Posts Tagged ‘Dan Ellis’

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Who Knew We Were Invited…

October 16, 2008

Who knew the Preds were invited to a coming out party last night? I didn’t…but that is exactly what happened. The Preds, and the rest of the NHL, got a look at the force that is Fabian Brunnstrom. The 23 year old Swedish talent became the third player in NHL history to net a hat trick in his first game and in the process has everyone wondering just how good this guy will be.

In the midst of all this last night I couldn’t help but notice that Fabian (as hard as it will be, I won’t ever make fun of that name again!) shares a number with another pretty good Swedish player Tomas Holmstrom…number 96. How good is this guy? Well he plays a pretty physical game, isn’t afraid to park in front of the net and showed some good speed and nifty puck handling last night. I think he is gonna be okay.

Our Own Party Was Overshadowed:
In the midst of an incredible night from Fabian (I’m not going to make fun of the name but he doesn’t sound so intimidating when you use his first name) two young Predators also made their marks on the NHL. Young Ryan Jones and Patric Hornqvist both scored their first career goals last night. A great sign for Pred fans as we will need production from both of these guys if we want to make it back to the post season again.

What I Liked:

Obviously I liked that we got production from Jones and Hornqvist but I really loved Jones goal. It wasn’t pretty but it was made because he was positioning himself right in the crease looking for a loose puck to pounce on. He did and it went in. We need those dirty Espisito junk type goals this year more than ever.

Coming back: After two backbreaking goals seperated by mere seconds (the first with 9 seconds in the first and the second just 29 seconds into the second) the Preds could have packed it in but they didn’t. They kept going and began to chip away at the Stars. Tieing it up a 2-2, then again at 3-3 and again at 4-4. They didn’t quit.

I am really liking Joel Ward. He is playing with energy and seems to be playing every shift with purpose and intensity. Wish I could say that for every Pred.

What I didn’t like:

David Legwand. Listen…I know that there is an ongoing love hate thing with Leggy. Pred fans fall on either side. They either love him or hate him. Me, to be honest, tend to give him the benefit of the doubt more often than not but last night was unacceptable. I don’t know if I heard his name called three times by Pete and Terry. He was invisible. He was someone I called out in yesterdays post and he did not show up.

Shea Weber seemed to be like a new accessory in the penalty box last night. There are good and bad penalties. there are times to take a penalty. I don’t think any of his were good and none were the right time. He is too valuable a player to be sitting down three different times in the box. Play more disciplined Shea. (I know you read this!)

Overall: It was a heartbreaker. I felt the Preds had the momentum so many times last night but could not finish the Stars off. Maybe it was just young Fabio’s (okay…I lied…maybe I will make fun of him but he is one heck of a hockey player!) night or maybe this is just going to be the way it is this year.

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Seeing Stars Tonight…

October 15, 2008

The Preds (2-1) ride a modest two game win streak into Dallas (0-1-1) to face a hungry Stars team. Sound familiar? Sound like an opening line to the blog about the game at Chicago on Monday? The only difference is that Dallas has already had their home opener…but this team is no less hungry.

With an OT loss to open the season at home and then a road loss in Nashville the Stars are left scratching their heads and wondering what they need to do different to win a game. This Stars team is talented but will rely more on Turco than ever before as the team in front of him tries to find their identity.

The Stars and Preds played a VERY physical game on Saturday and I expect tonight to be the same. The Stars have not played another game since Saturday and you can bet that they have spent quite a bit of time thinking of having another shot at the Preds. You can bet that Jordin Tootoo will be a marked man tonight and it will be interesting to watch Avery and Hamhuis tonight. Will Avery try to go after him again after seeing Hamhuis tell the media what Avery did to start the fight.

I have to wonder if Dallas management wonders what they did when they let Dan Ellis leave their system. Ellis always plays strong but you have to think that he plays with a little harder against the team that gave up on him. Ellis might be bitter against his old team but he does owe his style to the time he spent in their system.
tonight.

We need some guys to step up over the next couple games to take the place of Arnott who is out with a fractured finger. The obvious choice would be Legwand but it might be nice to see someone like Peverly show up in a big way (I thought he played a good game the other night in Chicago).

Should be a good one tonight! Why did I even say that? Aren’t they all good?

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Gutsy

October 14, 2008

With a sold out United Center and a hungry team looking for it’s first win of the young season the Predators responded with a gutsy performance and a shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks last night.

The early schedule is brutal to the Preds. Having to play three different teams for their home openers is tough. Teams are up and pumped for those nights and typically they respond with an intense effort. In Chicago last night it was no different. the Hawks came out flying and jumped out to and early. Even though there were times that the Preds seemed to be chasing their tails they never really lost composure last night and kept plugging along.

Things I loved:


Physical Play
– The Preds were hitting hard. Saw many hits from Hamhuis last night that looked really good. I love when he plays his game and keeps it physical. Saw Toots line up a few guys…I love how his game has matured. I can remember his first year where he would see someone across the ice and take off charging after them…sometimes he would hit him and other times he would crash the boards. It was pretty comical. Toots plays a much more controlled game.

Defensive Play – overall the boys looked good in our end. Minus a couple breakdowns they kept Chicago’s big guns in check. Don’t know about you but every time Havlat, Sharp or Toews touched the puck I just held my breath…they are so fast and so talented but our guys kept position and shut them down pretty good.

Suter and Weber – Wow. These guys look pretty special on the PP together. They are developing quite a chemistry and could quickly develop into one of the top defesive PP pairings in the league.

What I didn’t Like:

Arnott Leaving – Didn’t like seeing Arnott leaving with an injury. It doesn’t sound too serious but you never know. If there is one thing teams are famous for it’s not telling the truth with injuries…let’s hope it’s nothing serious and we have Jason back for the next game.

Other than that there was really not much from last night that I didn’t like. A few defensive breakdowns…some ill timed penalties…nothing huge last night. This is not me being a rose colored glass guy either…what I saw last night was a solid team effort. Our boys matched their enthusiasm and got a well earned two points. While you hate to give a point to a team that you will be competing with for a playoff spot I don’t think of it that way…I think of it as taking a point from them.

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State Of The Preds…Goaltending

October 8, 2008

I go into this season with a bit of a deja vu feeling. No…not the club next to the interstate with all the neon lights on the outside and poles on the inside but that uncomfortable feeling that I may see a repeat of something I have seen in the past. Is seems like only a year ago…wait…it was exactly a year ago…that the Preds were heading into the season with a new starting goaltender by the name of Chris Mason. This guy had played so well in relief of then starter Tomas Vokoun that the Preds traded TV away leaving Mason to be ‘the man.’ Many, including yours truly, thought we would be just as good with Mason as we were with Vokoun. Wow…how wrong we were.

This year seems a similar situation. A back up goalie that made a name for himself last year is anointed as the starter in Nashville. He was outstanding for us last year and the Preds climbed aboard his shoulders many times on route to victory. The question I have as I look at our goalie situation for this season is, ‘can Ellis be the number one guy all year?’

My answer is yes. I truly believe that the Preds have found a diamond in the rough. A goalie who was victim to being in a system (Dallas) that was deep in goaltending. Ellis was the odd man out and the Preds were able to bring him to camp to compete for a roster spot. Little did the Preds even know what they had…but they would soon find out. When Mason went mental the Preds turned to Ellis who, single handedly, saved the Preds season with his outstanding play. Splitting time for most of the year it was obvious to Pred fans that Ellis was the stronger of the two and he eventually won out toward the end of the year and going into the playoffs. While I am guarded in my optimism I really believe that Ellis is going to become a top five goalie this year.

His numbers last year prove that he is legit:
GAA – 2.36
Save % – .923
SO – 6

I am not, however, convinced yet that Pekka Rinne is our goalie of the future and truth be told I hope we don’t have to find out this year. I hope I only see him about once every 12-15 games or so to spell Dan for a game. Pekka has yet to impress me but the same could have been said of Vokoun or Ellis before they were given chances to step up.

Whatever the case, whoever is in-between the pipes will have to win some games. We will not be putting up many goals this year and it will be our defense and goaltending that will keep us in games. Ellis can play that role for us and like last year, he is going to have some spells where he is out of sight and will be player of the week in the NHL…just as he was last year.

Predator fans the state of our goaltending is great. (that was me going out on a ledge making a bold prediction…all the eggs in the Dan Ellis basket…here goes nothing!)

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What Does The Day Hold?

July 1, 2008

Honestly when the season ended last year I didn’t think we would be sitting in such a good place right now. I didn’t think we would have signed both Suter and Weber and am a bit surprised that we were able to lock up Dan Ellis as well. Add to those pieces the resigning of Martin Erat, the resigning last year of Jordin Tootoo and the big extension given to David Legwand and these Preds are in good shape.

So that begs the question…”what will David Poile do next?” What bit of magic does he pull out of his hat next?

I really feel that Marek Zidlicky is on his way out. I cannot get anyone in the organization to confirm that but I believe that the Preds believe his salary (3.3 a year for two more years) could be better used elsewhere. Puck moving d-men are a great asset and I am sure Poile has had his phone ring on more than one occasion. I don’t foresee any of our young D going anywhere at this point unless the deal was just too good to pass up…but I don’t see that happening.

Much has been written about the Preds needing a big tough guy. I couldn’t disagree more! Take a look at the Red Wings for instance…who is their tough guy? Can you name their goon? Can you name their Hordichuk who’s sole purpose was to get out there and fight and maybe just maybe contribute a goal or two? I thinks the Preds should focus on feisty and not goons. Give us some guys with some spunk like Nichol, Tootoo, Weber…guys that will go if they need to but who will help you when they are on the ice too. I sure hope the Preds don’t waste their time trolling for one of the ‘tough guys.’

Who knows what Poile has planned…he keeps all his moves close to the vest and never seems to disappoint.

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Draft Over…Now What?

June 23, 2008

The first big hurdle in the hockey off-season took place this past weekend as giddy teenage hockey players felt like Cinderella at the ball getting drafted by NHL teams. Not sure if they were as nervous as I was prior to my 4th grade class kickball draft but I’m sure the kids had some butterflies!

Overall I feel really good about the Preds draft. I am not a prospect geek…I spend some time on boards and looks at player rankings but by no means am I an expert. I especially liked the Preds first pick, Boston University Center Colin Wilson. The part that made me smile was when I heard on of the analysts say during the draft that when Colin was asked if he could play at the NHL level next year he said “yes.” Barring an unbelievable camp Wilson will, more than likely, go back to Beantown. He may be part of the extended roster come playoff time if the Preds elect to sign him at the end of the year like they did Legwand.

I’m a big sap (some of you may remember my tears during the first extended standing O near the end of last season) so seeing boyhood friends get drafted by the same team (both first rounders) was pretty cool! How awesome would that be to be having the best day of your life and be able to share it with your best bud who is also having the best day of his life!

Some Pred fans have made issue with drafting a goalie so high (Chet Pickard with the 18th overall pick). I did not have issue with it at all. Yes we have Ellis locked up and yes we have Pekka but we have to look beyond the next two or three years. The careers of goalies are quite a roller coaster…the more top notch talent you have to pull from the better.

The Tennessean reports
that the Preds are close to signing Shea Weber. I am hoping that the deal looks similar to that of Ryan Suters in length…would love to lock Shea up for four more years. Having that tandem locked up is key to our success over the next few years.

What will the Preds do come July 1st? There have been some rumors floating around (I guess we can put the Olli Jokinen rumors to bed now) but I have begun to try not to get too excited. I am hopeful that the Preds are active in the free agent market as we are still looking for that ‘face of the franchise’ that will but some butts in the seats and get this football town excited about a true star. I would hope that they make a play for Hossa at least. What do you guys think?

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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.