Perhaps the most welcome highlight from last night's 5-4 shootout win at Phoenix was the breakaway goal scored by Craig Smith. After having been scratched for a couple games, and with just one goal in his last 16 games, concern has been mounting that perhaps the rookie has been ground down by the long NHL season. This can be compounded by sagging confidence, as those split-second decisions get made in favor of making the safe play rather than attacking the net.
That breakaway goal he scored last night, however, with the savvy shot fake leading to a backhand, showed the kind of moxie that recalled those heady days of October and November. Faced with an opportunity, he went in and challenged Mike Smith in the Phoenix net rather than just fire a quick shot.
If he can start playing like the Honey Badger again, Smith gives Barry Trotz another dangerous weapon to round out his forward lines with. Do you think that was the spark to get him going, or am I reading too much into that one goal? That's something to consider while reading your morning hockey notes...
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Nashville Predators News
As always, the morning after a game take a walk through the "More Predators Sites" box on the left sidebar of the main page, pretty much every blog in town has a recap from last night's game.
Paper work being finalized that could see Radulov back in NHL - TSN
Hopefully it's not like the "paper work" that Brett Wilson referred to on Twitter a few times as he waited to become a Preds owner. That could take a couple years to complete!
Francis Bouillon scores a rare and popular goal for Nashville Predators | The Tennessean
The Cube discusses his scoring touch, and Kevin Klein is at least practicing.
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Hybrid icing finds strong support at NHL GM meetings; red line reinstallation stalls | Puck Daddy
Here's a review of the rule changes being considered - which ones might fly, and which won't.
Down Goes Brown: The great eight: A look at the most likely Stanley Cup winners
Here's DGB's take on the Preds: Greatest strength: Every player on the roster believes with absolute certainty that they have a chance of beating out all these other teams, which experts agree is just completely adorable. Potential weakness: While occasional distractions on the road are just part of the job for superstar players, it's still not cool how all the owners of every big market team the Predators visit keep "accidentally" leaving giant bags full of money in Ryan Suter's locker.
Behind Bryzgalov's bounce back + 30 Thoughts - CBC Sports
Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts are required weekly reading.
Kings' 3-2 Win Over the Blue Jackets on Feb. 1 Draws Scrutiny - WSJ.com
Remember that infamous clock malfunction which helped lift the Kings to a victory over Columbus several weeks ago? Given how tight the standings are, that could end up deciding a team's playoff fate.
Roundtable: What’s wrong with the San Jose Sharks? Has the window closed for Stanley Cup hopes? | Puck Daddy
For the last couple months, they've been diced up like sushi.
Man-games lost to concussions on the upswing in NHL - The Globe and Mail
The GM's give Brendan Shanahan a pat on the back for the increased focus on suspensions and fines this season.
NHL's new ad campaign is "Because it's the Cup" | Puck Drunk Love
Fresh material for parody.
Selanne passes Kurri on all-time scoring list - NHL.com
A tremendous accomplishment here for Teemu Selanne, who is now the NHL's all-time high scoring Finn.
St. Louis Blues Signing of Jaden Schwartz Is Move For Here And Now - St. Louis Game Time
Having just signed their college draftee the other day, might the Blues actually get Schwartz into some NHL action?
The Five Best Markets for Future NHL Franchises | The Hockey Writers
I don't believe that the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis could realistically host an NHL team, but that would be an interesting choice.
Soccer Sexes Up Stats to Create 'Datatainment' | Playbook | Wired.com
Soccer is way ahead of hockey, but there is a model to follow here at least.
Barch says if soldiers could risk their lives then highly paid hockey players could risk concussions – Sun-Sentinel
One Florida Panther shrugs off the talk of concussion risk as part of a business that's a lot easier than soldiering in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Blackhawks sign Carcillo to new 2-year contact; and ready for the playoff stretch | The Hockey Writers
Get used to seeing this pest for the next couple years.
NashvillePredators @ Phoenix Coyotes Game Recap: Desert Dogs Comeback Ends In Shootout Loss - Five For Howling
From the Coyotes' perspective, they can admire the team's pluck in coming back from three deficits against Nashville, and earning at least one point in the standings.
Avalanche stop the Ducks' spoiler bid, win 3-2 in OT - Mile High Hockey
Gabriel Landeskog is looking like a real Calder Trophy favorite after scoring a critical overtime goal for Colorado.
Canadiens vs. Sabres Recap: The Tyler And Tyler Show Gives Sabres The Victory - Die By The Blade
The Sabres closed to within two points of a playoff spot.