Posts Tagged ‘nhl blog’

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Not Just Thankful

April 9, 2008

When the season began few expected that the Nashville Predators would be preparing for their fourth straight playoff appearance. Not many teams can lose Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg replace them with Martin Gelinas, Jed Ortmeyer, Radek Bonk and Dan Ellis and expect to complete. Not only did the Preds compete this year but at times they looked like (and did) they could beat anyone.

This is not last years edition that coasted into the playoffs. This team had to fight like crazy the last two weeks to get in. This is not that team that mortgaged it’s future to bring in Forsberg last year. This is a team that brought in near unknowns to bolster it’s playoff hopes. This is not the stacked team that we had last year. This is a team. A team that had to play together. Win and lose together. This is a team that grew up alot this year.

It seems only appropriate that our first round foe would be the Red Wings. This years team is more like our first playoff team that faced the Wings…not overflowing with talent but a blue collar team that can make life hard on opponents. If I were the Wings I would be a little nervous to face us right now.

Let’s take a look at our playoff teams past and present:

1st playoff team – happy to be there! Thrilled for the chance to play with the big boys.

2nd playoff team – starting to feel like we belong and at the #5 seed felt like we could make some noise. We were clearly outmatched by the bigger stronger Sharks.

3rd playoff team – went into the playoffs struggling but with Foppa we thought all would be good. After the 2 OT loss at home to the Sharks it was all downhill.

4th playoff team
– we are not supposed to be here. No one is expecting us to win. The least talented team since our first appearance.

Despite the odds being stacked against us I really like our chances here. I don’t just think that the Preds make a series out of this but I think that they actually win this series. We will need great goaltending from Ellis and top notch, disciplined (read don’t take penalties) play in our end and we will get this done.

These Preds are not just thankful to be here…they have some work to do.

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‘We Need 94 Points’

March 14, 2008

That quote is from the Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz. 94 points has been his prediction for the past two weeks of the number it will take to make the playoffs in the West. That has been the number ingrained into all the Predator players as they make their push. 94 points. 94 points. 94 points.

Let me throw out why I think this type of talk is a problem. Trotz has used the 94 point mark as the benchmark…as the total he thinks the #8 team will have. Why aim for that? That is like a golfer going into a tournament saying ‘I think the cut is going to be -3. I have to get to three under.’ No! You need to get to -7 to make sure you aren’t squeaking by.

This philosophy, I believe, has back fired in a major way. For the past three weeks or so the Preds have been looking at the number eight spot as the Holy Grail instead of looking past that and aiming higher. We all know the old quote ‘It’s better to aim and the stars and fail than to aim at the gutter and succeed.’

While I don’t think the Preds were aiming for the gutter they certainly were not aiming for the stars. While I know that all the players are ‘big boys’ and that they can think for themselves it is still the coach who sets the tone and the goals for the team. Trotz has failed miserably in doing this. He has let him team and his fans down but being so shortsighted in his leadership. Perhaps we are seeing why this team has never made it past the first round. (Yes I know the Preds have been facing injuries etc…but every team has excuses. You have to get past that at some point and just play hockey!)

Were they trying to be realistic? Perhaps but faced with what should of been two points last night the Preds failed. Big time. No need to worry though…we only need 94 points so we only need to win 8 of the last 10. No big deal.

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Who Do You Love?

March 13, 2008

Obviously at this time of year you want your team to win but if you are like me I am scoreboard watching like crazy! Right now I am so thankful for my Spring TREO that allows me to continually check the status of games of interest. I wonder if the people at ESPN are seeing my increased use in their bottom line numbers?

“Guys…ummmm…we had ten thousand hits on the Vancouver game last night and 8500 of them came from Spring Hill Tennessee!” See…I’m a little over the top!

Seriously…who has time to surf youtube or myspace when this kind of stuff is on your PDA!

My Predators find themselves in a tight race for a playoff birth in the west and you can bet that I am watching the scores in games that Colorado and Vancouver play. Tonight will be no exception which is why I am bringing the “Who Do You Love” feature back. Each day I will be highlighting the teams that you should be rooting to give the Preds a little playoff push.

Tonight I give you…

The Edmonton Oliers:
The Oilers travel tonight to Colorado to take on the Sakic and Forsberg led Av’s. The Av’s sit at 82 points with 11 games remaining. The Oliers will need all they have tonight to get two points of of Colorado who are 8-2 over their last 10 games. Edmonton is no slouch either having won 7 of their last 10 as well…The Oilers would like nothign better than to play spoiler to the Av’s attempt to make the playoffs this year. Here is their first of three chances over the next 11 games. C’mon Oliers!

The Phoenix Coyotes:
Yes those pesky Yotes who looked like they might be contenders at one point (they still have an outside chance sitting at 75 points with 12 games left) paly host to the Vancouver Canucks tonight. The Canucks recieved some bad news when they learned that defencemen Mattias Ohlund to a season ending knee injury. Ohlund’s veteran leadership and steady play will be missed by the Canucks. Gretzky will have to have his boys ready to go tonight as they look to climb back into the thick of things with a big win over a team directly in front of them.

So there you have it Pred fans
…tonight we not only wear the home blues of the Preds but the road whites of the Oilers and the home crimson of the Yotes.

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No Deal Howie

February 27, 2008

While I have been a big fan of David Poile in the past and, truth be told, will continue to be in the future I felt yesterdays moves (if you want to use that strong of a word to describe them) were wasted and not even needed.

The Preds went into the day looking, like many other teams, for a top six forward. What they ended up with, in my opinion, are two role players. While some will say that these players were needed to fill the spots vacated due to injuries of Martin Gelinas and Jed Ortmyer I would argue that these two additions are no better than what we could have brought up from Milwaukee.

Instead of bringing up farmhands to help out in a time of need we spend a draft pick and future considerations on these guys. I would much rather see the passion of a young player like Peverly, Cal O’Reilly or Antti Pihlstrom who would be playing to try and impress the coaches at the next level. It would be their chance to shine.

Chances are that Brandon Bochenski and Jan Hlavac are not part of our long term plans. Yes I know we needed a left handed shot (Pihlstrom, Peverly and Cal all have that in Milwaukee) but I still think that yesterday was a waste.

I talked to a season ticket holder who yesterday told me that they were angry over the lack of dealing done by the Preds. I have to agree. There was no excitement. Nothing to get Pred fans or non traditional fans fired up.

Perhaps Poile and ownership don’t see this team as a real contender and didn’t want to get involved in the bidding wars for a true top six forward. I trust Poile to not to mortgage our future for the sake of taking a chance at making the playoffs. I have said in the past that I think it is vital for this organization to make the playoffs and to bring in a marquee player. We did not do anything that gets us closer to either of these goals yesterday.

We better have one heck of an off-season in the free agent market.

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What’s That Smell

February 25, 2008

What you are smelling is the rotten egg that the Preds laid last night against a very good Dallas Stars team.

Where It Went Right: The first period for the most part was solid and the Preds played step for step with the Stars. It looked like this was going to be a game decided in OT or by a late goal. Both teams were skating hard and playing a physical game.

Where It Went Wrong:
For me it all went wrong when the Preds failed to convert on an extended five on three power play…I think the Preds had like 1:20ish of 5 on 3 time. They kept looking for that perfect play. They kept looking for Steve Sullivan to be available back door or for Paul Kariya to make that perfect pass. We are not that team. We have to create the chances…throw the puck at the net. That kill coupled with the horrible clock management at the end of the first killed all Pred momentum and gave the Stars life. They took over the game from there.

Injuries:
Yes we were without Gelinas and Radulov and Jed went down leaving Trotz to juggle lines but it’s no excuse to the way we played. That was pathetic hockey. Pathetic.

To Trade Or Not To Trade: Arnott called out David Poile after the game urging him to make a move to help the banged up team. What will Poile do? I have long maintained that this team needs a star…if one can be procured through this process as more than a rental (al la Brad Richards who has a few years left on his deal) then let’s make it happen. If it’s just a rental then we stay put and make a splash in the free agent market. It will be an exciting few days…if anyone can make something happen it’s David Poile.

David Legwand: So…it appears David Legwand was pulled over for a DUI. It’s a sad day for a franchise that, for the most part, has stayed remarkably clean in it’s ten years history. It sounds like he made a poor decision and now has to face the consequences. David is a bright guy and even bright people do stupid things. I just hope this is a one time thing for him and not the beginning of something worse. At least the Preds are still better than the Titans and their thugs…Pac Man anyone?

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Playoff Preview?

February 23, 2008

When the Dallas Stars come calling tonight to Nashville it could very well be a preview of a potential first round match up. If the playoffs started today the Predators, as the number seven seed, would find themselves playing the number two Stars. What a series that would be.

While I don’t like the idea of going against a world class goalie like Turco for seven games the 2007-2008 Predators seem to match up well against these Stars. Leading the season series 2-0 (a 5-1 win at home in early October and a 1-0 shutout in Dallas on New Years Eve) the Preds, at least so far, seem to have shaken the bug that has been Dallas for so many years.

Tonight a red hot Dallas
(8-2 over their last ten) comes in to face a Preds team that has found points in eight of their last ten games. Both of these teams are playing well and have taken their games up since the beginning of the year.

Things To Look For:
The Sommet should be sold out tonight so it should be rocking. It is vital for the Preds to get on top early. We are one of the best first period teams and we’ll need that tonight. I expect Ellis to be in goal tonight. Not only is it his turn but he proved that he likes to play against Dallas posting that 1-0 win in Dallas in December. With Gelinas out with an ACL injury Jed Ortmeyer will get the start. I love Jed’s game and truly don’t get why he has been a healthy scratch so many times this year. This should be a good one…game is on FSN tonight so if you don’t have a ticket tune in and watch ol’ Eklund with Pete and Terry as well.

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Whoo…That Was Close!

February 20, 2008

With the game in hand and the ice tilted in their direction the Predators let the Edmonton Oilers nearly steal two points in Nashvhille last night. The Oilers scored goals in bunches and scoring three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead. The Preds answered back seconds later knotting the game at four a piece. JP Dumont finally rescued the Preds in the final minutes and then the Preds held on and took the two points to move into fifth place in the West. Yes…FIFTH place people!

The line of Arnott, Dumont and Radulov
continues to hit on all cylinders. Dumont jumped right back in after missing two games with the flu and looked fresh.

Tootoo’s goal was beautiful!
That line was scrapping and fighting for that goal and the hard work paid off.

Ellis was solid in net and only the fourth goal was soft…he should have had that one. The others were crazy bounces or major breakdowns from the D.

Question to all Pred fans
:Eklund (over at http://www.hockeybuzz.com) and I got into a bit of a debate over Hossa and Richards. Who would you like and why?

Out Of Pocket:
I will be out of pocket until at least Sunday as I am out on business…tow huge home games coming up for the Preds. Get down to the Sommet and support the boys.