Author: Joe Yerdon

Alexander Semin

Report: Semin returning to U.S. to rehab surgically repaired wrist


Alexander Semin’s recovery from offseason wrist surgery is moving along slowly.

According to Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo! Sports, Semin has not recovered fully from surgery and will be returning to the United States to complete his rehab. He had the operation done after the season ended.

The Hurricanes’ hope when he had his wrist repaired was that he’d be ready for training camp. It’s unknown if the slow recovery will end up causing him to miss any time when camp opens in mid-September.

Last season, Semin had 22 goals and 42 points in 65 games and was added to Russia’s Olympic team after originally not being selected. He’s entering the second season of a five-year, $35 million deal he signed with the Hurricanes.

Panthers owner ‘didn’t need to see anyone else’ after interviewing Gallant

Gerard Gallant Named Florida Panthers New Head Coach

When Gerard Gallant landed the head coaching job with the Florida Panthers, he left a major impression on the team’s owner.

Panthers Vice Chairman Douglas Cifu spoke about the process with Jameson Olive of Fox Sports Florida and said the former Columbus Blue Jackets coach hit a home run in his interview with owner Vincent Viola.

“We asked Dale to screen a dozen or so candidates and send up to Virtu in New York the top 5-6 finalist,” Cifu said. “Gerard was the first candidate to come for a visit. He spent 30 minutes with Vinnie and Vinnie said, ‘He’s the guy, don’t need to see anyone else.'”

If you don’t recall, the Panthers had a coaching wish-list that included five or six other men. Having Gallant hit it out of the park right away says a lot about him. Now the team hopes he can have as much of an instant impact on the players as he did on the owners.

Cifu said he was equally impressed by Gallant who left his position as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens to join the Panthers. He was last a NHL head coach in 2006-07 with the Jackets.

Gallant had spent three seasons as the coach of the St. John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major-Junior Hockey League from 2009-2012 where he coached Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau. The young star is excited about having the coach that led him to two Memorial Cups with him in Sunrise.

Fowler: Game 7 losses mean Ducks ‘know what it takes’ to win now

Cam Fowler

Things haven’t been great for the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7s the past couple seasons.

In 2013, they lost in the first round to the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings in seven games. This past season saw them lose in seven to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings, again in seven games.

While you might think Game 7 losses might be ruinous to a team, defenseman Cam Fowler thinks otherwise as he said in an interview on the Ducks’ website.

“The biggest thing was experiencing something like that,” Fowler said. “We had a pretty young team, aside from guys like Teemu [Selanne] and Saku [Koivu] – guys who had been in situations like that. For the rest of us, that was our first Game 7 besides when we lost to Detroit the season prior.

“Just being in that situation, a game away from the Conference Finals, we now have that experience as a team. We know what it takes. That was the main difference. LA had a more experienced group and they knew what that situation was like. That’s why you saw the result you saw. We have that to lean back on. If we get that opportunity again, we’ll know how to approach it.”

The possibility of that happening again is strong in the Western Conference, especially in the Pacific Division. With the Ducks, Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, and Arizona Coyotes it’s going to be a brutal run to the postseason.

Should the Ducks find themselves in another Game 7, having Ryan Kesler on the roster may help give them an edge and not just to match up against the other beastly centers in the West.

Fanspeak: Weber voted greatest Predator in franchise history

Shea Weber

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Nashville Predators

1. Shea Weber — 555 votes

2. Pekka Rinne — 282 votes

3. David Legwand — 103 votes

It’s hard to argue Shea Weber winning the vote as the greatest Predators player in team history.

He doesn’t (currently) hold the team record for most games played, goals, or points but his role in establishing the defensive might of the Preds has been huge. Even still, his 131 goals and 347 points are good for third all-time in Predators history behind Legwand and Martin Erat.

Why yes, the Predators have only been around for 15 seasons – why do you bring that up?

Weber’s ferocious physical play and even more fearful slapshot have earned him league-wide fame. Players who have gone down to block his shots on the power play become virtual heroes for trying to stop a shot that’s been registered at over 100 miles per-hour on the reg.

It’s crazy to think Weber almost wasn’t a Predator. The infamous 14-year, $110 million monster offer sheet the Philadelphia Flyers signed him to in 2012 as a restricted free agent pushed Nashville GM David Poile to make the financially difficult decision to match it. Player-wise, it was a no-brainer to retain the guy they made captain of the team and his consistent Norris Trophy-level play has proved that.

While Weber proves to be his ever-consistent self, it’s up to Poile and now Peter Laviolette to make it all pay off and bring Nashville a Stanley Cup. At the very least, they don’t have to sweat the blue line.

Looking to make the leap: Filip Forsberg

Filip Forsberg
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If there’s one player in the Nashville Predators organization who might benefit immediately from Peter Laviolette coaching the team, it’s forward Filip Forsberg.

At 19 years old, Forsberg is heading into technically his third pro season. Two seasons ago, he played five games for the Predators after they acquired him in a trade with the Washington Capitals. Last season, he spent the bulk of his time in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals. There he played 47 games and had 15 goals with 34 assists.

While he played in 13 games with the Predators last season scoring one goal with five points, he averaged just over 11 minutes of ice time per game. Injuries helped slow him down a bit, but we didn’t really seen what Forsberg could do while under Barry Trotz, but Laviolette could provide the change he needs.

Forsberg will have the opportunity to show what made the Caps pick him 11th overall in the 2012 Draft, but it won’t be easy. Competition in Predators training camp at center should be fierce with a mix of veterans and youth.

The Preds added Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro, and Derek Roy in free agency and made the middle of the ice a bit crowded in Music City. Throw in fellow Swede Calle Jarnkrok, who they acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in the David Legwand trade, and the competition just amongst the new guys will be stiff. Never mind Matt Cullen, Paul Gaustad, and eventually Mike Fisher (out 4-6 months with a torn Achilles) who are already established there.

Having more than a few centers wasn’t an issue for Laviolette in Philadelphia, so it’s possible Forsberg might find a way to push his way onto the big club’s roster on the wing.  That said, Forsberg is the youngest player out of the group. Jarnkrok is 22 while the trio of Jokinen, Ribeiro, and Roy have loads of NHL experience.

With how things are set up, it seems like Forsberg is almost destined to return to Milwaukee and continue his development there. That puts it on him to show what he can do in September and prove potential can win out over age and experience.