He’s Back! …And apparently, so are we (blog wise). The return of Pekka Rinne has been much anticipated and, for everyone who was patient, your Finnish prayers have been answered.
Mid last week, the Predators announced that Rinne would be making a trip to Milwaukee to get in some ice time conditioning with the Admirals. After knocking off the Iowa Wild 9-1 and pushing past the Rochester Americans 2-1 in OT, Pekka was given the green light to return to Nashville and return to his beloved goal posts.
Rinne has missed a total of 51 games since being placed on the IR due to an E.Coli infection in his surgically-repaired hip, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing whatever it took to get back on the ice. Rinne has officially been given the all clear to start in the net tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With that green light for Peks, that also means someone has to be booted and, unfortunately, that goaltender is Devan Dubnyk. The Predators have placed Dubnyk, who was picked up from a trade between the Edmonton Oilers on January 15th for Matt Hendricks. Sadly, Dubnyk was given only two chances in net, all of which were not exactly NHL backup worthy. With Carter Hutton clawing for the position, it was easy to push Dubnyk aside and thus his current condition.
But, for Pekka Rinne, tomorrow is the true test; is he ready to be back full time? We certainly hope so and we certainly hope he does not hide any issues he may still have with his hip.
If you don’t have tickets for tomorrow, go ahead and get them now.
On Thursday night, the Predators took to Philadelphia to face the 24-19-4 Flyers & managed to, against all odds, win their very first shootout this season, snagging the all-important two-pointer.
But there was another key moment during this game that helped propel Nashville to the two-pointer & it was all do to Carter Hutton’s cat-like reflexes. Yes, I said Carter Hutton.
Just a day after the Predators announced that they had made a deal with the Edmonton Oilers to trade Matt Hendricks for goaltender Devan Dubnyk, it was kind of assumed that either Hutton or Mazanec would have to take a step back to the farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals. And, after Trotz’s “throw him under the bus” comments about Hutton after the 2-1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes, it was easy to believe that Hutton was the one needing to pack his bags.
…And then he does something like this:
Like Pete Weber says in the video, this may be the highlight of his career… or something similar to that. Though Hutton’s miraculous save may have only played a small part, it was announced yesterday that Marek Mazanec would be the goalie hitting the road to Milwaukee. It makes sense, though; he is a less-mature goaltender in the NHL and will thrive well in the AHL for now, similar to how well Filip Forsberg is doing.
Tonight, however, Carter Hutton will be taking the night off as the newly acquired Devan Dubnyk has been given the “ok” to start in net tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. Despite me posting that nightmare-inducing video in the previous post, Dubnyk has grown as an individual in his game since that incident. He is currently 11-17-2 and, although we’d rather see more wins than losses, you have to think logically here: Would Edmonton give up a Pekka Rinne for a Matt Hendricks? You know that answer.
Early this afternoon, the Predators made an announcement that took everyone by surprise. General Manager David Poile struck a deal with the Edmonton Oilers to swap Center Matt Hendricks with Goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Here’s the official press release from the Preds:
Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Matt Hendricks.
Dubnyk, 27 (5/4/86), has posted an 11-17-2 record, a 3.36 goals-against average, a .894 save percentage and a pair of shutouts while appearing in 32 of the Oilers’ 49 games this season. The 6-6, 210-pound Regina, Sask., native has appeared in 171 career NHL contests – all with Edmonton since 2009-10 – including 38 of 48 games in 2012-13, 47 games in 2011-12 and 35 games in 2010-11. He has a .910 save percentage, 2.88 goals-against average and eight shutouts to go along with a 61-76-21 record.
Edmonton’s first choice, 14th overall (first round), in the 2004 Entry Draft, Dubnyk has represented Canada at the past four World Championships (2010-13), and won a gold medal with his homeland at the 2006 World Junior Championships. A Kamloops Blazer (WHL) from 2001-06, Dubnyk was a 2004 recipient of Daryl K. Seaman Trophy as WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, and was the 2004 CHL Scholastic Player of the Year.
With both Marek Mazanec and Carter Hutton having more off days than on, it was only a matter of time before Poile nabbed a reputable goalie… but is it too little too late? Also, is this a sign that Poile has come to terms with the fact that Rinne may not be back to 100% before season’s end? Though Poile says the trade has nothing to do with Pekka’s return, we beg the differ.
#preds GM David Poile says he expects Pekka Rinne to return this year and trading Hendricks for Dubnyk wasn't because Rinne isn't returning.
Well, wether or not that’s the case, Devan Dubnyk also had a press conference himself, thanking the city of Edmonton for the opportunities that the organization gave him and how excited he is to join the Predators.
"It hasn't really set in to be honest… It's a new opportunity for me and I'm really excited to go to Nashville." – Devan Dubnyk
Well, this does mean two things for certain: Some lucky soul in Milwaukee will get the call to fill Hendy’s position & someone (looking at you, Hutton & Mazanec) will have to step back to the Admirals. Though Poile claims they have not decided as to which goalie will step down, he did say he has a good idea as to who it will be…
Well, wether you felt like you fit here or not, we wish you well in Oil Country, Hendy. Here are tweets from Victor Bartley & Mike Fisher wishing Hendricks luck in Canada:
Good luck to @MattHendy26 in Oil Country. You've got yourselves one heck of a wagon!
The Predators have been back and forth lately, with a 4-0 shutout win against the Blue Jackets Wednesday, to a 3-0 shutout loss to the Oilers on Thursday. So, with the Flyers coming into town after their win against Winnipeg on Friday night, maybe the back and forth would continue with a win for the pesky Preds, right? Philadelphia’s record is pretty close to Nashville’s, 11-12-2 to the Predators’ 13-11-2 so honestly, it was either team’s game… except that Nashville was missing Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg and Pekka Rinne.
Shea Weber took a puck to the face on Thursday night against Edmonton, ruling his injury day-to-day. Kevin Klein sustained a lower-body injury at some point, placing him on the scratched list also. And little Filip Forsberg, who’s injury at first was considered minor, was placed on the Injured Reserve and Joe Piskula was recalled from Milwaukee.
Not all was bad news, as Patric Hornqvist made his return to the lineup after sitting out a few games with an injury.
The Flyers stepped to the plate first, with a clean slapshot from Captain Claude Giroux at 16:49.
Mike Fisher would give Flyers fans just one minute to celebrate before tying the game at 1 with a snap shot setup from Patric Hornqvist at 17:49. Fisher’s goal was his 6th overall and Hornqvist’s 8th assist overall.
The Predators were given two powerplay opportunities in the first period, but failed to collect on either one. Philly was unable to capitalize on their one powerplay opportunity.
No goals were collected in the second period, but Nashville once again outshot the Flyers, this time 11 to 8.
The Predators again had prime powerplay opportunities, but failed on all three once again.
Colin Wilson would put the Predators up by one in at 5:05 in the 3rd period for his 4th goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (7th assist) and Ryan Ellis (7th assist) assisted on #33’s goal.
Sean Couturier would breakthrough for Philadelphia at 13:06 with a slick snap shot, tying the game at two a piece.
Nashville would outshoot Philadelphia 9 to 4.
No goals would amount in OT, so Marek Mazanec would get his first NHL career shot at a Shootout. Craig Smith, Matt Hendricks & Matt Cullen would all miss their shots at Steve Mason, but it would be Vincent Lecavalier’s sole goal to seal the game in favor of the Flyers.
So with Shea Weber, Kevin Klein, Filip Forsberg & Pekka Rinne out, who will rise up and shine for the Predators? Though Kevin Klein shouldn’t be out for too long, it looks like Forsberg and Weber may be (we already know about Rinne’s outlook). Somewhere the Predators will need for someone to rise up is on the powerplay. Although Nashville has always struggled in that area, last night’s performance was hard to watch.
Nashville has two more games at home before heading East to see Joel Ward, Mike Latta and, maybe, Martin Erat in Washington D.C. Until then, the Predators welcome the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
The final stop of the 17-day road trip brought Nashville to 11-7-0 Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night. The tail end of this road trip has been brutal on the Predators, losing twice 5-0 and then scoring only one goal each in two games. Yea, the Predators have seen better days. So, would a trip to the Steel City bring the momentum Nashville so desperately desires? Well, not really.
Gabriel Bourque got the ball rolling early for Nashville at 2:28 with a tip-in goal with an assist from Kevin Klein’s shot.
Marek Mazanec was pulled after the second period, allowing two goals in the first period and two in the second. He’d come away blocking 21 of 25 shots, but Carter Hutton would block all eight taken in the third period.
Eric Nystrom would give the Predators a scare after coming out on the back end of his tussle with Tanner Glass. A little shaken up and sent to the locker room, Nystrom sent out this Tweet after the game:
All good folks. Got popped behind the earhole! Weird spot. Appreciate the concern n support!!
Scratches of the Night: Rich Clune, Matt Hendricks & Victor Bartley
Pittsburgh would enviably overpower Nashville 4-1, putting them now at 12-7-0 overall & the Predators 8-9-2. Time to come home, boys! The Predators will welcome the ever-loved Chicago Blackhawks to town Saturday night, then return to the road Tuesday to face the old foe, the Detroit Red Wings.
Game 2 of the longest road-trip in Predators history and, after coming up short in Phoenix, Nashville would need to slip around the 9-5-0 L.A. Kings to keep the coal burning. The second meeting between the pair, the Kings visited the Music City back on October 17th and left with a win in a shootout, 2-1. So it was now Nashville’s turn to come into the Kings’ home and steal a victory, yes? Jump on down to the highlights:
David Legwand, who apparently wants to show who’s boss here lately, collected his third goal of the season at 11:15 on the powerplay. Seth Jones picked up his 5th assist, along with Patric Hornqvist collecting his fourth.
Shea Weber wouldn’t be quieted for long, scoring his own powerplay goal at 19:06 with Patric Hornqvist notching his fifth assist and Mike Fisher picking up his fifth as well.
The Kings were going down without a fight first, with Anze Kopitar sinking a wrister past Carter Hutton just 20 seconds after Weber’s goal.
The Kings would out-shoot Nashville 16 to 9, so give Carter Hutton some credit that only one was able to get passed him.
Rich Clune, after being scratched numerous times, returned in time to receive a 10-minute misconduct due to fighting and instigating Daniel Carcillo. Don’t get upset if you see Clune scratched again in the near future; it happens when you’re an enforcer.
Eric Nystrom would being the lone star in the second period with a snap shot past Jonathan Quick at 8:41 for his fourth goal of the season. You want to talk about someone who has shown his worth after being picked up during the off season. Patric Horqnvist would continue his helpfulness with an assist, his sixth of the season and third of the game.
Mike Fisher left the game during the second period after sustaining a lower-body injury. He did not return for the remainder of the game.
And here’s where L.A. would come roaring back like the lions they are. Dustin Brown would collect a sneaky tip-in at 9:41 for his third of the season, putting the Kings back by one.
Mike Richards would then tie the game at 11:18 with a powerplay goal from a Ryan Ellis penalty. At this point, the game looked like a flashback from the Phoenix game.
At 16:04, David Legwand would swoop in and seal the game in Nashville’s favor with a wrister, his second goal of the night & fourth overall. Mattias Ekholm would pick up the assist (3rd assist).
In a game similar to the one before it, Nashville slipped out of Hollywood with the win, thanks to David Legwand. Now, we know it takes a team to collect a win, but give a hand to Mr. Legwand; he started the game and ended it.
The Predators are now off to the Mile High City to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the second time this season. The first match up left the Predators with a loss of 3-1… let’s hope for better this Wednesday.
SCRATCHES FOR NASHVILLE:
Well, what can I say about last night’s game? Glad I was celebrating my college’s Homecoming, perhaps? Nah, I would’ve gone down with this ship if I had been there, but ouch; what a terrible way to start a long, seven-game road trip. The St. Louis Blues have always picked on little brother Nashville, but last night’s performance made even the strongest stomachs do a few flips, even all the way in Cookeville.
So, were there any highlights from last night’s game? Eh, one or two, but if I was a Blues blogger, I’d be up all night with this one. But there are still somethings we can discuss:
Alexander Steen collected his ninth goal of the season on a powerplay brought about from a tripping call from Colin Wilson at 5:27. It only took Steen seven seconds to score, with the penalty beginning at 5:20.
St. Louis would pound Carter Hutton in the net with shots-on-goal at 17. Nashville was only able to send eight towards Jaroslav Halak.
T.J. Oshie would nab his second goal of the season with a tip-in at 7:35.
Jaden Schwartz would collect his second goal as well at 11:36.
Nashville took more shots in the second period, eight to St. Louis’ four.
Fifty-two seconds into the third, Nick Spaling would attempt to turn the tables, capitalizing with a short-handed goal, his first goal of the season. Mattias Ekholm would grab his first assist of the season.
Alexander Steen was well on his way to a Hat Trick with his second goal of the night at 4:37, his tenth goal of the season.
Predators would fall 5-1 with a goal from Derek Roy at 7:48.
Carter Hutton would be pulled after Roy’s goal, with Magnus Hellberg getting his first shot on NHL ice.
Alex Pietrangelo would score his first goal of the season on the powerplay to end the game in St. Louis’ favor, 6-1.
Welp, not too much to say after that game except Pekka’s injury has a lot of people freaking out. However, you cannot blame Carter Hutton for the awful game, though he isn’t out of the hot water just yet.
Also, the fact that Viktor Stalberg continues to be healthy scratched is not a good sign between he and Barry Trotz. He has expressed his distain and, you sort of side with the guy. Fourth line with Hendricks and Gaustad? Yea, not exactly an area to produce much from. It’s easy to understand his frustration but… that is the way of the Trotz. Someone has to take up residency in his dog house, and it looks like Mr. Stalberg has found his way.
Nashville has a few days off before heading out to Arizona to take on Phoenix on Halloween at 8PM.
Didn’t the Predators just play the Jets?
Oh yes, they did; and they won in Winnipeg 3-1. So, would the boys be able to capitalize over the former Atlanta Thrashers once again? Especially after the punishing loss in Minnesota on Tuesday? The home crowd always builds some much needed confidence, so here are the highlights from last night’s overtime game:
BEFORE THE GAME:
Late Wednesday afternoon, word started floating around that Magnus Hellberg, the 38th overall draftee (first goalie) in the 2011 NHL Draft and the current goalie for the Milwaukee Admirals, would be called up for the Thursday night game.
Carter Hutton took to practice on Tuesday, but Pekka Rinne was nowhere in sight, which got the ball rolling on speculations as to what was wrong with the Finnish Phenom.
Word was made official yesterday during a press conference with the media regarding Pekka’s condition. Feeling weak and with a high temperature, Rinne bowed out of practice and it was revealed that he has a spontaneous bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip.
Yikes. For any of us that have experience with hip surgeries (no, not me personally), you know that those kind of infections can be serious. Luckily for Peks, it was caught quickly and the medically staff he has access to will not allow the infection to spread by any means. So, in a nutshell, Pekka is out for a minimum of four weeks and it is up to the level-headed Carter Hutton to step up to the starting goalie plate.
Although he's only had two starts in his @NHL career, I am confident in @CarterHutton's overtake of the starting goalie position.
Mike Fisher skated in practice yesterday, along with concussed Roman Josi. Though Roman is still not 100%, Fisher didn’t hesitate to jump back into the game last night. After his wife, Carrie Underwood accidentally revealed that his lower-body injury was indeed a foot fracture, we assume Mike decided it was time to shake it off and hit the ice. You can’t hate on Carrie for the accidentally slip; it happens sometimes in passing and, unfortunately, this one happened on Twitter were scoop-hungry media ate it right up.
Shea Weber would get the ball rolling in favor of Nashville at 15:53 with a powerplay slapshot that Ondrej Pavelec just couldn’t wrap his mitts around. David Legwand (5th assist) and Filip Forsberg (3rd assist) picked up the assists in Weber’s third goal of the season.
Nashville would end the first period outshooting the Jets just 10 to 9, but Carter Hutton was well-prepared to prove he could backup Pekka Rinne.
Winnipeg would finally slip one around Hutton with a wrap-around from Anthony Peluso for his first goal of the season. The second period would end with both teams tied at 1.
Winnipeg attacked the puck during this period, outshooting Nashville 14 to 9. It was not surprising that at least one shot would inch past Hutton, but it was actually a sneaky one that did it.
Patric Horqnvist would hit a snap shot to put Nashville up again, this time 2-1 at 6:04 for his fourth goal of the season. Mike Fisher (4th assist) and Seth Jones (3rd assist) would nab the assists.
Blake Wheeler wouldn’t give up so easily, sending a wrister past Hutton at 16:59 to tie the game again.
Despite extreme effort, both teams were unable to end the regulation period with a game-winner, sending the game into OT.
Only two shots between each team was taken during overtime, and it was Craig Smith would was able to capitalize on his shot.
With only 17 seconds left in overtime, Craig Smith, who has been stellar thus far this season, sent a slapshot past Pavelec with the help of David Legwand (6th assist) to win the game. Here’s the video:
As we mentioned, Craig Smith has been a quiet stud thus far this season, the kind of stud we have expected from him for a while. After his performance for Team USA during the IIHF series, we were starting to wonder when that grace would hit the NHL ice. So far, with 11 GPs, Smith is currently sitting in 14th amongst the league. We have this feeling his league rank will be getting closer to the Top 10 very soon.
The Predators have one last home game before going on a seven-game road trip. The Preds will not return to Nashville until Saturday, November 16th when they welcome in the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Added Bonus: Rich Clune vs. Matt Hendricks – September 23, 2009
Think they remember this now that they’re teammates?
The Predators have had some great outcomes thus far this season, but tonight it was finally time to let the Finnish phenom take a break and let the backup try his hand at a full NHL game. Insert: Carter Hutton, the confident backup for Pekka Rinne who has only had one shot at protecting an NHL basket. When was that? First game of the season when Peks was pulled in the first period against the St. Louis Blues. But hey, Pekka’s looking much better now (scared me there for a moment).
So, how did Hutton fair against Matt Halischuk and the Winnipeg Jets? Here are the highlights:
No goals were tallied during the first, but Matt Cullen did collect the only penalty between both teams in the first at 15:58 with a hooking call on Matt Halischuk. Nashville was able to keep Winnipeg at bay, despite the Jets outshooting the Predators 15 to 12.
Ten seconds in, Matt Hendricks would head to the box for a tripping call, giving the Jets an early advantage in the opening of the second period.
Eric Nystrom didn’t mind being down a man, sending a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for a shorthanded goal just twenty seconds in.
Patric Hornqvist would collect this third goal of the season at 12:07 with an unassisted snapshot.
Matt Cullen would pick up his second goal of the season at 14:17 with assists from Colin Wilson 4th assist) and Craig Smith (5th assist).
Winnipeg would lead Nashville in shots on goal with eleven to seven at the end of the second.
Evander Kane would collect his fifth goal of the season with a tip-in past Hutton, though it was simply a case of “lost puck”.
Carter Hutton and the Preds would hold off the Jets 3-1, despite being outshot in total 26 to 39.
Hutton would inevitably block 38 of those 39 shots; pretty good for his first full NHL game, right?
The NHL take notice of Hutton’s success as proven with this tweet:
Whoa! Rip van Winkle here, right? This off-season has been relatively quiet compared to years past, but we are okay with that (still eying you, Toots & Suter).
But we figured we’d wake the 20-year sleep for an update on number changes for the 2013-14 season. Because, we all want to scream out the correct name-to-player, right? It is a tad embarrassing when you yell the wrong name and you can only blame blurry contacts so many times.
So here’s the changes:
Eric Nystrom will continue wearing No. 24, a sure sign Matt Halischuk is officially gone.
Taylor Beck will no longer rep the No. 56, but now drop to No. 41.
Patrick Cehlin tends to favor No. 29, but donned No. 10 with the Admirals. He will carry that number over to the Predators, replacing the iconic Martin Erat.
Kevin Henderson will ditch No. 46 for Brandon Yip’s former No. 18.
Matt Cullen preferred No. 7 while with the Wild, so it’s only natural he’d take former Pred (now Minnesota Wild) Jonathon Blum’s number.
Viktor Stalberg, fresh off his Stanley Cup win, will continue his streak with the No. 25 for the Preds, taking Jerred Smithson’s old number.
Matt Hendricks rolled with No. 26 while with the Capitals, so he picks up where he left off with Nashville. To us, it will always be Steve Sullivan’s number.
Not too many changes, but hopefully this will prepare you for preseason in case you question why Martin Erat was back on the ice.What do you think about the number changes and additions?