Nashville Predators

Will Nashville ‘go for it’ at trade deadline?


The NHL-leading Nashville Predators — now 4-2-2 since losing Pekka Rinne to injury — don’t seem primed for the plateau some expected, and are firmly in the conversation for Stanley Cup contention.

Which begs the question — will history repeat itself?

From ESPN:

When we spoke with Nashville Predators general manager David Poile last month, he said a top-six forward would be his priority ahead of the March 2 trade deadline.

Just what exactly he will do remains to be seen, but word is the veteran Nashville hockey man is calling around quite a bit.

“David, I think, wants to go for it, that’s the sense I get,” one Eastern Conference team executive told Tuesday.

 Not overly surprising to hear.

During the 2011-12 campaign, Nashville went into the Feb. 27 trade deadline as a top-four team in the Western Conference, with a 36-19-7 record and 79 points. Accordingly, Poile made a bounty of moves to put the Preds over the top: Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn were acquired from Montreal, Paul Gaustad was brought in from Buffalo and Alexander Radulov was shipped over from the KHL.

“We’ve put ourselves in a real good position here,” Poile said after dust settled, per the Nashville City Paper. “[The moves] have certainly given us a chance to play with the big boys this year. We’re done. I’d say we’re real happy. We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.

“Each one of these players has a role and can add to what I think is already a good team. I think we’ve done a lot. We’ve done as much, if not more, than anybody else.”

Nashville, of course, did not end up playing with the big boys. They flamed out in the second round of the playoffs with a disappointing five-game loss to the Coyotes — a series highlighted (or, lowlighted) by Kostitsyn and Radulov getting suspended for breaking team curfew.

In the end, Poile’s aggression at the deadline backfired. Only Gaustad remains with the team and the Preds flatlined quickly thereafter, missing the next two postseasons.

Which brings us back to the present. Poile’s past moves could be used as a learning lesson… or, a foreshadow of what’s to come. It’s hard to suggest he’ll suddenly get gun-shy, because he’s been traditionally aggressive at the trade deadline well beyond 2012; in ’11, he got Mike Fisher out of Ottawa and, during the 2006-07 season, kicked off the frenzy 12 days early by prying Peter Forsberg out of Philadelphia.

What does the league’s third longest-tenured GM have in store this time around?

Video: Preds’ Hutton makes game-saving spinning save, Leafs lose 10th straight


The Buffalo Sabres ended their 14-game losing streak tonight, but Toronto couldn’t manage to end its lengthy drought. They suffered a 4-3 loss to Nashville after Toronto surrendered back-to-back goals midway through the third period.

Still, to the Leafs’ credit — and Toronto needs whatever it can get right now — they didn’t give up after blowing the lead. Toronto continued to press late into the contest and if it wasn’t for Predators goaltender Carter Hutton’s heroics below, this might have ended differently:

Toronto has now lost 10 straight, bringing its record down to 22-26-4 this season, which is the sixth worst in the NHL. That’s quite a descent for a team that had playoff aspirations not that long ago. Over the Maple Leafs slide, their offense has been largely nonexistent, so the fact that they scored three goals tonight is by itself a deviation from the recent norm.

The Maple Leafs will try to finally end their skid on Friday against New Jersey.

PHT Morning Skate: Lundqvist shakes it off


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

James Neal faced the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Nashville Predators won 4-0 on Sunday, so this seems like a good time to take another look back at that big trade. (Puck Daddy)

Interesting angle here: the five best “unsung” backups to Martin Brodeur. Feel free to play Helmet while reading this. (The Hockey News)

Johnny Gaudreau: a “big man trapped in a small man’s body.” (NHL Numbers)

A look back at one of hockey’s original bad boys. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

It looks like Henrik Lundqvist is OK. Does this mean he can play tonight?

Watch NHL players’ Super Bowl picks with the benefit of hindsight. Did anyone predict a “crippling goal-line interception that a team would never live down?”

Hutton, Predators shutout Penguins


Roman Josi had a goal and an assist and Carter Hutton made 21 saves as the Nashville Predators blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 Sunday afternoon.

With the win, the Predators avoided a third straight loss.

The game marked the return of James Neal to Pittsburgh. The 26-year-old was held off the score sheet while playing 15:09 in the win.

Gabriel Bourque, Eric Nystrom and Mike Fisher had the other goals for Nashville, who moves into a tie with the Anaheim Ducks for top spot in the Western Conference. The Preds have a game in hand on the Ducks.

“It was a real good first and a real good third,” said Predators coach Peter Laviolette. “We lost a little bit with the penalties in the second. We went to the box too many times. We need to be a little more disciplined than that. When that happens, it takes the roll out of the bench.

“In the second, the PK did a real nice job, I thought.”

Rookie Filip Forsberg had two assists in the win.

The Penguins shutout the Predators 3-0 in the only other meeting between the two clubs this season on Oct. 25.

“I think the start obviously hurt us,” said Sidney Crosby. “It wasn’t a terrible start. We made some mistakes that end up in the back of our net and then we’re playing uphill from there, so we still had a lot of time to get back into the game, but we have to find a way to score goals.”

Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves in the loss.

Defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who was recalled Saturday, is expected to play during the Penguins upcoming three-game western Canadian road trip, which begins Wednesday in Edmonton.

Pens updates: Ehrhoff undergoing testing, Malkin targets Wednesday


As they gear up for this afternoon’s game against the Nashville Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins have almost as much going on when it comes to injury updates. Let’s go one-by-one, then:

A lot to soak in, huh?

To the Penguins’ credit, they’re still generating a nice amount of standings points with all of these injuries. The Predators (and returning forward James Neal) should present plenty of competition today, though.