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Nashville Predators @ St. Louis Blues: 7pm CDT

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Old
10-11-2011, 11:27 AM
  #201
predfan24
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With regards to Josi, I don't think it's fair to call him injury prone yet. Yes, it is something to keep an eye on and I have heard people saying that his style of play might lead him to become more injury prone being a puck rushing Dman who is sometimes caught with his head down. Last year it was his hand that got broke on a hit right? Then this year it was the concussion. It's not fair to call someone who got a concussion injury prone. There is nothing you can do about that. Sounds like he has had some bad luck more than anything the last two camps.

So while injuries are something to look out for in the future with Josi I will admit but I think he has been unfairly labeled by some.

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10-11-2011, 03:36 PM
  #202
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Originally Posted by ThirdManIn View Post
Jack Hillen is a 25 year old #6 defenseman two games into his fourth NHL season. Yes, he is on a two-way contract, and I believe (but do not quote me here) that he is exempt from waivers. He signed his first NHL contract with the Islanders on April 1, 2008 making him 22 at the time. If I am not mistaken, signing your first deal at 22 allows for you to play four NHL seasons (minimum of 40 games to be counted as a season) before you are waiver eligible. He has three seasons. Honestly, though, after two games if the biggest things we are worried about are our #6 defenseman (who has guys behind him ready to make the jump) and the youngest roster in the league looking... well... young in a couple of wins I am ok with it. Personally, I thought Hillen would be better than he has looked so far, but it's only two games in so who knows. Maybe he is a bust. It happens. Maybe he turns it around and begins to look solid. That also happens. Either way, it's a better problem to have than a lot of teams are faced with.

I cannot condone breaking up a very solid top 4 in an effort to balance out all three defensive pairings. I just don't see how you can justify breaking up the best pairing in the league and a very good shutdown, second pairing just because the third pairing hasn't clicked yet. I'd rather see Weber, Suter, Blum, and Klein eat up 45+ minutes per night than start moving pieces around. Plug some of our depth blueliners in first.
Hillen averaged 19 minutes a game with the Islanders and was on the 2nd D pairing the last half of the season. His D partner was Radek Martinek and together they looked very good on a team that struggled in the first half of the year but played to about .500 after mid January. Hillen routinely logged over 20+ minutes when they improved their record.

He had 20 of his 22 points in even strength situations. He had very few give-aways and a lot of take-aways. He also had 137 blocked shots, second on the team behind MacDonald who averaged about 25 mins per game. This implies he is good at taking care of the puck, while making good passes, and is a very mobile, very good skating defender. He has played about 180 games and is a bonafide NHL defender IMO. However, he is not like the Cube, or some of the other banging defensemen on the team. If the Preds are looking for that, they would need to change his style. Also, for them to send him to Milwaukee, he would have to clear waivers, as listed by Dirk Hoag.

I don't think the first two games is a good sample size for this 3rd D pairing. Both have been given very little playing time. Hillen 13 and 11 minutes. Laakso even less at 12 and 9. Laakso has only about 10 NHL games to his credit and I am sure constantly remembers being sent down two seasons ago after only 7 games. He looks really tight out there and a bit scared. He has paid his dues and should be fine as the season rolls along.

This pairing needs to be given more minutes, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because the team needs them to log more minutes. The other four can't keep up the same pace the whole season. And remember, Hillen and Laakso beat out 3 other guys for those 3rd pairing spots. The coaching staff didn't make that decision lightly, I'm sure. So those who think there is a quick fix solution here might want to give this pairing a bit longer to mature.

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10-11-2011, 06:20 PM
  #203
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They'll get more minutes at home where trotz can match them favorably.

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10-11-2011, 10:15 PM
  #204
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Originally Posted by Prederator View Post
Hillen averaged 19 minutes a game with the Islanders and was on the 2nd D pairing the last half of the season. His D partner was Radek Martinek and together they looked very good on a team that struggled in the first half of the year but played to about .500 after mid January. Hillen routinely logged over 20+ minutes when they improved their record.

He had 20 of his 22 points in even strength situations. He had very few give-aways and a lot of take-aways. He also had 137 blocked shots, second on the team behind MacDonald who averaged about 25 mins per game. This implies he is good at taking care of the puck, while making good passes, and is a very mobile, very good skating defender. He has played about 180 games and is a bonafide NHL defender IMO. However, he is not like the Cube, or some of the other banging defensemen on the team. If the Preds are looking for that, they would need to change his style. Also, for them to send him to Milwaukee, he would have to clear waivers, as listed by Dirk Hoag.

I don't think the first two games is a good sample size for this 3rd D pairing. Both have been given very little playing time. Hillen 13 and 11 minutes. Laakso even less at 12 and 9. Laakso has only about 10 NHL games to his credit and I am sure constantly remembers being sent down two seasons ago after only 7 games. He looks really tight out there and a bit scared. He has paid his dues and should be fine as the season rolls along.

This pairing needs to be given more minutes, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because the team needs them to log more minutes. The other four can't keep up the same pace the whole season. And remember, Hillen and Laakso beat out 3 other guys for those 3rd pairing spots. The coaching staff didn't make that decision lightly, I'm sure. So those who think there is a quick fix solution here might want to give this pairing a bit longer to mature.

Wow. A rational post regarding the 3rd pair. Didn't think that would happen.

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10-11-2011, 10:37 PM
  #205
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Wow. A rational post regarding the 3rd pair. Didn't think that would happen.
Sure, but they did stink. Particularly Hillen. You can't overlook that. I agree with the "give them more time" sentiment and the "they will be better at home" theory. Opening on the road with all the other factors was not useful for this pair. However, they didn't help themselves and it's possible they aren't the optimal 3rd pair for us (alone or collectively).

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10-12-2011, 09:42 AM
  #206
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Sure, but they did stink. Particularly Hillen. You can't overlook that. I agree with the "give them more time" sentiment and the "they will be better at home" theory. Opening on the road with all the other factors was not useful for this pair. However, they didn't help themselves and it's possible they aren't the optimal 3rd pair for us (alone or collectively).
I would disagree. Especially considering these two guys played with frozen toes, they didn't light it up, but they held their own. I wouldn't say they "stunk". They were scored on once in these two games. They were scored on by the Nash, Pandolfo, Carter line in the CBJ game because Nash slipped in front of Spaling and outmuscled him in front of Rinne, but remember, this big line also scored on Suter and Weber earlier in the game too.

Trotz had them on a very short leash, especially Laakso, in these two very tight defensive games as he doesn't know what he has in this pairing yet. He seemed to trust Hillen more as he was given more time in both games. Hillen does need to tighten up his penalties, but he is known as a very smart defenseman and I am sure he will do that.

I expect better results from these guys as they fit in and see more ice.

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10-12-2011, 10:33 AM
  #207
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Agreed. People are overreacting to the third line. They have been scored on once by a line that will score on any team's 1st pairing, let alone their third. They have three penalties combines in two games, which isn't great but isn't terrible. At least the penalties are something that can be worked on, unlike last year when we had a guy who just seemed incapable of not taking a stupid penalty every game for half of the season (yeah yeah, SOB was tough and I like that, too, but he isn't very bright). All a team needs from its defensive pairing is the ability to play against the opposing team's bottom six effectively, which they did. On the road, third pairs will be caught out on the ice against the top six, but that is the entire point of last change. It gives the home coach the advantage of being able to assault weaknesses.

I don't think they will see a lot more ice time, though if they show the ability to take 15 minutes per night that would be great. Weber and Suter absolutely can handle ~25 minutes per night, especially Suter. Klein and Blum should be able to handle an additional 20 minutes. I see no reason why Laakso and Hillen cannot take up the rest. If for some reason one or both of them can't, though, we have replacements. This really shouldn't be a major concern

(and I swear, if someone comes back to quote that last line after one terrible game for the two I am going to throw chunks of the internet at them...)

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Old
10-12-2011, 11:21 AM
  #208
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taking a stick penalty on back to back games is stinking. sorry. they are lazy penalties.

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10-12-2011, 12:43 PM
  #209
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Originally Posted by token grinder View Post
taking a stick penalty on back to back games is stinking. sorry. they are lazy penalties.
not only that, it's easy to say, "he was only on the ice for one goal against," but that's not a barometer of how effective a defenseman is. Sometimes, the old fashioned way--simply watching--is good enough. That pairing struggled with clearing the puck in both games, every time they were on the ice.

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10-12-2011, 04:31 PM
  #210
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Obviously parts of their games can be improved, but it is still a third pairing. Yes, stick penalties are usually taken out of laziness or because the player got out of position. Like I said, though, those things can be worked on. If it is laziness the player will be replaced. If it is positioning I believe both guys have the mobility to learn from their mistakes. The same can be said for clearing the puck. I have seen Weber and Suter struggle for a string if games with clearing the puck. In fact, it happened just last season. Perhaps after a bigger bloc of games the problem will become more clearly defined, but I stand by my opinion that it isn't as bad as some are making it out to be.

Now, if after 10-15 games there are no signs of improve, replace one or both of them. Im just not ready to deliver a verdict after two road games against tough division teams. Especially since they were the first games of the season.

I would also say that two games cannot be used as a barometer of how good a defenseman is (though you are right, BTN, in that the "one goal against" argument isn't a good barometer of how effective a defenseman is in a particular game)


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Old
10-12-2011, 07:36 PM
  #211
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That pairing struggled with clearing the puck in both games, every time they were on the ice.
Really? Every single time? Or could it just possibly be that you paid no attention to them, except when they had trouble clearing the puck? Because I did pay attention to them, and they were not in trouble even close to as much as you make it seem.


Besides, on your team the troubles of getting out of the D-zone can be blamed on the forwards as much as the d-men, if not more so.

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10-12-2011, 09:34 PM
  #212
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Really? Every single time? Or could it just possibly be that you paid no attention to them, except when they had trouble clearing the puck? Because I did pay attention to them, and they were not in trouble even close to as much as you make it seem.


Besides, on your team the troubles of getting out of the D-zone can be blamed on the forwards as much as the d-men, if not more so.
I paid attention and it's probably fair to say Token, Barry and others watched too because the 3rd pairing is one of the two big question marks on the team to start the season. They had more troubles than Franson/SOB had in most games last year and they did it in far fewer minutes. They had trouble clearing, they had trouble with positioning and they had trouble maintaining structure and supporting each other. Those things lead to scoring chances and over time scoring chances lead to goals. You may not agree but, to me, that qualifies as stink.

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10-12-2011, 09:57 PM
  #213
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I paid attention and it's probably fair to say Token, Barry and others watched too because the 3rd pairing is one of the two big question marks on the team to start the season. They had more troubles than Franson/SOB had in most games last year and they did it in far fewer minutes. They had trouble clearing, they had trouble with positioning and they had trouble maintaining structure and supporting each other. Those things lead to scoring chances and over time scoring chances lead to goals. You may not agree but, to me, that qualifies as stink.
To be fair, we've seen two games of Hillen-Laakso this season and both have been on the road where protected minutes are harder to come by. I can point to all four games against the Oilers last season blowing by Franson and O'Brien and write them off as well...

There is another level to Laakso's game that we didn't see last weekend. Trotz mentioned that today and sent the message that he's gotta show what he did in the preseason to solidify his spot. Hillen did start to settle in as the weekend progressed, but had a poor weekend all-around IMO.

The pairing was actually pretty good when play was continuous and the matchups could be controlled a little more changing on the fly. Where they got killed was off of faceoffs when they were sent out, then Columbus countered with the Nash line and St. Louis with the Backes line. The pairing simply doesn't have the size to compete with those lines and started scrambling as soon as the faceoffs were lost.

Gotta prove they can handle weight better before they can truly be counted on...

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10-12-2011, 10:31 PM
  #214
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I think we are a little spoiled here at times. Because we watch two of the best Dmen in the world night in night out that we expect every D-man to play at their level.

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10-13-2011, 12:52 AM
  #215
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To be fair, we've seen two games of Hillen-Laakso this season and both have been on the road where protected minutes are harder to come by. I can point to all four games against the Oilers last season blowing by Franson and O'Brien and write them off as well...

There is another level to Laakso's game that we didn't see last weekend. Trotz mentioned that today and sent the message that he's gotta show what he did in the preseason to solidify his spot. Hillen did start to settle in as the weekend progressed, but had a poor weekend all-around IMO.

The pairing was actually pretty good when play was continuous and the matchups could be controlled a little more changing on the fly. Where they got killed was off of faceoffs when they were sent out, then Columbus countered with the Nash line and St. Louis with the Backes line. The pairing simply doesn't have the size to compete with those lines and started scrambling as soon as the faceoffs were lost. Gotta prove they can handle weight better before they can truly be counted on...
would help tremendously if we start winning those faceoffs, too... its a lot easier to have a good shift as a defenseman when your team has the puck....

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10-13-2011, 07:05 AM
  #216
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To be fair, we've seen two games of Hillen-Laakso this season and both have been on the road where protected minutes are harder to come by. I can point to all four games against the Oilers last season blowing by Franson and O'Brien and write them off as well...

There is another level to Laakso's game that we didn't see last weekend. Trotz mentioned that today and sent the message that he's gotta show what he did in the preseason to solidify his spot. Hillen did start to settle in as the weekend progressed, but had a poor weekend all-around IMO.

The pairing was actually pretty good when play was continuous and the matchups could be controlled a little more changing on the fly. Where they got killed was off of faceoffs when they were sent out, then Columbus countered with the Nash line and St. Louis with the Backes line. The pairing simply doesn't have the size to compete with those lines and started scrambling as soon as the faceoffs were lost.

Gotta prove they can handle weight better before they can truly be counted on...
Trotz said yesterday: “I talked to Laks, who I know more than I know Jack. He has another level in his game and he’s got to get it going,” Trotz said. “Jack I thought settled in last game. He was nervous the first game like the rest of us. He’s sort of settled in and practicing much better now.”

Sounds like Trotz may insert Ekholm for Laakso tonight, if Ekholm plays at all. I can't imagine them pairing two guys who have a combined 10 NHL games (all Laakso) together for a home opener. Perhaps if Laakso were playing better Hillen would sit, but that didn't seem to happen in either game last weekend according to Trotz.

Trotz is definitely committed to his draftees, so sooner or later I would guess you will see Laakso as a regular on that third pairing if the Cube can come back on a regular basis. Hillen may then become the 7th on the shelf or waived.

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