Matt Carle

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Preds unconditionally waive Carle (Update: He’s announced his retirement)

Matt Carle‘s time as a Predator was brief, and soon it will be over.

On Friday, Nashville placed Carle on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract, per The Tennessean. The move comes after the Preds waived Carle earlier this week, and he went unclaimed.

The 32-year-old defenseman was signed this summer after getting bought out by the Lightning. Inked to a low-risk deal (one year, $700,000), the hope was that Carle could replicate some of the form shown earlier in his career — a two-time 40-point scorer, Carle was a good offensive defenseman in his prime (which is how he landed a six-year, $33 million deal from the Bolts in the first place).

But things didn’t work out in Nashville. Carle appeared in just six games, averaging a shade over 13 minutes per, and hasn’t been in the lineup since Oct. 26.

Update: Turns out Carle is hanging up his skates, having announced his retirement via the Preds

“It has been an honor to be a player in the National Hockey League and play for four great organizations over the past 12 seasons,” Carle said. “At this time, I have decided to retire as a National Hockey League player. I want to thank the San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators for the opportunity to play for each organization. I would also like to thank all the fans that I have met throughout my career for the support that you have given me.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my family for all the sacrifices they have made on behalf of my career. My Parents, brothers, and wife Clancey allowed me to focus on the pursuit of playing the best sport in the world, in the best League in the world and I will always be grateful.”

 

Preds make moves, waive Carle and Bass

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Nashville exposed a pair of veteran skaters to waivers on Wednesday, putting forward Cody Bass and d-man Matt Carle on the wire.

Bass, 29, has been with the Preds organization for a while and signed a two-year, two-way extension with the club in July. Through nine games this year, he has no points and 19 PIM, while averaging just 6:46 TOI in what’s largely been a fourth-line checking role.

Carle, 32, was signed this summer after getting bought out by the Lightning. Inked to a low-risk deal (one year, $700,000), the hope was that Carle could replicate some of the form shown earlier in his career — a two-time 40-point scorer, Carle was a good offensive defenseman in his prime (which is how he landed a six-year, $33 million deal from the Bolts in the first place).

Like Bass, Carle had a minimal impact in Nashville this season. He appeared in just six games, averaging a shade over 13 minutes per, and hasn’t been in the lineup since Oct. 26.

Should both guys clear, it’s assumed they’ll be assigned to Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

Predators get much-needed win against Avs

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DENVER (AP) Ever so steadily, Nashville’s goal scorers are getting on track. The same applies to goaltender Pekka Rinne.

See, nothing to worry about.

Craig Smith scored twice, Rinne stopped 28 shots and the struggling Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Ryan Johansen and Matt Irwin each scored his first goal of the season, while Roman Josi added an insurance goal late for the Predators, who won on the road for the first time.

Now, if only Filip Forsberg could rediscover his scoring touch. He’s still stuck on zero goals – he had 33 last season – but is showing signs of breaking out of his funk with two more assists.

“It doesn’t matter who is (scoring) – it feels good to contribute,” Forsberg said. “We want to keep building.”

The mood in the Avalanche locker room was sour after such a distressing loss. The team even called an impromptu meeting.

“To a man we have to be honest and look at ourselves in the mirror and reflect on the way we come to work every day,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “I’m not going to go into details about the meeting. But we’re going to come to the rink tomorrow with a good attitude. Tonight, it’s got be said: This was embarrassing.”

Staked to a two-goal lead heading into the third period, Rinne easily made it hold up as he improved to 16-7-2 in his career against the Avalanche.

Jarome Iginla scored NHL goal No. 613. He’s 12 behind Colorado Hall-of-Famer-turned-GM Joe Sakic for 15th place on the all-time scoring list.

Landeskog attempted to fire up his team 68 seconds into the third period by dropping the gloves and fighting with Austin Watson. The two traded punches before falling to the ice. Both received five-minute penalties for fighting.

The Avalanche definitely had more zest.

But Rinne & Co. were up for the challenge. Rinne stopped Joe Colborne‘s blast midway through the final period. Moments later, Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis slid across the goal on his knees to knock away a puck headed for the net.

“Best save of the night,” Rinne said.

It was that kind of evening for Nashville, which kept constant pressure on Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

“That’s not at all how we want to play. It’s pretty bad,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “The guys are saying and doing the right things postgame, which is a start.”

Josi tapped in a goal with 7:51 left to secure the win. Smith scored his second goal of the game 1:09 later.

Johansen’s power-play goal at 11:47 of the second period gave the Predators a 3-1 lead. That snapped a string of 12 straight penalty kills by Colorado’s defense.

Smith got the Predators on the board before many fans were even seated as he knocked in a pass from Mike Ribeiro at 1:33.

The Avalanche countered when Iginla scored less than five minutes later. Almost fitting, the 39-year-old Iginla broke out of a five-game goal slump in this game, considering his 39 career goals are the most against the Nashville franchise.

Irwin lined in a wrist shot late in the first period for his first goal since March 28, 2015, at Philadelphia. The defenseman was recalled from Milwaukee of American Hockey League on Oct. 24.

“Things are turning a little bit, just offensively,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “We seem to be staying in a little bit longer, getting more looks, more attempts. With that is going to come more results. It’s nice to get those guys going.”

NOTES: F Cody Bass returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury. … D Matt Carle, who played down the road at the University of Denver, and F Kevin Fiala were scratches. … Avalanche D Fedor Tyutin sat out a fourth straight game with a groin injury, but is skating with the team. “We are going to give him a few more skates before we get him in,” Bednar said. … F Gabriel Bourque was reassigned to San Antonio of the AHL to get more playing time, Bednar explained.

UP NEXT:

Predators: At Arizona on Thursday night.

Avalanche: At Chicago on Thursday night.

Panik scores the hat trick, leading the Blackhawks into the win column

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CHICAGO (AP) Richard Panik scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick, Scott Darling was sharp in making 33 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks earned their first victory of the season, 5-3 over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Nick Schmaltz, one of four rookies in Chicago’s lineup, scored his first NHL goal and Brent Seabrook added a power-play score and an assist as the Blackhawks rebounded from a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Friday. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith each had two assists.

Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators.

Nashville trailed 3-0 after Schmaltz, Seabrook and Panik scored in a 3:43 span in the first period, and could never pull even in this one.

The Predators outshot Chicago 36-27 and dominated in stretches, but were stymied by Darling in the backup goalie’s first start this season.

Nashville backup Marek Mazanec had 22 saves after Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of 24 Friday.

The Blackhawks scored on three of their first five shots to take a 3-0 lead and led by two after the first period as Darling stopped 15 of 16 Nashville attempts, including several nifty saves on point-blank chances.

Schmaltz opened the scoring 6:36 in when he plowed to the net off the left boards and beat Mazanec on the short side with a rising shot.

Seabrook’s power-play goal 1:43 later – from a faceoff and just 6 seconds into the advantage – made it 2-0. His shot from the right point deflected in off the stick of Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm.

Panik extended it to 3-0 at 10:19 when he drove to the net against defenseman Matt Carle, pivoted in front and slid in a backhander.

Wilson cut it to 3-1 with 1:29 left in the first by poking in a rebound of James Neal‘s shot to complete a 3-on-1 break.

Darling came up with two of his best saves, close-in pad stops on Smith and Wilson seconds apart, with just over five minutes left in the second.

From a faceoff and 6 seconds into a power play, Smith cut it to 3-2 on shot from the right circle with 1:16 left in the period.

Set up by Marian Hossa‘s pinpoint pass, Panik tapped in his second goal, on a power-play at 4:56 of the second to make it 4-2. But Arvidsson drove to the net, outworked Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell at cut it to 4-3 at 10:06.

Panik iced it when he completed his hat trick with 1:31 left after he was set up at the side of the net by Kane.

‘It’s impossible to not feel comfortable in this city’: P.K. Subban is enjoying his new journey in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) P.K. Subban hasn’t even taken the ice yet in his new Predators’ sweater, yet the defenseman keeps hearing the same thing over and over.

No, he’s not being asked about winning the Stanley Cup even though his acquisition has raised expectations higher in Nashville than they’ve ever been.

He’s being showered with southern hospitality.

“Welcome to Nashville,” Subban said with a grin. “I love that everybody here’s so nice. It’s almost like they’re too nice. It’s impossible to not feel comfortable in this city. So I’ve been here for six or seven days, it feels like I’ve been here for six or seven years. The people are just extremely nice, and I can’t wait for my family to get down here and have the same feeling that I have.”

The Predators reported for training camp Thursday with Subban the big attraction as the man Nashville swapped captain Shea Weber to Montreal on June 29 in one of the NHL’s biggest trades in recent years. The NHL Network and TSN both were represented along with media from Montreal, doubling the number of reporters usually on hand.

Nashville lost in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs to San Jose in seven games. General manager David Poile said the Predators know they’ve changed their chemistry with the move.

“We hope it’s for the better, but we don’t know yet,” Poile said. “We have to play.”

Some things to watch with the Predators this preseason:

MORE FROM RYJO: Subban isn’t the only player the Predators acquired in a big trade this year. Forward Ryan Johansen came to Nashville in January in a deal that sent defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus. Johansen scored 34 points in 42 games with Nashville and posted a plus-10 rating. Poile said Johansen, who turned 24 in July, is bigger and stronger after a good offseason. “He certainly should be in a situation where he could be a guy that could put up more points on the board and get more goals, which everyone is looking for,” Poile said.

MISSING FOR WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY: Four Predators are not in Nashville for the start of training camp. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm and forward Filip Forsberg are playing with Sweden, while defenseman Roman Josi is playing with Team Europe. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is with Finland, while assistant coach Phil Housley is with Team USA.

DEFENSEMEN PAIRINGS: The Predators announced Ryan Ellis will not be skating over the opening days with an upper body injury that will be re-evaluated after a double-header with Florida on Tuesday. With Ekholm and Josi at the World Cup, that leaves more skating time for some of Nashville’s new defensemen like veteran Matt Carle, Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin. Anthony Bitetto and Petter Granberg got playing time last season. Poile said the third defense pairing and the spot as the seventh defenseman is wide open.

RINNE’S BACKUP: With Carter Hutton signing with St. Louis, that leaves the Predators looking for a new goalie to back up Rinne. Marek Mazanec has more NHL experience having played 27 games with the Predators between 2013-14 and 2014-15, and he’s older at the age of 25. Juuse Saros, 21, played one game with Nashville last season. The Predators need one of the goalies to show they deserve to stay in Nashville.

YOUNGSTERS: As young as the Predators have been over the past couple seasons, a couple forwards have a chance to push for a roster spot in training camp in Mike Liambas and Kevin Fiala. Now 20, Fiala played five games with the Predators last season, and the 20-year-old left wing impressed during the team’s rookie camp.