Posts Tagged ‘ken hitchcock’

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Marked Man

March 28, 2008

tootoo-celebrate.jpg
Preds tough guy Tootoo could be a marked man tonight…

At this point in the season every game for the Predators carries huge playoff implications. To say we need every point we can get is a huge understatement and tonight’s tilt against division rival Columbus is as big as they get.

The Preds are coming off a hard fought (literally and figuratively) 3-0 win over the Bluejackets on Tuesday night. A Game that saw the play get very physical. While that is not out of the norm when these two teams meet up there seemed to be something different about the level of hostility on Tuesday.

At the center of most of this hostility
was none other than Predator Jordin Tootoo. No doubt he will be a marked man tonight in Columbus as the Bluejackets try to break the hold that the Predators have over them. Once only an annoyance and a one trick pony Tootoo has developed his game and has posted a career high in goals (10) and points (16) this season. I really think that Tootoo could be a 20 goal scorer in this league and I am thirlled that we have him locked up for a couple more years.

Over the past two years the Preds at 14-0-1 against the Bluejackets. While the record may look impressive these contests have been, for the most part, close contests. (pause…looking up stats to back up my blanket statement)

Check that…the Preds have dominated the Jackets. Yes, there have been some close games (6 one goal games over the past two years) but overall the Preds are outscoring the Jackets 23-12 this year and 51-24 over the past two seasons. Yes. we have their number and they hate it. Ken Hitchcock cannot seem to get his team past the mental roadblock that is the Predators. The Predators are to the Jackets what the Sharks are to the Preds.

What do I expect tonight? On Tuesday both teams played with a great sense of urgency and were it not for the great play from Dan Ellis the score may well have been very different. Prior to Tuesday’s tilt Hitchcock was still hopeful that a win out by his team would get them in the playoffs. While not mathematically eliminated the Bluejackets are pretty much out of it sitting 7 points back with 5 to play. I still expect a full attack from them however as they attempt to do all they can to play spoiler to the Preds attempts to make their 4th straight post season.

Physically I expect this to be a game where Columbus comes out and tries to set the tone. It will be up to the Preds to try and weather that storm early and perhaps goad them into taking a few penalties. There is no one better at doing that than our number 22…Tootoo. Love him or hate him he knows how to get under an opponents skin. While I would not be surprised to see Trotz dress Hordichuck I hope that he doesn’t. We need all the skill we can get out there tonight be casue two points is better than a won fight.

Scoreboard Watching: Both teams that sit ahead of us are in action tonight as the Canucks (2 points ahead) travel to Minnesota (7 points ahead) and Edmonton (1 point behind) travels to Colorado (4 points ahead). Tonight I am rooting for the Wild and the Oilers. Yes that would keep the Oilers right therewith us but we have a game in hand and if we take care of ourselves we don’t have to worry about what they do.

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This Means Something

January 31, 2008

For years games between the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets have meant very little to either team. In the beginning of this division rivalry the games resembled more of a fairgrounds wrestling night than a hockey game. Both teams lacked talent but made up for it with gritty players who were not afraid to drop the gloves. The Preds took many of the early games thanks to goaltending and not talent up front…but times have changed.

Tonight the Preds find themselves looking up in the standings at the Blue Jackets. Columbus sits in 10th place with 56 points while the Preds sit in 11th with 55…both sitting just on the outside of that number eight spot looking in. Right now each and every point is critical and both teams know that.

Ken Hitchcock will have his team ready for tonight and I can expect the same from Trotzy. Even though the talent level has gone up on both of these teams from the eraly days the physical nature of the games has remained in tact. While we may not see several fights chances are someone will drop the gloves. The BJ’s shipped off Jody Shelly to San Jose this week leaving Jared Boll to be voted as ‘most likely to drop his gloves.’

The Preds should have David Legwand and Darcey Hordichuk available tonight. Hordi’s presence is always welcome against Columbus and Legwand will help get 2nd line back on track. I know some Pred fans want Leggy gone but the fact reamins that he has turned into one of the best defensive forwards in the game. Yes i would love to see that scoring touch that he displayed in his youth a bit more but he is a solid two way player for us and we are better when he plays.

Gametime 7pm with coverage on the 104.5 The Zone and FSN.

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Are We Hot Yet?

November 13, 2007

Oh Yes! After losing six games in a row the Predators have stormed back in dramatic fashion. The Preds have won seven out of their last nine with only one regulation loss in that stretch. The boys have turned a corner and have surprised allot of teams including the Blue Jackets whose coach, Ken Hitchcock, thought that the Preds were done for the year when they were struggling.

“I told my team in training camp that the top three teams in this division (the central) have a chance to make the playoffs…we didn’t think Nashville would be one of them but their coach has them playing again,” said a jovial Hitchcock in a pre-game interview with Preds color analsyt Terry Crisp.

Hitch is right…Trotz has got the boys playing well again. I’ll admit I was ready to see him go earlier this year when the team didn’t seem to be playing well or responding to his game plans but he has turned it around and they are playing some inspired hockey.

Some ‘Inspired’ Highlights From Last Night:

Erat’s goal when he just used his speed, protected the puck and came in and beat Leclaire was a thing a beauty. I had to rewind that one and watch it a few times. Erats gets a second mention for really looking for JP on his empty net goal to try and get him his hat trick. You could almost see him apologetic after the goal. Nice to see that the guys really care about those things for each other.

Jed Ortmeyer is an animal. When we signed him during the summer, Rangers fans were saying how much we would like his style. They are right. He plays all out every shift. With ten minutes to go last night a Blue Jacket was coming through the nuetral zone near the red and Jed slid (head first!) towards the player to stop his progress. It resulted in a turnover. Here’s a guy out of position and the only way he can make a play it to sacrifice himself…and he does it!

Chris Mason…What can I say? How could I ever have doubted you (actually he was stinking it up pretty bad earlier this year)? You have turned your game around and have put this team on your shoulders. Tomas who?