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Posted On Sunday, 04.14.2013 / 3:32 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Predators ready for Forsberg's debut

NASHVILLE – Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg will make his much-anticipated NHL debut on Sunday as a member of the team’s top line and first power-play unit.

One day after arriving from Sweden, the 18-year-old is set to play on a line with David Legwand, who has played for the Predators in every season of their existence, and rookie Taylor Beck, who has three goals in 13 games.

That the Predators’ top line is comprised of two rookies with a total of 13 NHL games between them is a testament to the extent to which injuries have impacted the Predators but also to how they have fallen out of the Stanley Cup Playoff race. They have lost eight out of nine entering their game on Sunday with the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena and were 13th in the Western Conference.

Forsberg, drafted 11th in the 2012 NHL Draft, is the player whom the Predators received in exchange from the Washington Capitals for Martin Erat, who ranks second all-time in most Nashville offensive categories.

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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 2:16 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lehtonen not ready, so Stars to go with Bachman

NASHVILLE -- With the Dallas Stars in a desperate situation to try to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen was not sounding optimistic Friday about his injured groin following his team's morning skate.

"I was hoping that I would feel a lot better than I did," Lehtonen said, but he added the injury is "going in the right direction."

As a result, Richard Bachman was going to start Friday at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators. Lehtonen will not be in uniform. Coach Glen Gulutzan said Cristopher Nilstorp, an emergency call-up from Texas of the American Hockey League, would back up Bachman.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 1:50 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharp, Bolland remain out for Chicago

NASHVILLE -- Neither David Bolland nor Patrick Sharp are expected back in the lineup on Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the two forwards were questionable to play Sunday when Chicago faces Nashville in the second half of a home-and-home.

“We’ll see,” Quenneville said of their status for Sunday.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 3:45 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Predators moving on without Erat

NASHVILLE -- One of the immediate problems the Nashville Predators found themselves with after trading longtime right wing Martin Erat to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday was they did not receive a roster player in return.

The Predators, who entered Thursday two points out of eighth place in the Western Conference, went into their morning skate for their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with 11 healthy forwards.

As insurance, they recalled center Chris Mueller from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Mueller had been sent down a day earlier. (They also recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis.)

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Posted On Monday, 03.25.2013 / 1:53 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Nugent-Hopkins back for Oilers, to skate with Yakupov

NASHVILLE -- After missing two games with strep throat, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will return to the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers on Monday when they visit the Nashville Predators and it looks like he will have new linemates.

"Feeling strong and feeling like my energy's back," Nugent-Hopkins said.

Nugent-Hopkins centered a line during the morning skate with Nail Yakupov and Ryan Smith. Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said the combination was in part an effort to get Yakupov going.


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Posted On Monday, 03.25.2013 / 12:28 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Predators could get Hornqvist back vs. Oilers

NASHVILLE -- Slowly but surely the Nashville Predators are regaining their health.

On Monday, right wing Patric Hornqvist, the team's top goal scorer in two of the three previous seasons, could return to the lineup when Nashville hosts the Edmonton Oilers.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said he would speak to Hornqvist after the skate but that he that Hornqvist had a "good chance" of playing. Hornqvist said, "If he wants me, I'm ready to go."

Hornqvist has missed the last eight games with an upper body injury. His last game was on March 8 against these very same Oilers. Overall, he has missed 18 games this season with various injuries.

If Hornqvist does play, Nashville will have to make a roster move.


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Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 12:34 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Gill expected to return for Predators

NASHVILLE – When the Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Hal Gill last February it was mostly to help with their penalty killing as they anticipated a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Having re-signed Gill in the offseason, the Predators expected him to perform the same service. However, he has been injured for much of the season and, as a result, the Predators’ penalty-killing unit has suffered, ranking 28th in the League at 77.2 percent.

Nashville hopes that changes Saturday when they play the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena and, Gill, who has played in half of his team’s 30 games, should return to the lineup. He has missed 12 straight games with a lower-body injury and has played in three since Feb. 10.

"The penalty kill needs more attention than the power play (which ranks 17th but has yielded three shorthanded goals in the past three games) right now based on we haven’t been able to keep pucks out of our net there, so big Hal Gill has been a big factor since he’s been out," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Our percentage is pretty low for where we were."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 12:50 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Predators get Hornqvist, Gill back at practice

NASHVILLE -– For the first time since the Nashville Predators departed on a five-game road trip on March 11, defenseman Hal Gill and right wing Patric Hornqvist participated with their team on the ice.

Gill worked with Kevin Klein and looked like he had a chance of playing on Thursday against the Calgary Flames at Bridgestone Arena, but coach Barry Trotz said after the skate that Gill would not play.

Gill has missed 11 straight games with a lower-body injury and has only played in three since Feb. 10. The Predators could use his veteran presence as they have been icing, at times, a very young defense corps that includes Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi, both in their second seasons, as well as Jonathon Blum, 24, who has only played 73 career NHL games, and rookie Victor Bartley.

Part of that is because veteran Scott Hannan also is out with an upper-body injury, and Trotz said Hannan would be out indefinitely.


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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 2:05 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Nashville fan favorite Tootoo returns with Red Wings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jordin Tootoo spent his first eight seasons in the NHL with the Nashville Predators and was a fan favorite.

When he stepped on the ice wearing his No. 22, the hoot of train whistles would cut through the sound at Bridgestone Arena, and when he crashed into an opposing player with one of his trademark hits, delight and applause would spring forth.

Tuesday, he will play his first game in his former city as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. Tootoo, 30, signed a three-year deal worth $5.7 million. Nashville, busy signing players it traded for last season (Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad), did not make much of an effort to re-sign Tootoo. Rich Clune has taken up Tootoo's role with Nashville.

The sight of Tootoo wearing red and white will take some getting used in this city.

"Obviously it's different," he said. "Everything about the whole experience. Dressing in this (visitors) room -- I've never been in this room before. Walking across the street, staying in a hotel, everything has been an experience in itself, but as a hockey player guys come and go and move from team to team. It's just part of it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 12:27 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Gaustad a no-go as Predators host Red Wings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday center Paul Gaustad, who is tied for fourth in the League in faceoff efficiency at 62.8 percent, would miss that night's game against the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena with an upper-body injury.

Gaustad got hurt in Monday's 6-5 loss at the Colorado Avalanche in the first period, playing 58 seconds, and did not return. Trotz said he would know more about Gaustad's injury in a few days. Gaustad also missed the second, third and fourth games of the season with an upper-body injury that could be related.

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday