Why the coach's challenge isn't as effective as it could be
During the first period of Nashville's game against St. Louis on Tuesday evening, fans watching the game unfold saw a heavy dosage of how challenging a scoring play does and doesn't work in its current form.
Off a shot from the point, forward Dmitrij Jaskin was in the right place at the right time and poked home the rebound after a fantastic stop by Predators goaltender Carter Hutton.
Immediately afterwards, head coach Peter Laviolette challenged the scoring play as to whether or not the Blues were offsides prior to entering the zone on Jaskin's goal.
Looking back at the replay, there really wasn't a clear enough view although it looked as though Laviolette had a case to argue for offsides -- especially since he was watching the play unfold right in front of him.
While the replay did seem to show the player tagging up at the blue line prior to crossing back into the offensive zone to attack the puck, it also showcases how coach's challenges can be effective, but still leave much to be desired.
The league needs to not only add in more cameras for more angles, including perhaps a camera built into the boards at the blue line -- much like the NFL's new pylon cam this season -- but they also need to provide officials with something more than a basic six or seven inch tablet to view the replay on.
How ludicrous is that? You're reviewing a play that could potentially change the outcome of the contest your officiating on what looks like a simple, yet modified Android tablet? That needs to be changed.
Why Seth Jones and Barret Jackman are better than you think they are
I always get a good chuckle when folks downplay how good both Jones and Jackman have been for Nashville this season and rip them to absolute shreds when they make one or two mistakes here and there.
Putting aside the fact that Jones hasn't scored as much as he could and Jackman will never be a statistical punch in the lineup, both Jones and Jackman are a vastly important part of the defensive core for Nashville.
You know what you're going to get with Shea Weber and Roman Josi. You know what you're going to get with Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm. If you're not sure what you're going to get with Jones and Jackman yet, you should really go back and look at some of their body of work.
Jones is in his third season of NHL play. He's going to have moments where he makes a mistake here or there that a savvy veteran defenseman wouldn't necessarily make, however I don't believe he needs to be vilified over it.
Case and point his diving attempt to stop Blues forward Robby Fabbri. It probably wasn't the wisest decision to dive on that play with Fabbri zig-zagging through traffic, beating Hutton on the play, however it wasn't the worst decision either. Jones made a conscious effort to put his body in the path of Fabbri in an attempt to stop his progress towards the net. Fabbri was just able to get around him.
Later in the game, Jones' attempt to block a Kevin Shattenkirk shot tipped off his stick and screamed past Hutton.
Jackman, on the other hand, has done a fantastic job this season shutting down opposing rushes and providing Jones the ability to pinch up on the play whenever he finds the opportunity to do so. Not just that, however Jackman trails only one defender in the entire league for Corsi percentage in five-on-five situations: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
He might not have had the best night against St. Louis, where he was roughed up and caught out of position more than once, but I tend to give a defenseman with his clout a bit of a longer leash.
They're both not going to be the two flashiest defenseman on the roster, however I just don't understand the level of disdain I see for the duo.
Misfortune in the division
With the loss against St. Louis on Tuesday night, the Predators fell to 4-5-1 against Central Division opponents this season.
That's not going to cut it, especially when Nashville will most likely match up against a divisional opponent if and when it comes to the playoffs.
They've earned one win against both Chicago and Winnipeg along with two against Minnesota. Nashville has failed to beat St. Louis in any of its three meetings against including losing individual games to Chicago, Colorado and Minnesota.
What's even worse is that the Predators have failed to get any type of handle on the new 3-on-3 overtime period this season, where they've accumulated a whopping six losses and no wins. Weber went on the record after Nashville's last overtime loss stating that the team doesn't really practice for the overtime period, which definitely explains a lot in terms of how they've performed there.
Digressing back to the initial point, Nashville has to find some type of measured success against its divisional opponents. They did a good job of climbing back in the final four minutes of the game to tie it and send it to overtime, but if they can't find a way to ultimately win -- whether it's in the regular season or playoffs -- then it doesn't mean much.
Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues -- Give credit where credit is due. Steen played a strong game for St. Louis, but made it count in the overtime period where it was needed. He had a couple of strong chances and converted the overtime marker to give the Blues the win.
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators -- A shorthanded goal and an assist for Ekholm this evening in one of his better performances of the year. Much like how they usually play beside each other, him and Ellis had a great night channelling pressure towards Blues netminder Jake Allen.
Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues -- Although he allowed two goals in the final four minutes of play, Allen's play throughout the night was absolutely stellar. He single-handedly kept St. Louis in the game for the majority of regulation and didn't see much during the overtime period.