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NHL: Pluses and minuses around the league

Predators make a good investment in signing goaltender Pekka Rinne to a long-term deal, and the Blues hope the firing of Coach Davis Payne changes their fortunes.

November 07, 2011|By Helene Elliott
  • Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne makes a glove save against the San Jose Sharks in the first period Friday.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne makes a glove save against the San Jose… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)

+ Goaltender Pekka Rinne will buy dinner for his Nashville teammates for a while after signing a seven-year, $49-million contract extension. That's pricey but a great investment if it convinces free-agents-in-waiting Shea Weber and Ryan Suter that the Predators mean business and they should stay in Music City.

+ Winger Eric Nystrom has scored three goals in eight games since Dallas, which needed to reach the salary floor, paid full price to acquire him from Minnesota instead of claiming him for half price on waivers. He had only four goals for the Wild last season.

+ The New York Rangers have won four straight games, with winger Marian Gaborik leading the way. He has three goals and eight points in his last five games. Through Sunday, workhorse Dan Girardi led NHL defensemen in ice time with an average of 27 minutes 58 seconds per game.

- The Davis Payne Era in St. Louis ended Sunday when he was fired as coach and replaced by Ken Hitchcock. Although the Blues' 6-7-0 record isn't awful, General Manager Doug Armstrong wanted a louder and more experienced voice than Payne's. The Blues have some good pieces, but they're not deep. Hitchcock could be a decent short-term fix.

- The Ducks were 1-3-3 on their recent trip and are in a 2-5-3 slump. Teemu Selanne, 41, leads them with five goals and 14 points, but Corey Perry (five goals, nine points) and Ryan Getzlaf (four goals, eight points) must step up. Perry has more penalty minutes (22) than enforcer George Parros (21). The Ducks knew secondary scoring would be a problem but didn't expect struggles from defensemen Toni Lydman (minus-six ) and Lubomir Visnovsky (minus-seven).

- In the old days we'd say leave this set in type. Or on a save-get string. The Blue Jackets remain rudderless, falling to 2-11-1 after a 9-2 thumping Saturday at Philadelphia. They're 0-10-2 in their last 12 road games, two short of the franchise record. Center Jeff Carter remains idled by a broken foot, and there's no relief in sight.

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