Posts Tagged ‘ryan suter’

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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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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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Weber Signed

June 23, 2008

The Tennessean is reporting that Shea Weber has signed a three year 13.5 million dollar deal to remain a Predator. Great signing…David Poile continues to work his magic and get things done. This sets up our blue line for the next three years. Weber and Suter are just going to get better and better!

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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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A Step In The Right Direction

December 23, 2007

While winning one game stops a losing streak I don’t know how far it will go in turning the Preds season back around. Truth be told I can’t get real excited about a home win against the LA Kings. The only thing I knew going into last nights game was one of these poorly playing teams had to win…there was no way around that.

The Preds came out flying
and really looked to me like a team with a mission for the first ten minutes of play. They were flying to the puck, aggressive on the forecheck and attacking the net. It was exciting hockey that resulted in some quality scoring chances that culminated in a great pass that captain Jason Arnott tipped home for his first of three goals on the night. Who mdse that great pass you ask? Why none other than Jordin Tootoo who got a look last night on a line with Arnott and JP Dumont. That line had some great chances and Tootoo made some great passes throughout the night. Those Tootoo haters around the league will be surprised to see the well rounded player that Toots is becoming this year.

Dan Ellis played well last night and the D played a strong game around him (with the exception of a few lapses by the D and a costly turnover by the usual sure handed David Legwand that resulted in a short handed goal by Patrick O’Sullivan) and continues to earn playing time from Barry Trotz.

Ryan Suter continues to get goals by simply throwing it at the net. It amazes me what a simple concept that is but how so many of our players fail to grasp it. Put the puck to the net and good things happen.

The Preds play a 4:00 matinee in Columbus today. This is a four point game with the Bluejackets who sit 4 points ahead of the Preds. The Preds do have a game in hand on Columbus. It is these games that the Preds must win going forward to have any chance to make the playoffs. You have to beat the teams ahead of you…right now for the Preds that’s just about everyone! The Good news is that there is still 49 games left for the Preds and that they are only 10 points out of the number four spot held by Colorado.

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Preds Fall Again

October 18, 2007

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I hate writing after a Preds loss and the way this season is going I may have to a ton of this writing. The Preds lost their fourth straight against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Ducks last night in a 3-1 game.

I know I am going to sound like a homer here but this game could have easily gone the other way. The Preds owned that first period. It was one of those times where the ice seemed to be tilted the other way. Their puck possession was incredible and they were buzzing around the puck. Trotz lit a fire under these guys and they responded. Unfortunately they did not respond with a win. If the NHL gave points for effort the Preds would have been in line to get some because they, despite the loss, played a terrific game. In fact the first period might have been their best period all year.

I firmly believe that a team is only as good as their leader. If that is the case the Preds are in great shape because Jason Arnott is playing like a man possessed. He not only put five shots on goal but he was a forechecking animal, creating havoc in the Ducks end.

I love the fact that Ryan Suter got his first goal of the year. He still appeared sloppy at times with the puck and one turnover in particular resulted in a scoring chance. I am willing to be patient with his growing pains but he has to be better on the puck.

Not real happy with the play of Mason last night. He seemed a step behind and was giving up some huge rebounds.

And finally…Crotch Bang to anyone who doesn’t think that Alexander Radulov is one of the most exciting young players in the NHL to watch. When this kid finally finds his stride in this league he is going to be special. His pass to Suter last night was a beauty and he played a high energy game all night.