Preds just might gain offence

 QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:08 AM ET

The Nashville Predators may be down to their last forward Saturday in Vancouver as they attempt to stave off elimination.

Checking centre Jerred Smithson is a doubtful starter with an upper-body injury (likely to his head or face) and likely will be replaced by J.P. Dumont.

The Predators are already without Steve Sullivan who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 3 and was replaced in the next game by Colin Wilson.

Dumont scored 10 regular-season goals in 70 games for the Preds but has appeared in only two playoff games.

On the plus side for the Predators, Dumont has more career playoff goals -- 17 -- than any other player on the team.

And if there is one thing the Predators could use it's scoring.

Hands-off owner
Jeff Vinik is a big fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning -- hasn't missed a game all season.

He also happens to own the team.

But, unlike a lot of professional sports franchise owners, Vinik isn't one to meddle, or even get involved.

So he isn't about to take any credit for the Lightning riding a seven-game winning streak into the Eastern Conference final, having eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

"Players play, coaches coach, managers manage and owners own," Vinik told the Tampa Bay Times.

"I keep my distance, because they don't need to see me every day. They know how much I care.

"I meet with (general manager) Steve Yzerman every now and then for entertainment value and to find out what's going on. But I let these guys do their jobs. I have full confidence they can do it. They don't need me screwing it up. My job isn't to teach hockey players how to play hockey."

NHL partners with juniors
The NHL Friday announced a new two-year agreement with Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League to help grow the game across the country through the CJHL's 10 leagues and 133 teams.

The agreement includes investing in the development of players, coaches and officials, the league announced in a statement. Financial details were not released.


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