Barry Trotz will try to steer the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup championship, but he hasn’t turned a blind eye to the Nashville Predators in the process. He continued to follow the team he coached for 15 years after they fired him in May and naturally has opinions on the moves they’ve made — he’s just not sharing them.
What he is willing to make clear though is that the Predators are still important to him even as he makes a point to keep some distance between him and the team’s personnel.
“(Predators GM David Poile) and the people who are there will always be friends. But I think there needs to be some separation right now so everybody can come in there and be comfortable,” Trotz told the Tennessean. “I’ll be cheering like crazy for them because I want them to be successful.”
New Predators head coach Peter Laviolette will be tasked with bolstering the team’s offense after they averaged 2.61 goals per game in 2013-14. To help him do that, Poile acquired James Neal and signed Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, and Olli Jokinen. Meanwhile, Trotz will try to prove that he’s more than just a defensive-minded coach and he’s capable of getting the most out of Alex Ovechkin.
With their season on the line on Friday night the Philadelphia Flyers are making a change in goal.
Michal Neuvirth, who has played just 59 minutes of NHL hockey since Feb. 18, will get the Game 5 start in goal when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Neuvirth replaced Brian Elliott in Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss on Wednesday night after Elliott gave up three goals on 17 shots, the second time he was benched in the first four games. The Flyers have already used three goalies in this series with Elliott, Neuvirth, and Petr Mrazek all getting playing time. None of them have played well.
Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers, William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights, and Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres have been named as the three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced on Friday. The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.
The Case for Aleksander Barkov: The Panthers center certainly has the “high standard of playing ability” part down with a season that saw him lead the team with 78 points and finish tied for third in goals with 27. Barkov played the fifth-most minutes (1,743:32) among NHL forwards and only picked up seven minor penalties. This is the second time he’s been named a finalist in the last three seasons.
The Case for William Karlsson: Karlsson had a monster of a season with 43 goals and 78 points during the Golden Knights’ historic first year. In playing 1,534:47, the 25-year-old forward racked up only 12 PIMs. Should Karlsson win, he would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural season since Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers won the Byng and Hart Trophy and in 1979-80.
The Case for Ryan O'Reilly: O’Reilly missed one game this season and logged 1,686:10 of ice time for the Sabres. He recorded only one penalty all season, way back on Oct. 24 versus Detroit, a slashing call. His one penalty is the fewest among NHL players who suited up for at least 41 games this season. He’s a previous winner having taken home the trophy in 2014 while a member of the Colorado Avalanche.