- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
Last Season: 41-27-14 (96 points), 4th in the Central, 7th in the West
The Predators were one of the more consistent teams in the NHL last season. They shot out of the gate at 7-1-2, and didn’t falter much except for losing seven of eight in late December and early January.
The issues that led to that streak proved a blessing in disguise, since it helped land them Ryan Johansen in a trade for Seth Jones on Jan. 6. This gave the Predators the No. 1 center they’ve long needed.
Johansen notched 34 points in 42 games to help the Predators get to the playoffs.
Overall, Predators players produced as expected. Forward Filip Forsberg tied the franchise’s single-season goal scoring mark with 33. Roman Josi set a career-high with 61 points while averaging a team-high 25:29 of action. Shea Weber blasted 20 goals and was his usual physically imposing self on the blueline.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne experienced somewhat of a drop-off with a .908 save percentage and 2.48 goal-against average, down from his Vezina Trophy finalist season the year before where he held a 2.18 goal-against average and .923 save percentage.
- Puck Daddy at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
(Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings. Ryan Lambert takes a look at some of the biggest issues and stories in the NHL, and counts them down.)
8 – More World Cup injuries
Matt Murray out six weeks. Marian Gaborik out eight. Add that to the pile, and someone figure out how many man-games teams are losing to injury because of this tournament. It’s gotta be pushing 50.
7 – Edmonton children who need to fall asleep at some point
Whenever a bad and scary mascot gets put out into the world, I wonder how many people had to sign off on it before the press release and photoshoot.
Like, at least a dozen here, right?
At least a dozen people saw the concept art and pushed it forward. At least a dozen people saw the finished product and pushed it forward.
That’s incredible to me. It’s not quite the New Orleans pelican, but it’s pretty damn close. Hunter isn’t grotesque, he is just too realistic. Lynxes are scary as hell, man.
But you gotta give this to ol’ Hunter: That cat can dance his little butt off.
6 – Clarke MacArthur
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
TORONTO – One day after they downed Team Europe 3-1 in the opening game of the World Cup of Hockey final series Canada’s players could only talk about how much better they need to play.
Ralph Krueger’s troops were much better in Game 1 than when the two sides met in the final game of group play, a 4-1 win for Canada. Europe came out firing, challenging Carey Price on the first shift of the game and forcing their opponents to play sloppy at times.
Now one win away from a second straight World Cup title, Canada knows they have to be better to close out Team Europe. They’ve dominated this tournament, averaging 4.4 goals per game, but after a so-so Game 1 performance where they still came out on top, they know there’s a lot to work on ahead of Thursday night.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
TORONTO – For hockey players still at the World Cup there’s an easy way to tune out happenings at NHL training camps.
“Shut off my phone,” joked Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar.
“I’ve texted back and forth with the guys a little bit, just someone asking how everything is going and how the guys are doing,” he added. “Other than that there’s really not a whole lot of communication about it and I’ll read some stuff online and see how the guys are doing, but that’s about it.”
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
TORONTO – Mike Babcock, head coach of Team Canada and the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a delight in a press conference, managing to be insightful one moment and then cantankerous the next and then insightfully cantankerous after that.
Like, for example, these three answers during his media availability on the eve of Game 2 of the World Cup of Hockey final, with Canada leading Team Europe 1-0 in their best-of-three. Babcock talked about his success as a coach in the NHL and internationally, and how he approaches Thursday night’s game.
Q. What defines you as a coach? What’s your secret?
BABCOCK: “It’s called ‘good players.’ I finished dead last in the National Hockey League last year, over an 82-game period. Worst coach in hockey. So let’s not get carried away here. It’s been a good month.”
Q. How has your work as a professional coach prepared you for this?
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
TORONTO – On a bus ride through Sweden during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Zdeno Chara cracked open some educational reading material.
While other players on Farjestad opted for car magazines and style magazines, Chara wanted to go all-in on the culture in his temporary home. So he picked up a Swedish-English dictionary in order to get a better grasp on the language.
“Every day he would squeeze as much out of the day in everything as he could,” said former NHLer Mike Johnston who played with Chara in Sweden. “When it came to hockey he had practice in the morning we had a 45-minute practice, we’d get off the ice and guys would go off to the café for lunch and would hang out. And when you’re walking out, ‘Z’ would be on the ice with 100 pucks ringed around the blueline doing slappers. This was the day after he played 35 minutes, when we might also be going back to the NHL in 10 days and we’d have a game.”
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
TORONTO — While Dennis Seidenberg looks to help topple Canada in the World Cup of Hockey final, he won’t have to worry about his job prospects for the 2016-17 NHL season any longer.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger and Newsday’s Arthur Staple, the 35-year-old Seidenberg has signed a one-year, $1 million deal to join the New York Islanders’ blue line.
With Johnny Boychuk dealing with an injury, Seidenberg’s presence will provide depth for the Islanders. A handful of teams were reportedly interested in his services but were waiting until the World Cup’s conclusion before talking deal. GM Garth Snow apparently didn’t feel like waiting.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
TORONTO – Frans Nielsen of Team Europe said playing Canada is an exercise in dashed expectations and sudden frustration.
“You feel like you’re doing good, you’re creating chances and then just a small mistake and they score. So it’s so tough,” he said.
Of course, this is also how every team that’s faced Team Europe described that experience, to the point where hockey power like Sweden has offensive paralysis set in while worrying about a gaffe.
“You’re right,” said Nielsen, with a laugh, “but Canada is just so good.”
That they are. Canada moved to within one win of hoisting – or clenching or snuggling orwhatever the hell you do with this thing – the World Cup of Hockey after their 3-1 win over Europe on Tuesday night in their best-of-three final. It was the closest game Canada had played in the tournament, and a remarkable turnaround for a Europe team that gave up 83 shot attempts in their preliminary loss to the host nation.
But if you ask Canada, the game was close because they laid an egg.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy15 hrs ago
The Colorado Avalanche downed the Minnesota Wild 4-1 in Tuesday night preseason action. There wasn’t much to note from the game other than one save from netminder Nathan Lieuwen.
Late in the third period with the Wild on the power play, a Jared Spurgeon shot deflected off a stick in front and headed Lieuwen’s way. The puck hit off his body and was looking like it was going to drop into the net, but he swung his glove behind him and was able to swat it away.
“I thought it was going in,” Wild forward Jason Pominville said via NHL.com. “I actually raised my hands [in celebration].”
Pominville probably wasn’t alone.
- Yahoo Sports Staff at Puck Daddy16 hrs ago
(Ed. Note: We’re once again pleased to partner with Dobber Hockey to provide fantasy hockey insight throughout the NHL season. Please welcome Steve Laidlaw, the Managing Editor of DobberHockey, as your new fantasy hockey smarty-pants!)
BY STEVE LAIDLAW
Goaltending is arguably the most important position in fantasy hockey. In standard Yahoo! leagues goaltending accounts for 40 percent of the scoring, yet goaltenders only make up 17 percent of your actual roster. That means you are counting on a substantial output from a small number of players. Locking down solid goaltending is a great way to ensure you will be competitive this season.
Figuring out who to take is the trick. Over the last 10 seasons, only one goalie has managed to produce at a top-five level for more than two consecutive seasons. That goalie was Henrik Lundqvist, and he has since spent the past three seasons ranking 13 th overall. Goaltenders simply do not get much time at the top so simply going by last season’s stats may not be the wise choice.