Posts Tagged ‘predators hockey’

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Call It What You Want

April 14, 2008

Call tonight’s game what you want…

“Must win.”

“Statement Game.”

“Gut Check Time.”

“Critical.”

Whatever you want to call it the Predators have no other choice but to win tonight. While it’s not win or go home it is win or start looking at where you’ll be vacationing next week.

While the Preds find themselves down 2-0 in the best of seven contest the series has been close. A couple of bad bounces (or calls) go our way and we could be all tied up or better heading into tonight. The Preds hope all those bounces start going their way as they find their way back to home ice tonight.

Much has been said about our top line being shut down during the first two games. I am as frustrated as the next guy but going up against Daytsuk and Zetterberg (tow of the best all around players in the game) is not easy. These guys can light it up but they also know how to shut down opponents. They have done a great job so far. Tonight Trotz gets the last change…it will be interesting to see what he throws out there.

The Preds played one of their best periods of hockey during the first on Saturday. They came out and played an up tempo style and really took the game to the Wings. I expect the same energy tonight as the Preds will be feeding off the always potent home crowd.

Nothing would make me more happy
than to see David Legwand out there tonight. He is a much needed presence in the line up…especially with Nichol out.

I’ll be there tonight…will you? Let the boys hear you!

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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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Emotional…

April 4, 2008

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I’m an emotional guy. I am. I cry at Applebee’s commericals (you know the one with the coach where they ask him to hang up his team championship photo), baptisms at church, movies (too many to name but most recently watched Rudy again for a good cry!), heck I even got teared up that first home playoff game (man that place was electric!)…so to put it bluntly I am an emotional guy! Luckily I have a wife who doesn’t mind if I cry so that’s okay.

Last night with four and half minutes to go during the final TV timeout of the game I experienced something I had never experienced before. A loud, sustained, crescendoing standing ovation that nearly took the roof off the Sommet Center! It lasted the entire two minutes and well into the next play. I was…emotional. I was fighting back the tears (mostly because my step-Dad was next to me and he would of thought me a fool!) big time. In those tow minutes you could feel every bit of frustration, every bit of support, every bit of wondering, confusion and every bit of sheer support for the hockey team we almost lost. In that applause was thanks for David Freeman and the local group of new owners, there was applause for Dan Ellis and the year that he has had, there was applause for Rich Peverly filling in, for Barry Trotz who endured a tumultuous year and for David Poile who managed to give the coaches the tools they needed and lastly there was applause for the fans…who stuck with this team all year.

It was emotional…

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Marked Man

March 28, 2008

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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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Finished…

March 21, 2008

in more ways than one I fear. preds lose a heartbreaker to the Wings.

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Red Wings By 2

March 21, 2008

Datysuk scores on a break away to make it 5-3 with 530 left. I think the Preds are done.

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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.