Run for your lives! Baton down the hatches! Hurricanes this evening in Nashville!
Sure, none of that stuff makes sense in light of tonight's Predators/Hurricanes matchup at the Sommet Center, but neither do many of the recent rumors being floated that Nashville GM David Poile is looking to make a play for Carolina winger Erik Cole, who, while touted as a premier power forward and goal scorer, only has one 30-goal season to his credit and has a $4 million contract that runs through next season. He's certainly a decent player, but I'd be concerned about how much tread is left on his tires, particularly after a nasty neck injury in 2006 that put him on the shelf for a considerable time. That, coupled with a shooting percentage this year that's less than half what he's put up the last three seasons, leads me to believe that perhaps Mr. Cole's best NHL days are behind him.
The Carolina side isn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of a deal either, as outlined over at Red & Black Hockey. The last thing they need is a young, raw defenseman who's not ready for prime-time action (Kevin Klein is the oft-rumored option), and Nashville surely wouldn't part with an offensively oriented forward either.
No matter the trade talk, it should be an interesting game tonight. Carolina has offensive punch but gives up goals in bunches, while the Predators have tightened things up in their own end, and are producing goals at a decent clip recently. Jason Arnott is expected back in the lineup after missing the Phoenix game Saturday, which allows Radek Bonk to slide back into his 3rd-line duties, although he did a credible job subbing for Arnott on the top line for one game. J.P. Dumont's point-scoring streak ended at 16 games, so tonight's a good time to start a new one, while Alexander Radulov has scored a goal in six straight.
Perhaps the more interesting news is that prior to the game, Predators senior management and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will be conducting a Town Hall meeting to discuss the state and future direction of the team. I hope to provide a recap on this tomorrow.