Sunday, May 29, 2011

The season that never was



During the summer of 2010, Nashville General Manager David Poile received a lot of credit locally and throughout the league for the signing of free agent Matthew Lombardi. The Predators signed Lombardi to a three-year deal worth $10.5 million. Lombardi was coming off of a career year in Phoenix, and was one of the best offensive options available in the free agent market.

Lombardi's speed was the main attraction to Preds fans. He is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, and the 53 points that he accumulated in Phoenix in the 2009-2010 season indicated that his offensive production was on the rise.

Strange and uncontrollable circumstances would bring Lombardi's 2010-2011 campaign to a sudden halt. He suffered a debilitating concussion during the 2nd game of the year against Chicago. He would go on to miss the remaining 80 games of the regular season, plus the 12 postseason games.

It's hard to say how much of an impact Lombardi would've had on the season, and the playoffs, for the Nashville Predators. His blazing speed makes him a weapon each time he's on the ice. It's useless to speculate on how much of a difference somebody like Lombardi would have made against the Vancouver Canucks. There is his future to worry about, however.

Many Preds fans are skeptical that Lombardi's career may be over. Personally, I don't think there is really any need to speculate on that. There's no timetable on injuries such as concussions. Lombardi has made no announcement to suggest that his career has been threatened by the injury.

It's unclear as to when Lombardi will be healthy enough to resume hockey activities. In the meantime, PredNation wishes him nothing but the best during the recovery process and hopes to have him back on the ice soon. When healthy, Nashville might just have a team that can contend for a Stanley Cup.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Public Skate on Friday

Next Friday, June 3rd, come on out to Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville for a public skate session from 7-9 p.m. It's a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.

There are several different public skating sessions and times all throughout the month of June. It's a great opportunity to teach a youngster how to skate, work on your own skating skills, or to just have a fun time with family and friends!

I'll see you all there Friday night!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sounds game

Looking for something fun to do on a Friday night? Head on out to the Nashville Sounds game on Friday to join fellow Preds fans in another "Summer sucks, drop the puck" event.

There will be a dazzling fireworks show after the game. It should be a great night to socialize and have fun at the ballpark! I hope to see you all there!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nashville must sign Shea Weber



There is a clear number one priority for the Nashville Predators this off-season. They must sign Shea Weber.

Weber is one of the best defenseman in the world, and has been nominated for the Norris Trophy this year. He has won an Olympic Gold Medal and has one of the hardest shots in the NHL. He's great defensively and plays a strong physical game. But there is more to Weber than that.

He is the captain. He's the one that everybody looks up to in the locker room. It was under his leadership that the Predators had the best season in franchise history. He's a home grown Nashville Predator. Most of all, he's the face of the franchise.

David Poile simply has to do whatever that he conceivably can to make sure that Weber stays in Nashville. Weber has said that he loves Nashville and that a deal is "going to get done." For the Preds to be successful in the near future, it has to get done.

As David Climer pointed out in his article on Monday, failure to sign Weber could mean disastrous results for the Preds.

Nashville is on the verge of becoming an elite team with their core of Weber, Ryan Suter, and Pekka Rinne. The ideal situation would be to get Weber and Suter signed at the same time. However, I don't think that's likely to happen. It's really about how much money each of them wants.

With the news of Brian Rafalski's retirement, there are going to be lots of rumors of Weber going to Detroit. Personally, I find that ludicrous. However, allowing Weber to receive an offer sheet from another team could potentially be dangerous. Furthermore, allowing Weber to become an Unrestricted Free Agent after next year would be bad news for Preds fans.

I think that Weber and Nashville are going to get a deal done, preferrably before July 1st. He has stated that he isn't going anywhere and that this is the only place he wants to play. I believe him. However, that doesn't mean that players haven't lied before, or that complications can't emerge to hinder that process.

My gut tells me that a deal will be done in June. Pred Nation will breathe a sigh of relief when that day comes. He is too important for the future of the franchise to let go. The Preds don't have any other option but to re-sign him. Failure to do so would set this franchise back, and the foundation that has been laid would be utterly worthless.

Things will certainly get interesting over the next few weeks if Weber still isn't signed. Questions and speculation will raise astronomically, and Pred Nation will become skeptical. However, I don't see a huge reason to panic.

"It's only a matter of time before something gets done," Weber said. Nashville fans hope that time is soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

NHL Awards Preview

The Nashville Predators are up for four awards at the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. David Poile, Barry Trotz, Pekka Rinne, and Shea Weber are all finalists for their respective categories. Here is a breakdown of the categories that they have been nominated for:

David Poile- General Manager of the year: Poile has had a great year as a General Manager. He made the off-season signing of Matthew Lombardi(although unforseen circumstances arose due to Lombardi's injury) and he made the midseason acquistion of Mike Fisher. Poile's been known to get the best out of every situation that presents itself. I think Poile has a great shot at winning this award.

Barry Trotz- Jack Adams Award: The Jack Adams Award is given to the best coach of the year in the league. This is the second year in a row that Trotz has been nominated for the award. He did a marvelous job of coaching a depleted roster for the majority of the year, and finally got over the 1st round hump in the playoffs. However, I don't think he's going to win. Expect Dan Byslma of the Pittsburgh Penguins to walk away with this award.

Pekka Rinne- Vezina Trophy: Rinne had the best year of any Nashville Predators player this year. Without him, the Preds would have been battling the Edmonton Oilers for worst record in the West. He was simply sensational all year, and was second only to Tim Thomas in save percentage and GAA. Having said that, I expect Thomas to win this award this year, and he really deserves to.

Shea Weber- Norris Trophy: The Norris Trophy is given to the best defenseman in the game. This doesn't mean the defenseman that puts up the most points offensively. It means the best all-around defenseman. Weber has it all. He's got a bomb of a shot, he's physical, and he is great positionally. I think Weber has a real shot at winning this award over Nick Lidstrom and Zdeno Chara.

The NHL Awards will take place on June 22nd from Las Vegas. We'll see if anybody in the Nashville organization can bring home some hardware.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Will Ryan Ellis Start Next Season in Nashville?

The Nashville Predators have a great deal of talent at the defensive position throughout the organization. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter have emerged as arguably the best defensive pairing in the world. Jonathon Blum and Cody Franson have added their talent and youth to the defensive corps. Will Ryan Ellis join them in Nashville next year?

Assuming that Weber is here, which I am almost 100% sure he will be, that leaves the defensive pairings as follows:

Weber/Suter, Blum/Klein, Franson/TBD.

It's unclear whether or not Shane O'Brien will return to Nashville next season, and the status of Francis Bouillon for next season is still unknown. That leaves the door open for Ellis to make the team out of training camp next year. David Poile said that Ellis had a shot to make the team out of camp if he had a lights out camp.

Ellis is one of the best defensman in the history of the OHL. He played for the Windsor Spitfires. He had 101 points this year as a defenseman in 58 games played for the Spitfires. Obviously, it's going to be a lot tougher in the NHL, but there is no question that Ellis packs an offensive punch from the blueline.

The young defensive talent in the Nashville organization is starting to make its way toward the NHL level. More than likely, Ellis will be called up at some point during the 2011-2012 season. However, I don't think he starts the season in Nashville. Milwaukee has been an excellent tool for developing players in the past. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter both served their time in Milwaukee. Expect Ellis to do the same, unless his training camp is flat out jaw-dropping.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blog Updates

Hey guys. There might be a limited amount of blog updates from me over the next week or so. I was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and this next week is going to be a little hectic for me. There is a possibility that I might be staying three nights in the hospital for some testing.

I might be able to post as often as I regularly do, but I just don't know at this point. I'll keep you all posted!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

WCF Game 1: Canucks vs. Sharks

The San Jose Sharks will take on the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. Vancouver is coming off of a six game series with Nashville, while San Jose is coming off of a seven game series with Detroit.

San Jose has been a Stanley Cup favorite for several years now. This looks to be the best shot they've had at living up to those expectations. Last year, the Sharks made it to the Western Conference Final, but they were swept by Chicago. This year, they're taking on a very talented Vancouver Canucks team.

As Predator fans know, there is one player on Vancouver who is capable of changing a game every time he gets the puck. Ryan Kesler has been the best player in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. His offensive and defensive game is making him the favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy. The Sedin twins have to be more effective against San Jose for the Canucks to win this series.

Advantages

Goaltending: The goaltending edge goes to the Sharks. Yes, Roberto Luongo is a Vezina Trophy finalist this year. However, he hasn't proven anything yet. Antii Nieimi has won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks and is playing very good hockey in these playoffs.

Defense: The defensive advantage goes to the Vancouver Canucks. They have three very solid defensive pairings that are able to play shutdown D. They won the Jennings Trophy this year for least goals allowed.

Offense: Both teams are extremely talented offensively, but I've got to go with the Sharks. If I was a coach, San Jose's offense would scare me more simply because of their pressure. San Jose has surpassed Detroit with being the best puck possession team in the league. They're extremely good on the offensive attack.

Prediction: I think the San Jose Sharks will win this series in six games.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Who are you rooting for?

Now that the final four teams in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been set, who do you want to win the Stanley Cup?

In the Western Conference, you've got the Vancouver vs. San Jose matchup. The Canucks have knocked out the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators, while San Jose has knocked out the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings.

Boston and Tampa Bay are the last teams standing in the Eastern Conference. Both teams had a hard fought first round series. The Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens in 7 games, and the Lightning defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in 7 games after being down 3-1 in the series. Both teams swept their 2nd round opponents.

There you have it. Vancouver, San Jose, Boston, and Tampa Bay are the teams left standing in the NHL playoffs. Who do you want to win the cup?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Could the Preds be moved to the Southeast Division?

There's been a lot of talk about Winnipeg lately. Most of that was directed towards the possible relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes. Now that it's been decided that Phoenix is going to have another year in Arizona, that speculation has been moved towards the Atlanta Thrashers.

Let me first start by saying that I'm not an advocate of any team being moved that has passionate fans. I've been through that process when the speculation surrounded the Predators. However, it's looking more and more like the Thrashers could be moved.

If Atlanta does end up being moved, what does the NHL do with the division alignments? Winnipeg cannot be placed in the Eastern Conference. It wouldn't make any sense and it wouldn't work. So who has to be realigned?

I think it would either be the Predators or the Columbus Blue Jackets that would be sent to the Southeast Division. I wouldn't expect this to happen until the 2012-2013 season if Atlanta moves. There is a possibility that Nashville could be moved to the other conference. If they were, would you be ok with that?

The natural answer is that the Eastern Conference is a weaker conference than the Western Conference from top to bottom. Using that argument, the idea of moving to the Eastern Conference would appeal to some Preds fans. On the other side, Nashville has finally established themselves as a legitimate contender for the Central Division title, and to the Western Conference championship.

Just think. Nashville would only play the Detroit Red Wings a maximum of two times a year if they were realigned. As a long time Preds fan, that would suck. All of the rivalries that the Preds have established would be gone. In a sense, it would be a new start for the Preds as far as the rivalry aspect went.

There is still a lot that has to happen for this to take place, but it is in the realm of possibility. What do you think? Would you be ok with the Predators moving to the Eastern Conference?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2010-2011: A Season To Remember



The 2010-2011 season for the Nashville Predators was the best season in the history of the franchise. From the beginning of October to the beginning of May, it's been a heck of a ride with this team. Here are some of the accomplishments this year:

Nashville finished the regular season with a 44-27-11 record, which was good for 99 points on the year. They had a 4-1-1 record against the Detroit Red Wings. The Preds finished in 2nd place in the Central Division.

Playoff success

The Predators won their first ever playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks in six games. In the 2nd round, they took the President Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks to six games. The Preds won four playoff games on the road this season. They had only won one in franchise history before this year.

NHL Accolades

Nashville has several candidates at the NHL Awards this summer. Pekka Rinne is nominated for the Vezina Trophy. Shea Weber is nominated for the Norris Trophy. Barry Trotz is nominated for the Jack Adams Award. David Poile is nominated for General Manager of the Year. Shea Weber was named to the 2011 NHL All-Star game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Weber played on Team Lidstrom and came out on the winning end of the game, while notching four assists.

Injuries

There were a plethora of injuries for the Predators this year. Matthew Lombardi was injured in the 2nd game of the regular season with a concussion, and has been out since then. Marcel Goc was injured several times this year. Cal O'Reilly was injured on January 2nd and did not return to game action. Francis Bouillon was also out with a concussion. Shea Weber, Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson, and Jerred Smithson were the only players to play in all 82 regular season games this year. When you add the playoffs into the mix, only Weber and Fisher played in every game this year. However, when you consider that Fisher wasn't acquired until February, Weber was the only player to play in every single game for Nashville this season.

Best regular season game of the year

My most memorable regular season game of the year was on January 15th against Chicago. The Preds were down 2-0 heading into the 3rd period, but rallied to send the game into a shootout. Shea Weber tied the game in the 3rd period on a bomb from the point. Marcel Goc scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Preds won the game 3-2.

Best Playoff game

The best playoff game of the year was Game 5 against Anaheim. It looked like the Predators were going to go down 3-2 in the series. Shea Weber wasn't about to let that happen. Mike Fisher won the draw and Weber tied the game on a wrister from the point with 32 seconds left. Jerred Smithson went on to score the winning goal in overtime.

A season of firsts

This season was the first time the Preds won a playoff series. It was the first time they won an overtime game in the playoffs. It was the first time they won a double overtime game in the playoffs. It was the first time they won a Game 5 or a Game 6 in the playoffs. Game 5 in Vancouver was the first time that Nashville had won an elimination game in the playoffs.

The 2010-2011 season was certainly one to remember for the Nashville Predators. Now, the Preds have important issues to deal with going into the off-season. The number one priority has to be getting Shea Weber re-signed. Then, the Predators have to decide whether or not they're going to try to find someone to help their offensive needs. There's the NHL Draft to look forward to. July 1st is just as exciting as the Trade Deadline! Overall, it was a great season for the Preds. Now, they have to work on taking that next step towards a Stanley Cup.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Year One



Last summer, while watching a development camp practice at Centennial Sportsplex, a thought came to me regarding starting a blog for the Preds. I had seen the joy and passion that Jeremy K. Gover and Codey Holland had at section303.com, and I felt I had passion to write about my favorite team as well. After all, sports journalism is a field that I eventually want to have my career in. That day, Dub and I started Hockey Night in Nashville.

I never could have imagined the impact that would have on me. Since that time, I've met new people that I now consider to be friends due to the blog. Also, I was given the privilege of being credentialed for a few games this year(3-0-0 record by the way). It has been a blast.

Dub and I would like to thank all of you who have read our blog this year. It truly means a lot. We've made our mistakes from time to time on here, but we will continually strive to get better. Our goal is to give you the news on the Nashville Predators, and allow you to formulate your own opinion. From time to time, we're going to tell you how you feel about a certain situation that may arise. We appreciate the fact that you take time out of your day to read this.

This was just one of what will hopefully be many years to come of doing this blog. Once again, thank you to the readers for reading. Thanks to all who have linked Hockey Night in Nashville on your own site.

We'll be here all summer.

Preds Eliminated; Future Looks Bright

The Nashville Predators were eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena. Vancouver was simply the better team in this series, and they have now moved on to the Western Conference Final. They'll await the winner of the Detroit/San Jose series.

Nashville made huge strides this year as a hockey team, and as a hockey town. During these playoffs, the hockey world has started to discover the passion that this city has for the game of hockey. It's only going to grow from here.

This type of playoff run has generated interest from people who would not normally follow the Preds. Revenue from the playoff games is going to be a huge plus for the organization. The local mainstream media is paying more attention to the Predators than ever before. There's many things that are extremely positive from this year.

Added to that, is the fact that it's only just beginning. There's no reason to expect anything less from the Predators in years to come. Nashville is a very young team, and it's a team that's only going to get better. Due to injuries, several young players like Blake Geoffrion and Jon Blum got playing time this year. There is no question that both of them are NHL ready right now. The very same can be said about Matt Halischuk.

As the Preds head into the off-season, they have to be proud of the run they put together this season. But, they also have to be hungry to go deeper into the playoffs and to eventually lift the Stanley Cup. That's now a realistic expectation in the years to come.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Preds Won't Go Without A Fight; Win Game 5

There is one word that is tossed around all the time about the Nashville Predators: resiliency. Nashville showed it once again on Saturday night.

The Nashville Predators defeated the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi Finals by a 4-3 score. This was Nashville's first ever victory in a game in which they could have been eliminated.

David Legwand got the scoring started for the Predators. He took off on a breakaway while shorthanded and put one past Roberto Luongo to put the Preds up 1-0. Shortly after, Raffi Torres scored for the Canucks to tie the game at one. Ryan Kesler would keep up his scoring pace when he put one past Pekka Rinne on the rush. Vancouver had the 2-1 lead after one period of play.

In the 2nd, the Preds would tie the game on a lucky play. Legwand had the puck behind the net and flipped it over the head of Luongo. Alexander Edler proceeded to actually knock the puck into his own net.

Joel Ward went to work in the 3rd period for the Preds. Early in the 3rd, Mike Fisher brought the puck down and made a beautiful slap-pass to Ward for the one-timer goal. Ward wasn't done, however, and he put the Predators up 4-2 when he found the puck in front of the net and wristed it past Luongo at 5:45 of the 3rd period.

Kesler would tally again for the Canucks on the power-play to cut the lead in half, but that was all she wrote.

Thoughts from tonight's game:

Great turnout at the Cellblock 303 viewing party at Brewhouse South in Franklin.

David Legwand and Joel Ward had masterful games for the Preds. Ward is tied for the league lead in postseason goals with 7.

The Preds have now gotten themselves back in this series. A win in Game 6 on Monday night would force a Game 7, where anything can happen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Canucks Now Have Series In Hand with Game 4 Win

The Vancouver Canucks came into Nashville and got two wins on the road to go up 3-1 in the series. They were able to knock off the Nashville Predators by a 4-2 score on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville came out hard for the first few minutes of the 1st period, but it was the Canucks who got on the board first. Christian Ehrhoff snuck one past Pekka Rinne from the point while Alex Burrows was screening in front. Rinne was livid that there was no goalie interfernce called. I'm 50/50 on whether or not it was.

Joel Ward would answer the Canucks with a power-play goal to tie the game at one. Cody Franson snapped a shot from the point which Ward tipped. Roberto Luongo made the original save, but Ward put his own rebound through to tie the game.

In the 2nd period, the Canucks would take the lead again when Alexander Edler put one through traffic from the point to put Vancouver up 2-1. Nashville had several opportunites to score in the 2nd period, but were thwarted by their own unwillingness to shoot the puck.

The Preds tied the game at two in the beginning of the 3rd period when Franson scored from the point. It was odd because nobody really knew the puck was in the net. The net didn't move, but it clearly went in. Eventually, everyone realized the puck was in and Bridgestone Arena went crazy.

However, the Canucks would strike later in the 3rd on a great goal by Ryan Kesler. Kesler drew a penalty to put the Canucks on the power-play when Ryan Suter drug him down from behind by his face. Kesler would take the puck on the rush and slide right between Shea Weber and Shane O'Brien to score the goal.

Nashville gave one last ditch effort to score, but never really had full possesion of the puck during the final few minutes. Henrik Sedin scored the empty netter to ice the game away for Vancouver.

Thoughts from Game 4:

It's going to be awfully tough for Nashville to come back in this series and win. The Canucks have all of the momentum right now, and will be looking not to make the same mistake they made in the 1st round by letting a team back in the series. Expect the Canucks to have a killer instinct on Saturday night.

Nashville has to shoot the puck. Plain and simple. Several shots were passed up by the majority of the Preds players on the ice tonight. Simply put, you can't score if you don't shoot.

Jerred Smithson left the game with an upper body injury and did not return. He is doubtful for Saturday night's Game 5.

Colin Wilson made his return to the lineup for the Preds, and showed a lot of jump. His ice time increased as the game went along. Be looking for him to get a further increase in ice time on Saturday.

This is it for the Preds. It's do or die. They have to focus on winning Game 5 before anyone even begins to think about Game 6.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WCSF Game 4: Nashville Must Even Series



Going down 3-1 in a series against the Vancouver Canucks is not an option if you are the Nashville Predators. Sure, Chicago came back and tied the series with the Canucks at three in the 1st round after being down 3-0, but that's not something the Preds can want to test.

The Vancouver Canucks and the Nashville Predators will meet in Game 4 of this Western Conference Semi Finals bout. Vancouver came into Nashville and won Game 3 to give them a 2-1 series lead. The Predators are looking to tie the series at two games apiece going back to Vancouver.

All people are talking about since the game on Tuesday night is the call on Shea Weber that Ryan Kesler drew. Two days later, it's still a terrible call. However, it's not the lone reason that Nashville lost the game. The Predators were simply terrible in the 2nd period, and were lucky to still be in the game.

Thursday night, the Predators have to come out and play a full 60 minute(at least) hockey game. The effort simply has to be there all game, and it has to be there at a playoff caliber level.

My player to watch for Vancouver is Alex Burrows. He's a quick, talented player who has a nose for the net. The Predators have done a decent job against him in this series, and they'll have to continue to do that.

For Nashville, my player to watch is somebody whom I believe will return to the lineup. That person is Colin Wilson. With the injury to Steve Sullivan, either Wilson or J.P. Dumont is going to return. I'd almost bet that it's going to be Wilson. He's angry and he's ready to play. I, like many others, believe that an angry Colin Wilson can be a good thing for the Preds.

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.

Terrible Call Contributes To Preds Loss

I don't really know how to properly explain the magnitude of what happened in Game 3 between the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks. It's a 2-2 game in overtime and Ryan Kesler has the puck along the half-wall. Shea Weber goes over to defend and Kesler "chicken winged" Weber's stick under his arm. The play lasts for about eight seconds when, all of a sudden, there's a penalty called. Shea Weber. Hooking. I'll go more in depth into this later in the post.

In the 1st period, Nashville got the scoring started on a shorthanded goal when David Legwand went to the slot and put one past Roberto Luongo. It was a great individual effort by Legwand, and it put the Preds up 1-0.

The Canucks would respond in the 2nd period when Ryan Kesler planted himself at the front of the net and scored off of a great pass by Christian Erhoff. Vancouver wasn't done, however, and took the 2-1 lead when Chris Higgins scored from the boards on a weird play. Rinne was out of the net and the puck bounced right to Higgins, who finished the job.

It wouldn't be a game in this year's NHL playoffs if it didn't go to overtime. Naturally, the Preds tied the game on a Joel Ward wrap-around. Then came the overtime period.

Both teams had several scoring chances in the period. It was a classic case of Stanley Cup Playoffs hockey. However, the call was made on Weber and the Canucks won the game on a tip-in by Kesler to put the Canucks up in the series 2-1.

My thoughts on the hooking call:

First of all, it was a call that should never be made in an overtime period in the playoffs. For one thing, it wasn't called at first. The play between Weber and Kesler was going on for several seconds, with not much changing. Then, all of the sudden, you see a hand go up from the endzone ref. There's no way he could have possibly had a good view on the play.

Secondly, it wasn't hooking. Kesler had the stick trapped in between in armpit and his side. The definition of a hooking penalty is: " A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who impedes the progress of an opponent by “hooking” with his stick. A minor penalty for hooking shall be assessed to any player who uses the shaft of the stick above the upper hand to hold or hook an opponent." Rule 55.2 in the NHL rulebook.

What part of that play constitues "impeding the process" of a player. Both of them were along the boards. There is no progress to be made. The bottom line is that it was a terrible call.

Fan Reaction:

I'm extremely disappointed by the Nashville fans after Game 3. You don't throw beer and other objects on the ice. You just don't do it. Punch something(not a person), throw it on the ground, crush it, kick the chair, or do something else. But, DO NOT throw things on the ice. One, it could hurt players on the ice. More importantly, however, is that it makes Nashville look awful. This is my city that I've grown up in. This is the hockey team that I've grown up with. I will not allow us to sit there and look like straight fools by throwing beer on the ice. Get the hell over yourself.

Game 4 is Thursday night.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Battle Moves To Smashville



The Western Conference Semi Final battle between the Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators has now moved to Smashville for games 3 and 4. With the series being tied at one game apiece, both teams will be looking to get the upper hand on the series during the next two games.

Nashville seems to have the momentum on their side, coming off of a double overtime victory in Vancouver on Saturday night. Luckily for both teams, there was an extra day off in between games 2 and 3. Both teams needed that extra day off for rest after Saturday night.

As has been the case in the playoffs this year, home ice advantage doesn't seem to matter very much. The Predators have won three road playoff games this year, and teams all throughout the NHL playoffs have had great success on the road. The Predators will be looking to reverse that trend on Tuesday night.

My player to watch for the Canucks in this game is Dan Hamhuis. This will be his first time to actually play in Bridgestone Arena as a member of a team that is not named the Nashville Predators. That gives him a little extra incentive to be on top of his game.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Shane O'Brien. Up until this point in the series, O'Brien has not done anything to hurt the Preds as far as taking penalties. Eventually, you've got to think that he's going to start being a lot more physical and begin to take penalties. I hope that's not the case on Tuesday. Additionally, he really wants to beat the Canucks. I think he will get a goal before this series is over, and it may come in Game 3.

It's very important that the Predators maintain their home ice advantage in this series. It could be the difference in them winning and losing the series. The game starts at 8:00 on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Game 3 Is More Than Just A Hockey Game



On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks will meet for a Game 3 contest in the Western Conference Semi Finals. The series is tied 1-1, so both teams will obviously be trying to win the game. But, this game is more than just a hockey game.

Sunday night, President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a strike by a United States special forces group. This is news that Americans and Canadians alike have been waiting for almost 10 years now.

Everybody remembers where they were on 9/11. For me, I was a 4th grade student at Inglewood Elementary in Nashville. I distinctly remember my mother picking me up after school and telling me what happened. I didn't fully understand until I got home. For the next few hours, I would be glued to my t.v. and watching the reaction to what was the greatest tradgedy to occur in my lifetime.

Now, the man responsible for that tragedy has been killed. That's why Tuesday night's game is more than just a hockey game. It's a chance to say thank you to all of the military men and women who fight to keep us safe.

Americans have been involved in this war since 2001. Don't forget, however, that our brothers and sisters in Canada have also been involved helping the United States out. Tuesday night is a chance for us to unite and give thanks to the men and women who continue to keep us safe.

I encourage all of you to sing both the American and Canadian national anthems at the top of your lungs on Tuesday night. And, be sure to show your appreciation when the Military Salute is given.

God Bless America. God Bless Canada. God Bless us all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Preds Must Protect Home Ice



After last night's dramatic double overtime win in Vancouver, the Nashville Predators have now seized home ice advantage in this series. Now, they must be ready to protect it.

Nashville tied the series at one game apiece on Saturday night when Matt Halischuk scored the game-winning goal in double overtime. Pekka Rinne absolutely stood on his head, literally, and made some incredible saves to keep the Preds in the game. He's going to have to continue that.

The Preds find themselves in the same position as last series. They're coming back to Nashville with the series tied 1-1. Nashville was able to split games 3 and 4 in the 1st round against Anaheim. They're going to have to shoot for the hometown sweep in this series.

Vancouver is a much better team than Anaheim was. They're quicker, more talented, and much better defensively. In fact, the Canucks were the number one defensive team in the league during the regular season. That means it's going to be much harder for the Preds to have the sort of offensive output they had in the 1st round.

Luckily for the Preds, Rinne is playing much better this series than he was last series, and the defense is doing a much better job. If Nashville is able to win games 3 and 4 and go up 3-1 in the series, they'll be sitting in a great spot to win the series. If they split, and the series is tied 2-2, they're going to have a much harder time winning the series than they did against the Ducks. Obviously, if they lose both games at home and go down 3-1, they are in serious trouble.

After the marathon game on Saturday night, both teams will get an extra day off and not play untl Tuesday. You can bet that Bridgestone Arena will be rocking on Tuesday night, and the intensity between the two teams is going to pick up. The hits will be harder, the battles will be more fierce, and the effort will be there for both teams.

The bottom line is that this is going to be one heck of a series. The Preds have an opportunity to defend home ice and come out with a 3-1 series lead. It's all in their hands to make that happen.