Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators came into 2016-17 looking to jump a level or more in the NHL pecking order. Each team’s seen its share of stumbles.
On Tuesday, there was no mistaking who was having the better night, though. That designation goes to the Maple Leafs and James van Riemsdyk‘s line in particular during a 6-2 smashing of the Predators.
JVR generated the second hat trick of his NHL career – and the first he’s ever generated with the Maple Leafs – and also grabbed an assist in a masterful performance. Those four points also constitute a career-high for van Riemsdyk. (You can see his hat trick in the video above this post’s headline.)
Honestly, the most impressive moment may have come from his linemate, as Mitch Marner scored one of his three points (1G, 2A) via this tally:
The Predators came into Tuesday’s game having won three in a row by a combined score of 11-2. They had also generated at least one standings point (4-0-2) in every November game until running into a brick wall against the Maple Leafs.
Even with Pekka Rinne out with a lower-body injury, there must be a “one step forward, two steps back” feeling for the Predators.
Then again, the Maple Leafs have likely felt that way as well early in 2016-17, so perhaps the silver lining of this lopsided loss is that Nashville should keep at it just like Toronto is doing.
Ott’s huge hit prompted a fight; should it earn a suspension?
Hey, the NHL might take its time with policing different forms of hits, but the league’s always interested in tweaking what happens after regulation.
From going to 3-on-3 overtime to eliminating the scourge that was the spin-o-rama, those changes seem to catch the eyes of GMs and others. So, it’s not too surprising that the league seems to be at an impasse when it comes to the controversial blindside hit Nazem Kadri delivered, yet they might change the “skills competition” thanks to the latest GM meetings.
“This isn’t a meeting where you make fundamental changes,” Gary Bettman said, via NHL.com. “It’s really more of an update.”
So while TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes that the “hawks and doves” are split on what to do with blindside hits, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong’s shootout tweak might be more likely to gain some traction.
Specifically, Armstrong looks to take a cue from the Sochi Olympics, when T.J. Oshie put on quite the display by taking shootout attempt after shootout attempt for the U.S. against Russia.
Armstrong’s tweak would allow teams to keep trotting out the same shooter Oshie-style after the first three shooters for each team.
Want more regarding those discussions? NHL.com’s Dan Rosen runs it down in this video.