Predators' power play puts up paltry numbers amid numerous other successes

There are many things the Nashville Predators have done well.

Then there’s the power play.

It has been true of this season’s first six games in general. It was particularly true of Tuesday’s shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville had a season-high five power plays and failed to convert on any of them yet managed to extend the contest to overtime and eventually won, 4-3, in a shootout.

“That could have been the game right there,” center Mike Ribeiro said. “… You cannot not score on the power play, especially when you have however many we had (Tuesday) night. It makes a difference [whether] you win or lose games.

“Obviously, we are not happy about it.”

The Predators have won four of their first six games and earned a point in the other two. That makes them one of just two Western Conference teams that have yet to endure a regulation defeat. They are fifth overall in goals-against and have won three times (most in the Western Conference) after they allowed the first goal.

With the man-advantage, though, they have one goal in their last 18 opportunities after having gone 1-for-3 in the season-opener.

There are three teams that have yet to score on the power play. Among the 27 that have converted at least once, only one (Detroit) has a worse success rate than Nashville.

The NHL’s worst power-play percentages (through Monday):

0.00 percent – Buffalo (0-for-22)
0.00 percent – Winnipeg (0-for-19)
0.00 percent – Minnesota (0-for-16)
8.33 percent – Detroit (2-for-24)
9.52 percent – Nashville (2-for-21)
10.0 percent – Los Angeles (2-for-20)
10.0 percent – N.Y. Rangers (2-for-20)

Nashville also is one of 11 teams that have allowed a shorthanded goal. That happened Saturday and was the decisive score in a 2-1 overtime loss to Chicago, which makes its first appearance at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday (7 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee).

Oct 22, 2014 12:52 PM

Former Predators forward accepts position in Phoenix front office

Many people go to the desert to retire.

For Steve Sullivan, it is a place to start a new career.

The former Nashville Predators forward, whose playing career ended a year ago, will be the Phoenix Coyotes’ development coach. In that role he will work with players at all levels of the organization regarding matters on and off the ice.

The Coyotes announced the hiring of Sullivan of Monday.

The Predators were one of six NHL teams for which he played during a 16-year career. He played 317 games for Nashville, including the 1,000th of his career (March 28, 2013). The only team for which he appeared more often was Chicago (370).

After Nashville, he played one season with Pittsburgh (2011-12) then appeared in 33 contests for Phoenix in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season before he finished up with New Jersey.

Apparently, that brief time with the Coyotes created a connection both sides wanted to foster.

Sullivan was never the biggest, fastest or most skilled guy in the league but he found a way to hang around and be productive for a long time. Now Phoenix hopes to tap into that wisdom for the benefit of all of their players.

Sep 8, 2014 4:22 PM

Predators take a chance on Coyotes' castoff

It was fewer than three weeks ago that Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney cited “behavioral issues” as the reason he and his team bought out the remaining three years of Mike Ribeiro’s contract.

“To his credit, he has been getting help this offseason and obviously would hope he continues,” Maloney said at the time, according to the Arizona Republic. “But at the end of the year and all the background checking and what happened, we felt that for us to move forward, we couldn't have him a part of this team.”

Tuesday the Nashville Predators signed the 34-year-old forward to a one-year, $1.05 million contract – and did their best to make him sound like a pillar of professionalism.

“Mike is a talented veteran center who has produced offensively everywhere he has played,” general manager David Poile said in a statement. “We have done our due diligence and believe Mike has a lot to offer to our team, improves us at our center ice position and will fit in with our group and contribute.”

The Predators will be his fourth team in as many different seasons. He was with Dallas in 2011-12, with Washington in 2012-13 and with Phoenix a year ago.

A second-round pick by Montreal in 1998, he has scored 20 goals or more three times in the NHL and has topped 15 in each of the last nine 82-game seasons. He has 656 points (202 goals, 454 assists) in 865 career games.

The Coyotes considered him a foundation piece and their No. 1 center when they signed him last summer to a four-year, $22 million contract. They eventually benched him for two games during their push for the playoffs, which they missed out on by two points.

According to reports, coaches paired him with a number of different wingers and he failed to find chemistry with any of them. His 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) last season were his fewest in more than a decade.

“I think it was a lot of things," Ribeiro said following the season, according to the Arizona Republic. "It's not just about hockey but a lot of things. Never having my groove, never found it. It was just a hard season for me. I think it was one of my worst seasons. But … I don't believe it can get worse.”

The Predators better hope it doesn’t.

Jul 15, 2014 11:46 AM

Erat traded back to Western Conference, directly into Predators' playoff path

Former Nashville Predators forward Martin Erat has been traded for the second time in as many years – and now he stands between the Predators and the playoffs.

The Phoenix Coyotes acquired Erat and one other player from the Washington Capitals for two players and draft pick on Tuesday, fewer than 24 hours before the NHL trade deadline. Nashville shipped him to Washington last season in the final hours before the 2013 deadline.

At the start of play Tuesday, the Coyotes were fifth in the Western Conference wild card standings (the top two make the postseason), one spot and three points ahead of the Predators.

Nashville has earned three points in two games against Phoenix this season. Those teams will meet for the final time April 10 at Nashville, Game 80 for the Predators.

Erat had an assist in his first – and thus far only – appearance against Nashville, a 5-2 Capitals’ victory on Dec. 7 at Washington.

A seventh-round pick in 1999, Erat is second all-time in games played (723), goals (163), assists (318) and points (481) for the Predators.

He had one goal and 23 assists in 53 games for the Capitals this season and 26 points (two goals, 24 assists) in 62 games overall since last year’s trade. He also appeared in four playoff contests last season without a point.

The NHL trade deadline is 2 p.m. (CST) Wednesday.

Mar 4, 2014 7:23 PM

Whoa, is that sympathy for the Preds from the national hockey press?

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News takes the NHL to task for being ready to "seemingly sacrifice its own principles" to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix.
Secondly, what does it say to the Nashville Predators of the world, teams that are busting their tails in order to sell tickets and sign corporate sponsors so they can qualify for their full share of revenues? It’s basically telling them there is little motivation to work hard to sell because if you get into enough trouble, the league will bail you out anyway.
Dec 17, 2009 8:05 AM

NHL, Leipold charge Balsillie with playing on dirty ice

Testimony: Former Predators suitor tried to manipulate city officials in order to move team out of Nashville
Aug 6, 2009 1:46 PM

Balsillie still oh-fer

Citing a lack of time, Phoenix judge has denied former Predators stalker Jim Balsillie's bid to buy and relocate the Phoenix Coyotes. But the Research In Motion boss' team are sticking around.
“We look forward to hearing from the NHL soon on its view of our relocation application and an appropriate relocation fee, so as to allow the court to determine if that fee is reasonable,” Walker said in a news release. “We still think there is enough time for the NHL to approve Mr. Balsillie’s application and move the team to Hamilton by September. The court invited mediation on these issues and Mr. Balsillie is willing to participate in such mediation if the NHL is also willing to do so.”
Jun 15, 2009 10:28 PM