Predators assistant coach set to call it quits after the season

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:27pm

Brent Peterson will give up his position as Nashville Predators associate head coach, effective at the end of the season.

A member of the franchise’s original coaching staff, Peterson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004 and the progressive effect on his health has made it increasingly difficult for him to do his job, at least physically.
Several weeks ago, his doctor told him to stay off the ice. Since then, he has observed practices from the seats and offered input afterward.

He also has come to grips with the inevitable but wanted to delay any sort of public announcement. He revealed his plans earlier this week in an interview with the Mormon Times.

“It's just catching up, so it's time to move on," he told the Mormon Times. "I don't want to, but that's the way it's been. Everyone has adversity, and mine's been with Parkinson's. It's going to push me out of coaching, but there's nothing I can do about it.”

Parkinson’s is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that impairs motor control, speech and other functions.

It is expected Peterson will remain with the organization and an alternate role for him will be developed.

He has been with the Predators since the inaugural season of 1998-99. He was hired as an assistant coach roughly three months before the first training camp and was promoted to his current role five years later.

Swing game: It seems impossible to overstate the importance of Game 5 on this series and the advantage it will provide to whichever team wins it.

The Predators are 0-5 all-time in Game 5s. Twice they have been eliminated (San Jose in 2006 and 2007). Last season, they let a one-goal lead slip when they allowed a shorthanded goal to Chicago with 13 seconds to play in regulation then lost in overtime.

“Everyone has considered this a series that would go six or seven [games] and it’s living up to its potential,” left wing Steve Sullivan said. “We’re worried abut the next game. Then after that — win or lose — we’ll regroup and go from there. I hate to say that, but it is true. … We want to win [Game 5].”

Size matters: The Ducks went with a large — in more ways than one — defense corps in Game 4.

Veterans Andy Sutton and Andreas Lilja were used for the first time in the series and were part of a seven-man unit on the blue line.

Sutton, who is 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, was a healthy scratch for 20 of the final 22 games of the regular season as well as the first three of the playoffs. He got 8:18 of ice time, during which he blocked four shots.

Lilja, who is 6-3, 220, was a healthy scratch for 12 of the final 13 regular-season contests as well a the first three of the playoffs. He played 13:06 and was a plus-1.

“The way we played [in Game 3] we needed a little bit more size on the back end,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “We hadn’t played Sutton and Lilja in a while, and we felt some of our young players … would get a little bit more comfortable having a 6-foot-5 defenseman, and another 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman, on the back end. That just gave us a little more overall size.

“We just felt that was a better mix for [Tuesday].”

The Ducks have altered their lineup with every game and have used a total of 22 different skaters.

Game time: With Game 6 on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena a certainty, the league announced the start time, contingent upon the result of Thursday’s game between Chicago and Vancouver.

With Chicago's victory in Game 5 of its series, the Predators and Ducks will play at 5 p.m.

Briefly: Anaheim’s Corey Perry was the league’s leading goal scorer during the regular season but most of his points in this series have come on assists. He leads all players on both sides with eight points and six assists. … Only two of the 18 skaters used by Nashville — forward Nick Spaling and defenseman Shane O’Brien — have not yet registered a point in the series. … Patric Hornqvist has 20 shots, which is six shy of the franchise record for a playoff series (Jason Arnott in 2010). With at least two games to go, his chances to break that mark seem pretty good.

2 Comments on this post:

By: Lorenzo on 4/22/11 at 10:14

I'm deeply sadden to read of Coach Peterson decision to leave the coaches bench. He is a good man, friend to the community, and possess a wicked wit. Saying he will be missed is a gross understatement. Best wishes to him and his family. You will be in our prayers.

By: TITAN1 on 4/22/11 at 11:22

Nothing else to say, Lorenzo said it very well.