There’s no shortage of action on the ice this week, as the NHL continues to see a lot of movement in both directions. Some teams have finally settled into their groove, while others are sharpening their blades as they try to figure out what has gone wrong, in many cases injuries have been leaving their NHL stars in the shed.
One of the teams that appears to have found its rhythm is the Tampa Bay Lightning, which has moved up in the ranks from 13 to 6, thanks to a spectacular run. They’re on an eight-game winning streak and are finally looking like potential candidates for a spot in the playoffs.
NHL Stars With Injuries
The Buffalo Sabres haven’t been so lucky. They’ve dropped from 21 to 23 as part of a continuous slip on a season that has been anything but productive. A 1-6-1 run was brought to an end with an overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers, followed by another win against the Florida Panthers, but things don’t look good at this point. They’re four points behind any chance at a wild-card appearance in the playoffs and, with one of their NHL stars, Victor Olofsson now out due to injury, their chances for redemption just got worse.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are having some difficulty, as well. They just lost winger Jake Guentzel for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, and the team is going to desperately be looking for someone to fill his skates. It’s possible that there could be some real interest in Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, but Tyler Toffoli of the LA Kings might also be a target.
New Coach For Predators
The Nashville Predators just let go of head coach Peter Laviolette on Monday following six seasons with the team. Just a day later, a replacement had already been named. John Hynes, who was fired as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils a month ago, has signed on to lead the Predators. His record with his former squad wasn’t exactly stellar – 150-159-45 and just one playoff appearance in the last four seasons – and the Predators hope he will be a better fit with them.
The Predators aren’t pinning all their hopes on the incoming coach, though. GM David Poile has reportedly been on the phone, looking for possible trade opportunities to boost the sagging team. Given that Nashville has five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft, as well as some extra cash to work with, there is a lot of leverage it can use to try to attract some fresh talent.
The Carolina Hurricanes needed a little help and they may have just found it. NHL veteran Justin Williams has agreed to a one-year contract with his former team and will be able to add some much-needed depth. Williams will pick up $700,000, as well as the possibility of another $1.3 million in performance bonuses if he steps up and helps to turn things around.
Another former NHL-er is back in the league. Igor Shesterkin put on a Rangers jersey for the first time since 2014 last night and he could be looking at a long-term engagement, if he shows everyone that he still has the talent. Shersterkin won’t be replacing Henrik Lundqvist or Alexandar Georgiev, but Georgiev is almost guaranteed to be off the squad after the season, so the goalie has a shot at moving up after his departure.
All-Star Weekend is coming up in a little more than two weeks and Adidas just released the jerseys that will be worn by the four teams. The jerseys will be worn at the NHL Skills event in St. Louis and the sports apparel company decided to pay homage to the original St. Louis Blues with its designs. The reviews have been mixed, but no one ever accused Adidas of being a fashion leader.