Tag: Jonathan Blum

Phil Housley USA Hockey

Preds hire Phil Housley as assistant coach

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It didn’t take long for Nashville to find a replacement for Peter Horachek.

On Tuesday, the club announced the hiring of Phil Housley as its new assistant coach.

Housley will replace Horachek — who was fired on Monday — on Barry Trotz’s staff, and work alongside fellow assistant Lane Lambert.

“Phil brings a unique skill set to our coaching staff,” Preds GM David Poile said. “He was one of the most talented offensive defensemen to play in the NHL, and he has worked extensively with young players during his coaching career.

“He will continue to focus his efforts on our young defensemen and assisting on the power play.”

Housley ranks fourth all-time among NHL defensemen in points (1,232) and has achieved great success in his short head coaching career. He led Team USA to gold at the 2013 World Juniors, and served as an assistant to Joe Sacco at the ’13 World Championships, where the Americans captured bronze.

Housley will have plenty of quality young defensive prospects to work with in Nashville.

Chief among them is Ryan Ellis, the 11th overall pick in 2009 that, like Housley, is a diminutive offensive blueliner.

He’ll also get to work with Swiss star Roman Josi — who won tournament MVP at the Worlds — and Jonathan Blum, the club’s first-round selection in 2007.

Report: American-born NHLers on the rise

US Hockey AP

Interesting article from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail on the rise of American-born players in the National Hockey League. In it, Mirtle states the 2010-11 season saw 156 U.S. players play in 25 or more games — up from 101 during the 2002-03 season — which means the NHL has gone from drawing 15 percent of its players from America to a whopping 23 percent.

Why the influx of Americans? Mirtle points to a few reasons.

One, growth and exposure in non-traditional markets (and states) has created a deeper talent pool to draw from.

“Years ago, we talked about the three Ms in terms of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan as the only places where there was hockey played,” said Nashville Predators GM David Poile. “We’ve now drafted a player like Jonathan Blum from California in the first round. There are players in the NHL or Division I colleges from Florida and Texas. I think the exposure of hockey has increased so much more in the last 10 to 15 years.”

(Of note: Nashville has 10 American players this season, second only to Buffalo, with 15.)

Two, the creation of the U.S. National Team Development Program — since its inception in 1997, notable alumni have included Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Ryan Suter and Jimmy Howard. The NTDP might’ve reached its apex at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft when Kane and James van Riemsdyk went first and second overall, the first time in which American players were selected with the top two picks.

“That’s been really a strong point of developing elite players,” Poile said. “It’s probably not a lot different than what we used to hear about the Russian system where they’d bring all the top players from around the country to play on a national team.”

While the NTDP has been huge, Mirtle’s first point about expansion and growth into new markets is perhaps most important. This year alone there are NHLers from non-traditional “hockey states” like Nebraska (Jed Ortmeyer), Florida/Tennessee (Blake Geoffrion) and North Carolina (Jared Boll, Ben Smith).

“Once they see someone else make it from their neighbourhood or that program, kids start believing a little bit more,” Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek (from West Islip, New York) said. “They think, ‘If he can make it, why can’t I?’”

Shea Weber out, Ryan Ellis in for Preds?

Shea Weber

There’s a mystery developing on the Nashville blueline as the Preds prepare to face Detroit this evening.

The mystery begins with The Tennessean’s Josh Cooper reporting Shea Weber left today’s morning skate early. “This rarely happens,” Cooper explained. “In fact, I’ve never seen it happen.”

Weber took a knock in Nashville’s final game before Christmas — a 6-3 loss to the Stars — yet still managed to log over 27 minutes of ice time. It remains unclear what’s plaguing Weber as head coach Barry Trotz didn’t provide an update following practice.

The mystery then continues with the health of Kevin Klein. He’s missed the last two games with the flu and is listed as day-to-day. Klein did skate this morning but — like Weber — his status remains unclear.

So, Nashville could be down two defensive regulars. What’s the solution?

Perhaps it’s giving highly-touted prospect Ryan Ellis his NHL debut.

Cooper notes that while Trotz hasn’t officially announced a call-up from AHL Milwaukee, Nashville’s website and the NHL media site already have Ellis on the Predators roster.

Ellis, 20, was taken 11th overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and went on to become one of the most decorated players in CHL history.

I mean, consider his 2011 trophy haul:

CHL Player of the Year
CHL Defenseman of the Year
Red Tilson Trophy (OHL Outstanding Player)
World Junior Championship All-Star Team
World Junior Championship Best Defenseman

Needless to say, Preds fans are quite excited at the potential of his debut…but there is a flip side. If Ellis does indeed dress, Nashville will have three rookie blueliners — Ellis, Roman Josi and Jonathan Blum — in the lineup against a veteran-laden Detroit squad.

Weekend Watch: Five games you need to see

Braydon Coburn

This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.

Saturday: Tampa Bay at Philadelphia, 7pm ET

This one has all the makings of…

/puts on sunglasses

A trap game.


Saturday: Anaheim at Nashville, 8pm ET

Lingering beef alert! These two have mad history, yo.

There was that time Jarkko Ruutu KOed Martin Erat. Then that time when Bobby Ryan stomped on Jonathan Blum. And we can’t forget about Corey Perry spearing Pekka Rinne, or when Ducks GM Bob Murray said the Preds were “diving left and right” during the playoffs.

Remember the time Ryan Getzlaf fought Mike Fisher? Or when Francois Beauchemin KOed Fisher? That was also that fight between Brian McGrattan and George Parros. Shortly after that, Getzlaf called Jordin Tootoo an embarrassment and then Barry Trotz told Getzlaf to take care of business on the ice, not complain through the newspapers.

Best part? This will be Tootoo’s first game back after getting suspended for running Ryan Miller. Hoo boy.

Saturday: Vancouver at Ottawa, 7pm ET

Lingering beef alert (again)! The last time these two met, Canucks forward Alex Burrows either intentionally or unintentionally opened the bench door as Maxim Lapierre was hitting Jesse Winchester, resulting in this:

Winchester didn’t like it, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch didn’t like it and Burrows pleaded innocence (on the pretense he wouldn’t hurt a fellow Quebec guy, even though Winchester’s from Ontario.)

Saturday: San Jose at St. Louis, 8pm ET

Lingering beef alert (yes, again)! This will mark the first time that David Perron will square off against Joe Thornton since the infamous hit that cost Perron 97 games with a concussion:

The two appeared to have buried the hatchet when Thornton texted Perron prior to the Blues LW making his season debut against Chicago on Dec. 3, but maybe another St. Louis player takes a run at Thornton. Maybe that guy is the diminutive Scott Nichol, who gamely fought Thornton back in 2008.

Sunday: Florida at New York Rangers, 7pm ET

Yeah yeah, lingering beef alert. The last time these two played, Rangers forward Andre Deveaux received a 10-minute match penalty for deliberate injury after elbowing Tomas Fleischmann in the head:

Deveaux received a three-game suspension for the hit, one that drew the ire of Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.

“The refs certainly got the right call calling a match penalty,” Dineed said. “That’s the kind of thing, again at the end of the year, you put together tapes of what’s really wrong with the game, that hit would be one of them.”

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

Edmonton columnist revisits Pronger trade, confirms Oilers made out well

Pronger Edmonton

The Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones — a recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee — wrote an interesting piece revisiting Edmonton’s 2006 Chris Pronger-to-Anaheim deal.

Then-Oilers GM Kevin Lowe flipped Pronger to the Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Anaheim’s first-round pick in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and a second-round pick in 2008.

Here’s how it all panned out:

Smid: “This year, the defenseman the Oilers believed would develop into a major-minutes, total-pro top-four defenseman who came out of that deal,” Jones writres. “Ladislav Smid appears to have finally become.”

Lupul: Edmonton traded Lupul to Philly (with Jason Smith) for Joni Pitkanen, Geoff Sanderson and a 2008 third-round pick. Sanderson retired, the third-round pick was Cameron Abney and Pitkanen was traded for Erik Cole. Cole was turned into Patrick O’Sullivan (and a second round pick). O’Sullivan was turned into Jim Vandermeer and the second-round pick was turned into Ales Kotalik, neither of whom are with the team.

In short, Lupul became Abney.

2007 first-round pick: Traded (along with a second-round pick) to the Coyotes for their 21st overall selection, where the Oilers took Riley Nash. Nash was later traded to Carolina for Martin Marincin.

2008 Conditional pick: Because the Ducks made and won the Cup Final in 2007, the pick became a first rounder. Edmonton used it to select Jordan Eberle 22nd overall.

2008 second-round pick: Traded to the Isles for Allan Rourke and a third-round pick that originally belonged to the Oilers. That third round pick allowed Edmonton to offer-sheet Dustin Penner (Oilers had to compensate Anaheim with first-, second- and third-round picks, all of which had to be originals.)

Penner was then dealt for Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick (Oscar Klefbom) and a third-rounder in 2012 than will become a second-rounder if LA makes the playoffs.

So what does it all mean in the end?

“Kevin Lowe traded Chris Pronger for Jordan Eberle, Ladislav Smid, Colten Teubert, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, Cameron Abney and a player to be determined,” Jones writes. “Helluva deal.”

In retrospect, maybe. But one wonders if Edmonton isn’t kicking itself for the questionable Nash selection (taken ahead of Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Blum and David Perron) and getting so little out of Lupul.