Subban’s style is a perfect fit for Laviolette’s attacking system


This is part of Nashville Predators day at PHT…

Maybe Michel Therrien and P.K. Subban got along well as people – despite speculation otherwise – but they sure seemed to be of two very different hockey mindsets.

You never know how things will play out in reality, but on paper, Subban and Peter Laviolette seem like an almost impossibly good match.

Consider how Laviolette explained his mindset back when he was hired in 2014:

“Everywhere I’ve been, I think guys want to work, generally speaking,” Laviolette said, as the Tennessean reported. “They want to work, they want to play hard. Given the choice, they would rather attack.”

GM David Poile noted his aggressive, offense-minded strategies.

When the Predators traded Shea Weber for Subban, Laviolette said all the right things about each blueliner, yet he also painted a picture to the Canadian Press of P.K. seamlessly fitting into his attacking system.

“I think they’re both elite defencemen,” Laviolette said. “P.K., I think when people might talk about him it would be his skating, the fact that he transport the puck himself, the fact that he can distribute the puck, he’s constantly in motion.”

Boy, “constantly in motion” sure seems like the right mindset for someone playing in an aggressive, attacking system, doesn’t it?

Much like with Erik Karlsson, Subban is the type of defenseman who makes a ton of plays, with a small percentage of those moments going the other way in the form of mistakes.

Many onlookers – and coaches – fixate on the gaffes while arguably losing sight of the bigger picture for a player like Subban. That certainly seemed to be the case during Therrien’s moments of exasperation.

On the other hand, Laviolette generally exhibits quite a bit of patience for the give-and-take that comes with pushing the envelope.

(His patience is a little thinner for passive systems like, say, the 1-3-1 trap.)

Subban currently boasts three straight 50+ point seasons, with his 60th from 2014-15 representing his career-high. It’s conceivable that he could accomplish that much or even more in Laviolette’s system, which should fit him like a glove.

And give opponents fits.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.