Thursday, December 30, 2010

New All-star Idea; Thoughts on Svatos

The NHL is changing up the all-star game this year by allowing two captains to pick their teams. I think this is a great idea and adds something new to the All-Star game, and makes it more fun to watch. However, I have an idea that might add even more excitement to the All-Star game.

Why not play it outside? I'm not sure whether or not this has been considered by NHL insiders, but I think it would be a great idea. You've already got the Winter Classic, which is normally a huge success. Why not take all of the best players in the world that are selected to the All-Star game, and let them play outside? You've already got the game set up like a pick-up game. Why not really make it old school and go on and put the game outside? I know it's something that is not possible this year, and probably for a few more years down the road. But I think it's something that will add a great deal of exictement to the All-Star game, and cement the game as the best All-Star game in North American sports.

The Predators claimed Marek Svatos off of the waiver wire today, even after it was thought that he would end up in St. Louis. I'm not sure that he's going to provide as much offense as other people have said he will, but at this point I will take any help that is given. He has been a good goal scorer in the NHL before, but he is not the same player now that he was then. However, it is potentially a low-risk high-reward move for the Preds. He's only 28 years old and does have some offensive skills that this team can use. He has had a bit of a problem with the injury bug in the past, so he'll pretty much fit in here right away. The key to this working out is going to be Trotz putting him in a position where he can succeed. He's not going to be any good to us if he gets stuck on a line with somebody like Spaling and Joel Ward. He's got to be put with a group of people who have legitimate offensive capability. I'd really like to see him on a line with people like Colin Wilson and Cal O'Reilly. The bottom line is that this is a signing that isn't going to hurt the Preds, and it could potentially help them a great deal when people start returning to health.

I've also got a little side note here about the Winter Classic. It's looking like it's going to be around 51 degrees on Saturday in Pittsburgh. There's talk going around that there's a possibility that the game might not be played Saturday. I sure hope that's not the case and the game is allowed to be played on schedule. I'm looking forward to watching it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Preds Snag Svatos

The Nashville Predators have claimed forward Marek Svatos off of the waiver wire. The Blues had thought they had gotten him yesterday but Nashville was in front of them on the waiver line. This is a welcome claim as any scoring will help. He's only 28 so this is a low risk move that could prove to pay off. More later.

Could a former Pred help the scoring problem?

Recently, the Predators have had a serious drought in the scoring department. They're not getting very good offensive production out of anybody in the last few weeks. Because of this, there is always discussion and speculation about who the Predators could sign to help with this problem.

I've heard of some pretty far-fetched ideas when it comes to this problem. I think mine might just take the cake though. Is it possible that Paul Kariya could help this team, if in fact he is healthy?

Kariya is an unrestricted free agent that has chosen to sit out the 2010-11 season due to post-concussion syndrome. Nothing has really been said about him since he made that announcement in July. It's now almost January. Is it possible that he has recovered and is no longer showing symptoms? I don't know the answer to that question. Even if he is healthy, I don't know if he would be willing to chance coming back and risking another concussion.

Let's say that he is healthy though, and that he would seriously consider coming to play this season if offered. Do you think he could help this team with its scoring problem. Kariya has great hands and great skill with the puck, but he's not the same player now that he was when he left Nashville. While he was here, Kariya was an 80 point guy. Right now, he would probably be a 30 to 40 point guy if given the chance to play an entire season. But, the talent is still there. Do you think it would be a good idea to sign him if he's healthy?

Now, again, I have no clue if he's any healthier today than he was in July. I don't know if he wants to play hockey again in his life. I don't know if he secretly would like to play this season or not. I just think this is very interesting food for thought.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Preds Lose 5th Game in a Row

I've never really paid much attention to how a team looks in warmups before. Usually you can't really decipher an awful lot from warmups as to how the game is going to be played. However, tonight the Predators looked very energetic in their warmups, and really looked sharp. And, for the most part, that's really how they played. However, it ended in another losing effort for 4 reasons.

The Nashville Predators lost to the Dallas Stars 4-2 tonight, but outshot them 46-25. You look at the shots and you figure that Nashville wins the game by a pretty good margin. That wasn't the case tonight, which brings me to reason number one.

The Predators are not very good at finishing. They had 46 shots and only scored on 2 of them. Added to that was the fact that Colin Wilson scored both goals, so there was really only one Predator that finished tonight. Having said that, Andrew Raycroft of the Stars was fantastic tonight. He made some big saves. Still, when you shoot it 46 times, you've got to score more than twice. I am impressed that we shot the puck as much as we did though.

My second reason for the loss tonight is the Pekka Rinne was really not very good at all tonight. He kept giving up rebounds, he wasn't seeing the puck very well at all, and he let in a few goals that should not be let in. Two, however, were not his fault. That brings me to reason 3.

The defense had a few breakdowns during the game that ended up costing the team. You guessed it. Kevin Klein. It's like the water cycle isn't it? It's just one big process that keeps repeating itself. I don't know what he was doing on the first goal by Steve Ott. Ott crashed the net and Kevin Klein stood there like a knot on a log and let him skate right by and score. Pekka's disgusted look he threw at Klein after the goal really sums up the feeling that most Predator fans have towards him right now. And if the mental and emotional tole of dealing with Klein wasn't enough, one poor fan physically had to suffer from Klein's stupidity. He shot the puck out of play during the 3rd period for a delay of game penalty, and the puck hit a fan in the head. I just hope the guy is ok because it didn't look good from where I was sitting when they took him out of the arena. He had a convoy of about 5 people helping him out. We've got to do something about Klein. I don't know if a trade will work because who in their right mind would take him? But we have to do something because he will do nothing but cost this team points.

The 4th reason really speaks for itself at this point. Injuries. I'm not one to make excuses. I really am probably more critical of this team than any other blogger, which most of the time I probably shouldn't be. However, I really didn't expect much from the Preds tonight vs. the Stars. I mean come on. Steve Sullivan, Martin Erat, David Legwand, Matthew Lombardi, and Jordin Tootoo were all out. That is a pretty tough thing to deal with when 5 key players are missing.

The bottom line is that the Predators aren't catching any breaks. When the offense sucks, Pekka Rinne stands on his head and plays well like he did vs. St. Louis. When the offense wakes up and gets 46 shots on goal, Pekka Rinne plays average at best. The Preds just are not a very lucky hockey team this year, and I don't know why that is. Heck, I think it stretches all the way back to the Martin Erat Game 5 debacle in the playoffs. Maybe the new calendar year of 2011 will bring us some better luck.

Legwand Out For Tonight

David Legwand will not play in tonight's game versus the Dallas Stars. This comes per Josh Cooper after talking to Barry Trotz. So the Preds will be without Legwand, Erat, Sullivan, Lombardi, and Tootoo for tonight's game. Ouch. This may not end well.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Busy Day in PredNation

It was a busy day on Monday in PredNation and the preds weren't even playing. Jordin Tootoo was admitted into an NHLPA substance abuse program. I haven't heard any word on what substance(s) that he used. To me it's irrelevant what the substance was. I'm just hoping for a speedy and successful recovery by Toots. There are things more important than his hockey career and this situation is one of those things.

It also seems like David Legwand will be a go for the game Tuesday night against Dallas. I wouldn't expect it to help the scoring drought at all. Legwand is a valuable defensive commodity but he's not being paid for that. And that's the bottom line. I know there are a ton of Legwand supporters out there, Phillip being one of them. I just don't see it. I think the overall play without him has been good until this 4 game slide.

Chris Mueller was signed and recalled today by the Nashville Predators. Mueller is second on the Admirals in goals(12) and points(20). Look for him to make his NHL debut tonight against the Stars.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Frustration Continues

Not much to say about this game. Jaraslov Halak played a great game but the Preds had many chances that never occurred simply by not shooting the puck. The preds tried to make all of the extra passes tonight instead of shooting the puck, as they fell 2-0 to the Blues.

Linus Klasen made his return to the Nashville lineup tonight. He made a few good plays, but also made some stupid plays. It looks like O'Reilly's production has come to an end for now. He's playing incredibly stupid hockey.

The preds are consistently inconsistent. And as long as they remain petrified to shoot the puck on the rush, the losing will continue. See y'all Tuesday night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Preds Remain Inconsitent and Lazy; Friday thoughts

For the third game in a row, the Nashville Predators came out with embarrassing effort and ended up on the losing side of the contest. The Preds fell to the Senators by a score of 2-1. It was very apparent how the game was going to turn out just by looking at the flow of play during the first few minutes. Of the first 10 shots that were taken in the game, Ottawa had nine of them. The Preds had barely any offensive flow all night and had several lazy plays that led to turnovers.

In the first period, Ottawa simply dominated the Preds. They got out to a 1-0 lead on the bonehead breakdown by none other than Kevin Klein, and his defensive partner Francis Bouillon. Pekka Rinne played well enough in the first period to keep the Preds in the game.

In the second period, the Preds found themselves behind 2-0 on another defensive breakdown, while Ottawa was on the power-play, by Ryan Suter. The Preds finally got on the board when Cody Franson threw a puck towards the net that was tipped in by Marcel Goc. Also, Martin Erat was hurt on a shorthanded breakaway during the second period. The report is that it's an upper body injury and he remains questionable for Sunday's game at St. Louis.

In the third, the Preds weren't able to get any consistent offensive pressure on the Sens. They had plenty of chances that were either squandered by good defense, or by unbelievably dumb plays on the rush. Steve Sullivan was the worst culprit when it came to that. He also got hurt and went down the tunnel in the third period.

Game Notes:

Steve Sullivan- Sully was awful tonight. He made several stupid decisons that eliminated some scoring chances, and was also very careless with the puck. He had numerous turnovers and really was the worst player on the ice during the game. I don't even attribute it to the injury he had going into the game. He just simply played stupid hockey. He looked like a rookie.

Cal O'Reilly- It seems as if we've jumped on the bandwagon with this kid too soon. He started off the season great, but has not been good here lately. The coaches must've shared that sentiment because he only got about 7 minutes of ice time tonight. I really think that he might actually have a nervous breakdown if forced to actually shoot the puck. He's the poster child of the old "one extra pass" routine that we've seen throughout Nashville's history.

Kevin Klein- I hate to keep harping on it but the kid is awful. There's really no way to defend him anymore.

Pekka Rinne- Pekka was really solid in his return to the lineup. He played a good enough game to come out with the win, but simply didn't get any help at all. It's a good sign that he didn't look rusty.

Friday Thoughts:
There's a few points in the season where a team needs a good ripping. Luckily, I will never hesitate to be the one that gives them that. The effort in the last three games has been awful. They acted like they didn't even want to be there, and that viewpoint has been echoed by the coaching staff(Which really falls back on them because it is their JOB to get them to play hard). I'm really tired of the excuses that are made for this team. Things get sugarcoated and they really never should be. There is absolutely no excuse to come out with almost zero effort for three games in a row. I really can understand not having a great effort in one game and possibly two in a row. But there is never a reason to have a lack of effort for three straight games. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing. The players should be embarrassed to put a string of games out like this. They had a sold out crowd at the Bridgestone Arena that was just waiting to explode. They never gave the crowd any reason to do that.

Terry Crisp made a comment on 104.5 The Zone's "AllState Sports Zone" Thursday that really hammered home something that I've been trying to get across for a long while. A caller made a comment about Spaling replacing Lombardi and doing a great job with the penalty killing roles and having a great impact on the team. Crispy basically went on to say that he was tired of people saying things like that. He made the point that this team already had its fair share of penalty killing forwards, and forwards who were defensively minded. He said that we need people who can score goals. It really can't be more simple than that. I get so tired of people getting gaga over players like Nick Spaling. Yes, the kid has done a fantastic job with the penalty kill. The problem is, we've got about 9 forwards on this team who are really good on the defensive end, but possess almost no offensive threat at all. I mean think about it. Jordin Tootoo, Wade Belak, Jerred Smithson, Joel Ward, Nick Spaling, Marcel Goc, J.P. Dumont, David Legwand. None of these guys are really huge offensive threats. Yes, most of them are really fine players that I believe have great value for this club. But we're not going anywhere if we don't put the puck in the net. Plain and simple.

The Preds have got to pick up their game on Sunday. Effort is something that has been a problem for this team, and that's a really disappointing truth. Especially when you play a team like Chicago. They've been claiming that they're still motivated and hurt by how the playoff series went down against the Hawks, but then came out with a pathetic effort on Wednesday night against the Hawks. It just doesn't make sense to me. January is going to be a tough month. The Preds only have 3 home games in the entire month of January. The effort has got to get better if they want to be successful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hawks Dominate Preds

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators by a score of 4-1 on Wednesday night at the United Center. I'll start by saying that the honeymoon with Anders Lindback is over with. He was absolutely terrible tonight, which is the second game in a row that he's been bad. It looked like he had no idea where the puck was all night. The defense was also putrid, as was the amazing amount of turnovers that took place in all 3 zones by Nashville.

Look, I know I pick on Kevin Klein a lot, but most of the time he deserves every bit of criticism that can possibly be thrown his way. He was pathetic tonight. He made extraordinarily stupid decisions like inexplicably passing the puck back to Lindback, which Lindback compounded in to a turnover that led to the first goal for Chicago. Then, he had a great chance at the point that he managed to screw up yet again. All 5 Chicago players were down low and the puck came out to Klein at the point, who would've had a perfect opportunity with traffic in front. Instead, he wiffed on the puck completely.

All in all, the Preds didn't play well at all tonight. Barry Trotz decided that he would mess with all of the lines tonight. He put Hornqvist back with Sullivan and O'Reilly, and moved Wilson to a checking line. The Sullivan-O'Reilly-Wilson line was playing well but he felt the need to mess with it. Tootoo was a healthy scratch in this game. Look for Pekka Rinne to start tomorrow against Ottawa. Hopefully the Preds will come out with a better effort and actually look like they know what they're doing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wade Belak's Value

We all know that Wade Belak rarely plays in an actual game for the Preds. When he actually does see game action, he's known for anything but his offensive capability. He's a big, tough guy who plays his role as an enforcer when called upon. So, what's his role with the Preds when he's not playing?

Belak is a really funny guy. He has a segment called "Wade's World" from time to time on FS-Tennessee, and it never ceases to make me laugh. So how can a guy like Wade Belak have an important role in the Predators organization? His personality is very important in the locker room. He is a locker room favorite and provides the guys with a cool, laid back personality that can relieve tensions when the team may be struggling.

Many people questioned David Poile on why in the world he re-signed Belak. I was one of them. And, as a player, Belak probably should not have been brought back. But, I do think he has more value around the organization than is known by the fans. And let's be honest. How can you not love the guy?

Merry Christmas

I would just like to wish a merry Christmas to Buddy Oakes, Dirk Hoag, Jeremy K. Gover, Codey Holland, and everyone else in PredNation. I hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday that hopefully comes with a few Predator victories along the way.

I'll get back to my regular Preds-related posts tomorrow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Classic Preview

The NHL's annual Winter Classic will take place on New Year's Day at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, with the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Washington Capitals. The game is obviously being built around the Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin rivalry. This is really the NHL attempting to put the two on center stage in front of the entire nation.

This will mark the Penguins 2nd appearance in the Winter Classic games. They first appeared against the Buffalo Sabres in 2008, taking the win in the shootout. This will be Washington's first apperance in the annual New Year's Day game.

From a fans perspective, the Winter Classic is really a great idea. It's something different than your average regular season hockey game. It really becomes the spotlight in sports on a day in which not much else is going on besides a few college football bowl games. I've never really had a problem with the teams that were selected in the past games. I am fully aware that the Predators aren't going to be in the Winter Classic game anytime soon.

As for this game, I get what the NHL is trying to do. They're putting their two biggest stars in the spotlight to start off the new year, hoping that it will bring more attention to the league. I personally think the Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry is probably more hyped up by the media than it is between the two players and the two teams. The Capitals have been on a bit of a slide lately going 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, while the Penguins have gone 8-2-0. Sidney Crosby is playing so much better than anybody else in the league right now. It's almost ridiculous, and he's never played better previously in his career.

I know the two teams can be in a completely different situation when the Winter Classic comes, given that the game isn't until January 1st. The Capitals could become hot and the Penguins could kind of simmer down a bit. No matter what happens, I think it's going to be a good game between the two teams. The atmosphere for the game is sure to be unique and electric. Heck, it could be an Eastern Conference Final preview(although Philly is playing extremely well right now). That would be a dream for the NHL.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kings Throttle Preds; Streak Ends

This game was really over before it started(Or shortly after it started). The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Nashville Predators by a 6-1 score Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. With the loss, the Preds went 4-1-0 in the past week, gathering 8 out of a possible 10 points. I'll take that. I do have a few issues with Saturday night's game though.

Why did Anders Lindback start this game? In all honesty, Mark Dekanich probably should have started the game on Friday night against the lowly New Jersey Devils. The Devils are terrible this year, and it would have been a nice game to give Dekanich, as he wouldn't have seen that many shots or pressure. Above all, it would have given Anders Lindback some rest. He's played every single game since Pekka Rinne went out with injury. So if Lindback started last night then he surely shouldn't have started tonight. I know he's been hot. But at some point you've got to give the man a rest. Having said all that, Lindback came out of the gate looking bad. You could tell he wasn't on his game when the warmups started. The defensive help that he was given was awful, but Lindback still wasn't sharp at all. So, Lindback was taken out midway through the 1st period after giving up 3 goals on 9 shots, including one goal 15 seconds into the game. Mark Dekanich came in a played a mediocre game, also giving up three goals. The defensive help for him wasn't there either.

The other issue I have is with Alexander Sulzer. I really don't know why he's playing. I understand that Cody Franson is out with injury, but we've got to have someone more capable of doing the job than Sulzer down in Milwaukee. He's just not up to speed out there.

I really expected a loss tonight. I didn't expect a 6-1 loss though. Nashville just didn't have any legs. The 5 games in 8 nights caught up to them, which is understandable. The good thing is that they've got a minor break until they travel to Chicago for a game Wednesday, and then turn around and play Thursday night against Ottawa back home. The Preds just need to rest the next few days and come back on the ice Tuesday for a good practice. The Predators are looking to start 3-0-0 against Chicago on Wednesday night.

Controversy Brewing in Nashville?

Pekka Rinne is said to be coming back very soon, possibly for tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings. If that is the case, he will obviously be the starter. However, is Pekka Rinne's position of starting goaltender up for a little debate? After all, Anders Lindback is quickly becoming a candidate for the Calder Trophy.

Let me first start off by giving you my point of view on the matter. I think, at least for now, that Pekka Rinne should be the starting goaltender here in Music City and I have a few reasons for that. Firstly, Trotz has always stated in the past that nobody will lose their job due to an injury. He's been pretty good about holding true to that in the past, and I don't really expect him to change that now. However, should Pekka begin to struggle, I think Trotz will have a pretty short leash.

Another reason is that it's not like Pekka wasn't playing well when he was injured. He was standing on his head and playing very solid hockey until the time of his injury. The offensive support at that time wasn't very good at all, and some of that made it's mark on Rinne's win and loss record. Since Lindback has taken over in light of Rinne's injury, the offensive support has been better.

Now, I'm not trying to deminish what Lindback has done so far this season. Truthfully speaking, the kid has been unreal and it's been a pleasure to watch him. He doesn't seem to have a care while he's playing, and really is a joyful person off of the ice as well. However, this is Pekka's job to lose. Lindback is 9-1-2 this season, which really is fantastic for someone who we knew very little about coming into this season.

The bottom line is that Pekka Rinne is going to be the starting goaltender when he comes back. I don't think he's going to be getting the overwhelming amount of games in a row he was getting before he was injured. I think Trotz is now fully comfortable with both Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback. I'm pretty sure there was a little skepticism about Lindback until this recent string of games he has put together. Personally, all my skepticism about the young Swede has evaporated.

For a recap of last night's game against New Jersey, check out our game recap that is written below this post.

Preds beat Devils; Extend Point Streak

The Nashville Predators defeated the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-1 on Friday night in New Jersey. Anders Lindback was he goalie for Nashville, while Martin Brodeur was in net for New Jersey. Martin Erat scored two power-play goals tonight for the Preds.

Anders Lindback played a good game once again, stopping 15 out of 16 shots that the Devils put on goal. Mattias Tedenby was the lone goal scorer for the Devils, scoring on a power-play.

Former Nashville Predators captain Jason Arnott was held off the scoring sheet. In all honesty, that New Jersey Devils team just seemed uninspired. I don't think they really cared about this game.

The Preds will return home quickly for a game Saturday night against the talented Los Angeles Kings. The Preds have now accumulated at least a point in 10 straight games, which is a franchise record. The Predators will look to make it 11 against the Kings.

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Quick Message

BEAT JASON ARNOTT AT ALL COSTS! That is all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hockey Night @ Kirkpatrick!

Hey peeps!
Tonight, Robby and I will once again be meeting up at Kirkpatrick Community Center to hang out with some kids from the James Cayce homes to play a little bit of street hockey. If you're free between 4:30 and 6, come on down to 620 S. 9th, 37206 and meet up with us. You dont necessarily have to get out there and shoot the pick, you just need to hang out with these awesome kids for a bit. I guarantee you'll fall in love.

This is a joint project between the Kirkpatrick Community Center and east Nashville community church. We're still looking for a few people to volunteer to help coach teams, starting in a few weeks. If you're interested, shoot me an email at bigreid07@comcast.net. Have a great evening...I know we will!

Preds Sink Sharks 3-2

   The hometown Nashville Predators clearly stole a win last night from a very solid SJ Sharks team 3-2 last night @the Bridge. Frankly, until the last half of the third period, last night’s tilt was a very boring affair. No hitting, no grinding, and frankly no heart shown by the Preds. However, that all changed on SK74’s goal with 3+ minutes left. Weber brought the puck in on the right side, and he did numerous times last night, and found a wide open SK74 who buried it in the back of the net. That one play got the crowd alive, and got the momentum moving back on the Preds side. 44 seconds later, Sullivan brought the puck in on the Left wing and gave a BEAUTIFUL one-time pass to Wilson for the game winner. Accordingly, the building went nuts.

GameNotes:  
  • The Preds had 10 shots in the first 9 minutes of the game; however, most were unscreened and east for Niemi to track down. After that barrage, the Preds slowed down their shots, and stopped skating.
  • Play of the night: J-P Dumont's clean takedown of a SJ Shark on a breakaway. There was more hustle on that play by Dumont than I've seen as year put together by him...plus it was smart. He reached out and got the puck, while sliding, then took the skater's legs out. Hard to describe, but it was an amazing play.
  • It seemed like our forwards couldn't find each other last night, but that has to be attributed to the fact that Horny was out and lines were juggled.
After giving up an early goal, which appeared to be an unscreened shot from the blueline (just as I was praising his play), the kid stood on his head. He made two save in the waning moments of the game that were two of the best saves I’ve ever seen! Mind you, he looked like a fish out of water, but it worked!

Stars of the game:
1a) SK74. This kid is coming into his own, and is about to become a scoring machine. Guaranteed.
1b) Lindback. He’s played 8 or 9 straight games, and doesn’t look one bit fatigued. You’ve got to keep riding him while he’s hot.
3) Toots. Once again, he skated hard, forechecked wisely, and put the puck on net. We’re seeing the best hockey he’s ever played right now—and not surprisingly, it’s in his contract year. Hmmmmmmmmm….

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Report Card

Tonight's game against San Jose will mark the 30th game that the Preds have played so far this season. I thought I'd give a report on how each individual player is doing so far this season.

#4 Cody Franson- So far this season, Franson is tied for most points by a defenseman on the team with Shea Weber. He's played much better defensively so far this year and really has been a good player consistently. Grade: B+

#6 Shea Weber- The Captain of the Nashville Predators is doing a good job of leading the team, but his numbers aren't what we typically see out of him at this point in the year. However, he does seem to be getting better with each game. Grade: B-

#8 Kevin Klein- Oh boy. There have been times this year where Klein has looked to be a pretty valuable defenseman. There have also been times where I wanted to throw a hockey puck at him. Some of the mistakes he's made have just been at the elementary level of hockey. Grade: D

#9 Marcel Goc- Goc was my pick to be the breakout player this year for the Preds. So far, he's been one of three breakout players for them. So far, Goc has 6 goals and 7 assists for a total of 13 points and has proven to be an invaluable two-way player. Grade: A

#10 Martin Erat- Erat's inconsistency is a major drawback in his game. When he's on, he's great. When he's not, he's awful. He seems to be skating better and better as the season goes along. Hopefully he'll improve on his 14 point total this year. Only 3 have been goals. Grade: C-

#11 David Legwand- Legwand has been a pretty good defensive weapon when he's been healthy. Personally, I think his impact on the Preds is vastly overrated by PredNation. Proof to that can be observed with our current hotstreak and his absence. But I do agree he's a good defensive player. Grade: C

#13 Nick Spaling- Spaling has been a fantastic penalty killer and defensive player. He's not very good on the offensive front at all, but it was great to see him get his first NHL goal the other night. Grade: B

#15 Matthew Lombardi- I wish I could tell you. Grade: TBD

#16 Cal O'Reilly- O'Reilly has suprised everybody this year. Some, including me, didn't even think he was going to make the team. Now, he's leading the team in points with 18. Great start by O'Reilly. Consistency is the key though. Grade: A

#20 Ryan Suter- Suter has proven just how valuable he is to this team when he was out with injuries. He makes every player on the hockey team better, especially Shea Weber. Those two really aren't the same without each other. Grade: A-

#22 Jordin Tootoo - Tootoo has played pretty good so far this year. Nothing special offensively. He's been better defensively. Above all, he's become a smarter player which was something that was lacking the last few years. And he DESTROYED Michael Frolik. Grade: B

#25 Jerred Smithson- Smitty has been great on the penalty kill and in the faceoff dot for the majority of the season. He's even chipped in a couple of nice goals. Grade: B+

#26 Steve Sullivan- Sully got off to a blistering pace scoring 4 goals in the first three games. Since then I really haven't been all that impressed with him. He always goes to the forehand on the breakaway and every goalie in the league knows it. Although, he did have a sick shootout goal against Steve Mason of Columbus. Grade: B-

#27 Patric Hornqvist- Hornqvist had high expectations put on him going into this season by the fans and himself, after scoring 30 goals last year. So far, he's got 8 goals and 7 assists which is good for 15 points and third on the team in scoring. He's been frustrated and pressing a lot recently, which is why it was good to see him get those two goals against the Islanders. Grade: B

#29 Joel Ward- Ward has played a pretty good role in the defensive area. Offensively, he hasn't been very good. He's got just 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points. Honestly, that's not good enough. Grade: C-

#33 Colin Wilson- Wilson's play has been up and down so far this year. He started off good, went into a slump, and has picked it up a little bit recently. He's got to be more consistent every night. He has 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points. Grade: C

#35 Pekka Rinne- Pekka has played good for the most part when he's been in there. Injuries have been an issue for him all year long, but he posts a .918 save percentage. Grade: B+

#39 Anders Lindback- Anders the Giant has been unbelievable so far this year. He posts a record of 7-1-2 with a .931 save percentage. He's been the biggest surprise so far this year, especially considering that backup goaltending was the biggest question for the Preds coming into this season. Grade: A+

#51 Francis Bouillon- The Cube has been very physical so far this year and has played well. He hasn't done much to hurt the team and has played on a pairing with Weber. He's done everything you could ask out of him defensively. Grade: B+

#52 Alexander Sulzer- I'm not a big fan of him. It looks like he's always a step too slow and gets caught out of position a lot. During Suter's absence, he had a chance to prove he belonged up here. He doesn't. Grade: F

#55 Shane O'Brien- Shane came via trade from the Canucks. He's played pretty well so far this season, and doesn't have a lot of penalty minutes, which was a concern when we got him. Grade: B

#71 J.P. Dumont- Dumont has played well at certain times this year and not so well in others. The crazy thing is, he looks faster than he's looked in a few years. He only has 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points though. Grade: C

#74 Sergei Kostitsyn- SK74 started off the year slow, but has become hot as of late. He currently has 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points. I think he's finally bought into Nashville's system. Grade: B+

There you have it. That's the Predators report card so far this season. Big game vs. San Jose tonight. It would be nice to have a great crowd getting loud for this one.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Preds Destroy the Islanders

The Nashville Predators defeated the New York Islanders tonight by a score of 5-0 in front of the home crowd at Bridgestone Arena. This marks the Predators third win in a row. Nashville has also gotten at least one point in each of their last 8 games going 6-0-2.

The Preds got goals from Kostitsyn, Smithson, and Spaling. Patric Hornqvist added two of his own and the Preds had a pretty good offensive night. Anders Lindback recorded his second shutout in two games. He's absolutely on fire right now. The official attendance was 14,314 for the game.

It's good to see Patric Hornqvist get a few goals. You could tell that he was getting frustrated with not having been on the offensive scoresheet much lately. Hopefully these two goals will be a confidence booster for the young Swede.

Speaking of young Swedes, Anders the giant is an absolute beast. He has been so calm in every situation that he's faced so far this year. He'll have a big test coming his way this week when the San Jose Sharks come into town on Wednesday.

Shane O'Brien made a great play tonight when he literally hurdled a diving defender and proceeded to shoot the puck on goal. Hornqvist banged home the rebound and O'Brien was rewarded with an assist for his efforts.

I don't care how you slice it, Wednesday's game against San Jose is huge. The Preds definitely need a win in this game to keep up their pace in the tight Western Conference, and to try and distance themselves from the Sharks. The Preds currently sit with a 15-8-6 record which is good enough for 36 points and 4th in the Western Conference as of the time I'm writing this post. The thing is, they're only 3 points away from being in 12th. The Western Conference is an absolute logjam.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Is Tootoo's Most Memorable Incident?

If you saw the game Saturday night versus the Panthers, you saw Michael Frolik absolutely annihilated by Jordin Tootoo. It was the hardest hit that I have ever witnessed live. Well, it was the hardest legal hit I've ever witnessed live. But what is his hit on Saturday night his most memorable moment of contact, or was it when he clocked Stephan Robidas a few years ago?

A few years ago, Jordin Tootoo destroyed Stephan Robidas after a legal check into the boards. He felt Robidas coming in behind him and gave him a punch that left him on the ice for about 10 minutes. He was out cold.

Then there is Saturday night. Tootoo had been high-sticked in the face by Tomas Vokoun, and had previously been cross-checked without it being called. It's safe to say he was a little irritated and out for revenge.

So which one is more memorable? I'll leave that for you to decide!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Preds Pound Panthers

The Nashville Predators got out in front of the Florida Panthers and never looked back. They played a pretty good all around game and provided the crowd with several sources of entertainment.

1ST PERIOD
The Preds came out flying when Ryan Suter jumped in on the rush and scored his first goal of the season just 1:14 into the game. The Preds have several chances after that, including one that hit the post. Then, it happened. Jordin Tootoo delivered one of the most violent hits I've ever had the opportunity to see in my 18 years of living. He absolutely DESTROYED Frolik. He got absolutely nailed. Then, near the end of the period, Shea Weber blasted one home and gave the team a 2-0 lead.

Joel Ward added an empty netter in the 3rd period to seal the game. Anders Lindback was absolutely fantastic. He even resorted to head-butting a puck in order to save it. The kid is truly unreal and a pleasure to watch.

The Preds take on the Islanders Monday night.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Child's Heart

Phillip and I got the opportunity to teach inner city kids the game of hockey on Thursday at Kirkpatrick Community Center in Nashville. It was my first time going and it really was a great experience. The kids were truly fantastic.

From the moment we brought out all of the equipment, the kids were fired up and ready to play. We taught them what a breakaway was, how to shoot and pass, and really just had fun with them. The kids had a blast. They were running around playing with each other, and warmed up to us like we were a part of their family.

We did have one injury on the day(Phillip got hit in the shin with a plastic puck and whined like a little girl) but it was all worth it. Pretty soon, the kids wanted to play a game. So, we proceeded to split them up and started playing a game. I'll tell you, some of them have some game. They were running around and deking and shooting and really just having the time of their lives.

The thing that stood out to me was the heart these kids have. No matter what they do, they just try to enjoy themselves. Everywhere you looked, their were smiles on the faces of the children. At the end of the day, that's really what it's all about. The heart of a child is truly a wonderful thing. They're willing to be friendly with anyone and they want to have as much fun and joy as they can. I originally went their intending to teach them a game, but I left with something that I didn't bank on happening. The kids really put things in perspective for me. Life really is about having fun and doing things that make you, and other people, happy. I think that's a lesson all of us can learn. No matter how old you are, you can always make a positive impact on somebody's life.

We can learn from these kids. We can all show the same care and compassion to each other as the kids show to everyone. We can all have more fun in our lives and do things for other people. Bringing other people joy will bring you more joy than maybe you had previously even thought possible. Learn from these kids. They're not under the best of circumstances. None of them have some of the luxuries that I have, or that most of us have. But all they want to do is have fun. Hockey provides them with that. Hockey is a game for all people and all ages, and what I saw Thursday proved that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lindback Shines as Preds Beat Red Wings

The Nashville Predators defeated their arch-rival Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night by a 3-2 score for their 10th win at Joe Louis Arena in the franchise's history. The real story of the game, however, was how well Anders Lindback played. He was absolutely fantastic and was the reason the Preds won the game.

The Preds got goals from Colin Wilson, Martin Erat, and J.P. Dumont. The Preds had times where their offensive pressure looked pretty good, but the power-play was dreadful, actually allowing a goal to Pavel Datsyuk.

David Legwand was injured in the game and didn't return. I know a lot of you think that's a big deal. Personally, I really don't but that's ok. That's neither here nor there.

This was a great game. Lindback made some truly great saves during the course of this game. Also, I must give credit when it's due. I blasted Kevin Klein the other night, and deservedly so. However, he made a critical play tonight when he saved a goal that squeaked pass Lindback. So, well done Kevin.

It was a great win. They outskated the Wings for most of the game, they worked harder, and they won the game. It's amazing how that works huh? We probably should try it a little more often.

Phillip and I will be at the Kirkpatrick Community Center from 4:30 to 6 working with our kids hockey program. If you've got some time to spare tomorrow, feel free to come by and help these kids out. Let us know if you'd like to come.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pep Talk



I hate the Detroit Red Wings more than any other sports franchise on this planet. Most of the fans here in Nashville share my animosity with this franchise. However, I do have respect of the talent they have and their history. But this isn't the past. This is right now.

The Preds are often guilty of giving this team more respect than is needed. Yes, you need to respect their ability to score and control the puck. But, you don't need to sit around in awe of them while trying to defend them. It just won't work. Take the puck when you have it and shove it right down their throat.

If the Preds play their game, they will win. Work harder than they do. Skate harder than they do. And above all, maintain concentration. If you do that, you will come out on the winning side of the hockey game.

This is a big game. All of the games vs. Detroit are big and this one is no different. If we're going to catch the Wings this year, it's going to have to begin now. Get out their and bring the physicality. Hit them hard and hit them often. Take it to them and show them that we're a team to be reckoned with. Screw all of them. Get out there and win the damn hockey game.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Preds Collapse in Atlanta

There's been a few games this year that have rubbed me the wrong way, but this one may just take the cake. The Nashville Predators fell to the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 in overtime on Monday night.

Nashville came out of the gate flat and got pushed back by the Thrashers. However, the Preds soon found their game and got a goal on a quick snapshot by Colin Wilson on a great drop pass by SK74.

Minutes later the preds struck again when Sullivan dropped a pass to O'Reilly who dropped it back to Wilson for the shot. It was tipped in front by Steve Sullivan and the Predators were out to a 2-0 lead in the first. The killer instinct never was there.

The Preds were abysmal on the faceoff. They only won 29% of the faceoffs on the night, which is really a pathetic number. You'd think somebody would have a little more pride than that. Having said that, Atlanta scored a goal off a quick faceoff win, with the puck being tipped in front.

In the 3rd, another faceoff win for the Thrashers brought the puck back to Dustin Byfuglien where he ripped a shot that Andrew Ladd put back home on the rebound. So, after having a 2-0 lead, the Preds had managed to squander the lead to a team they had on the ropes.

On came overtime and the Nashville Predators did what they have done all year in overtime. Lose. Kevin Klein found himself without a stick and with the puck. Kevin Klein having the puck with a stick is scary enough, much less without one. Klein proceeded to take the puck to the boards by the bench area and just kind of sit there with it for a while. Well, naturally, it was stolen and it led to a wide open Zach Bogosian who scored the game-winner.

How many times are they going to let this happen? Most people justify this by saying "Well at least they got a point. That might be the point that puts them in the playoffs." Well that's freakin fantastic. What you never hear is that losing the game might be the point given away that keeps them OUT of the playoffs. This game was entirely in the control of the Nashville Predators and they choked.

If the Preds are only going to win 29% of the faceoffs, they might as well not even show up to Detroit. It's really unacceptable. I'm really frustrated with this game tonight and, quite frankly, I'm so tired of giving away these games. It falls back on Trotz. If you can't keep your team focused when they get a 2 goal lead, then what in the world are you doing coaching? Get your team together and keep them focused or stop wasting my time. It also falls on Shea Weber. You are the captain of this team. Your team has given away AT LEAST 8 games so far this year. Step up and lead the team.

Luckily, we have the best team in the NHL to look forward to on Wednesday. The good thing is I can guarantee you the effort and concentration will be there on Wednesday night. It always is with the Red Wings, except for maybe the previous meeting between these two teams this year. If the concentration isn't there on Wednesday night, it's time to take a serious look at this team. If you can't get up for the Red Wings then you really need to seriously consider your profession. I have passion for this team and I absolutely hate Detroit. It's time the players act like they care when they give games away like they did tonight. Either that or just stop playing. I don't have time for people who don't care.

Detroit was beaten tonight 5-2 by the Sharks. Both teams will be looking to rebound. Concentrate and learn how to play with a lead. It's time for you to do your job Barry Trotz. Or hopefully somebody else will.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What does Erat's breakout game mean?

Martin Erat is, without doubt, the most inconsistent player I've ever seen. One night you're complaining and asking why he is even on your team and the next night he goes out there and has three assists. Every year there is always a few games where Martin Erat seems like he is an extremely good player. As soon as you get to thinking that, he goes and does something stupid(game 5. It still bothers me and it probably will until we win a playoff series).

So what does Saturday night's three point outburst from Martin Erat against Carolina mean? If history is a guide, it means absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it means that he's going to do something incredibly stupid here coming up. But can he reverse the trend?

Erat has the skill set to be a 60-65 point guy every year. The problem is, he doesn't use his head. Maybe this is the point in which he starts to mature. We're all used to seeing him having the puck and doing his trademark spin-o-rama. When in doubt, he spins. The thing about that is that he has the strength and the puck handling skills to almost impose his will down near the net. The problem is, he rarely does it. When he does, you see the results.

Do I think he'll get things going offensively and go on a tear? No I don't. I will believe it when I see it. But I really am just issuing a challenge to him. If he plays to his strengths and uses his head, he can really be a fine player. It's just time that he does it regularly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Slumping Beast?

Has the new found role of captain taken a tole on Shea Weber's game? His stats are down and a couple of numbers really stick out at me.

Number one, he only has three goals and six assists for a grand total of nine points in 24 games. A lot of this can be due to the simple fact that nobody on the Preds is really scoring much. Also, Weber is really the only guy on the team that other teams fear as far as shooting goes. You can't blame them, the thing is like a rocket propelled grenade.

The stat that really stands out to me however is his plus-minus rating. Weber is minus 10! That's good for 703rd in the league. SEVEN HUNDRED AND FREAKIN THIRD! Weber is also shooting at just 3.9% and isn't hitting the net with much consistancy.

Part of this can obviously be due to Ryan Suter missing a fair amount of game time. But come on. These numbers have to get better if the Preds have any chance of doing anything this year. Shea Weber is the best player on the team. As a matter of fact, he's the best all-around defenseman we've ever had here and probably the best all-around defenseman in the league. He's just simply not playing like it so far this year.

Does the captaincy have anything to do with that? I think so. I think it's a classic case of him trying to hard. When he gets the puck, he is trying to release it so soon on his slapshot that it isn't getting much accuracy at all.

Look, Shea is a fantastic player. All he needs to do is relax and have fun and he'll be fine. But he needs to do it quick. Pekka Rinne is reported to be out 2-4 weeks so we're going to need him to step up offensively and, especially, defensively where he hasn't been good this year. That plus-minus rating is terrible, and there's really no other way to describe it. Gotta get it fixed Beast!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bringing Hockey to the Inner City

This blog is going to be a little change from what we normally do at HockeyNight in Nashville…but I feel it’s all still inter connected.
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I have recently been given the opportunity to help get a program up and running to help teach kids from the James Cayce Homes about hockey. Last night was sort of the kick off to the program, which takes place at the Kirkpatrick Community Center, and I was amazed by the response we got. These kids, who quite possibly have never picked up a hockey stick before, were excited! We started with the basics; how to properly hold a stick, shoot a puck, and make a pass. After an hour and a half, these kids looked like pros…they were taking one timers, deking around me, and stealing the puck (honestly, some of them had better shots than my Lower C team—sorry guys!). Also, after an hour and a half of running around, I was exhausted and they were still running around like crazy!

Ultimately, we hope to have enough interest to field a couple of teams and get some mini-games going. I really hope that is able to happen, because hockey is an awesome sport. It’s all about the TEAM, and the lessons one can learn far outreach what transpires on the court or sheet of ice. A lot of the kids we’re dealing with have already been short-changed in life. A lot of them only know thug life. But having an outlet to get out and have fun can only be a good thing…and I am truly blessed to be able to be a part of this program.

If you’re interested in helping out, the program is taking place on Thursday afternoon, from 4:30-6 pm at the Kirkpatrick Community Center @ 620 South 9th Street, Nashville, 37206—which is right off of Shelby Ave. Feel free to send me an email at BigReid07@comcast.net for more information. You dont necessarily have to know how to play the game...it'd be great to just have people come hang out with the kids. I guarantee that you will be blessed, I know I was.

-Phillip

Special Thanks

Well, we here at Hockey Night in Nashville are fairly new at the blogging world of hockey in Nashville. Phillip and I have had a great time with the blog so far and look forward to continue posting on all things Pred related.

I'd like to extend a special thanks to Buddy Oakes of predsontheglass.com and Dirk Hoag and the guys at ontheforecheck.com for posting links to our site on a daily basis. Phillip and I really appreciate that and you guys are truly the best.

Also, a big thanks to Jeremy and Codey at section303.com for really being the inspiration behind Phillip and I making this blog in the first place.

Go Preds!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Preds Win 2nd in a Row

If you were at the game on Wednesday night in Columbus and happened to be walking in the parking lot afterwards, I hope you were vigilant. You could have very easily tripped over Steve Mason's equipment.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Blue Jackets 4-3 by way of a shootout on Wednesday night. Steve Sullivan scored the lone goal in the shootout and it was a beauty. He made Steve Mason look stupid. It brought back memories of Datsyuk on Vokoun.

The Preds were streaky in this game but got it done in the end. Pekka Rinne played a pretty good game tonight, even though I still question the decision on playing him back to back nights. Pekka's been logging a lot of minutes. In fact, Pekka has 1,086 minutes so far this year. Anders Lindback has 388.

With the win, the Preds currently sit in 9th place in the Western Conference. It would've been better if we got the win in regulation, but I'll just gladly take the two points the way they've been playing lately.

Switching up the lines has seemed to work the last few games. There will be a time where the need to be switched again this season and I hope it's done quicker next time than it was this time.

The next game is Saturday night vs. Carolina at the Bridge. The game will not be on FS Tennessee. Gotta keep it rolling.