James O'Brien

James Neal
AP

More F-bombs between officials and players (this time: James Neal)

17 Comments

Brad Marchand wasn’t the only guy on the ice during Nashville’s eventual 3-2 win vs. Boston who had a “reputation.”

It seems like Predators winger James Neal is developing the same sort of permanent record among league officials, as he didn’t just draw an embellishment penalty … he apparently also received a couple words you can’t say on TV.

The NESN broadcast’s live mics caught the “exchange.” Listen in with headphones, as these are NSFW and would require “ear muffs” for the young ones at home.

(It’s likely that notorious official Tim Peel may have been supplying the colorful language.)

Neal must be on some sort of watch list, as he also received an embellishment penalty on Dec. 3, and there were many who believed that he didn’t deserve that call …

Not enough zebras vs. players fun? Read all about the conversation(s) between Derick Brassard and Tim Peel here.

Read more about Nashville’s win and Roman Josi‘s big night in this post.

Roman Josi fights and scores as Preds beat Bruins

Roman Josi
AP
3 Comments

Boston Bruins fans who were unaware of Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi are probably well-aware of his presence after Monday night.

The game is still going on, but the Swiss-born blueliner has already made quite an impact.

He started off with the first fight of his NHL career (naturally against antagonist Brad Marchand):

Josi already has two goals – could he join Shea Weber as Predators blueliners scoring hat tricks? – including this impressive effort:

Granted, Josi didn’t produce the best bit of pugilism in this game, as Tyler Randell vs. Eric Nystrom takes the cake.

Update: The Predators managed a 3-2 win.

Ceiling for a ceiling: Next season’s salary cap could be $74.5M

Gary Bettman
AP
1 Comment

In what may be a best-case scenario, the 2016-17 salary cap ceiling could go as high as $74.5 million for the 2016-17 season.

(This season’s mark is $71.4M, so that’s about a $3.1 million increase … potentially.)

That’s the number stemming from Monday’s Board of Governors meetings, via various reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Keep in mind that the final number could change quite a bit.

Assuming that ends up being the ceiling, which teams should be the happiest and which ones may be scrambling for funds?

Note: While the cap was discussed, expansion came up, though it sounds like it was very preliminary.

Latest Penguins drama: Is there a rift between Rutherford, Johnston?

Mike Johnston, Rick Tocchet, Jim Rutherford
AP
28 Comments

Plenty of negative headlines have been dismissed – sometimes even by icon Mario Lemieux – but it’s tough to shake the feeling that the Pittsburgh Penguins are swimming in drama this season.

The latest scuttlebutt comes from GM Jim Rutherford essentially telling DK Pittsburgh Sports’ Josh Yohe that he wants Mike Johnston to play young forward Daniel Sprong … but it seems to go deeper than that. Maybe.

Puck Daddy transcribed some of the juiciest bits (Yohe’s report requires a subscription), including this:

“I have been urging the coach to get him in there,” Rutherford told Yohe. “We need him in there so we can get a better look at him.”

To say the least, people are finding it awfully curious that Rutherford is discussing such differences of opinion with the media. Going further, “Rutherford throws Johnston under the bus” shows up in more than one spot.

As some onlookers note, it’s a stark contrast from the old regime of Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero.

Some are going as far as wondering if this ranks as something of an ultimatum, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Maybe this will be another thing that management denies, much like Lemieux’s alleged falling out with Sidney Crosby and members of the locker room being mad (or not) at each other.

We can’t be certain if there’s fire, but it’s increasingly difficult to ignore so much smoke.

Not as bad as it looked: Coach Q says Daley’s injury is not serious

Much like Kyle Turris‘ injury, it sure looked scary for Trevor Daley when he went down on a freak accident of a collision. Also much like Turris: it seems like Daley’s injury isn’t so bad.

Granted, he might not avoid missing a game like Turris remarkably did on Sunday.

CSNChicago.com reports that Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville considers Daley day-to-day with an upper-body injury not believed to be serious.

The Blackhawks play the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. It would be surprising if Daley can come back that soon … but stranger things have happened.