Kyle Turris makes statement in return to Predators lineup after 7 straight scratches

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  • The hashtaggers have been quieted — or villified — at least for now.
  • A mini movement among Predators fans on Twitter — #FreeKyleTurris — has evolved since Nov. 16, the last time Turris played.
  • A “lineup decision” was the reason given for his’ seven-game absence by Predators coach Peter Laviolette.
  • A lineup decision was the reason given by Laviolette — and general manager David Poile — for Turris’ return Tuesday night.
  • The forward, a healthy scratch for the previous seven consecutive games, suited up for the Predators again, as Poile predicted he eventually would, for the team’s game against the Lightning.
  • He responded by playing like someone who, well, hadn’t been a healthy scratch for seven straight games.
  • He scored the tying goal in the 3-2, overtime loss and assisted on the Predators’ first goal when he won a faceoff to set up Calle Jarnkrok.

“I felt like I played the exact same game I would have played if I didn’t sit seven straight games,” Turris said afterward.

“I learned a lot from last year. I’m not going to second guess myself anymore. I’m done with that. I’m confident in the player I am and how I know I can contribute. I’m just going to keep doing my thing.”

  • If the Predators coaching staff allows that, that is.
  • Later Tuesday morning, Poile appeared on 102.5-FM and said he didn’t understand all the fuss surrounding Turris’ healthy scratches.

“That shouldn’t be the story,” Poile said told the radio station. “The extra players are the extra players. There shouldn’t be the questions every day, I wouldn’t think. Every team is carrying two or three extra players. It seems to be kind of repetitive.”

  • Just like Turris’ healthy scratches have been.
  • Not every team consistently sits an “extra player” who carries an annual $6 million cap hit like Turris, so that’s why it’s a story.
  • Not every team sits an “extra player” who arguably has performed better than some players who haven’t been scratched. Poile went on to say that the situation will play itself out and added that maybe other players should sit too, to “shake things up.”

“I think next week we’ll have the same conversation in some form,” Poile told the radio station. “It could be Kyle Turris; it could be another player.”

  • Most of the time, scratches aren’t a big deal. The Predators have typically rotated scratching Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber this season, among others.
  • The decision to go all work, no play for seven games in a row for Turris, though, is puzzling for several reasons.
  • Yes, it has proven difficult to find a spot for Turris, a natural center.
  • With Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene mostly locking down that position on the top two lines, and Nick Bonino earning that right on the third line, Turris has been left with mostly fourth-line minutes — when he’s played.
  • Still, he’s performed OK — five goals, six assists in 20 games — in the reduced role.
  • Sitting him made little sense if they were trying to trade him, which would prove difficult given his salary and his numbers last season.

“Any time you have more than 20 players here, there has to be a decision made in the lineup and that is based on your opponent, position, makeup of a player,” Laviolette said. “We’re fortunate we have a lot of good players and sometimes these decisions are tough.

“When it comes down to a lineup decision, they’re never taken lightly and they’re not easy to make — not for the staff, not for the players. We put the lineup in that we feel gives us the best chance at being successful.”

  • Laviolette felt Tuesday that meant moving Duchene up to play wing with Johansen and Filip Forsberg, which makes sense with Viktor Arvidsson out at least another few weeks with a lower-body injury.
  • Turris has taken the benching in stride — at least publicly.
  • He’s said he wants to play for the Predators.
  • Poile said Turris hasn’t asked for a trade. Laviolette said Turris is part of the team.
  • But how long a leash will he be allowed now that he’s returned?
  • If he continues to play the way he did Tuesday, that leash should be pretty long.

“Kyle was really strong,” Laviolette said. “In the faceoff circle he was good. He was working to create. His line (Jarnkrok and Daniel Carr, who filled in for Granlund) was good. … I thought he played a strong game.”

Sources & Credits: Tennesean.com
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