Corsi has fallen to 26th in the league.
“We’re very aware and very conscious of the areas we need to be better at,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post. “We’re playing a team that’s playing real solid hockey.”
Indeed, the Islanders are 3-0-1 in their last four, including wins over Pittsburgh and Washington.
To be fair to the Rangers, they’ve been without Mika Zibanejad for the past seven games, and he was a big part of their early success. Tonight, they’ll also be without Michael Grabner, who’s gone back to Austria for his grandmother’s funeral.
Read more: The new-look Rangers are dangerous on every line
But the Rangers aren’t looking to make excuses. They’re looking instead to get back on track.
“It’s definitely a five-man thing for us and communication and just getting on the same page again,” forward Jimmy Vesey said, per the Daily News. “It’s definitely something we need to get back to, and I think that’s kind of like the recipe for being a good team down the line and in the playoffs.”
Kari Ramo took another step in his return to the NHL on Tuesday, signing a PTO with the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Marlies.
The deal, first reported by TSN, comes one day after Toronto placed backup netminder Jhonas Enroth on waivers.
“Obviously, wasn’t going good enough,” head coach Mike Babcock said of the decision to waive Enroth, per TSN. “We’re just in a situation where we’re making a change.”
(Enroth cleared today, FYI.)
As for Ramo, he’s an interesting figure. The 30-year-old suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Calgary this past February and, at the time of the injury, led all Flames netminders in starts, with 33.
Prior to that, he’d rebounded from a poor start to the year — which included Calgary waiving him — and, in January, then-head coach Bob Hartley called Ramo “probably one of the hottest goalies in the league.”
So it’s easy to see why Toronto would be interested.
Of course, Ramo is coming off a major knee injury and has basically been shelved for 10 months. He’s been practicing with the Leafs, but this ATO with the Marlies will give him a chance to test the knee in a game situation, and knock off some of the rust that’s surely accumulated.
Ramo is believed to be close to receiving medical clearance for a return to action.