From now on in the pre-game jitters, whenever the terms “upper-body injury” or “lower-body injury” are used, you must take a shot. If you’re at work, please tell your boss that we gave you permission.
No cage, no worries
Predators forward Jerred Smithson missed Nashville’s Game 5 win over Vancouver when he suffered an upper-body injury (shot!) after taking an elbow to the head from Ryan Kesler earlier in the series. J.P Dumont slid into the lineup Saturday, but Smithson practiced without a cage today, and head coach Barry Trotz said he’s optimistic about his return tonight.
To the speculation-mobile!
Chris Higgins left Vancouver’s practice today long before the rest of his teammates, so clearly that means he’s out for the season, and he’s probably quitting hockey. The forward took a shot off of his left foot from Nashville defenceman Kevin Klein Saturday, and the speculation knob was cranked even further when Jeff Tambellini–a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs–stayed on the ice with the Canucks’ regulars during practice .
Higgins told reporters that he just wanted to test his injury, thus explaining the quit exit. He’s “pretty sure” he can play tonight, but in playoff-speak that means there’s no way in hell he’s playing, so expect a last minute scratch.
There was a time not too long ago when Higgins could miss five games and no one would notice. But he’s become the ideal complement to Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond on Vancouver’s second line, and along with Maxim Lapierre he’s been a shrewd deadline acquisition by GM Mike Gillis.
Busting the stereotype
There will always be nay-sayers north of the border, but with each home playoff game the passion for hockey in Nashville grows more and more evident. The Predators aren’t just the team that acquired Carrie Underwood’s husband at the trade deadline, a mold the fan base is slowly but surely breaking.
It just isn’t a Canucks gameday without some Sedin bashing
As we observed in today’s podcast, Daniel and Henrik don’t exist anymore. They are just one person, one perpetually struggling playoff hockey player fused at the hip for all of eternity. They are “The Sedins,” and any other reference is little more than nonsensical babbling.
So today’s reminder that The Sedins really haven’t been all that great comes courtesy of the Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason, who has had a hard time seeing The Sedins on the ice at all.
It looks to me that the Sedins are trying as hard as they can. They don’t seem to be skating any faster or slower than normal. But their lack of speed and nuanced game stands in stark contrast in these playoffs to Kesler’s dazzling swiftness and ferocious intensity. Kesler has the war-beaten face of a win-at-all-costs playoff competitor. If the Sedins have playoff wounds they’re not visible.