Posts Tagged ‘nashville predators’

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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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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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Immigration Issues…State Of The Preds

October 7, 2008

Well…after a short stint as a vodka vendor in Russia and getting caught up in a immigration for what seemed like a life time I am back. Now that I’m back the question I’m asking myself is, what is the state of the Preds?

My fellow Pred fans I am here to tell you that the state of the Predators is good. Not great…good.

Over the next few of days I will be breaking down the Preds and giving you a preview of what I see for the coming year.

Let’s start with the positive stuff –

Defense: I think people will be hard pressed to find a better group of young, dynamic d-men on one team. With Shea Weber and Ryan Suter both wrapped up until 2011 and 2012 respectively the Preds have some stability on the blueline. When I think of championship teams they are all marked by great play from the point and these guys give that to us. Both these guys are so good and so young and I am confident we have yet to see the best from them.

Both of these youngsters have much to prove but I think it’s Shea Weber who, perhaps, feels it more than Ryan. He has been talked about in the same breath as Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf and wants to break out of the shadows to being not only a team leader but a top D-man in the NHL.

Suter has played his entire life trying to live up to the name on the back of his sweater. Last year he went a long way towards doing that. His solid, dritty play during the playoffs last year changed my opinion of him. I think I used to think of him as begin too soft but we saw some fire from Suter. This year we will see more. I don’t think we will see an offensive explosion from him but solid play.

There is more to our D than these two young stars. Veterans Greg De Vries and Greg Zanon provide some stability for the defesive corps. I, like many Pred fans, would not mind seeing De Vries leave via trade (I think it might be possible that he could before the year is out…regardless of the Preds position) and think that trial by fire for some of our younger defensemen might not be a bad idea. Zanon doesn’t dazzle you with finesse but he is a picture of team and sacrifice. He knows his role and throws his body out all the time for the sake of the team. He is a bargain!

We have seen flashes of brilliance from Kevin Klein and Ville Koistinen but they need some more ice time for us to get a clear idea of what we can expect from them each night. They both have offensive gifting and this year we may need that creativity more than their defensive play. I’ll never forget Klien taking the puck in his first game and going coast to coast to put a great shot on net.

Last but not least is Dan Hamhuis. When I think of Dan I think of one word and that is solid. He has a great all around game and continues to play whatever role is asked of him. Whether on the PK, PP or 5 on 5 Dan has the game to fit. He is a physical presence out there who does a good job of getting under the skin of the opponent. I just love watching him when he is out there.

Overall the Preds D is in very good shape. There will be a few games this year that they alone win it for us. Not only by playing solid D but by chipping in a goal or two in those 2-1, 1-0 games that we may see more of this year. With our offense struggling this year our D may be more important than ever.

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PredJoe…Back In The US of A!

September 4, 2008

Nashville – When his plane touched down in Nashville a tired and weary PredJoe looked around as if to be expecting a welcome committee. There was none there. No signs. No banners. Nothing to welcome him home after months in Russia trying to live his dream as a hockey blogger.

“It was something I had to try or I would regret it the rest of my life,” said an unshaven PredJoe. “When Radulov went to Russia I felt a calling. Something primal in me called me there. Not sure what it was but it could have been the vodka.”

PredJoe seen earlier this month in Ufa

PredJoe seen earlier this month in Ufa


Now that Radulov is suspended by the Predators and he seems intent on staying and playing in his native land PredJoe was forced to make a decision. Stay and continue to work as a Vodka vendor at the arena where Radulov would play or return to the states and attempt to revive his blogging career. The choice was simple.

“I woke up one day to the sound of my roommate Sergei mixing a vodka and orange juice and I knew it was time to go. This was no place for me. I was done,” said PredJoe.

While PredJoe continued to blog while in Russia he never was able to get published or to find internet access anywhere. To make ends meet PredJoe worked as a vodka vendor at the arena. “We no think we make mistake when we hire PredYosef. He had big head and strong body. We know he pour good vodka,” said Ufa executive Yiri Kachkayev. “Now we know he just another weak American looking for his dream in our country. He is quitter!”

It was not a good life for the young hockey blogger. Not the romantic Russia he longed to live in. Not the fairy tale he saw he and Radulov living out together. PredJoe now finds himself back home and looking ahead to the next chapter in his life.

“I will begin blogging again. I hope that my readers come back to me. They were so loyal to me and I hope I can regain their trust. I just want to write about hockey,” said a tearful PredJoe as he climbed into a waiting car and drove off.

Stay tuned…it’s gonna be a great season!

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Where Is PredJoe?

July 22, 2008

Many Predator fans have been wondering where Pred’s blogger PredJoe has been this off season. This article pulled from wire reports answers this question.

Ufa Russia – While the international dispute continue over young Alexander Radulov and his NHL and KHL contracts one American is also seeing if he too can strike gold in Russia.

PredJoe has been blogging about all things Predator for the past two seasons on his own blog site http://www.predjoe.wordpress.com as well as the popular Hockeybuzz.com site but saw an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, I too could make some big bucks by coming over here,” said PredJoe.

So he packed up his bags and he moved to Ufa Russia where he found life a bit different in the Republic of Bashkortostan than that in his home state of Tennessee.

“Well the first thing I noticed was all these long lines. At first I thought it was to see the new Batman movie until I saw people walking away from the line with blocks of cheese and toilet paper,” said PredJoe.

Still having a dream PredJoe began knocking on doors asking for a Radulov type payout. First he stopped by the local paper where he was refused job because he did not speak Russian. “I really thought that they would think outside the box and see the opportunity that I was bringing them,” said PredJoe.

Next he stopped by the local TV station hoping that his good American looks could translate into a big Russian payday but there too he was met with resistance.

“Apparently in this part of Russian having two eyebrows is looked down upon,” said PredJoe after leaving the TV station.

PredJoe would not be denied though and searched on for his millions. He went to any media outlet he could find begging for an opportunity to strike it rich but was finding nothing but rejection until he met Yiri.

“When I met PredYosef I knew that he would be the perfect fit for our firm,” said Ufa executive Yiri Kachkayev. “He has strong mind and big head so we offer him job right away.”

So with that the hockey blogger from Tennessee had his gig in Ufa. Although not exactly what he wanted when he arrived and far from the millions he expected to find in the land of plenty PredJoe is living his dream.

“I will be working daily with Radulov at Ufa Arena where his team plays. Right now I am director of fan satisfaction but it is just the first step of what promises to be a lucrative career here,” said PredJoe as he loaded another tray full of cheap Vodka for the vendors to sell in the arena to the rabid hockey fans. “Me and Rudy will make good team.”

While PredJoe believes he is living his dream this reporter was saddened by the quality of life this young blogging star will living under in Ufa. He did not find his millions but seemed content sipping an occasional Vodka while pouring them for fans at Ufa Arena. Hopefully, someday soon, PredJoe will realize that Russia is no place for dreams to come true. No place for poor men to become rich. No place for bloggers to blog.

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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.