Before we get to the morning news, a follow-up on my recent musing about why J.P. Dumont has been demoted to the 4th line. Last night in the win over Colorado, J.P. played just 8:45, and got only three shifts in the 3rd period, not touching the ice after his line with Cal O'Reilly and Ryan Jones came off with over 15 minutes left. That's the least ice time he's had (while healthy) in his entire 4-season run in Nashville, and I'm puzzled by it. He's 3rd on the team in scoring and 2nd among forwards in Plus/Minus, so it's not like he's dropped off the scoresheet.
If it's a performance issue (J.P. has just 3 assists and 8 shots in the last 8 games), Dumont is getting a far different treatment than Martin Erat did when he struggled earlier this year. Erat was moved to the top line to help get his game going. Then again, this isn't the first example of incongruity we've seen from Barry Trotz in recent weeks.
During a season in which neither of his goaltenders has seized the reins as #1, Dan Ellis could have earned some extra starts last month, when he went on a 3-1 stretch with a .957 Save Percentage including a shutout on the road at Calgary on January 15.
While many expected that the shutout would be rewarded with the next start, Trotz declared that "this year" his tradition no longer applied. Pekka Rinne got the next start, against Toronto, but lasted only 9:00, giving up 3 goals. Ellis came in and kept Nashville in the game almost single-handedly. The rotation continued until Pekka finally won a game, beating Atlanta last Saturday, which has led to him getting the last two starts as well. Granted, some of that work can be attributed to the baby daughter the Ellis family welcomed a few days ago, but in Trotz's quest to have one of his goalies take over as a true #1 starter, it appears that he's really only looking at one guy for the job, the big Finn.
If I'm J.P. Dumont or Dan Ellis right now, I have to be scratching my head a bit as to what's going on, and at least in Ellis' case, whether he has a future here in Nashville.
UPDATE: John Glennon, in his afternoon update, asks Trotz directly about Dumont's ice time. It sounds like the coach isn't happy about J.P.'s commitment to two-way play right now, and when asked how J.P. is taking his direction to change his game somewhat, Trotz responded: "It really doesn't matter how he takes it. I really don't care how he takes it. It's more you're going to play a certain way to be successful or ... Ice time is the only thing a coach has, so that's where it starts."
After the jump, we've got your usual news and notes - lots of reaction to last night's win, the big Ilya Kovalchuk trade, and word that Jordin Tootoo might be close to signing a contract extension.
Preds On The Glass: Game Recap: Preds Surprise Avs with Three Power Play Goals
Buddy's post-game has all the audio you can ask for, from both dressing rooms and Barry Trotz's press conference.
The View from 111: Predators Bury Avalanche 5-3
Mark likes the way the Preds played once they got the lead last night; there was no letup in the third.
See Puck City: The Snow Melted - So Did the Avalanche: Preds Win 5-2
SPC is one happy camper after last night's win...
Game 56 Recap: Avs Dominated, Fall in Nashville 5-3 - Mile High Hockey
It's always interesting to get the opposition viewpoint on the game.
Jordin Tootoo contract talks heat up - The Tennessean
After having locked up Kevin Klein and Marcel Goc in recent weeks, it looks like Toots is getting close to an extension.
Around the NHL
Kovalchuk to New Jersey Devils - Bird Watchers Anonymous
You might have heard, but Atlanta made a deal with the Devil(s) yesterday. The Falconer offers the perspective of the Thrashers fan on what they landed.
OFFICIAL: Ilya Kovalchuk, Anssi Salmela to New Jersey Devils for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier and a 1st Round Pick - In Lou We Trust
And in New Jersey, they're pretty much freaking out like a bunch of 12-year-old girls who just landed front row Miley Cyrus tickets.
Kovalchuk the star of trade talks, but others face deadline intrigue - USATODAY.com
Kevin Allen neatly summarizes the dilemma facing David Poile over Dan Hamhuis. Given the probability that Hammer's next contract won't fit within Nashville's budget, do you trade him now rather than let him walk for nothing over the summer? If so, can anything obtained in trade help the team succeed in the playoffs better than Hamhuis would? I'd suggest a 3rd option as well - keep Hamhuis, then trade his rights just before July 1 as happened with Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell when they went to Philadelphia in June 2007. The return wouldn't be as large as a trade right now, but this year's playoffs are important.
Niclas Wallin Update - Canes Country
All indications are that the depth defenseman is on his way to San Jose...
Let’s End This Now - KuklasKorner
Last night in New York, someone in the stands pointed a laser at Washington goalie Jose Theodore. This is the 2nd such incident in the league this season, and fans in the stands need to take action to stop such nonsense ASAP.
Paul Kelly's Chat with USCHO - Western College Hockey Blog
The former NHLPA head (now with College Hockey, Inc.) chats with SBN's college hockey blog.
TSN: Souray's Trade List at Six - The Copper & Blue
Edmonton's Sheldon Souray, a premier power play defenseman, has submitted a list of team's he'd be willing to be traded to. Don't worry, Nashville's not on it.
Hockey in Afghanistan, where it's 'game on' after warning sirens - Puck Daddy
A great look at how street hockey gives our soldiers overseas a respite from their daily duties.
The Dark Blue Jacket: An Irish Wake for Hitch's Coaching Tenure
Now this is a sentiment I can get down with; celebrating the good times that Ken Hitchcock brought to Columbus, rather than get stuck on the ending.
THN.com Blog: Good GMs know when to wave goodbye
Edward Fraser notes that while hard to do, sometimes it's best to let a good player walk away, rather than lock them up in a new, costly contract.