Blackhawks

NHL 2016-17 Central Division preview: How quickly can P.K. Subban change the way the Predators play?

NHL 2016-17 Central Division preview: How quickly can P.K. Subban change the way the Predators play?

CSN Chicago will unveil a preview each day for every Central Division team leading up to the NHL's season-opener. Next up: Nashville Predators.

One-third of the craziest 23 minutes in National Hockey League history involved P.K. Subban being traded to the Predators from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for captain Shea Weber in a one-for-one swap. It shook the hockey world.

The move signaled the Predators' desire to change to an up-tempo style of hockey, which is becoming the new norm, while the Canadiens are looking to build around the best goaltender in the world in Carey Price.

How quickly will it take for the Predators to make that transition, though?

This team has the potential to win its first division title in franchise history, but it will be a tough road to climb when you factor in the competition in the Central and the amount of time it may take to gel.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Blackhawks fans!]

The Predators are so used to playing from Pekka Rinne on out and now it's the complete opposite. For as long as Weber anchored the back end, it was all about playing tight defense, and even with that style, Rinne had a career-worst save percentage of .908 last year. The quality of shots he'll face this year will get much tougher as they may not be as structurally sound in their own end.

On offense, Filip Forsberg and James Neal combined for 64 goals last year. Weber also accounted for 20 of them, and that's asking a lot out of both Forsberg and Neal to surpass what they did a year ago while counting on Subban to score 20-plus goals when his career-high is 15.

The Predators were also a top-four puck possession team last year, so while their attack should be much stronger with Subban leading the rush, the numbers can't improve by much.

The Predators don't have as deep a forward group as other teams in the division, and their second- and third-line centers are manned by 36-year-old newly-appointed captain Mike Fisher and 36-year-old Mike Ribeiro, who scored just seven goals last year which was the lowest mark of his career since 2002-03. Not exactly guys that can fly.

Subban will certainly change the way the Predators play — and for the better — but it may take some time getting used to. 

Other previews: Colorado Avalanche | Dallas Stars | Minnesota Wild

David Ayres joins Scott Foster in making emergency backup goalie history

foster_thumb.jpg
USA TODAY

David Ayres joins Scott Foster in making emergency backup goalie history

David Ayres is a 42-year old Zamboni driver and as of Saturday night, he is a man who has won a game as a netminder in the NHL. Ayres is the emergency backup goalie (EBUG) for the Carolina Hurricanes, who are currently locked in a tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference. On Saturday, Ayres was thrust into action when Carolina suffered injuries to both starting goalie James Reimer and backup goalie Petr Mrazek. This, of course, made us think back to Chicago's favorite EBUG, Scott Foster.

Foster, an accountant, became a household name when he donned the No. 90 EBUG jersey when he debuted for the Blackhawks in 2018. Chicago was down a goalie when starting goalie Collin Delia—who was filling in for an injured Corey Crawford—went down early. This led to Foster making his unlikely, seven-save debut. He was the first EBUG in NHL history to actually make a save and the fact that Foster was a perfect 7-for-7 in his time on the ice made the story even sweeter.

On Saturday, Ayres didn't maintain a perfect 1.000 save percentage like Foster but he did make some history of his own. Ayres was rattled at first, giving up two goals on the first two shots he faced but he did enough down the stretch to help the Hurricanes hold on to a quite important 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the win, Ayres is the first EBUG in league history to net a win, as Delia was credited with the win in Foster's debut in 2018.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device

Rockford IceHogs matchup with Milwaukee Admirals produces the rare goalie fight

icehogs.jpg
USA TODAY

Rockford IceHogs matchup with Milwaukee Admirals produces the rare goalie fight

On Saturday night the Rockford IceHogs fell 7-2 to the Milwaukee Admirals but fans still went home happy as they got see one of the rarest occurrences in the sport of hockey, the always intriguing goalie fight:

With Rockford trailing 6-2, IceHogs goalie Matt Tomkins—who gave up the six goals on 21 shots—and Admirals goalie decided to drop the gloves and engage in some good 'ol fashioned fisticuffs, the first scrap of the year for Tomkins. 

We'll leave it up to you to decide who won the fight but the Admirals certainly won the game in convincing fashion, with Milwaukee center Yakov Trenin netting a hat trick in the 7-2 win. But despite taking the tough loss, it was nice to see the IceHogs (and IndyFuel) social media having some fun with what was ultimately a very entertaining game.

The Rockford IceHogs are back in action against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday at 3 pm, with both teams locked in a tight battle for the fourth playoff spot in the Central division. 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.