Controversial Call Leads to Demise in Minnesota

There’s a reason Gaustad is a bit irate.

The Predators have already had their way with Minnesota once this year, reminding Ryan Suter of the team he abandoned back in the off-season to “be closer to home”. With a shutout victory of defending Stanley Cup champs the L.A. Kings on Thursday, Nashville was still riding high as they flew into St. Paul to face the menacing Wild. However, tonight would prove much more difficult than the last time they visited, with controversy to follow suite.

KEY POINTS:

  • The seven d-man assault left Matt Halischuk on the scratched list, along with Brian McGrattan. Similar to the first encounter with Minnesota, Chris Mason was called up to man the net.
  • Paul Gaustad would be the leading man of the night, notching his first goal of the season at 10:11 in the first period with a wrister past Backstrom. Craig Smith would pick up his first assist of the season as well.
  • As usual, the Predators were out-shot in the first period, this time 10 to 6 by the Minnesota Wild.
  • The second period would prove a bit more physical for the Predators, with the Wild hammering down at all costs. After immense pressure on net, the Cal Clutterbuck collected a tip-in goal from Ryan Suter to tie the game at one.
  • The Predators would not retain a goal after Clutterbuck’s, nor would the Wild, thus sending the game into an all-too-familiar scenario. However, this is where the controversy comes into play. Apparently, there is a new face-off rule and Mr. Paul Gaustad did not abide to those new standards… Here’s Rule 76.4:

“Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck withtheir hand in an attempt to win the face-off. Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shallresult in a minor penalty. This penalty shall be announced as ” Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation”. The two players involved in the actual face-off (the centers) are not permitted to play the puck with their hand without incurring a penalty under this ruleuntil such time as a third player (from either team) has at least touched the puck. Once the face-off is deemed complete (and a winner of the face-off is clear) hand passes shall be enforced as per Rule 79.”

Slow motion for me, move in slow motion for me.

…And here’s a .gif of what Gaustad did wrong:
Did you catch Gaustad’s mistake? No? As you watch the animation above, note that Gaustad’s hand grazes the puck as he and Granlund battle it out. Although it is clear Gaustad is not “batting the puck away to win the faceoff”, that is what the referee apparently thought, as this was probably his first encounter with this new rule at hand. The Wild would inevitably score on Gaustad’s penalty, sealing the win in favor of Minnesota in OT.

But was it really a bad call on the ref’s behalf that crushed the Predators? Though it wasn’t very helpful, this new rule did not solely cause certain doom for the Predators last night. A double minor on Devin Setoguchi in the third period, giving the Predators a four-minute powerplay, could’ve prevented this whole “Rule 76.4” mess in the first place, had the Predators worked together to nab a goal. Now, the Predators did outshoot the Wild twelve to eight in the third, but Nashville had plenty of opportunities to throw this one in the bag, but just couldn’t seem to get it together long enough to capitalize on their attempts.

The Predators will have to shake this one off quick, as they return tonight to face the ever welcoming Chicago Blackhawks, their first meeting of the season tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Preds return Home, Blank Kings 3-0

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The high from knocking off the Blues must’ve been strong, and it probably didn’t hurt to finally see the comfort of home ice either, as the Predators welcomed the L.A. Kings to Nashville Thursday night. Coach Trotz is a strong believer in the “if if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, sticking with the same seven d-man lineup from the game against St. Louis.

KEY POINTS:

  • Matt Halischuk is going to be finding himself on the scratched list a lot as the d-man line continues to dominate, but Brian McGrattan keeps him company.
  • Gabriel Bourque wasted no time taking shots, banking on a slap shot past Jonathan Quick at 2:54 for his second goal of the season. David Legwand picked up his second assist, with Kevin Klein picking up his third.
  • Bourque’s goal would be the only one in the first, with the Kings out-shooting Nashville 8 to 7. However, there was more action to be seen in the first, with Rich Clune and Kyle Clifford dropping gloves at 2:15. Here’s the video:
  • Colin Wilson would pick up where Bourque left off, sending a wrister into the net at 7:01 of the second, nabbing his second goal of the season. Kevin Klein picked up his second assist of the night (4th overall) and Brandon Yip collected his third of the season.
  • Six minutes later, Wilson repeated his success on his first goal, sending a wrister past Quick, just five seconds into the powerplay. Shea Weber collected both his first assist and point of the season on Wilson’s second goal of the night. Mike Fisher nabbed his second assist of the season.
  • The Kings had plenty of chances in the second period, out-shooting the Predators a whopping 20 to 5. If that isn’t proof that Pekka Rinne is finding his groove, I don’t know what would.
  • No goals in the the third gave the Predators their first shutout of the season, with goalie Pekka Rinne picking up his first shutout win, blocking all 32 shots on goal.

Penalty Box Summary:

  1. Rich Clune – 2:15, 1st Period – Fighting
  2. Martin Erat – 16:03, 2nd Period – Goalie Interference
  3. Paul Gaustad – 8:28, 3rd Period – Roughing
  4. Mike Fisher – 14:07, 3rd Period – Roughing

Have the Predators gotten their groove back? Well, don’t catch your chickens before they hatch, so to speak. Though we don’t want to be Debbie Downers, it’s only a matter of time before the seven d-man strong lineup with crack, with teams who fell for it before will be prepared for it in the next round. However, it is good to see the Predators taking shots (shots on goal = goals in net, right?). Unfortunately for the Kings, that statistic doesn’t work that well. Thirty-two shots compared to the fourteen Nashville took kind of makes that equation fall flat. It should be more Shots on Goal + Accuracy = Goals in Net. But hey, I’m no math major. Just keep that fire alive, Preds.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Sweet Revenge: Predators Pummel Blues 6-1

Marty Erat does like to be injured.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure exactly where to begin. The team that hit the ice wearing Nashville sweaters was NOT the same club that has worn the jerseys previously. The Predators stayed consistent in both defense and offense, and Pekka Rinne was back in his Finnish phenom pants. Though the Predators only lead in shots over the Blues in the first period (9 to 4), the fact Nashville took a chance on shots for once proved successful, thus putting the breaks on the Blues 6-1. Again, I’m not sure even where to begin. So many plays, passes, shots, etc. were in Nashville’s favor, I just hope they can hang on to this voodoo that they’ve come across. For a team that has only two regulation wins, ten points are mind-blowing. Here are the highlights from tonight’s blowout over the Blues:

KEY POINTS:

  • Martin Erat powered back from his lower-body injury, hitting the ice against the Blues. Jonathon Blum, who proved his worth on NHL ice last Saturday against San Jose, got the nod to suit up once again. Brian McGrattan and Matt Halischuk settled with scratches.
  • Blues’ Center Andy McDonald took an early tripping penalty in the first, giving Nashville a chance at a powerplay goal. Ryan “The Rocket Ship” Ellis took a wrister from the corner, sneaking it past Brian Elliot for his second goal of the season (2:10). Martin Erat picked up his third assist and Colin Wilson picked up his second.
  • Nashville camp out in the Blues’ zone, with newcomer Rich Clune slipping a tip-in to sink his first NHL goal at 15:53. Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (third altogether) and Paul Gaustad would pick up his first assist.
  • Nick Spaling would sink his teeth into a wrist shot, earning his second goal of the season at 19:13, putting the Predators up 3-0 at the end of the first. Brandon Yip would pick up his second assist and Roman Josi would gain his first assist of the season.
  • Nashville would extend the momentum into the second period, with Kevin Klein pulling a Shea Weber and sending a killer slapshot past Elliot, thus pulling him from the game completely. Klein gained his first goal of the season at 9:09, with assists from Jonathon Blum (1) and Martin Erat (4).
  • Gabriel Bourque decided it was his time for a goal, tipping it in past rookie goalie Jake Allen. Not a good start to his NHL debut, no? Bourque’s goal was assisted by Colin Wilson, his third of the night and fourth overall.
  • A holding call on Roman Josi would prove why the Blues are second in the league in powerplay goals. Alex Pietrangelo would nab his second goal of the second with a backhander past Pekka Rinne. Pietrangelo’s goal would shift the momentum in favor of the Blues, pushing the Predators to either buck up or fall back.

Though the Blues took the reins in the third period, Nashville remained consistent, despite being out-shot 14 to 7. Pekka Rinne can be praised for his continuous saves, keeping the Blues at bay. A wrist shot at 16:34 from Martin Erat was the nail in the coffin for the Blues, sending Nashville up 6-1. Erat’s third goal of the season was assisted by Ryan Ellis (2) and Jonathon Blum (2).

Thirty-two shots on goal and only one snuck by. That’s the Pekka we know. Looks like the Finnish phenom is getting back into a rhythm, one I hope I didn’t just jinx. Even rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko couldn’t work his magic around Peks.

Penalties are still an issue with the Predators, with Nashville seeing six and the Blues only taking three. For a team that is second in the league for powerplay goals, the Blues weren’t exactly the team to give powerplay chances to. However, Pekka and the Predators held strong, only allowing one PP goal. Here are the six box sitters:

  1. David Legwand – 12:41, 1st Period – Diving or “embellishing”
  2. Roman Josi – 11:53, 2nd Period – Holding
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 16:07, 2nd Period – Hooking
  4. Shea Weber – 19:38, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Roman Josi – 1:15, 3rd Period – Cross-Checking
  6. Nick Spaling – 17:07, 3rd Period – Slashing

 

What a step in the right direction for Nashville. As I mentioned in previous posts, though shootout points are helpful, points in regulation are the key to the Stanley Cup. Okay, not the key, but one of many that the Predators have to nail down to compete throughout the season.

But there is certainly no way I can criticize tonight’s game. Absolutely outstanding defense, offense, and overall teamwork shown by the Predators tonight. It’s hard to believe that, just five games ago, Nashville fell 3-0 to this exact same team. This is the Predators team we expect to see. This is the Predators that will make it far in the playoffs.

Don’t forget! Tomorrow night at Dave and Buster’s at Opry Mills: The debut of The Kevin Klein Show at 6pm! Get there early for prime seating, as you don’t want to miss Kleiner or his special guest, Pekka Rinne!

Until then,
GO PREDS

Predators Knock off Last Undefeated Team in SO

Craig Smith does not like the doghouse.

Now that shootouts are becoming the norm for the Predators, it is only natural that they would eventually get pretty good at them (thankfully). The Predators have only notched one regulation win, the other two being settled in a shootout. Nashville seems to be a freak of nature in the league this season, with that one regulation win, yet still holding their own with nine points. However, they are still last in the league in offense (gasp) and are the only team not to have a win on home ice, thus far (excuse me, they’ve been on a long ass road trip, thank you). Even with their setbacks and chug-a-lug start, the Predators are hanging in there, trying desperately to get a bit of momentum to power through this short, but backbreaking season. Knocking the last remaining undefeated team off its high horse? Very good start. Here are the highlights from Saturday’s game in San Jose:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jonathon Blum hit the ice Saturday night, his first steps on NHL ice since December of 2011. Blummer stepped up to replace the ailing Martin Erat, who took a puck to the ankle/foot during practice on Friday. Don’t expect Marty’s injury to be as bench-warming as Hornqvist’s, however.  Brian McGrattan remains on the scratched list.
  • The first and second period’s produced zero goals for either side, but action remained on high as both teams tore out of the gate on fire. San Jose out-shot Nashville in both periods, but Pekka remained on point, keeping the Sharks at bay and preventing them from continuing their undefeated streak.
  • Something sparked the Predators in the third, with Sergei Kostitsyn notching his first goal of the season with just 59 seconds on the clock. His wrister was assisted by Colin Wilson, his first assist of the season.
  • The Predators would hold the Sharks back until a careless mistake by the Predators in the form of a “too many men on ice” penalty stopped them in their tracks, allowing Martin Havlat to gain his third goal of the season. The Predators would out-shoot the Sharks nine to seven in the third period.
  • As usual, overtime was uneventful, though the Predators continued to out-shoot the Sharks, this time two to one. While that isn’t much, it is refreshing to see the Predators take a few shots every now and then.

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

  • SAN JOSE – Michal Handzus – SAVE
  • NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE
  • SAN JOSE – Ryane Clowe – SAVE
  • NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – GOAL
  • SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski – SAVE

Now, what were we saying in the last post? Maybe Sergei dropping down to the third line and Craig finding himself in Trotz’s doghouse would possible motivate them to prove their worth? Looks like, so far, it’s doing the trick. Another face to commend is Jonathon Blum – for someone who hasn’t been in a Predators sweater in over a year, he didn’t bat an eyelash when it was his time to step up.

Penalties were abound in this game, a usual thorn in Nashville’s side. Here are the five penalty takers:

  1. Brandon Yip – 0:59, 1st Period – Hooking
  2. Jonathon Blum – 16:15, 1st Period – Interference
  3. Mike Fisher – 6:05, 2nd Period – Slashing
  4. David Legwand – 17:01, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Craig Smith – 12:26, 3rd Period – Too Many Men on Ice

Though we are happy the Predators are getting points, wether they win or lose in the shootouts, they cannot slide their way to the Stanley Cup on shootout points alone. The Predators are nearing the cliff of safety points and are going to have to nab some regulation wins if they want to continue pushing towards the Cup.

The Predators will finish out their road trip tomorrow against the nagging St. Louis Blues, an opponent that hasn’t been as kind to the Predators thus far.

NEW TO SMASHVILLE:
102.5 THE GAME and FIFTH THIRD BANK present the all-new Kevin Klein Radio Show, starting this Wednesday (2/6) at 6PM at Dave & Buster’s at Opry Mills! Kevin’s first guest of the season will be goaltender, Pekka Rinne! Someone had to replace Tootoo, right?

Until tomorrow,
GO PREDS

Frustration Builds as Predators fall 4-0 to Coyotes

It has to be frustrating to more than just the fans, right?

Is frustration building amongst the team or is it just amongst the fan base? It would be difficult to believe that the team wouldn’t be, as the season just isn’t adding up to what they imagined thus far. It isn’t as if the Predators are just daydreaming along, but they just can’t seem to get the upper-hand when it comes to hammering a nail in the win column. The Predators had plenty of opportunities tonight, but again, the Predators just couldn’t squeeze one in, inevitably locking the 4-0 shutout in favor of the Coyotes. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan continue to sit on the scratched list, with Patric Hornqvist joining them, for what looks like 3-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
  • Although the Predators came out on fire, the Coyotes scored first, with a wrister from Antoine Vermette past Pekka Rinne at the three-minute mark in the first (his third goal of the season). Phoenix would out-shoot the Predators 5 to 3 in the first period.
  • The second period would produce another goal for the Coyotes, sending Phoenix up 2-0 at 16:48 with a wrist shot by Lauri Korpikoski (third goal of the season). Phoenix would again out-shoot Nashville, this time 9 to 7.
  • Poor passing attempts would prove fatal for the Predators in the third, with Nick Johnson notching his first goal of the season with a – get this – wrister past Peks at 11:34.

The Predators were given plenty of powerplay opportunities, and managed to shutdown all six penalty kills awarded to the Coyotes. Here are the six troublemakers:

  1. Rich Clune – 15:12 1st Period – Fighting
  2. Craig Smith – 6:28 2nd Period – Hooking
  3. Matt Halischuk – 11:03 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Martin Erat – 5:24 3rd Period – Roughing
  5. Colin Wilson – 8:08 3rd Period – Too many men/ice
  6. Gabriel Bourque – 13:15 3rd Period – Tripping

Frustration. The word of the day, folks. We can’t imagine the team and the fans are feeling anything else. The second shutout of the season, the Predators are needing more help than we first imagined. Poor passes, unnecessary penalties, and zero offense won’t get you into the post season, especially when you are working with a 48-game season, and you’ve already lost five of the six.

What can the Predators do to reach Stanley Cup potential? I am afraid we’ve exhausted all of our options, but as a UT/Titans fan, you have to keep your head held high. Still early, the Predators can bounce back.

KEEP CALM AND GO PREDS.

Preds fall to Ducks 3-2 in 3rd Shootout of Season

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Gill putting the Ducks in their place.

Shootout. The third in just five games. The Predators are 0-3 on the shootout thus far.
After the Ducks’ embarrassing 5-0 shutout against the Canucks the night before, it is not surprising the Ducks weren’t forgetting what time the game started tonight. However, unlike Thursday in St. Louis, Nashville came out strong, though both sides stayed evenly matched when it came to shots on goal throughout the game. The Predators played much better and much more level-headed compared to Thursday, but the Ducks just weren’t going to suffer two nasty losses in a row. Both teams were licking the wounds of a shutout, but only one could savor sweet victory. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in the Golden State:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad returned to the lineup after missing the last two games. Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan remained on the scratched list, along with Matt Halischuk.
  • Brandon Yip struck gold first with a backhanded goal past Viktor Fasth, who made his NHL debut during tonight’s game. Yip’s first goal of the season was unassisted.
  • The Predators would hold down the fort throughout the remainder of the first and for all of the second, except for Bobby Ryan notching his first goal of the season with just over 30 seconds left in the second to tie the game.
  • David Legwand would seal his second goal of the season at 10:09 in the third with a backhander, assisted by Kevin Klein (second assist) and Gabriel Bourque (first assist).
  • Daniel Winnik would respond moments later with his fifth goal of the season, a tip-in past Pekka to tie the game once again.

Overtime proved to be a heated match, but neither side could find the sweet spot to end the game, thus throwing the game into a shootout, the Predators’ apparent mortal enemy.

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
ANAHEIM – Ryan Getzlaf – SAVE
NASHVILLE – Mike Fisher – SAVE
ANAHEIM – Corey Perry – GOAL
NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE

Penalties, yet again, plagued the Predators tonight. With Nashville’s four and Anaheim’s two, the Predators gave the Ducks more chances to advance. Luckily, the Ducks just couldn’t nail that powerplay goal. Here are the four guys who like the box a little too much:

1. Nick Spaling – 6:28 1st Period – Slashing
2. Craig Smith – 16:56 1st Period – Throwing Stick*
3. Brandon Yip – 9:16 2nd Period – Boarding
4. Hal Gill – 5:17 3rd Period – Tripping

*Rule 10.3 – “A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to a teammate on the ice.” Yea, it’s real.

  • Patric Hörnqvist suffered a lower-body injury tonight during the third period, first from taking a Shea Weber slapshot to the leg and another hit against the boards from Ryan Getzlaf. Per Coach Trotz, Patric will be out indefinitely and most likely will be on a plane back to Nashville to be examined by the team doctors. Although a tremendous loss for a struggling team, Patric’s healing time may lead to more opportunities for players such as Colin Wilson.
  • Craig Smith looks like he has made his way into Trotz’s infamous “dog house”, with a very noticeable lack of ice time with one shift in the second period. There will be no sending him to Milwaukee, however, as that would expose him to waivers. After his senseless penalty, Smith may not see the ice for a while. Colin Wilson’s heart may be smiling, as he is most notable for being Trotz’s go-to player to punish.

Rough beginning to the season for the Preds, but don’t jump ship just yet, fellow Preds fans. Though Nashville does not have the luxury of an entire season to gain momentum, they still have time, if they push themselves to victory. It can be done, but they cannot take their time. Do not turn on Peks, either. Though he hasn’t quite reached his typical Finnish phenom status, he isn’t the problem. Yes, shootouts are not his strong suite, but he is not the only factor that leads to a shootout scenario.

The Predators wander out to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes on their turf, another game that could prove rough for the Predators. Then again, they may pull some confidence from midair and nab a much-needed win. Preds and Coyotes match up Monday, January 28 at 8 PM.

Keep Calm and Go Preds.

Preds Shutout by No. 1 Blues

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Shea tries some defensive moves to avoid another Blues goal.

If you watched any of tonight’s game, you noticed the Predators did not retain any of their confidence from Tuesday night’s win over the Minnesota Wild. Or maybe, they are just that unnerved by the St. Louis Blues. Nonetheless, wether it be sheer nerves or a lack of confidence, it was clear the Predators were not ready to gain their second win. What was also clear? The lack of a complete offensive initiative. Any Predators stronghold will tell you, offense is not Nashville’s strong suite, but tonight’s performance made it overly apparent.

Plentiful penalties also played a huge factor in tonight’s loss for the Predators, with both sides taking their share, but the Preds took six to the Blues’s five. By the looks of the way they performed tonight, Tuesday’s game was a mere fluke by the Wild. The Predators have an uncountable amount of work to do if they wish to see the post-season. Here is the rundown of tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad remains on the scratched list, along with Jonathon Blum and Brian McGrattan. Keeping with the lines from Tuesday, Yip, Bourque, and Spaling stick together, while Craig Smith finds himself center on the fourth line.
  • T.J. Oshie capitalized on the Blues’s first powerplay of the night at 12:59, sealing his third goal of this early season with a wrister past Pekka Rinne.
  • The only goal from the second period would rise from the Blues, a penalty shot (possibly the first of the NHL season) by Patrik Berglund sinking his second goal of the season, a wrister of his own past Rinne. The penalty shot was brought about due to a hooking on the breakaway from Mike Fisher. Pekka has struggled thus far this season when it comes to one-on-one situations (do we need to go into detail?).
  • The third period goal also belonged to the Blues, with Vladimir Tarasenko, the Russian youngster taking the NHL by storm, gaining his fourth goal of the season. Again, with the wrist shot.
  • From the get-go, the Blues had the upper-hand against the Predators, both offensively and defensively. Out-shooting the Predators 24 to 13, Nashville was at a loss from the very beginning.

Like we mentioned above, penalties plagued both sides tonight, but the Predators took the brunt of the penalties. The Predators were given five chances by the Blues to gain their footing, but St. Louis wanted nothing of it, denying any chance of a goal for Nashville. Here are your penalty box lovers:

  1. Matt Halischuk – 4:22, 1st Period – Hooking
  2. Mike Fisher – 12:10, 1st Period – Hooking
  3. Rich Clune – 6:11, 2nd Period – Fighting
  4. Mike Fisher – 9:26, 2nd Period – Hooking on Breakaway (Penalty Shot)
  5. Craig Smith – 16:20, 2nd Period – Hooking
  6. Rich Clune – 17:42, 3rd Period – Roughing

No fight, no battle from the Predators tonight against the Blues. Expressing the fact that the Blues had the upper-hand the entire game cannot be spoken enough. The Predators were not physically, mentally, or emotionally ready to face the No. 1 Blues tonight, no excuses needed.

Though the Predators will find their groove again, this will not be the end of the psychological impact the Blues have over the Preds this season. The Predators face the Blues in St. Louis once again on February 5th.

The Predators are off to the Golden State to face the Anaheim Ducks this Saturday at 9:30PM. Hopefully, the Ducks do not hold the same voodoo over the Predators has the Blues do.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Third Time’s the Charm; Preds grasp 3-1 Win over Wild

Nick Spaling capitalizes in Minnesota

FINALLY! A POST WITHOUT EXPLAINABLE EXCUSES! Ahh, just kidding; the Preds didn’t do that bad during the last two games, but how refreshing it is to write the first winning post of the season! And against the power couple that is Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, no doubt!

The Predators started out a bit iffy tonight, similar to last night’s start with the Wild showing the upper-hand. Showing no fatigue from last night’s shootout loss to the Blues and the late night plane ride, the Preds kept par with Minnesota, inevitably holding strong for the win. Here are the highlights from tonight’s first win of the season:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad traveled to Minnesota with the team and even took to the ice during practice this morning. However, his upper-body injury is still on the mend, so he, Jonathon Blum, and Brian McGrattan were your three scratches for the night.
  • Gabriel Bourque, who played a substantial role during last year’s playoffs, boarded a plane from Milwaukee at 7AM this morning to join the team in St. Paul. Bourque did not originally join the team at the end of the lockout due to an injury, healing while with the Admirals.
  • Chris Mason was given his chance to hit the ice for the Predators once again since 2008, getting the nod as starting goalie against Niklas Backstrom. Pekka Rinne, after a rough two games at home, took a needed break, although many were weary of Mason’s preparation against a 2-0 opponent.
  • Minnesota started out on the feisty side, keeping the action centered around Mason and the Predators’ zone. At 6:02, Dany Heatley knocked one past Mason, his third goal of the season.
  • The Wild’s early strike stirred the pot for the Predators, waking them up near the end of the first period with a wrist shot at 16:31 from Nick Spaling, his first goal of the season, to tie the game. Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip both picked up their first assists of the season.
  • The second period remained quiet on the goal front, but not on the defensive and offensive front. The Predators put up more shots on goal during the second (10 to Minnesota’s 7), and Chris Mason made some key and valuable saves to avoid sending the Wild into the lead.
  • The majority of the third period had most Predators fans wondering if they were going to see yet another shootout (three in a row?!), with both sides taking an even amount of eleven shots on goal during the period. However, Martin Erat nailed the magic backhand past a misplaced Backstrom to put the Predators up 2-1 for his second goal of the season at 11:45. Unassisted, we might add.
  • The Wild would pull Backstrom to give them an extra hand, but a last minute slashing penalty on Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended up backfiring on the Wild, giving the Predators the upper-hand and David Legwand’s first goal of the season at 19:43 on the powerplay. His snapshot was assisted by Nick Spaling.

The game was full of penalty action, both on the Predators and the Wild. Thankfully for the Predators, none of their penalties had a reprocution of a goal in favor of the Wild, but the latter can be said for Minnesota. Here are your Predators that wanted some alone time in tonight’s game:

  1. Rich Clune – 1st Period, 2:18 – Fighting
  2. Nick Spaling – 1st Period, 12:16 – Tripping
  3. Patric Hornqvist – 1st Period, 19:55 – Roughing
  4. Shea Weber – 2nd Period, 4:03 – Interference
  5. Brandon Yip – 2nd Period, 19:17 – Roughing
  6. Patric Hornqvist – 3rd Period, 9:47 – Goaltender Interference

The Zach Parise/Ryan Suter pairing have proven to be a power couple in just two games, but it was proven tonight that they are flawed and are not invincible. Though Roman Josi and Shea Weber have not meshed as well as Suter/Weber once did, the season is still young and, though it is a shortened season, the Josi/Weber pairing has time (not too long) to mesh and maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget all about that “Ryan Suter” character.

Let us not forget backup goaltender, Chris Mason. The Wild were brutal on net when they were in the crease, giving both the Preds defense and Mason a run for his money for not being a lanky, 6’7″ Finnish phenom. Mason blocked 28 of 29 shots on goal; though you can argue Peks has stopped many more than that while balancing on his right pinkie, Mason revived a few reluctant fans (and analysts) who just weren’t sure about how he could stack up to both Pekka and former backup goalie, Anders Lindback. After tonight’s performance, it looks like Chris Mason has measured up and surpassed even our critiques.

The Predators are off tomorrow night, but face the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday night. After tonight’s reviving win, will the Predators take that momentum across the West?

Until then,
GO PREDS!

Preds sign Veteran D-Man Scott Hannan

Is Hannan the veteran d-man the Predators have been searching for?

A little before noon this morning, the Predators reached an agreement that hit the cap floor and gained the franchise yet another defenseman.

Nashville signed former Calgary Flame free agent, Scott Hannan to a one-year, $1 million contract, giving the team the veteran strength and experience it was looking for. Here’s the official statement from the Nashville Predators:

Hannan, 33 (1/23/79), has amassed 197 points (33g-164a) and 522 penalty minutes in 908 regular-season games and 15 points (1g-14a) and 89 penalty minutes in 82 playoff games with San Jose, Colorado, Washington and Calgary since the 1998-99 season. The 6-1, 225-pound blueliner enters the 2012-13 season having played more games than any NHL defenseman in the last 10 seasons (798). Hannan dressed for 75-or-more games for the 11th consecutive season (78), and averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons (20:21) with the Calgary Flames a season ago.

Hannan has bounced around to a few teams, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t worth keeping for the long run. Hannan has proved to be a reliable, well-versed d-man who will work well with both vets like Hal Gill and young guns like Roman Josi.

Will the Predators keep Hannan around for longer than a season? Time will tell, but we have a feeling, from the videos we have seen of the 33-year-old, the fans will latch on quickly. Although, he will have to find another number; we don’t think Brian McGrattan will give up 23 easily.

Predators announce Skate of the Union Schedule

Brian McGrattan will be there. Will you?

After many began to wonder if the organization would be hosting the annual Skate of the Union event, the Predators finally announced the event to the relief of the fans.

So, wether you’ve been to every single on since the beginning or your a newcomer to the Town Hall scene, here’s the rundown of what to expect and who to see on Monday, August 20th:

4-5:30PM – Open skate at Bridgestone Arena
4:30-6PM – Select players will be on hand to take photos
5-6PM – Same select players will be on hand for autographs
6:15-6:45PM – Q&A with select players
6:45-7:45PM – Annual Town Hall Meeting with Tom Cigarran, Jeff Cogen, David Poile, Sean Henry, and Peter Horachek.

What players are expected to attend? Well, from the photo above, you can expect Brian McGrattan to attend, along with Kevin Klein, Jon Blum, Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher, Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill, Chris Mason, and Craig Smith.

Before you ask where Shea Weber is, he has a prior commitment to teach a hockey school and to attend NHLPA meetings. Completely understandable, as we do not want a lockout to occur.

If you are suffering from withdraws, here’s your chance to get your hockey fix until preseason; well, that’s unless the NHLPA and NHL cannot come to an agreement…