- Craig Custance
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Predators defenseman Hal Gill took part in Nashville’s entire morning skate, but coach Barry Trotz said the blueliner is still not ready to play and is out for Friday night’s Game 5. Gill sounded slightly more optimistic than his coach, calling it a game-time decision.
“I just wanted to go out there and skate and keep getting better,” Gill said after the skate. “I just want to be ready when they call on me, try to keep doing the things and work.”
Gill hasn’t played since April 5 and appears to be making progress with his lower-body injury. Earlier in this series, he skated only for portions of the team practice, if at all.
“I want to be in the lineup," Gill said. "It’s tough sitting out. I want to be a part of it. Looks like it’s fun out there.”
More Lidstrom retirement talk
With the uncertainty surrounding Nicklas Lidstrom’s future beyond this season, it’s quite possible that Friday is his last NHL game if the Red Wings can’t find a way to solve Predators netminder Pekka Rinne. It’s speculation that Detroit coach Mike Babcock has heard for a long time.
“I say this every year, so this is seven years for me I’ve answered this question,” Babcock said Friday. “I always say the same thing: He’s too good to quit.”
Plus, Babcock said he’s not sure that Lidstrom’s wife is ready for it.
“I know his wife [Annika], so she doesn’t want him at home for sure,” Babcock said, joking. “I don’t know what could possibly be more fun than playing hockey at a high level on a great team.”
Bouillon solid for Preds
The Predators' top pair of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter has done a fantastic job in slowing down the Pavel Datsyuk line. Defenseman Kevin Klein leads all blueliners with two goals, including the game winner in Game 4. And there's Rinne, of course. But the play of defenseman Francis Bouillon has gone a bit underappreciated. He’s plus-5 overall, which is the best plus/minus not only in this series but also in the entire postseason.
“I guess I’m just lucky,” Bouillon said Friday morning. “Peks saved me a few times. I try to play a good game defensively. There’s a little bit of luck. I didn’t create much offensively in the series so far. Sometimes it’s being in the right place in the right moment.”
The NHL announced on Friday that the band Nickelback would be playing the awards show, and as is often the case with Nickelback, the announcement was met a vocal backlash from fans.
Nickelback is a western Canadian band that has long supported hockey, so British Columbia native Brandon Yip thinks hockey fans should give it a break.
“I like their music. They’re pretty good. I don’t follow it too much, but I like what they play,” Yip said. “They give support to the league, it’s a great thing.”
Alberta native Brad Stuart is a bit of a music connoisseur and said that if he were picking, Pearl Jam would get the nod. His endorsement of Nickelback wasn’t exactly glowing. “They’re OK, I guess,” he said.
But he understands why the league opted to go with the band as the entertainment for the NHL awards.
“Nickelback is a good choice because they have a lot of good songs everybody knows,” he said. “You can’t pick a band that has an obscure following.”
11dScott Burnside and Craig Custance