Preds' Poile reflects on anniversary of painful day
Nashville Predators general manager David Poile lost vision in one eye after a freak accident one year ago. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
David Poile was going about his normal routine on the morning of Feb. 6, 2014.
The Nashville Predators general manager got something to eat, held a couple of meetings and later watched his team practice ahead of their game against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
While standing in a hallway between the team’s bench and dressing room, Poile was struck in the face by an errant puck that was deflected over the glass.
Poile fell to the ground in shock after the puck hit his right eye, fracturing the orbital bone and severing the optic nerve.
After holding out hope that some vision in his damaged eye would return, Poile now knows that will not be the case and will eventually need an ocular prosthesis such as a glass eye.
“I’ve never looked back and said, ‘Why me?’” Poile told The Tennessean. “A lot of people have it a lot worse than I do. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a very unlucky thing to have happened, but you deal with it and move on.”
At the time, the Predators were not in a playoff position for the second straight season and the GM was figuring out his next moves while dealing with his freak injury.
“A year ago, there was a lot of soul-searching going on about where the franchise was. I was thinking about the possibility of having to make a coaching change, and I certainly knew there would be some personnel changes on the roster.”
A year later, the Predators are the talk of the NHL, tied for first overall and the Western Conference with the Anaheim Ducks.
To get to where they are now, Poile traded the Predators first-ever draft pick, David Legwand, fired the team’s only head coach, Barry Trotz, hired Peter Laviolette to be the new bench boss and acquired goal scorer James Neal.
Now, the Predators head into the NHL trade deadline in less than a month knowing the right addition could help propel them deep into the NHL playoffs.
“We’re a young team, but we still have a more mature team than we’ve had in the past,” he said. “We have a little more playoff experience, but I wish we had more. If you’re going to play against Chicago or Anaheim in the playoffs, they have the edge on you because they’ve been there before.
“For the most part, I like what we’ve done. I like being in a situation where I honestly believe we have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
NO EXTENSION TALKS WITH LETESTU
The Columbus Blue Jackets would like to keep potential free agent Mark Letestu beyond this season.
But with contract talks nowhere in sight, the Blue Jackets forward could be shipped out if a deal is not reached by the NHL trade deadline next month.
“We’ve had talks to say that, basically, we should have talks,” Letestu’s agent, Allain Roy, told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s pretty much all we’ve had — just an agreement that we should talk. There’s pretty much been nothing there. I’m trying to figure out what the team is going to do. I don’t suspect they’re going to make the playoffs at this point.
“So are they going to start moving guys? I’m kind of waiting to see, to be honest with you.”
The Blue Jackets sit 14th in the Eastern Conference, 16 points out of the second wild card playoff spot.
Letestu, who turned 30 Wednesday, missed more than two months after suffering an abdominal injury that eventually required surgery. He has five goals and seven points in 21 games this season.
“Mark loves it there,” Roy said. “His family is there. He loves Columbus and wants to stay there. I just think everybody is trying to figure out what’s going on. They’ve had so many injuries, so they’ve had to keep shuffling the deck. It’s been a tough season there.”
VOYNOV ‘WANTED A DIVORCE’
More details have emerged of the alleged altercation between Los Angeles Kings defenceman Slava Voynov and his wife last year.
Voynov, set to stand trial for felony domestic violence March 2 in Los Angeles, reportedly told his wife Marta Varlamova that “he wanted a divorce” and “there would be no more money” and allegedly repeatedly kicked her during an altercation in October, according to a Redondo Beach Police report obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Varlamova told police the incident occurred during a Halloween party on Oct. 19. The couple begain arguing inside the venue before Voynov grabbed her costume glasses from her face and stomped on them. Outside, later in the evening, she alleged he then punched her in the jaw.
The report also stated the dispute continued at the couple’s Redondo Beach home, where Varlamova accused Voynov of choked her with both hands three times.
“Voynov pushed her to the ground approximately six to seven times with both hands, telling her that he wanted a divorce and to ‘Get out,’” the report alleges.
After allegedly kicking her five to six times while she was on the floor, the report said Voynov then pushed Varlamova into a flat-screen television mounted on the wall after she got to her feet, leaving a gash above her left eye.
Voynov, 24, was suspended indefinitely by the NHL following his Oct. 20 arrest and has not played since.
BARRIE HAS HIP FLEXOR
The Colorado Avalanche didn’t have Tyson Barrie for Thursday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Barrie has a hip flexor injury, but head coach Patrick Roy said the defenceman should be back Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
The Avs are also without defenceman Erik Johnson, who had knee surgery Jan. 26 and is not expected to return to the lineup for another two weeks.
Replacing Barrie in the lineup was Stefan Elliott, who was called up from Lake Erie on Jan. 29.
STARS PLACE MOEN ON IR
The Dallas Stars placed forward Travis Moen on injured reserve with a lower-body injury Thursday and recalled right wing Brett Ritchie from Texas of the AHL.
Moen’s move to IR is retroactive to Jan. 31. The reason for the move was unclear, but Moen was hit in the eye by a stick several games ago.
Ritchie, 21, recorded four points in eight games with Dallas this season.
In 23 games with Texas, he has seven goals and 18 points.
COYOTES RECAL BOLDUC
The Arizona Coyotes recalled forward Alex Bolduc from Portland of the AHL Thursday.
Bolduc, 29, leads the team with 13 goals and 17 assists and 69 penalty minutes in 37 games with the Pirates this season.
In 62 career NHL games, Bolduc has five points and 42 penalty minutes.