Getty Images

P.K. Subban says media, community has influence on Canadiens’ success


Be sure to visit and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang

There’s a certain level of scrutiny that comes with playing in a Canadian market.

The fans are perceived to be perhaps fiercer in their loyalty to their team, almost militant at times and when things aren’t going the correct way, tempers flare a little brighter and anger seeps in a little deeper.

There’s also a perception that the media in Canadian markets is tougher, that somehow scribes, radio personalities, and T.V. broadcasters can exert a level of influence that can turn the ship, even if ever so slightly.

Whether any of this is true or not is up for debate.

For P.K. Subban, however, there’s no argument to be made.

These aren’t merely perceptions for No. 76, but rather hard and harsh truths of playing in a hockey-mad market.

“The one thing that’s tough about Montreal, and I tell this to people all the time, is that regardless of what anybody says, the media and the community have an influence on the team,” Subban said in an interview with Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos that aired on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. “That can make it tough at times because there is so much attention on the team, there’s so much attention on its superstars and players.”

Subban garnered much attention during his time in Montreal.

From fights with teammates to silly notions that his personality was too much and wasn’t the right fit for the Canadiens, to the enormous charitable contributions that endeared himself to the city.

Subban was loved and is still loved by the Montreal faithful, evidenced once again on Saturday with a chorus of cheers when he touched the puck in his second trip back to Bell Centre since being traded to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber in June of 2016.

During his interview with Kypreos, Subban said that for the Canadiens to be successful, the organization essentially needs to shelter its players from the vortex around them.

“I think it takes a very, very strong organization to manage that,” Subban said.  “It has to be managed properly because when that starts to creep in, it’s tough. That’s not on the players to manage. I think that needs to be managed by the organization. That has to be the strongest part of that organization for the team to be successful.”

The debate of who “won” the Subban-Weber trade will rage on for as long as it bloody well wants to. It was a big deal no matter how you slice it and the impact its had on both teams isn’t hidden.

Subban is still the great defenseman he was in Montreal. The Canadiens haven’t been the same without him and the Nashville Predators, arguably, have never been better.

Like the one who got away, Subban’s second return to Montreal on Saturday is just another sad reminder of what was once theirs.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Filip Forsberg suspended three games

AP Photo

The Nashville Predators will have to manage without one of their top forwards this week.

Filip Forsberg, who sits second on the team in points with 38, will miss three games after the NHL Player Safety Department suspended him for interference following a crushing hit on New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey on Saturday.

The incident occurred in the second period. As Vesey came around the net, he loses the puck. Forsberg, tracking him as he’s coming around, turns and collides with him. Vesey looked shaken up on the play.

In their ruling handed down on Sunday, the NHL’s PSD called the hit “high and forceful” and one that “makes substantial head contact.”

Forsberg, 23, has never been fined or suspended in the past, but player safety took into consideration Vesey’s injury resulting from the play, which included quite a bit of blood coming from his mouth.

The Predators begin a four-game eastern road trip on Monday in New York to face the Islanders. Forsberg will also miss a back-to-back against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators on Wednesday and Thursday.

He will be eligible to return on Saturday against the Canadiens in Montreal.

Forsberg will forfeit $96,774.18, money which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Mike Fisher comes out of retirement to rejoin Nashville Predators


One year of retirement was apparently enough for Mike Fisher

On Wednesday, the 37-year-old Fisher announced that he will be coming out of retirement to rejoin the Nashville Predators for the remainder of the 2017-18 NHL season. He hit the ice this morning with the plan to eventually participate in practice and then sign a contract before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Fisher retired in August after 17 seasons between the Ottawa Senators and Predators. “I don’t believe it came in a single instance or some aha moment, but as time passed, I gradually became certain that it was right for me to retire. I believe God gave me the ability to play hockey, and I was helped by dozens of individuals along the way, so it’s not just up to me on when it’s time to say goodbye,” he wrote in a letter to fans in the Tennessean.

Fisher scored 18 goals and recorded 42 points with the Predators last season and played in 20 of their 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games as Nashville marched to the Final.

This move would further cement the depth down the middle for Peter Laviolette’s squad. Along with Fisher, there’s Kyle Turris, Ryan Johansen, Nick Bonino, Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons and Frederic Gaudreau — so, plenty of options. As the Predators found out in the Final last season, you can never have enough healthy bodies to play center.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators

Getty Images


Projected lineups

Chicago Blackhawks

Alex DeBrincatJonathan ToewsAnthony Duclair

Brandon SaadNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane

Ryan HartmanArtem AnisimovTommy Wingels

Vinnie HinostrozaDavid KampfTomas Jurco

Duncan KeithJordan Oesterle

Erik GustafssonBrent Seabrook

Michal KempnyConnor Murphy

Starting goalie: Anton Forsberg

NHL on NBCSN: Preds look to deliver blow to Blackhawks’ playoff chances

Nashville Predators

Filip ForsbergRyan JohansenViktor Arvidsson

Scott HartnellKyle TurrisCraig Smith

Kevin FialaNick BoninoCalle Jarnkrok

Miikka SalomakiColton SissonsAustin Watson

Roman JosiRyan Ellis

Alexei EmelinP.K. Subban

Mattias EkholmMatt Irwin

Starting goalie: Juuse Saros

NHL on NBCSN: Preds look to deliver blow to Blackhawks’ playoff chances

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues on Tuesday, as the Nashville Predators host the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Chicago Blackhawks this far out of the playoff picture at this point of the season. Coming out of the All-Star break, the ‘Hawks find themselves four points back of Colorado for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. The Avs also have a game in hand.

Making up four points isn’t insurmountable, but what complicates the matter is that they’d have to leap over four teams to get there.

The ‘Hawks are coming off a 5-1 win in Detroit in their last game before the All-Star break. They’re back on the road starting tonight, and they’ll also visit Vancouver and Calgary before the end of the week. These next three matchups won’t be easy, especially without starting goaltender Corey Crawford, who is still out because of vertigo-like symptoms.

Crawford has the green light to work out, but he still hasn’t received clearance to participate in on-ice workouts just yet.

“We’re optimistic he can have a good week here and get on [the ice] later in the week,” head coach Joel Quenneville said of his goalie, per the Chicago Sun-Times.

“He’s around; you see him. You think he’s close to getting on the ice, so he’s showing all the signs that he’ll be helping us at some point.”

But will he be back in time to save Chicago’s season?

As for the Predators, they’re not battling for their playoff lives like Chicago is, but they’re in the hunt for top spot in the Central Division. Heading into tonight’s game, the Preds are one point behind the first-place Winnipeg Jets, but Nashville has three games in hand.

The 2017-18 season has gone well for the Predators, which is scary considering they’ve dealt with some serious injury troubles all year. Ryan Ellis missed most of the first half of the season, Filip Forsberg has been out for 10 games and Viktor Arvidsson missed some games, too.

Forsberg ditched his non-contact jersey on Monday and he was practicing on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson.

With everyone getting healthy, the Preds could be ready to pull away from the rest of the division pretty soon. Another run to the cup final could also be in the cards for this team.

“We always try to get better, and there’s always room for improvement,” defenseman Roman Josi said, per the team’s website. “We had a good first half and played some really good hockey, but I think there’s still room for improvement and hopefully we can play our best down the road.”

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.