Poile, P. Weber Hospitalized

Photos courtesy: Zimbio.com

Photos courtesy: Zimbio.com

Today just wasn’t a good day for the Predators organization. Both the Predators GM & one of the Predators TV broadcasters were hospitalized today in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Pete Weber, the long-time TV broadcaster alongside the colorful Terry Crisp, suffered a heart attack last night and spent the day in a St. Paul hospital today recovering. The news of his heart attack came just a few hours after the news that David Poile, too had been sent to a St. Paul hospital. Thankfully, once the news was released, Weber was already relaxing and recuperating nicely in his hospital room & made certain to let everyone know via Twitter that he was in his usual high spirited mindset (even while attached to IVs and in a gown):

As you may guess, Pete will not be joining Terry Crisp on the television coverage tonight, rather radio broadcaster Willy Daunic will be his replacement.

Though Pete’s condition is good, David Poile’s condition is relatively unknown. While watching the Predators morning skate at the Xcel Energy Center, an errant pass from Shea Weber ricocheted the puck off a wall and into David Poile’s face. The puck hit just above Poile’s eye, though it did not knock him out. In fact, Poile was said to have walked over to a chair to sit down, but was hurried over to a stretcher and sent to the hospital for further evaluation. Shea Weber was quick to make certain his GM was alright after the accident.

For what we know of right now, David Poile will be staying overnight in the hospital and is said to have a fractured orbital bone, which needed 30-40 stitches. He was scheduled to fly out to Sochi, but per recent tweets, it doesn’t look like he will be going any time soon.

We are praying for quick and full recoveries for both Pete Weber and David Poile.

Shea Weber added to Team Canada Roster

BdZIk-bIAAE_eCSIf you follow any of our social media outlets, we mentioned Shea Weber being named to Team Canada but we neglected to add it here! My bad.

Any who, from the headline, you now know that Shea Weber will be representing both Canada and Nashville in the 2014 Winter Olympics. He, along with Roman Josi and Simon Moser will be the only Predators heading off to Sochi in February.

In the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Predators had six members represent their countries, which included:
Ryan Suter – USA – (Minnesota Wild)
Shea Weber – Canada
Martin Erat – Czech Republic (Washington Capitals)
Patric Hornqvist – Sweden
Marcel Goc – Germany (Florida Panthers)
Alexander Sulzer – Germany (Buffalo Sabres)

Don’t be put down by the number difference here, though. Out of the list above, the only other player besides Weber going to the Olympics this year is Ryan Suter. Heck, Germany isn’t even participating in this year’s Olympics; well, at least that we’ve found.

In regards to Patric Hornqvist’s snub by Sweden, he has been quoted as saying he is disappointed by the decision & Trotz has said he has “no idea what the Swedish team was thinking”. Honestly, we don’t either, except for the fact that Sweden is a powerhouse when it comes to producing talented hockey players. Hornqvist wasn’t the only talented Swede left off that Tre Kronor roster.

So, in a nutshell Preds fans, we’ve only been given three (one that may hardly know a.k.a. Moser), but be proud of those three! Congratulations to Josi, Weber, and Moser!

 

2014 Winter Olympics Team USA Roster

Ryan Suter – 2010 Winter Olympics – Getty Images

The official roster for Team USA was announced this afternoon following the 2014 Winter Classic, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a SO 3 to 2. 105,491 was the official attendance in today’s Winter Classic, by the way… and the average temperature was 13°, with a wind chill of -1°

Any who – back to Team USA – So, who got the call to represent the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Here’s the list:

David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Callahan – New York Rangers
John Carlson – Washington Capitals
Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks
Paul Martin – Pittsburgh Penguins
Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres
James van Riemsdyk – Toronto Maple Leafs
Brooks Orpik – Pittsburgh Penguins
TJ Oshie – St. Louis Blues
Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens
Zach Parise – Minnesota Wild
Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
Paul Stastny – Colorado Avalanche
Derek Stepan – New York Ranger
Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg Jets
Jimmy Howard – Detroit Red Wings
Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs

As you may have heard (especially if you’re a Predators fan), the Nashville Predators General Manager, David Poile, was named the Team USA GM over the summer. So, are you surprised no Predators made the roster? Seth Jones & Craig Smith were the only players that popped up on the radar and were expected to make the list, but as we now know, neither one apparently quite made the cut. Since Jones is still a young NHL-er, his roster-miss is not as surprising as Craig Smith’s, especially after his outstanding performance in the IIHF World Championships this past Spring.

Notable other players absent from the roster list include Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan, Phoenix’s Keith Yandle, Columbus’ Jack Johnson, and Islanders’ Kyle Okposo among many others that you could make a solid argument for.

So, there you have it. Will you put your differences aside and cheer for the likes of Ryan Kesler, Ryan Suter, and Patrick Kane to push Team USA to gold? We will… but just for this time.

Preds vs. the 2013 Draft

20130620-105655.jpg

The much anticipated 2013 NHL Draft is just around the corner on June 30th, and rumors of who will nab who are floating around the Internets, clogging our Twitter feeds and Facebook walls.
So, say you’re new to this whole “draft” thing. You just started following hockey within the last few seasons or are just now getting interested in more than just the gameday routine. Well, here’s a background on the 2013 Draft in a nutshell:

Hockey players born between January 1, 1993 and September 15, 1995 are eligible for selection in this year’s draft. Along with those players, any un-drafted players over the age of 20 are also eligible for the draft on June 30th, as long as they are not from North America. And, last but not least, any players who were drafted in the 2011 Draft but were not signed by an NHL team who were born after June 30, 1993 are eligible to re-enter this year’s draft.

The NHL hosts a “Draft Lottery” every year to determine who will get the first overall pick in the Draft. All fourteen teams that did not qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs were given “weighted” chances towards the first pick, with the Colorado Avalanche winning the coveted first choice.

The Draft order ranks as follows (Top 10):
Colorado Avalanche
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nashville Predators
Carolina Hurricanes
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey Devils
Dallas Stars

We’d go through all 30 teams, but that would make this an extremely long post and would stray from the original point. Anywho, as you can see, our tried and true Predators have the No. 4 pick, which is a relatively relieving position to be in… IF the organization chooses wisely.
Wait- How can Nashville possible go wrong? A chance at any of the top four picks in the draft; there’s no way. Oh, with Nashville’s history of choosing “defensively”, so to say, there’s a definite way, alright. But let’s give our guys a break and put some faith behind them, shall we? Here are the top 5 prospects in this year’s Draft:

NORTH AMERICAN
Seth Jones (D)
Nathan MacKinnon (C)
Jonathan Drouin (LW)
Darnell Nurse (D)
Sean Monahan (C)

EUROPEAN:
Alexander Barkov, Jr. (C)
Valeri Nichushkin (RW)
Elias Lindholm (C)
Rasmus Ristolainen (D)
Alexander Wennberg (C)

Now, you would assume that Colorado would go for Seth Jones, the prospected No. 1 pick, right? Well, in the last few days, Colorado has began to back away from the young defenseman, claiming that their options are “open” to any of the top prospect, not just Jones. Though the chances of him, if Colorado passes him up, ending up within Nashville’s grasp are slim, the possibility is still there. Thus leads to this blog post that you are reading.

Without dreaming of Seth Jones, Nashville’s most realistic draftee would be Alexander Barkov, a young Finnish-Russian who collected 21 goals in the 2012-13 season with Tappara in the SM-liiga, along with 27 assists. And you are thinking, “How could Nashville pass this kid up? Forget Jones! Let’s get a goal scorer!” Reviewing his stats with SM-liiga, it’s easy to g0al-hungry forget the fact that, although it is an utterly annoying cliche, NHL-style hockey is a whole new ballgame. Though he did extremely well in Europe doesn’t guarantee he’ll do well on NHL ice or under an NHL coach… especially one that does not take risky, unorganized plans very well (ex. Colin Wilson and Craig Smith, foresee the future of Filip Forsberg). However, despite that risk, in Nashville’s case, a Center with a positive goal and assist history is something to jump on if given the chance.

So with that, you wonder why Nashville would even go for a defenseman like Seth Jones. Well, remember, it is Nashville we are talking about; the team that loves to known for their defensive abilities. While being known as one of the top defensive teams in the league is great, one excelled attribute doesn’t win the ultimate goal. You have to find the right mixture of defense and offense and, for the Predators, that has been awfully difficult. This may be considered tacky, but let’s use this as an example: Everyone played the Sims (don’t you dare deny it). Whether you played to live our your fantasy life with a crush or just enjoyed setting your Sims on fire, you had to design your Sim person before you could start anything. If you actually played more than just to burn the house down, you had to create a Sim with a good, even mixture of personality. Be too “outgoing” and you’d come off as annoying to other Sims; not enough “neat” and your trash would be piling up all over the house. Again, terrible and silly comparison, but you have to admit; it’s true.

20130620-105813.jpg

You remember this…

While Nashville had the defensive powerhouse that was Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, the rest of the team was neglected, thus leaving the Predators to come up short time and time again in the playoffs (this year, not even making them). Sadly, this theory can be thrown at the team over and over, but action has to be taken in order to see the fruits on one’s labor.

The Preds tend to stay in the “safe zone” when it comes to drafting or trading, and that goes for any time of the season. More than likely, the same will happen June 30th. If Seth Jones is still available by the fourth pick, Nashville will undoubtedly snatch him up. You can’t blame them, of course. Ranked the best upcoming defenseman? Sure, he’s an outstanding choice that Nashville would be nuts not to pick up. However, it is a fact that Seth Jones would be much better for other teams, but I assume it would be okay to greedy… until he grew to big for his britches and he would either ask to be traded or would take an offer elsewhere when given the chance.

Speculation is all that is.

As much as either Seth Jones or Alexander Barkov would make Nashville a happier organization, no pick is set in stone. Colorado could be lying and grab Jones with their first pick, or they could go off the wall and draft someone further down the line. Tampa Bay could tell Nashville to kiss their butts and draft Barkov or Jones before Nashville gets the reins. Luckily, the Predators have landed in a good spot, no matter who they end up drafting. Personally, we pray it is NOT a defenseman but hey, all we can do is put faith in our fellow man and pray they spice it up a bit with an offensive player.

Preds narrow past Red Wings in OT, 4-3

Craig Smith picks up his first goal of the season against Detroit

After Monday’s rough ending against the Colorado Avalanche, the Predators had two choices: either shake it off and prepare themselves for the first meeting of the season against the Detroit Red Wings or let frustration take over and destroy any chance of making a recovery. What did the Predators ultimately choose to do as they welcomed Jordin Tootoo and the rest of the Motor City to Nashville Tuesday night?

FIRST PERIOD

  • Craig Smith took the first strike, sending a wrister past Jimmy Howard at 5:01 to seal his first “regulation” goal of the season (he has done his share of shootout goals) and also on the powerplay. Colin Wilson, who continues to dominate in points, picked up his eighth assist of the season, along with Shea Weber who picked up his fourth.
  • A little over five minutes later, Gabriel Bourque notched his fourth goal of the season with a tip-in at 10:41. Scott Hannan (first assist) and Mike Fisher (fourth assist) would nab the assists on Bourque’s goal.
  • Detroit goaltender, Jimmy Howard would be pulled after Bourque’s goal, but not from a terrible performance or an injury sustained in the game. Howard had been suffering from blurred vision, but professed that he was fine in practice Tuesday morning. But during game time, his vision just wasn’t up to par to face the Predators.
  • The Predators wouldn’t hold their 2-0 lead for long, for Detroit had a short-handed goal up their sleeves. Daniel Cleary broke free on the Predators’ powerplay and slipped a wrister past Pekka Rinne to put Detroit on the board at 15:01. Pavel Datsyuk picked up the assist.

SECOND PERIOD

  • The second period would produce no goals, but plenty of action left both sides frustrated and exhausted. Nashville would out-shoot Detroit 12 to 7, but backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was everywhere the Predators wanted to be.

THIRD PERIOD

  • A costly mistake by Kevin Klein at 11:33 gave Detroit its second goal of the game, awarding the goal to former Pred, Jordin Tootoo. As pressure took to the net, Klein accidentally knocked the puck into his own goal.
  • Roman Josi would quickly give the Predators the upper-hand once again at 12:54 for his first goal of the season. His first goal was also unassisted.
  • Just as Josi put Nashville up 3-2, Detroit fought back, with Pavel Datsyuk nailing his eighth goal of the season, tying the game at 3.

OVERTIME

  • Nashville wasn’t going to see yet another shootout, with Shea Weber sealing the winning goal in OT at just 44 seconds into the period. Weber’s third goal of the season was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn (fifth assist) and Colin Wilson (ninth assist).

 

MUSINGS:

  • Patric Hornqvist’s presence was well-received on home ice after missing the last ten games (excluding Monday on the road). Hornqvist led the Predators in shots-on-goal with four against the Red Wings, which doesn’t sound like too much, but he did take twelve shots alone the night before against Colorado. Considering he has only played in two games and has garnered sixteen shots-on-goal? Yea, Patric is creating chances that other players just can’t do; though Colin Wilson has been giving Patric a run for his money.
  • Paul Gaustad, still nursing an upper-body injury, was missing from action against Detroit as expected. Nashville took the hit on face-offs, losing the majority of them against the Red Wings. Hal Gill was scratched, along with Brian McGrattan, who is spending some quality time in Milwaukee.
  • Shea Weber may have found his rhythm, picking up an assist and a goal, his first game with two points. Weber has already notched his third goal of the season, hopefully giving us all a collective sigh of relief for the Captain.
  • Rich Clune is pulling out his checkbook, as he has been fined for boarding Colorado Avalanche forward Aaron Palushaj during Monday’s game. In the amount of $1,452.70 (half of his daily salary), the fine will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Brendan Shanahan has been awfully busy for such a short season…
  • Head Coach Barry Trotz has taken on a new title: Longest tenured coach in the National Hockey League. The Buffalo Sabres fired Lindy Ruff, who had been with the team for sixteen years, passing the title on to Barry Trotz.

 

The Predators almost let the Red Wings slip away with the win, but a win’s a win (even in OT) against Detroit. The Predators were given a rare two day break before facing the Vancouver Canucks for the first time tomorrow night.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Gaustad and Gill are Fond of Nashville

Paul Gaustad mentally prepares himself before a game.

Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill may have only been with the Predators since the Trade Deadline (February), but both newcomers have become quite fond of the Music City; and the fans have become quite fond of them as well.

Hal Gill was acquired on February 17th from the Montreal Canadiens for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a 2nd round draft pick. With Gill’s extraordinary penalty kill abilities and his experience holding up the Stanley Cup, Nashville knew Gill would be a key player to have during the playoffs. Gill immediately fell into line with team, finding a connection with fellow defenseman, Roman Josi. It’s honestly hard to remember that Hal has only been with the Predators since February.

Paul Gaustad was the last acquired player at the TD, being picked up from the Buffalo Sabres for a first round pick in the draft. A blind-sided trade, most fans (on both Buffalo and Nashville) did not see this trade coming, but due to his inquisitive skill at face-offs, Paul Gaustad was another key component to Nashville’s playoff run. Like Gill, Gaustad slipped in with the team and had no trouble making a name for himself in the southern franchise.

Both experts in their given skills, Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill helped propel the Nashville Predators throughout the end of the regular season and the playoffs, gaining fans along the way. However, now that the off-season is in full swing for Nashville, what will happen to the two newcomers?

Keeping these two assets (who would definitely help in the regular season) comes down to one thing: Money. Of course it comes down to money. The Predators are facing one of the toughest off-seasons ever in their franchise, with many of their key players facing both restricted and unrestricted free agency, including Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Jordin Tootoo, and Sergei Kostitsyn. As such, a lack of a “proper” paycheck may send many players packing, including Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad… or would it?

Per a few sources, Paul Gaustad has made mention that, if in case the Predators were willing to sign him, he’d be willing to take a pay cut. Sources have also claimed the same has been said of 37-year-old defenseman, Hal Gill. The Predators organization has been considered on of the greatest in the NHL, but would players seriously be willing to take pay cuts to stay?

Although Sergei Kostitsyn is wanting to be signed to a longer contract in Nashville, it’s probable that if David Poile offers him yet another one-year contract, SK74 will take it, especially if his brother, Andrei Kostitsyn, is signed as well.

With players who haven’t been in Nashville as long as other veterans, it’s astonishing that they’d be willing to forego a larger paycheck just to stay with a particular organization. Either those players have a strong faith in Nashville and wish to see a Stanley Cup come to this city, or they just really, really love their sport… we’re going to say both.

Makes you wonder why Suter and Weber don’t want to just go ahead and sign… That’s a subject for another post.

So, for all you Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill fans, good news! These two have made it quite apparent that they have found a soft spot for Nashville and its fans in such a short amount of time, wether they’re willing to take a pay cut or not.

No matter what, you have to admit, this looks very, very good for Nashville and its franchise. Players are willing to make the roster no matter what it takes. Obviously, Poile, Trotz, and the rest of the organization is doing something right in the NHL.

 

Preds Player Profile: Paul Gaustad

Gaustad isn't afraid to drop the gloves and take a hit or two.

Paul Gaustad was the second and last trade pickup made this past Monday at the Trade Deadline between the Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres. Like the Andrei Kostitsyn trade move, Predators fans were blind-sided by the trade for the Center for a first round pick (the Sabres also gave the Predators a fourth round in the trade).

Paul Gaustad was born on February 3, 1982 in Fargo, North Dakota and was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2000 NHL Draft, 7th Round (220th overall). Add another tall one to the Predators roster, Gaustad stands at 6’5″, the same height as goalie, Pekka Rinne.

Gaustad began his hockey career in the WHL under the Portland Winter Hawks and notched three seasons with the minor league of the Canadian Hockey League. Gaustad began playing under the AHL team for the Buffalo Sabres in 2002-03 and made his way to the Sabres in 2005.

The forward/enforcer had a close call on February 7, 2007 when a collision with Ottawa Senator, Dany Heatley almost ended his career. Gaustad’s tendon was sliced by Heatley’s skate and, if it had been an inch deeper, Paul’s career would have been shot right then and there. Fortunately for Gaustad, his season was ended by the accident, but his career would remain intact.

After a productive 2007-08 season, the Buffalo Sabres re-signed Gaustad to a 4-year extension worth $9.2 million, just before becoming a free agent.

OTHER NOTABLE FACTS:

  • Wore #14 while in the AHL, but had to revert to #28 due to Rene Robert having that number retired with the Sabres.
  • Scored 12 goals in three consecutive seasons (2008-09 to 2010-11).
  • Shares the same birthday as new Nashville Predator, Andrei Kostitsyn. Former Nashville Predator (now Montreal Canadiens) Blake Geoffrion also shares the February 3rd birthday.
  • 12th American to play for the Nashville Predators this season.

Paul Gaustad was fan favorite in Buffalo and is sure to bring his popularity to Nashville. Although he, Jordin Tootoo and Anders Lindback had a heated square-off due to the Ryan Miller incident, Gaustad will fit with the rest of the Predators just fine. It was clear that Gaustad was simply standing up for his fellow teammate, which means he will do the same with his new teammates with the Predators.

Like Brian McGrattan, Paul Gaustad isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and is quite the enforcer. Along with this attribute, Gaustad’s frame makes him ideal for screening shots on goal, just like fellow giant, Hal Gill.

Paul Gaustad is expected to make his Predators debut on Saturday against the Florida Panthers and was seen practicing with the team on Thursday morning. Gaustad is coming off an upper-body injury, keeping him from playing last Tuesday alongside newcomer, Andrei Kostitsyn.

Welcome to Nashville, Paul Gaustad!

(Photo credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)

Preds Win with Both Trade Deadline and against L.A. Kings

Patric Hornqvist returns to the lineup on fire with his 18th goal of the season.

NEVER ENOUGH KOSTITSYNS:

The NHL Trade Deadline may have ended at 2PM yesterday, but that didn’t mean the day ended for the Nashville Predators. Although Nashville was thought to be in the running for Blue Jackets captain, Rick Nash, Predators GM David Poile had other plans up his sleeves.

David Poile surprised many Preds fans with the trade agreement between the Montreal Canadiens for Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei’s older brother. Andrei had expressed interest in wanting to be traded to Nashville, but because everyone’s minds were on the Nash-to-Nash situation, no one saw this one coming. The Predators and the Canadiens came to an agreement that, along with the conditional trade that came along with Hal Gill, the Predators would give up a 2nd Round Draft pick for 2013.

Poile made a last minute trade with the Buffalo Sabres, picking up Forward Paul Gaustad for a 1st Round pick in this year’s draft, another unexpected move. If you can remember the Ryan Miller/Jordin Tootoo incident from December 3rd, you might recall a certain player who attacked Jordin Tootoo afterwards and had it out for Anders Lindback. If you guessed Paul Gaustad, you are correct. Although tension will probably cease now that the three are teammates, but it is still a little awkward.

Although most fans, if not all, were blinded by the Nash-to-Nash possible trade (we definitely were), these two additions to the Nashville Predators may (and will most likely have to be) the key to keeping both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber in the gold sweaters. We won’t dive into that controversy right now. However, what’s most important is that these two additions will help the Predators advance to the Stanley Cup.

ON TO THE GAME:

  • Ryan Ellis was called up for last night’s game against the Kings, making many fans think Jack Hillen, if any Predator, would be on the fence during the Trade Deadline. Hillen made it past 2PM and got some ice time, making a Pekka-like save in front of the goal, preventing a clear goal from the Kings. Kevin Klein was the surprising scratch (along with Ellis) and Brian McGrattan is still sitting pretty on the IR.
  • Rookie Roman Josi got the ball rolling at the end of the 1st (18:27), sending a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick for his 4th goal of the season. David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque picked up the assists on Josi’s goal.
  • Patric Hornqvist wasted no time putting his team up 2-0 at 3:52 in the 2nd, sending a wrist shot of his own past Quick for his 18th goal of the season. David Legwand picked up his second assist of the night and Sergei Kostitsyn picked up one as well.
  • The Kings would prevent the Predators from shutting them out at 16:36 in the third with wrist shot from Dustin Brown, his 18th goal of the season.
  • Pekka Rinne saw one of his best nights of the season, blocking 30 of 31 shots on goal. The Predators were also out-shot 31 to 28, adding to their NHL record.
  • The Predators and the Kings both only faced one penalty kill each, with Gabriel Bourque facing a tripping penalty at 4:37 in the 2nd Period.

The Predators are off to Raleigh to face the 23-26-13 Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, but they will have Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad in tow. Will they blow the Hurricanes out of the water? The puck drops at 6PM!

Until then,
GO PREDS.