Injury casts doubt on Gill's availability for Predators' playoff opener

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 10:37pm

Hal Gill is the only member of the Nashville Predators with his name on the Stanley Cup.

When the 2012 NHL playoffs begin Wednesday though, that name might not be on the lineup card.

An undisclosed injury has kept the veteran defenseman out of action for close to a week and has created uncertainty about his status for Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena.

“He went out early and skated [on his own Tuesday],” coach Barry Trotz said. “So he’ll be a game-time [decision Wednesday]. We felt just with his injury there’s no sense trying to aggravate it any more.”

Trotz declined to discuss the specifics of the situation.

Presumably, Gill was injured when he blocked a shot by defenseman Sheldon Souray, one of the NHL’s hardest shooters, in last Thursday’s game against Dallas. He sat out the regular season finale Saturday at Colorado and did not practice with the team Monday or Tuesday.

Gill, acquired in a February trade with Montreal, has 105 games of NHL playoff experience. That is the most of any Nashville player and sixth among all active defensemen.

He was with the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2009.

“If he’s in the lineup great, if not we just have to adjust,” Trotz said. “The playoffs are all about adjustments. Not everything’s going to go perfect.

“… There’s going to be adversities. There’s going to be changes in the lineup, and you just have to adjust.”

Familiar feeling: Alexander Radulov’s return to the NHL playoffs picks up right where he left off — at Bridgestone Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.

The last time Radulov played for Nashville was in 2007-08. That year the Predators finished eighth in the Western Conference and were eliminated by Detroit in six games — the last a 3-0 loss at home — in the opening round.

“We lost to them 4-2 and it was a good series, I can tell you that much,” Radulov said. “We were down 2-0, tied it up and the fifth game we lost on OT.

“I remember those games.”

Radulov was one of three players (Martin Erat and Shea Weber were the others) with a team-high four points in that series. He had two goals and two assists on a team-high 14 shots.

He has eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 all-time playoff games for Nashville.

His only multi-point game since he rejoined the team less than a month ago was March 30 when he had a goal and an assist at Detroit.

“You can’t be always perfect,” he said. “… Sometimes you’re just not feeling right or little things are not going you way so you just have to battle through it. That’s just what I’m trying to do. Sometimes, like, it’s not working for what I’m trying to do.

“I’m just trying to prepare for everything because games like that are going to come.”
 
Place your bets: The betting service Bovada listed 65 different players from among the 16 playoff teams at odds of 100/1 or better ultimately to be named Conn Smythe Trophy winner (playoff most valuable player).

Goalie Pekka Rinne was Nashville’s best bet at 25/1. Also on the list were: Radulov (40/1), Erat (50/1) and left wing Andrei Kostitsyn (75/1).

Briefly

• The Predators have scored either four goals (four times) or one goal (twice) in each of their six all-time playoff openers.

The two times they scored only once were in their series’ with Detroit. They lost 3-1 in 2004 and again in 2008. Each of the last two years they started with 4-1 victories (at Chicago in 2010 and at Anaheim in 2011). They won 4-3 against San Jose in 2006 and began with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Sharks the following year.

• Nashville scored just one goal in each of its three regular-season losses to Detroit but had at least three goals in each of its victories.

• The Red Wings scored 11 times in the first three meetings this season but managed just five goals in the last three, all since the start of January.

1 Comment on this post:

By: MusicCity615 on 4/11/12 at 7:31

GO PREDATORS!!!