Archive for February, 2008

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Mother Said…

February 28, 2008

Mother always said ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’

Well that does it for my recap of the Sabres and Preds match up…next up a trip to Dallas to face the new and improved Stars on Saturday.

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No Deal Howie

February 27, 2008

While I have been a big fan of David Poile in the past and, truth be told, will continue to be in the future I felt yesterdays moves (if you want to use that strong of a word to describe them) were wasted and not even needed.

The Preds went into the day looking, like many other teams, for a top six forward. What they ended up with, in my opinion, are two role players. While some will say that these players were needed to fill the spots vacated due to injuries of Martin Gelinas and Jed Ortmyer I would argue that these two additions are no better than what we could have brought up from Milwaukee.

Instead of bringing up farmhands to help out in a time of need we spend a draft pick and future considerations on these guys. I would much rather see the passion of a young player like Peverly, Cal O’Reilly or Antti Pihlstrom who would be playing to try and impress the coaches at the next level. It would be their chance to shine.

Chances are that Brandon Bochenski and Jan Hlavac are not part of our long term plans. Yes I know we needed a left handed shot (Pihlstrom, Peverly and Cal all have that in Milwaukee) but I still think that yesterday was a waste.

I talked to a season ticket holder who yesterday told me that they were angry over the lack of dealing done by the Preds. I have to agree. There was no excitement. Nothing to get Pred fans or non traditional fans fired up.

Perhaps Poile and ownership don’t see this team as a real contender and didn’t want to get involved in the bidding wars for a true top six forward. I trust Poile to not to mortgage our future for the sake of taking a chance at making the playoffs. I have said in the past that I think it is vital for this organization to make the playoffs and to bring in a marquee player. We did not do anything that gets us closer to either of these goals yesterday.

We better have one heck of an off-season in the free agent market.

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What’s That Smell

February 25, 2008

What you are smelling is the rotten egg that the Preds laid last night against a very good Dallas Stars team.

Where It Went Right: The first period for the most part was solid and the Preds played step for step with the Stars. It looked like this was going to be a game decided in OT or by a late goal. Both teams were skating hard and playing a physical game.

Where It Went Wrong:
For me it all went wrong when the Preds failed to convert on an extended five on three power play…I think the Preds had like 1:20ish of 5 on 3 time. They kept looking for that perfect play. They kept looking for Steve Sullivan to be available back door or for Paul Kariya to make that perfect pass. We are not that team. We have to create the chances…throw the puck at the net. That kill coupled with the horrible clock management at the end of the first killed all Pred momentum and gave the Stars life. They took over the game from there.

Injuries:
Yes we were without Gelinas and Radulov and Jed went down leaving Trotz to juggle lines but it’s no excuse to the way we played. That was pathetic hockey. Pathetic.

To Trade Or Not To Trade: Arnott called out David Poile after the game urging him to make a move to help the banged up team. What will Poile do? I have long maintained that this team needs a star…if one can be procured through this process as more than a rental (al la Brad Richards who has a few years left on his deal) then let’s make it happen. If it’s just a rental then we stay put and make a splash in the free agent market. It will be an exciting few days…if anyone can make something happen it’s David Poile.

David Legwand: So…it appears David Legwand was pulled over for a DUI. It’s a sad day for a franchise that, for the most part, has stayed remarkably clean in it’s ten years history. It sounds like he made a poor decision and now has to face the consequences. David is a bright guy and even bright people do stupid things. I just hope this is a one time thing for him and not the beginning of something worse. At least the Preds are still better than the Titans and their thugs…Pac Man anyone?

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Playoff Preview?

February 23, 2008

When the Dallas Stars come calling tonight to Nashville it could very well be a preview of a potential first round match up. If the playoffs started today the Predators, as the number seven seed, would find themselves playing the number two Stars. What a series that would be.

While I don’t like the idea of going against a world class goalie like Turco for seven games the 2007-2008 Predators seem to match up well against these Stars. Leading the season series 2-0 (a 5-1 win at home in early October and a 1-0 shutout in Dallas on New Years Eve) the Preds, at least so far, seem to have shaken the bug that has been Dallas for so many years.

Tonight a red hot Dallas
(8-2 over their last ten) comes in to face a Preds team that has found points in eight of their last ten games. Both of these teams are playing well and have taken their games up since the beginning of the year.

Things To Look For:
The Sommet should be sold out tonight so it should be rocking. It is vital for the Preds to get on top early. We are one of the best first period teams and we’ll need that tonight. I expect Ellis to be in goal tonight. Not only is it his turn but he proved that he likes to play against Dallas posting that 1-0 win in Dallas in December. With Gelinas out with an ACL injury Jed Ortmeyer will get the start. I love Jed’s game and truly don’t get why he has been a healthy scratch so many times this year. This should be a good one…game is on FSN tonight so if you don’t have a ticket tune in and watch ol’ Eklund with Pete and Terry as well.

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Whoo…That Was Close!

February 20, 2008

With the game in hand and the ice tilted in their direction the Predators let the Edmonton Oilers nearly steal two points in Nashvhille last night. The Oilers scored goals in bunches and scoring three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead. The Preds answered back seconds later knotting the game at four a piece. JP Dumont finally rescued the Preds in the final minutes and then the Preds held on and took the two points to move into fifth place in the West. Yes…FIFTH place people!

The line of Arnott, Dumont and Radulov
continues to hit on all cylinders. Dumont jumped right back in after missing two games with the flu and looked fresh.

Tootoo’s goal was beautiful!
That line was scrapping and fighting for that goal and the hard work paid off.

Ellis was solid in net and only the fourth goal was soft…he should have had that one. The others were crazy bounces or major breakdowns from the D.

Question to all Pred fans
:Eklund (over at http://www.hockeybuzz.com) and I got into a bit of a debate over Hossa and Richards. Who would you like and why?

Out Of Pocket:
I will be out of pocket until at least Sunday as I am out on business…tow huge home games coming up for the Preds. Get down to the Sommet and support the boys.

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Preds Sticking Around

February 18, 2008

“These Preds just won’t go away.”

That has to be the thought going through many a player and GM in this league right now. The team that many had left for dead before the season started finds themselves sitting in 6th place right now with 21 games to go. Yes, I know that is a lot of hockey left but no one thought we’d be here.

Why Are We Here? For me it goes back to the play of one guy…Dan Ellis. Think back to early in the year…are you there yet? Mason started red hot and even won player of the week honors early in the year. All Pred fans were saying ‘Tomas who?’ Then all of a sudden Mason couldn’t stop a 12 mph wrister from Great Aunt Chris Chelios. It was bad. He was bad. All hope was lost. Enter Dan Ellis the $500k free agent signee that came in and pulled the fat out of the fire. His play inspired the team up front and helped snap out 6 game losing streak. his incredible play has not stopped there and he has become the unsung hero of this team. I think Radulov might be that player for us in the future and he has shown flashes of his game changing ability but he isn’t that guy game in and game out.

Why Are We Here #2? A potent top line. The guys on Versus called the Arnott, Dumont, Radulov line one of the most potent in the NHL. This is a line that can make things happen. These guys have built some incredible chemistry this year and it has paid off big time.

What We Need: While I am thrilled with where we are I am still not convinced that this is a team that can go too far in the playoffs. I am confident that our goaltending will keep us in most games but our lack of depth up front has me worried. I think that we are missing that one guy who can break a game open by himself. Watching Marion Gaborik last night I realized that we do not have that player. I understand that many teams don’t ahve that player but many of the top ones do. Look at Detroit with Datsyuk, Ottawa with Heatly, San Jose with Thornton , Calgary with Iginla, Pittsburgh with Crosby and Malkin and yes even St. Louis with PK. We have a ton of great role players but now dominant players that can take control of a game.

Three Out Of Four…Ain’t Bad: We got three out of four points this weekend which is pretty good if you ask me. Two points against a goalie that nearly robbed us of any points at all and a gutsy comeback last night to force OT against a very good Wild team at home.

If The Playoffs Started Today: We would be the six seed against Minnesota as the three seed. Now that would be one heck of a series.

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Dan Ellis On The Block?

February 15, 2008

A source has told me that Dan Ellis fully expects to be traded and that the Preds would not be getting a goalie in return but would bring up prospect Pekka Rinne to back up Chris Mason.

Another source close to the team said that this idea did seem feasible because they’ve heard that the Preds are eager to get Pekka up to the show.

Not sure who the dance partner would be but you have to assume that it’s a team looking for a solid back and maybe even someone who can shoulder the load full time. I wonder if Atlanta or Tampa Bay could be interested…the goalie situations in both cities leave much to be desired.

If the Preds are confident in Pekka I can see why they would do this. Ellis has impressed this season posting a 13-5-2 record with a 2.31 GAA and .921 SV%…these numbers have not gone unnoticed to the rest of the league. The Preds only signed him to a one year deal and he will be expecting to get a nice raise over the 500k he is earning this year.

I, for one, would be terribly upset to see Ellis go. I think he has a bright future in this league and I wish we could see him develop into that night in and night out go to guy.

What are your thoughts? Do you like this move? Let me hear your opinions on this.

I will let you know if I hear any further developments on this front.