James Neal

Poile moves to second on all-time GM wins list


Nashville Predators GM David Poile’s unusual longevity came into the spotlight on Dec. 16 when he oversaw his team’s 3-2 shootout victory over Boston. It was 1,171st win as a general manager, which gave him sole claim on second place on the NHL’s all-time list, behind only Rangers GM Glen Sather (1,278 wins).

“It’s one of those things later on when you’re retired and look back on your career, it’s going to be very meaningful because it’s guys like Glen Sather, Harry Sinden and Cliff Fletcher,” Poile told the Tennessean. “It’s a pretty nice accomplishment that certainly reflects longevity for sure, obviously with a lot of good coaches and a lot of good players.”

Poile, who served as the Washington Capitals general manager before coming to Nashville, has managed to turn the Predators into a team that’s able to compete on a budget. From 2003-04 through 2011-12, the Predators made the playoffs in seven out of eight campaigns, although they never advanced beyond the second round.

They also haven’t made the postseason since, which prompted Poile to fire long-time bench boss Barry Trotz and replace him with Peter Laviolette. Poile also attempted to address the team’s offensive shortcomings by bringing Mike Ribeiro, James Neal, and Derek Roy on board. Combined with the emergence of Calder Trophy frontrunner Filip Forsberg and Nashville has been respectable enough offensively to allow its superior defense and goaltending to win games. The Predators entered the break with a 22-9-2 record.

Could Malkin be the next player to be fined for diving?


Nashville Predators forward James Neal was the first player to be fined and publicly named under the league’s new diving rules; however, he certainly won’t be the last.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was penalized twice for embellishment in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, 22 players have been warned for embellishment this season. Under the new rules, the first instance results in a warning subsequent incidents result in fines.

Here’s the breakdown:


Cox shed light on how the process works:

Here’s how the system works: every Monday morning, they all get together, nine voters in all. Some from player ops, some from hockey ops. They look at these videos. There’s nine voters, you need six of them to say ‘yeah that’s diving’ before they issue a warning.

It’s uncertain whether Malkin is one of the 22 who have received a warning, but at the very least, he could be receiving a warning this week.

Predators’ Neal is sick, but at least it’s reportedly not the mumps


Nashville Predators forward James Neal won’t play against the Minnesota Wild tonight because he’s sick, the Tennessean’s Eric Stromgren reports.

Neal didn’t travel with the team to Minnesota, according to Stromgren. As usual, it’s unclear what type of illness is sidelining Neal, so we can’t cancel out the dreaded mumps.

Update: We’ve been through the “it’s not the mumps … oops, it’s the mumps” drill before, but head coach Peter Laviolette told Stromgren that it’s not. Take that for what it’s worth.

Neal, 27, has 11 goals and 19 points in 30 games during his first season with the Predators. Nashville has seemingly avoided many of the headaches other NHL teams have been plagued by sickness-wise, but we’ll see if they go through their own troubles now, too.

Diving fine has players more ‘aware’ of NHL’s crackdown on embellishment


If you haven’t seen the play that made Predators forward James Neal the first NHLer to be fined for diving, here you go:

That was Saturday in San Jose. And according to Sharks coach Todd McLellan, it’s the publicity that the fine has received, more than the $2,000 fine itself, that has players thinking twice about embellishing.

“I do believe the players are more aware of it right now and they don’t want to show up on a list or on TV, or talked about at all. So they’re aware of it,” McLellan said, per the Mercury News.

“Some of it is habit, trying to get it out of the game. Some of it is just being honorable. I think for the most part, the majority of players are aware of it and they don’t want it to affect their game. It’s their game. They really don’t want it to part of their game, so we have to clean it up a little bit.”

Related: To ‘attack’ embellishment, NHL wants to ‘bring alive’ old rule

Preds’ Neal fined for diving


Nashville Predators forward James Neal has been fined $2,000 by the NHL for diving.

He becomes the first player to receive supplemental discipline for embellishment.

The fine stems from an incident which occurred Dec. 13. Neal received a minor penalty for embellishment during the third period of a game in San Jose.

According to the league release, Neal was warned for embellishment on Nov. 13.

Neal was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey
Operations at 3:59 of the first period during NHL Game No. 237 at St. Louis
on Nov. 13. No on-ice penalty was assessed on that play.

Under NHL Rule 64, new this season, players receive a warning for the first offense before being fined for subsequent offenses.

Here is the breakdown: