Posts Tagged ‘chris mason’

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Draft Day Begins With A Bang!

June 20, 2008

David Poile should play poker professionally. He should. I saw him on local news tow nights ago saying “I am not confident at all that we will be able to sign Dan Ellis. I think he wants to test the free agent market.”

Well…I’ll be jiggered if he didn’t go and pull off a deal that cleared the way to get Ellis to sign by trading Mason away to the St. Louis Blues. This is a good deal for the Preds…while I am a bit sad to see Mason (I’ll never forget our meeting Chris!)leave he really seemed to lose a step last year. Not sure what it was but he did not look like a number one goalie. Somehow Poile talked St. Louis into thinking that he was and that he is worth six million over the next two years. Ouch!

I think the tandem of Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne will be perfect for the Preds heading into next year. Dan played great all last season and seemed to thrive under the pressure of the playoffs. Pekka is, hopefully, our goalie of the future and if we can get him 20-30 starts next year that would be perfect.

It was also sad to see Preds tough guy Darcy Hordichuk get traded to the Hurricanes. Darcy has been a class act during his time with the Preds. I hope that the Canes can use him a bit more than the Preds did last year. I know he could not have been happy with his lack of starts but he never let it show.

What else does draft day hold? Will anything come of the “preds interested in Cheechoo” comment that is floating around. It’s going to be an exciting day.

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Preds Control Destiny

April 2, 2008

Not so much a blog as just some random comments…this is getting good people!

With the win last night the Preds put themselves in control of their own destiny…win out and they are guaranteed at least the 8th spot.

Let’s take a moment and ponder the fact that no one thought we would be here at this point…NO ONE! Many of the experts were picking the Preds to finish fifth in our division! Look who’s knock, knock, knocking on the playoffs door!

I think Trotz might be on to something with the Peverly, Tootoo and Bochenski line…they looked great last night and produced points and chances. This might be a preview for next year third line.

Rich Peverly continues to impress since his last call up. I am not seeing breakdowns in his game. I am seeing a young confident player show is willing to carry the puck into the zone and work hard along the boards. I can really see him developing into a 35-45 point type of player.

Ellis continues his feast or famine play. I know from my experience from playing goalie in my fifth grade floor hockey tournament that you have to be mentally tough to be a goalie. One goal can really throw you for a loop. Oh…I have stories about that tourney! I honestly can’t say that Mason played spectacular since he was never really tested…but the bottom line is that he got the job done.

Where does Trotz go tomorrow night in goal? My guess is that he goes back with Ellis who has been lights out. He tends to play well after being yanked and last night did not make me believe that the old Mason is back.

It looked to me like Radulov was gripping his stick a little tight (insert ‘That’s what she said’ comment here). It looked like he was forcing the play and could never really find his groove.

Boy oh boy…tomorrow night will be electric at the Sommet.

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I Wish I Could Trust Him

March 26, 2008

ellis-mason.jpg
Dan Ellis has unseated Chris Mason as the Predators starter.

“I wish I could trust him.”

That’s what kept echoing in my brain last night following the superb performance by Dan Ellis last night in goal. for the second game in a row Ellis has stood on his head and led this team to victory. First it was the 2-1 shootout victory over the Blackhawks where he stopped 37 of 38 shots then last night he shutout a hungry Columbus Bluejacket team that was hoping to play spoiler to the Preds. Nary (wow…when was the last time I used the word nary. I guess I am running out of descriptive words!) one of Columbus’s 36 shots made it through the mighty wall that was Dan Ellis last night. He was playing inspired hockey and once again was there to bail out the defensive lapses (though those did seem less frequent last night…but there will still some).

But all is not right in my hockey world. We have seen these stretches from Ellis before. We have seen him post shutout wins before. We have seen him make huge save after huge save before. As much as I want all the good to be my memory I can’t help but remember all the times that he has been pulled from goal. All the times that he has allowed some soft goals. All the times I wondered what happened to that goalie who seemed to have an ‘S’ etched on his chest.

I wish I could trust him. I wish I could believe that the Dan Ellis that we saw these past few games would be the one we could ride the rest of the season.

That being said I still believe that Ellis is our best option going forward. Mason has seems to have lost his game somewhere. While I don’t think all is lost with Mason I do have to wonder what role he will play for us in the future.

Scoreboard Watching:
Calgary helped us out last night by keeping Vancouver in striking distance but tonight the Canucks play the Avalanche…meaning tonight we are rooting for the Canucks to win in regulation. The absolute worst possible outcome would be a three point game. The way the schedule lays out the rest of the week the Preds will have a real good idea where they stand when they visit Columbus on Friday. Colorado hosts Vancouver tonight and then host Edmonton (who have played themselves right back into the mix as well) on Friday.

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another softie…

March 21, 2008

another soft goal as the D went to sleep and watched Franzen skate around and beat Mason easily. wings up by one with 9 minutes now left.

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A Flurry To End The 2nd

March 21, 2008

The Preds seem to wake up and played a strong final 6 or 7 minutes. Play also got extremely chippy as everyone tried to find a dance partner with 12 seconds left. Chris Mason even challanged Hasek when he shot the puck to the other end…as if to ask if he wanted to go? Hasek of course refused.

At the end of the period another dance party tried to break out…Mason and Hasek jawed at each other at center ice but nothing. Only Hamuis was called for a penalty which means that the Preds will be on the 5 on 3 penalty kill to start the third…not a good thing!

shots on goal

Red Wings 27

Preds 16

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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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Playoff Hockey

February 7, 2008

Trotz has said it. The players have said it. The prognosticators have said. I’ve said it. Everyone has said it…this is playoff hockey. The Preds are in the midst of a stretch run that could be one of the most exciting in recent history.

I thought it was put rather well by Carolina Hurricane Cory Stillman in an intermission interview during the Versus broadcast on Tuesday night. He said that their coaching staff has broken the remaining games into seven games series. He even knew that they were 3-2 on ‘this leg’ as he called it. This is a veteran player who has bought into the coaching staffs philosophy…it’s playoff hockey.

I’m not sure what creative ways the Preds coaching staff are using to convey this to the team but they are responding going 7-2-1 in their last 10. Only the Red Wings (8-2) have a better 10 game record among Western Conference teams.

The playoffs continue tonight
as the Preds host the Tampa Bay Lighting at the Sommet Center. The Lighting find themselves in last place in the East with 49 points. that point total, however, puts them only 7 points out of their division lead (currently held by the Capitals) and 10 points out of the number eight spot. The Bolts are 6-4 in their last ten and need to make a serious run if they want to make the playoffs. While their offense can be explosive their goaltending and shaky defense can explode and give up goals in bunches. They have allowed 182 goals this year compared to 145 that the Preds have given up. Goals for is much tighter with the Lighting posting 158 to the Preds 155.

Ellis will get the start tonight: Despite Chris Mason’s stellar performance against the Hurricanes in which he stopped all 38 shots coach Barry Trotz will go with Dan Ellis. Ellis is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts with a 1.68 goals against average, a .946 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. The duo of Mason and Ellis has turned into one of the top tandems in the league over the past month much to everyones surprise.

Coverage on 104.5 The Zone and FSN.