Mike Fisher

Weber says he should be ready for Preds’ training camp


Perhaps the Nashville Predators face a few “What ifs?” considering the fact that Shea Weber got injured during their series against the Chicago Blackhawks, yet it doesn’t sound like they’ll need to play without him to start the 2015-16 season.

Weber told the Tennessean that his rehab from a knee injury (and eventual surgery) is going smoothly.

In fact, it sounds like the 29-year-old is on track to participate in Predators training camp.

“Just going to obviously try to find out from the doctor and see what he thinks, and if it’s ready to go, then we’ll go when he says it is,” Weber said. “I think there’s no question that I should be ready for training camp.”

That’s promising for Nashville.

The question is: how many players from the 2014-15 team will join him?

Predators GM David Poile more or less admitted that Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli will not be back. Unrestricted free agents Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher are big considerations, while RFAs such as Colin Wilson and Craig Smith should get raises. The team has up-and-comers alongside Weber on defense and ample space to make improvements.

In other words, Weber should have help next season, but we’ll see how much he receives. Either way, a fully healthy Weber would obviously make a huge difference for Nashville.

‘I want to be close to home,’ says Preds forward, Minnesota native and pending UFA Cullen


After 17 years and seven different cities, Nashville Predators veteran Matt Cullen is thinking about home.

“I’m going to spend as much time as I can and try to evaluate what I want to do,” Cullen, a Minnesota native and pending UFA, told the Dickinson Press. “I know already in my head that there’s a few places, if I do decide to play, I’d consider going to.

“I want to be close to home. My family will be home (Moorhead, MN) regardless next year.”

Cullen, who goes unrestricted on July 1 and turns 39 in November, just wrapped a two-year, $7 million deal with the Preds. His first year was fairly productive — 10 goals and 39 points in 77 games — and while he struggled early this season, Cullen eventually found his niche as a “versatility guy,” flipping between the middle and wing, jumping up into the No. 2 center spot when Mike Fisher went down to injury during the playoffs.

As for playing close to home, well, Minnesota is the obvious answer… but Cullen’s already done a tour with the Wild, having played there from 2010-13. Winnipeg is also relatively close to home, and it’s worth pointing out that Cullen played for Jets head coach Paul Maurice during his time with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Retirement could also be an option but, according to agent Pat Morris, Cullen still has plenty to give.

“I know that he should [keep playing],” Morris said, per The Tennessean. “He can still skate and still make plays, and he’s still a very good teammate.”


Poile says ‘best place’ for Fisher is ‘right here in Nashville’


Mike Fisher has completed his two-year, $8.4 million contract and consequently has the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent in a relatively thin market. It might never get that far though as Predators GM David Poile has made his feelings on the matter clear.

“Mike Fisher, we would love to have him back,” Poile told the Tennessean. “He represents so much to our team, both on and off the ice. … He’s a real leader. I truly feel that the best place for Mike is here in Nashville. As long as I’m the manager, he can play as long as he wants.”

It looks like Fisher and Poile might see eye-to-eye as the 34-year-old center is optimistic about the Predators’ future. His agent, Todd Reynolds, also suggested that the Predators and Fisher aren’t far apart when it comes to the terms of his potential extension.

“I love, obviously, this city and being here, part of this group,” Fisher said. “It’s something that will have to be worked out here in the next little bit, but I’m pretty confident that something will get done and that I’ll be back.”

Fisher had 19 goals and 39 points in 59 games in 2014-15. He also won 52.3% of his faceoffs and had a 53.1% Fenwick For in 5-on-5 situations, which is slightly better than what Nashville did when he wasn’t on the ice.

Fisher, Ribeiro express desire to remain with Preds


With as many as 12 contracts expiring in July, Nashville Predators GM David Poile has a number of decisions to make this summer.

Among those set to become unrestricted free agents are forwards Mike Fisher and Mike Ribeiro.

According to reports in February, contract talks with both players have already begun.

Both players expressed their desire to remain with the Preds organization during the club’s final media availability on Monday.

Fisher, who has spent parts of five seasons in Nashville, had 19 goals and 20 assists in 59 games this season. A ruptured Achillies forced Fisher to miss the start of the season.

The 34-year-old will see his two-year, $8.4 million contract come to an end this summer.

“I’m pretty sure something will get done,” said Fisher.

After signing Ribeiro to a one-year, $1.05 million deal in the summer Poile said it was “really his last chance”.

The 35-year-old made the most of the opportunity scoring 15 goals and 62 points in 82 games – his highest point total in three seasons.

“I’d love to be back with the Predators next season,” Ribeiro said, adding, “I’ll probably wait a week” before working on an extension.

In addition to Fisher and Ribeiro, Poile will have to work on deals with the likes of Cody Franson and Colin Wilson.

Seabrook does it again: Blackhawks win in triple OT, take 3-1 series edge vs. Preds


In the wee hours of the night, the Chicago Blackhawks took a 3-1 series lead by beating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in triple OT.

If that outcome feels familiar for a Blackhawks team that has won many of these battles, it will only seem that much more like deja vu when you consider the fact that Brent Seabrook scored the overtime-clincher.


It was a great showcase between $7 million goalie Pekka Rinne and out-of-nowhere backup Scott Darling. Those performances really make a great argument for the wild unpredictability of the postseason: goalies matter, yet you don’t always know who will make the difference.

Seabrook ended up making the ultimate difference with the winning goal, joining the likes of Petr Nedved and Keith Primeau as players who have scored huge tallies when everyone has dead legs.

At this point, it’s all about waiting for different folk tale-like stories about weight loss and intermission pizza to trickle in.

Rinne really stood on his head at times, with this save maybe being the best highlight of the game beyond the clincher:

Ultimately, that last shot beat him, which is what most people will remember as the specifics fade.

Classic game or not, the two teams must face the reality of the aftermath. Despite pushing Chicago to double-OT in Game 1 and triple-OT in Game 4, Nashville now heads home down 3-1 in this series. As courageous as this Predators team has been with Mike Fisher and especially Shea Weber out of the lineup, most are counting them out after this loss.

The Predators have pushed the Blackhawks a lot more than the 3-1 series deficit may indicate, but it will take a lot of heart to push through this crushing loss.

Chicago, meanwhile, can get a much-needed breather if they wrap this one up in five games. If the previous four contests are any indication, it won’t be easy, though.