Archive for the ‘jason arnott’ Category

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Home Away From Home

October 19, 2007

While many teams view the comfy confines of a nice home stand I think there are times when a little road trip is just what the doctor ordered. That, I believe, is the case right now with the Preds.

Mired in the a four game losing streak (3 at home and one on the road) the Preds step away from comfortable home beds, wives, children and any sense of routine. The road forces you to depend on those around you more than you ever do at home. The Preds have often done a great job planning team building activities when out on the road and it would not surprise me if they did some of that in their three game California swing.

This years edition of the Preds, more than the last two, needs to understand that team model. There are no superstars on this team. No one is going to score 80+ points the way Kariya did the last two years. This years team is going to have to do it the hard way. They are going to have to work as a team with different guys stepping up each night.

Sure we should expect Arnott, Erat, Dumont and Radulov to lead this team in scoring but the real success will come from role players who take their turn in the spotlight. We will need huge games, from time to time, from the likes of Bonk, Gelinas, Fiddler and yes even Tootoo. Goalie Chris Mason will also be called upon to single handily win games for us as well but the end result, if these Preds are to make the playoffs, will be a team of faceless players who understand what team is all about. Who are willing to sacrifice their body and their stat line for the better of the team.

Crotch Bang to Steve Sullivan’s back. Yes I know that is crazy to even write that but I am getting ticked off at that back! Heal already! (this by no means is a reflection on Steve. I know Steve wants to be back there, this is just a sign of my frustration)

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Preds Fall Again

October 18, 2007

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I hate writing after a Preds loss and the way this season is going I may have to a ton of this writing. The Preds lost their fourth straight against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Ducks last night in a 3-1 game.

I know I am going to sound like a homer here but this game could have easily gone the other way. The Preds owned that first period. It was one of those times where the ice seemed to be tilted the other way. Their puck possession was incredible and they were buzzing around the puck. Trotz lit a fire under these guys and they responded. Unfortunately they did not respond with a win. If the NHL gave points for effort the Preds would have been in line to get some because they, despite the loss, played a terrific game. In fact the first period might have been their best period all year.

I firmly believe that a team is only as good as their leader. If that is the case the Preds are in great shape because Jason Arnott is playing like a man possessed. He not only put five shots on goal but he was a forechecking animal, creating havoc in the Ducks end.

I love the fact that Ryan Suter got his first goal of the year. He still appeared sloppy at times with the puck and one turnover in particular resulted in a scoring chance. I am willing to be patient with his growing pains but he has to be better on the puck.

Not real happy with the play of Mason last night. He seemed a step behind and was giving up some huge rebounds.

And finally…Crotch Bang to anyone who doesn’t think that Alexander Radulov is one of the most exciting young players in the NHL to watch. When this kid finally finds his stride in this league he is going to be special. His pass to Suter last night was a beauty and he played a high energy game all night.

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Statement Made

October 5, 2007

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Statement made. That’s the way I look at last night’s 4-0 Predators win over the Colorado Avalanche. Statement made.

Yes I know that one game does not a season make but Colorado is a good team…a team everyone is predicting to make the playoffs. They are loaded with fire power and the off- season addition of Ryan Smyth gives this team yet another weapon. None the less win number one was…statement made.

At the place I work we have fun…a ton of it…and a group of guys I work with do something called a ‘crotch-bang’ when something big happens (could be you prove the other person wrong on something, you slam someone with a personal insult or maybe you are celebrating a victory…basically anytime you want to make a statement you do this. It is usually followed by quite a bit of laughter but we are serious!). A ‘crotch-bang’ is where you take both arms and slam them down on either side of your crotch while jumping up a little bit. Most times it is accompanied with a little bit of a primal scream. What the Predator players did last night was ‘crotch-bang’ a bunch of people.

Crotch-Bang to all the predictors out there who said this team will not have any fire power this year. They will not be able to compete and that the loss of all their players will lead to a losing record and no trip to the playoffs.

Crotch-Bang
to all the people who thought trading Tomas Vokoun was a bad idea. Mason records a shut out in his first game and TV gets lit up for four goals in third as he loses his first game.

Crotch-Bang to everyone who thought the team would not be able to perform under the stress of the sale of the team. This team sent a message…we have a job to do and this is how we do it!

As Barry Trotz said last night, “If we play like this every night we will win a lot of hockey games.” That might be the understatement of the year! The boys played inspired, physical hockey against a good hockey team. Jason Arnott played like a captain should and David Legwand stuck to Sakic all night long. Congrats Preds on a great first game…here’s to more night like this…’CROTCH-BANG!’

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Feeling Different

October 4, 2007

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This opening night feels different. There is no other way to say it…it just feels different. This is the ten year anniversary of this team. I was there at it’s birth and thought that today I would feel like a proud parent…but instead I feel empty inside. With so much uncertainty this Pred fan is fatigued. That is why I have not posted in forever. I couldn’t bring myself to sit here at the computer and pontificate on a season that could very well be the beginning of the end of an NHL team here in Nashville.

The city and group of local owners are trying to come to agreement and are neck deep in negotiations. The tenor of the talk from both sides has changed over the last few days and the dark cloud that hung over this sale has a little bit of sun trying desperately to poke through. As a Preds fan and a fan of the NHL I hope that they can come to an agreement and keep this team here and I hope it happens soon. It’s hard for fans to rally around a team that may not be here much longer. The average fan doesn’t want to invest time or money in something that could be here today and gone tomorrow.

Regardless of how different this opening night feels the fact remains that at 7:05 tonight the Preds will begin their quest for a fourth straight playoff appearance against a very good Colorado Avalanche team. Things I looks forward to seeing tonight and this season:

1. Physical play – I want to see this team play a physical brand of hockey this year. When teams play the Preds I want them to feel it for a few days.
2. Solid Goaltending – This is Chris Mason’s chance to shine. He is the man for the first time in his career…show the rest of the NHL what we here in Nashville already know…this guy is for real!
3. Stepping Up – Guys need to step up and have career years. Tootoo, Erat, Arnott, Legwand…I am staring straight at each of you right now. Put this team on your shoulders and carry them.
4. Bonk Me – I want to see Bonk be our JP Dumont pick up of last year…a cast off that no one really wanted all that much who ended up having a great year. We need production and leadership from Bonk.

Okay…I feel better now. I feel like I’m back in the saddle. Back in the swing of things. Go Preds!

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The Most Wonderful Time of Year

September 13, 2007

For many people this time of year is as exciting as Christmas. It’s hockey season. The weather is cooler and training camps are opening. Here in Nashville it’s been one of those off seasons that everyone would just soon forget. The Predators fans are ready for some hockey talk that involves the actual game of hockey and not the business of hockey.

We are tired of hearing the “hockey doesn’t belong in your city” talk and the “fire sale” talks. Neither of which are true. When you look back at this off season and think of the players that left this team due to free agency or trade one might think that this team will not be as talented as the previous years. Granted the loss of Kariya, Hartnell, Timonen and Vokoun are big losses however; I don’t think they are as significant as one might think. So let’s take a look at that a little more closely.

The loss of Paul Kariya (did you know his middle name is Tetsuhiko?) is one of those things that you look at on paper and go wow that’s a hole. But for those outside of Nashville let me introduce you to Mr. Alexander Radulov. This 6’1” 188lb right wing from Nizhi Tagil, Russian Federation (former_USSR) lit up the QMJHL. In his two years there he played in 127 games and tallied 93 goals, 134 assist, for a total of 227 points. Not to mention a plus/minus of 83. These numbers are second only all time to some guy named Mario Lemieux. In his rookie NHL season he only played in 64 games and scored 18 goals, 19 assist for a point total of 37 and a plus/minus 19. Look for Radulov to have a huge year. Plus if you have never seen this kid play you are missing out on one of the most passionate and talented players in the NHL. He brings an excitement to the game that I have not seen in a long time. Does he replace a Paul Kariya? Probably not, no one does. But will he be a very suitable replacement. Absolutely!

Secondly, there’s the loss of Tomas Vokoun. Tomas was a huge fan favorite. Nashville fell in love with Tomas Vokoun on December 12, 2002 when Mike Dunham was traded to New York. Since then this town embraced Vokoun and Vokoun embraced this town. As much as we all hated to see him go he has not been the same Vokoun in goal that we had grown to love since the blood clot incident. In steps a little known guy named Chris Mason. Last year Mason had a stellar year. Mason played in 40 games and was 24-11-4. He had a GAA of 2.38 and a save percentage of .925 that rivaled anyone in the NHL. Is Mason ready for the lead role? I think so! He is a great guy in the locker room and will be stellar on the ice. The huge question mark here is if he goes down who will step up.

Next there’s Kimmo Timonen. Timonen was the Predators third captain of all time. Kimmo was a great leader on and off the ice. No one will ever argue that the veteran leadership he brought to the ice was immeasurable in terms of numbers. However, Nashville has done a great job in the draft here. With Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Klein the core of the defense is set. Add in Marek Zidlickey who needs to have a better year, Greg Zanon who was a monster at blocking shots last year and the addition of Greg DeVries who brings leadership and experience to the ice the defense corps should be on tap for a strong year.
Finally, the biggest loss I think for the Preds this year is in home grown talent Scott Hartnell. Harts was a kid with a bright future and he lived up to every ounce of expectations. However, his relationship with Trotz was always rocky and his untimely penalties really hurt this team from time to time. However, the Preds went out and picked up left winger Martin Gelinas who had 44 points last season (14g, 30a) with the Florida Panthers. This is a great veteran addition that will not replace Harts but will definitely add maturity to a team that at times last season was lacking. His decision making will make him a better fit for this team than Hartnell and his presence in the locker room will be huge.

All in all this Preds team may not be as flashy as it was the last two years. But that’s ok. Flashy has gotten us no where in the playoffs. This team will get back to Predators hockey, which is blue collar hockey. With Jason Arnott being named Captain recently, the return of J.P. Dumont (who was named an Alternate Captain), Martin Erat, David Legwand and the hopeful and eventual return of Steve Sullivan (another Alternate Captain) and other additions such as Jed Ortmyer, this team is poised to bring a rough and tumble style of hockey that Predators fans love. They may not finish at the top of the standings but they will make the playoffs and be a lot tougher to deal with in the post season than Predators teams of the past.

Let’s play hockey and GO PREDS!!!

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We Need A Hero!

July 5, 2007

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Can Jason Arnott be the hero the Nashville Community needs?
While the fate of the Nashville Predators continues to twist in the wind of uncertainty one thing came to mind. We need a hero! Bonnie Tyler style…

Where have all good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?

Goalie Chris Mason recently purchased additional season tickets to help the cause…and while that’s all good we need more! I think it’s high time that a player within the organization steps up and becomes the face of the fight to keep the team here in Nashville. Someone that the city of Nashville can see at the rallies and on TV making the plea for keeping the team here. Talking about how much he likes to play here. How great he thinks the fans are. How sad it would be to see the team go. How much potential this years team has. You know the typical player sound bites.

My choice for this role would be center, Jason Arnott. He is our big signing from last year and the guy some think will wear the ‘C’ next season for the Preds. Arnott needs to step up and become the voice of the players and the face of the fight to keep the team here in Nashville.

I understand that if the team is sold to one of the bidders with moving on his mind then it puts Arnott in a tough spot. Arnott would be out pushing for the team to stay while the new owner would hoping that the team would not hit the magic 14k in attendance mark. That being said I think Arnott should step up and try to earn the respect of this city and it’s fans. If there is one thing people in the south appreciate it’s someone who takes a risk and speaks his mind.

C’mon…We Need A Hero!

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life

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Preds Add Two More…Call It Quits

July 3, 2007

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Center Radek Bonk is now a Nashville Predator

“For the most part our team is now set up,” Predators General Manager David Poile said. “We’ll still need to fill some depth, but in terms of our major league roster, we’re in pretty good shape.

This was what Poile said after the signing of Center Radek Bonk and Defensemen Greg de Vries yesterday to two year deals. While none of this years signings provided the big splash of Jason Arnott, Paul Kariya or even J.P Dumont all three (see yesterdays post on forward Jed Ortmeyer) of our additions will, I think, prove to be solid additions.

While Radek Bonk has slowed down on the offensive side of things most experts agree that his defensive game is his bread and butter now. The Predators will not likely see Bonk reach the 20 goal plateau as he did with Ottawa four times we will see a steady presence as our third line center. We have been lacking a big man to center the third line and his production (expect 20-30 points from him) will be a huge boost there.

Greg de Vries is, in my opinion, just what the doctor ordered. A steady defensemen who is willing (like Greg Zanon) to throw his body in front of pucks and uses his size (6’2 220) to his advantage. Fellow Pred fan Jason told me this morning when we were discussing the recent additions that Barry Trotz has said in the past that de Vries was the one guy he wishes they never traded away…well Trotzy you’ve got him now!

What Poile has done with our free agent pick ups is, more than anything, fill key needs with solid players who can play well within a system. None of these guys are going to light the lamp for thirty goals but they will play solid two way hockey…something that Preds have missed a bit. I am excited about these pick ups and I think the Preds are positioning themselves for a great year.