The Age of Swede (in Nashville)

Getty Images/Zimbio.com

Getty Images/Zimbio.com – Left: Calle Jarnkrok, Right: Filip Forsberg

With the regular season coming to a close, most Preds fans have given up on the hopes of clinching a playoff spot. Though mathematically, the Preds still have an itty bitty, miniscule chance, but unless you are a betting man or an overly optimistic person, you’ve pretty much come to terms that, for the fifteenth year, the Predators will be Cup-less. It has also been excruciatingly difficult to handle (as a fan) the onslaught of opposing fans over-running the Bridgestone Arena, bashing the home team and drowning out the voices of the remaining faithful. But alas, that is a story for a different time. Right now, I am here to relay some optimism; optimism in the form of 20-something Swedes.

It wouldn’t be a far stretch to say ice hockey is pretty popular in Sweden. Tre Kronor (Team Sweden) is a dominant force when it comes to IIHF World Championships (9 gold medals/19 silver/16 bronze since 1920) and the Olympics (2 gold medals/3 silver/4 bronze since 1920) and those figures do not include the junior or women’s teams over the years. Surprisingly though, there aren’t as many Swedes in the NHL as you would think. There are (as of 9:44am on 3/27/14 & not including farm teams) 51 Swede holding roster spots amongst the 30 teams in the NHL, which averages out to about 2 Swedes per team (that has a Swede). Detroit should be renamed Stockholm as it employees the most Swedes at nine. Everyone but the Islanders, Blue Jackets, Penguins, Stars, Oilers, Panthers, Kings, and Sharks have Swedes. Nashville has had its fair share of Swedes in the past fifteen years, with Viktor Stalberg, Patric Hornqvist, Mattias Ekholm, and Calle Jarnkrok holding roster spots at the given moment; Filip Forsberg and Patrick Cehlin currently round out the Milwaukee Admirals roster.

While a veteran like Patric Hornqvist remains at the top of his game (14 goals, 25 assists 2013/14 season), it’s young-guns like Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg who will continue the tradition of Swedish dominance. Both Filip Forsberg and Calle Järnkrok were acquired within trades – Forsberg was claimed from the Washington Capitals for Martin Erat and Michael Latta in April 2013 & Jarnkrok (along with Patrick Eaves) was picked up from the Detroit Red Wings for David Legwand – and, you can disagree with many of David Poile’s choices, but the man clearly got the better deal in both trades.

It tends to be frustrating to fans that Filip Forsberg spends more time on planes than on the ice, constantly being called up and sent back down to Milwaukee. His outstanding performance in the World Juniors tournament had fans threatening a mob if he wasn’t brought back to Nashville (4 goals, 8 assists/silver medal), but alas, he has still flipped back and forth. It is sometimes hard to remember that Forsberg is only 19-years-old and made his NHL debut with Nashville last season (Detroit won 3-0); he still has plenty of time to adjust to the system and I would almost put money on a bet that he’ll have a more permanent roster position with the Predators next season. With the Admirals this season, Filip Forsberg has 10 goals and 17 assists.

Calle Jarnkrok is the newest Swede to board the dingy that is the Predators organization, but he’s come out blazing with three assists in the three games he’s appeared with Nashville. He’s quick, but controlled; his puck-handling skills put Colin Wilson to shame. He also does not shy from pressure what-so-ever. Usually Craig Smith or Matt Cullen, Jarnkrok was given the task of first at bat for the shootout against the Colorado Avalanche last Tuesday. Though Nashville eventually lost to the Avs (thanks to another Swede – Gabriel Landeskog), Jarnkrok scored in his first NHL shootout. He may share the same love of hairstyle with Sergei Kostitsyn, but he is a far cry from that Belorussian blunder.  Hopefully, Jarnkrok can teach fellow Swede, Viktor Stalberg to slow his roll and control his speed and the puck. I also hope the ‘Way of Trotz’ does not seep into the youngster, killing his game altogether.

You know their names: Henrik Lundqvist, Niklas Kronwall, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, Niklas Backstrom, Gabriel Landeskog, Henrik Zetterberg, Peter Forsberg, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Niklas Lidstrom, Alexander Steen, Loui Eriksson, and so forth. The Swedes are here to stay in the NHL and Nashville needs to collect as many as they can get. Along with an IKEA; we need one of those, too.

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Med den ordinarie säsongen närmar sig sitt slut , har de flesta Preds fans gett upp hoppet om att fästa en slutspelsplats . Även matematiskt , de Preds har fortfarande en Itty Bitty , världsdelen chans , men om du inte är en vadslagning man eller en alltför optimistisk person , du har ganska mycket komma till rätta som för femtonde året kommer rovdjuren bli Cup – mindre . Det har också varit otroligt svårt att hantera ( som en fläkt ) angrepp av motsatta fans över kör Bridgestone Arena , bashing hemmalaget och drunkna ut röster återstående trogna . Men tyvärr , det är en historia för en annan tid . Just nu är jag här för att vidarebefordra viss optimism , optimism i form av 20 -någonting svenskar .

Det skulle inte vara en långt sträcka att säga ishockey är ganska populärt i Sverige . Tre Kronor ( Team Sweden ) är en dominerande kraft när det kommer till IIHF-VM ( 9 guld medals/19 silver/16 brons sedan 1920 ) och OS ( 2 ​​guldmedaljer / 3 silver / 4 brons sedan 1920 ) och dessa siffror gör inte inkludera junior eller damlag under åren. Förvånansvärt Men det finns inte så många svenskar i NHL som man kan tro . Det finns ( som av 09:44 på 3/27/14 & exklusive jordbruks lag ) 51 Swede håller rosterfläckar bland de 30 lag i NHL , som i genomsnitt ut till ca 2 svenskar per lag ( som har en svensk ) . Detroit bör döpas Stockholm eftersom den anställda flest svenskar vid nio . Alla men Islanders , Blue Jackets , Penguins, Stars , Oilers , Panthers, Kings och Sharks har svenskar . Nashville har haft sin beskärda del av svenskarna under de senaste femton åren , med Viktor Stålberg , Patric Hörnqvist , Mattias Ekholm och Calle Järnkrok håller rosterfläckar vid given tidpunkt , Filip Forsberg och Patrick Cehlin runda för närvarande ut i Milwaukee Admirals deltagarlistan .

Medan en veteran som Patric Hörnqvist är fortfarande på toppen av hans spel ( 14 mål , 25 assist 2013/14 säsongen ) , det är unga – gevär som Calle Järnkrok och Filip Forsberg som kommer att fortsätta traditionen av svenska dominans . Både Filip Forsberg och Calle Järnkrok förvärvats inom handel – Forsberg hävdades från Washington Capitals för Martin Erat och Michael Latta i April 2013 & Järnkrok ( tillsammans med Patrick Eaves ) plockades från Detroit Red Wings för David Legwand – och , du kan inte håller med många av David Poile s val , men mannen fick klart bättre affär i båda branscher .

Det tenderar att vara frustrerande för fans som Filip Forsberg tillbringar mer tid på plan än på isen , ständigt ringde upp och skickas tillbaka till Milwaukee . Hans enastående prestanda i World Juniors turneringen hade fans hotar en pöbel om han inte kom tillbaka till Nashville ( 4 mål , 8 assist / silver ) , men tyvärr , han har fortfarande bläddrade fram och tillbaka . Det är ibland svårt att komma ihåg att Forsberg är bara 19 år gammal och gjorde sin NHL-debut med Nashville förra säsongen ( Detroit vann med 3-0 ) , han har fortfarande gott om tid att anpassa sig till systemet och jag skulle nästan sätta pengar på en satsning som han kommer att ha en mer permanent roster läge med Predators nästa säsong . Med Admirals den här säsongen , har Filip Forsberg 10 mål och 17 assist .

Calle Järnkrok är den nyaste svensken att gå ombord på jolleseglare som är Predators organisation , men han har kommit ut flammande med tre assist i de tre matcher han dök med Nashville . Han är snabb , men kontrollerad , hans puckhanteringfärdigheter satte Colin Wilson på skam . Han gör dessutom inte blyg från tryck vad – så – någonsin. Vanligtvis Craig Smith och Matt Cullen , Järnkrok fick i uppdrag att först på slagträet för straffar mot Colorado Avalanche i tisdags . Även Nashville till slut förlorade med Avs ( tack vare en annan svensk – Gabriel Landeskog ) , Järnkrok gjorde mål i sin första NHL- straffar. Han kan dela samma kärlek till frisyr med Sergei Kostitsyn , men han är långt ifrån det vitryska blunder . Förhoppningsvis kan Järnkrok undervisa karl svensk, Viktor Stålberg att sakta sin rulle och kontrollera sin hastighet och pucken . Jag hoppas också att ” Way of Trotz ” inte tränger in i unge och dödade hans spel helt och hållet.

Du vet deras namn : Henrik Lundqvist , Niklas Kronwall , Daniel och Henrik Sedin , Niklas Bäckström , Gabriel Landeskog , Henrik Zetterberg , Peter Forsberg , Oliver Ekman – Larsson , Daniel Alfredsson , Niklas Lidström , Alexander Steen , Loui Eriksson , och så vidare . Svenskarna är här för att stanna i NHL och Nashville måste samla så många som de kan få . Tillsammans med en IKEA , vi behöver en av dem också.

 

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Trade Deadline: David Legwand Traded to Red Wings

Thanks for the memories, Leggy.

Thanks for the memories, Leggy.

There were talks for weeks and rumors spread, but today, the whispers were confirmed: David Legwand was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. Legwand is a native of Detroit, so for all the teams for him to make the leap towards, the Red Wings was a given. But, even for all those Legwand Haters, after all the years, doesn’t it hurt just a bit to see him actually leave?

We all know the hockey history of David Legwand: Nashville’s first-ever draft pick, franchise record holder, rode the wild wave that is the Nashville Predators organization. He was Mr. Predator; but not forever.

Contrary to popular (Preds fans) belief, Legwand is an outstanding player and will fit in well with Detroit’s system; it will be a breath of fresh air for him under a new lineup. With Pavel Datsyuk on the mend, Legwand will be thrown into the fire at first go, but it isn’t anything he cannot handle.

But how was he traded? Didn’t he have a No Movement Clause? Glad you asked: Yes, he did indeed have a NMC. So how did this happen?
In a nutshell, Legwand (in the end) called the shots. David Poile would work out a possible trade with another organization (in this case Detroit) & present it to David for consideration. Basically, he could either accept the trade or give Poile the stiff arm and say, “No deal”. So why, after always saying, “I will retire a Nashville Predator” did he take the trade offer?
After acquiring Matt Cullen and signing him to a two-year contract during the summer, Legwand’s trade immunity began to fade in the organization and, no offense to Patric Hornqvist, but after getting the shaft as alternate captain enough times, you start to feel a bit… underrated and taken for granted. In my opinion, he was. That, and he is getting up there in age (hockey life, that is) and who wouldn’t want to go home? Come now, that was Ryan Suter’s idea, right? All kidding aside, life with the Detroit Red Wings may just be what the doctor ordered when it comes to lighting a fire under Legwand’s remaining years in the NHL.

So, what does Nashville get for their longest-serving representative?

  • PicMonkey CollagePatrick Eaves: You probably recognize his name, though he is a sufferer of chronic injuries, including a broken jaw at the hands of a Roman Josi slap shot back in 2011.  The right-winger currently has two goals and three assists this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Calle Jarnkrok: Another Swede! Jarnkrok is 2nd-Rounder from the 2010 draft currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate team. He’s tearing up in the AHL right now, but this is his first stint in the North American hockey system and may want to return to Europe. Let’s hope not.
  • 3rd-Round Draft Pick: Draft picks are good, but it gets better: if the Red Wings secure a place in the playoffs, that 3rd-rounder turns into a 2nd-rounder. Go Red Wings…?

You can question Poile and his motives, but the man knows how to get the better end of a deal (for the most part).

We will miss David Legwand, there’s no doubt. We only wish him the best with the Detroit organization and thank him for all the memories.

https://twitter.com/richcluneshow/status/441328045832425472

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.

Predators blank Red Wings 2-0

Courtesy: Getty Images — And yes, this is an older photo

After a less than successful road trip to their tremendous win over the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night 7-2, Nashville hit the road again, making their first stop in the Motor City; the first time since Detroit hopped ship to the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the Wings, after years of questioning their position in the West, their debut in the East hasn’t exactly been the brightest. Though a better record than Nashville at 9-5-7 (NSH – 9-9-2), the Wings have been on a downslope the last six games. That’s right; six games. Luckily for Detroit, however, 5 out of 6 of those losses have resulted in either a SO or OT, so at least a point is gained.
So, after the outstanding performance against the Blackhawks Saturday night, would the Predators extend the momentum to the Joe and hand their old foes their seventh consecutive loss? Let’s jump to the highlights:

First Period:

  • Neither team was able to collect a goal during the first period, but it was far from uneventful.
  • Both sides were given Power Play opportunities, but neither goalie was willing to give the other side any leeway.
  • Nashville outshot Detroit 10 to 7 at the end of the first period.

Second Period:

  • Plenty of penalties were had in the second period, with the Red Wings notching three and the Predators picking up one from Mike Fisher’s holding call.
  • Nashville would finally connect on a Power Play opportunity at 19:55 (yes, just five seconds left in the period) with an infamous slapshot from Shea Weber (6th overall). David Legwand notched his 14th assist on Weber’s goal.
  • Detroit would take the lead in shots-on-goal in the second, 9 to 7.

Third Period:

  • Gabriel Bourque would put Nashville up 2-0 at 7:13 with a backhander around Jimmy Howard (3rd overall). Viktor Stalberg would pick up the assist (2nd overall).

In an interesting and bizarre call, Viktor Stalberg and Mikael Samuelsson both received holding penalties, though they clearly initiated a fight. Was it because no punches were thrown? Who knows, but both we given minors for the incident.
Detroit would attempt to take the helm by outshooting Nashville 11 to 8, but it just wasn’t enough to power past the rookie goaltender.
Speaking of rookie goaltender, kudos to Marek Mazanec for his first career NHL shutout. And in the Joe, nonetheless! Mazanec is just the second Czech-born goaltender to record a shutout for the Predators.
Final shot count: Detroit 27, Nashville 25.
Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 9.42.00 PM

I’d like to believe that Nashville has shaken their slump and that the sting of 5-0 shutouts have faded from recent memory, but I won’t be setting up my lawn chair for the Stanley Cup parade on Broadway just yet… but I like the path they are on currently. A win over Chicago and Detroit are always confidence builders.

The Predators head East to Toronto to take on the 13-7-1 Maple Leafs, who Nashville has already beaten on the road once this season. So, can they do it again? We’ll find out Thursday night at 6PM.

Austin Watson’s NHL Debut marred by Preds 4th loss to Chicago

Source: Zimbio.com

The post-season train is about to board and Nashville is falling further and further to the back of the pack, with Chicago claiming their ticket and jumping aboard with tonight’s win over the Predators 5-3. As stated in a previous post, the lockout was more than helpful for the Chicago Blackhawks, as they started out the season undefeated through 24 games. Though they have since lost, their record against Nashville thus far remains 4-0.

Don’t laugh off the Predators just yet, though. They fell to the Blackhawks 3-0 in their first meeting, but Nashville has kept the games close against the leader of the NHL. But close doesn’t cut it when the playoffs are on the line and, though they fought a good fight, quality doesn’t always produce quantity when it comes down to it.

Here are the highlights from tonight’s game at the United Center:

BEFORE THE GAME:

  • Though he played in yesterday’s game, Mike Fisher was pulled from the lineup for safety reasons and an emergency recall from Milwaukee was made. Insert, Austin Watson: Nashville’s first round pick from the 2010 NHL Draft. As Milwaukee’s leading scorer, it was more of a “when is he coming” situation for the Predators.

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Andrew Shaw drew blood first with a slap shot past Pekka Rinne at 6:34 into the game, his 8th goal of the season.
  • Nashville would kill any chance of a shutout for Chicago at 17:16 with a wrister from Nick Spaling, his 7th goal of the season. Sergei Kostitsyn would pick up his 11th assist of the season.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Similar to the first period, Chicago would start out with a goal first, this time from Bryan Bickell, his 8th of the season.
  • The Predators would respond at 5:54 with a clean slap shot from Shea Weber, his 8th goal of the season. Nick Spaling would pick up the assist on Weber’s goal, his 4th of the season.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • David Legwand would give Nashville its only lead of the night at 6:54 for his 11th goal of the season. Matt Halischuk (5th) and Shea Weber (15th) would nab the assists on Leggy’s goal. Legwand is now just one goal away from his 200th NHL career goal.
  • Chicago would both tie and take the lead within 55 seconds of each goal, the first one nailed by Brandon Saad and the second collected by Jonathan Toews.
  • With the clock winding down, Patrick Kane collects his 20th goal of the season with an empty netter, sealing the game 5-3 in favor of the Blackhawks.

     

    The Blackhawks only needed one point to punch their ticket into the playoffs, but with their win in regulation, Nashville may have unwillingly handed Chicago their possible ticket, too.

The Predators have made the playoffs every year since 2003, spoiling Predators fans who weren’t aware of the franchise before that year. Do fans know how to handle an early off season filled with golf while watching other teams claw for the Cup?

The Predators pack up and head home to welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Bridgestone on Tuesday night. The Predators are just five points behind Detroit for 8th position and just six from St. Louis who sits in 7th. Two things need to happen to help the Predators: everyone else to lose and Nashville to actually win.

Let the Brutal ‘Final Thirteen’ Begin

Thirteen brutal games stand between Nashville and the playoffs.

Thirteen brutal games stand between Nashville and the playoffs.

Let’s start out on an honest foot: Brutal final thirteen? I’m pretty sure this entire season has been brutal for Nashville. But alas, these last thirteen games, which start tomorrow in Chicago, will test the Predators in more ways than one.

The lockout was not as nice to Nashville as it was to others teams, with Chicago, for instance, starting the season with one for the history books by eluding a loss in regulation in the first twenty-four games. It was Colorado who finally knocked them from Cloud 9, beating the Blackhawks 6-2, a team now sitting last in both the Western Conference and league (tied with the Panthers with 28 points).

The Penguins have also found their place in this shortened season, currently running on a fifteen-game winning streak. They also pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes by picking up Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames, a deal even the Boston Bruins were taken aback by (they probably had the jersey ready and waiting for him). Though the Penguins didn’t start out as cleanly as Chicago, they did get their engines running and haven’t really looked back since. Sidney Crosby, who leads the league in goal points, assists, and points in general, just had surgery today on his jaw, broken due to taking a puck to the face against the Islanders yesterday afternoon. His status is “out indefinitely”, but the Penguins do not rely on Crosby alone. Even if they struggle without Crosby at the helm, Pittsburgh is still leading the league with 56 points, though Chicago is biting at their heels with 55 points.

Though Nashville will not have to worry about facing Pittsburgh, they will have to visit with Chicago… Four more times, to be exact. The Predators first and only meeting thus far with the Blackhawks was a nasty won, with Chicago wiping the Bridgestone’s ice with the home team 3-0, Nashville’s third shutout in just twelve games. The Blackhawks continued to win, while Nashville would continue to win in OT, but lose in regulation.

Besides the conference-reigning Blackhawks, Nashville will also have to face two other tough divisional opponents: the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Detroit is currently sitting pretty in seventh, a safe playoff position. Nashville won its first meeting with Detroit, barely slipping by with a 4-3 victory in OT. But Nashville would venture to the Joe four days later and be laughed out of the arena with a shutout 4-0. The Predators will have two more chances in the regular season to sink the Red Wings.

It’s hard to believe the Columbus Blue Jackets would be considered a “tough” opponent, as they are usually Nashville (and the rest of the Central Division)’s punching bag. But the lockout gave Columbus a boost, even after trading their beloved Rick Nash to the New York Rangers during the off season. With the loss of their captain and rumors of a possible loss of franchise, Columbus wasn’t expected to make the impact they have this season. Although they haven’t made history like Chicago, they have played better than anyone expected, giving every team they come in contact with a run for their money. Columbus and Nashville started the season out against one another, with the Blue Jackets knocking out the Predators 3-2 in a shootout. Columbus would win e next meeting as well, 4-3 in regulation. Nashville would finally pull one over the Blue Jackets on March 23rd, winning in regulation 5-2. Like Detroit, Nashville will have two more chances to derail the Blue Jackets, who are tied with 35 points.

The challenge among the teams above is not all Nashville has to face. A round with St. Louis, Dallas, Vancouver, and Calgary is also in the cards, which will all give the Predators more than just a difficult time.

If the Predators intend to reach the post season and excel in the playoffs, dramatic changes will need to be established as soon as possible. With the recent return of Hal Gill, Patric Hörnqvist, and Paul Gaustad from the IR, Nashville can breathe a sigh of relief in veteran terms. However, the young blood has began to rise, with players such as Victor Bartley and Taylor Beck proving their worth on the NHL level and their importance to a post season for Nashville.

However, a team should not be based on an individual player, but as an organization as a whole. The players will have to learn to focus and work together in order to find success. Blown passes, careless plays, and missed goals will not produce a successful post season. It may not even produce a post season at all.

These next thirteen games will be the most brutal the Predators will face all season. The rest of the season is behind us. Now is the time to step from beyond the shadows and push for the playoffs.

Brian McGrattan goes on Waivers

Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Say it isn’t so! The Nashville Predators have placed Right Winger and all-around loved Brian McGrattan on waivers late this morning.

This doesn’t come too much as a surprise, as McGrattan was sent down to Milwaukee for a two-week condition stint to free up spots for players who could contribute on the NHL level. Not to say that McGrattan was not performing at the NHL level, it comes down to young players chomping at the bit to squeeze into potential roster spots and, if you are not exactly a regular contender (Weber, Marty, Leggy, Klein, etc.), losing your spot is easier than you think.

As Big Ern’s two week conditioning comes to an end, Nashville either had the choice of: A) booting someone else to bring him back up to Nashville, or C) be placed on waivers and take the chance of no one nabbing him.

Worry not, Big Ern fans – the rest of the league has until 11AM CST to nab the enforcer or the Predators can then assign him to the Milwaukee Admirals roster.

McGrattan is a well-loved player and took the place of the hole that was left in many fans’ hearts when Tootoo tucked tail to Detroit over the off-season. No matter the outcome, McGrattan has settled well amongst the Predators fans and, if he does happen to be picked off of waivers by another team, he will always be welcomed in Nashville for certain.

The OT Champs: Preds comeback against Stars 5-4

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Overtime seems to be the way of the world for the Nashville Predators this season. The NHL season is just barely a month old and the Predators have already seen ten overtime periods (and six shootouts) in just twenty games. I am no math wizard, but anyone can do the equation on that one. I remember getting excited when games would go into overtime and it was a treat to see a shootout; now, it’s just part of the normal routine as a Nashville Predators fan.

But what about the team? Do they enjoy the uncertainty of overtime and/or shootout? You can’t say it’s for the worst – overtime and shootouts, no matter the outcome, get both teams at least one point, which is better than nothing with a loss in regulation. But with only four regulation wins out of twenty games, is Nashville banking on non-regulation points to power them into the playoffs and does said technique even work during that critical time period?

Monday night’s game of high blood pressure. The tension was high from the get-go with Nashville opting for “God Bless America” over the traditional national anthem (Stars fans tend to get a little rowdy during particular points in the song). After defeating the San Jose Sharks three to one on Saturday night, Dallas was flying high as they entered Music City. Nashville, on the other hand, were a bit bruised and beaten after suffering two shutouts back-to-back against Vancouver on Friday and Detroit on Saturday. Would the Stars’ momentum power them past the ailing Predators? Here are the highlights from last night’s game:

FIRST PERIOD

  • The first period remained relatively quiet, with both teams taking their share of shots at their respective nets. The Predators did manage to out-shoot Dallas eight to six at the end of the period.
  • Craig Smith relieved fans from the possibility of a shutout at 13:43 of the first period with a snap shot passed Cristopher Nilstrop for his second goal of the season. Rich Clune picked up his first assist of the season and Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his sixth.

SECOND PERIOD

  • Apparently something snapped between the two teams during the first intermission, for the second period turned the tides on a new game. Dallas wasted no time tying the game at 1:20 into the 2nd period with a slap shot past Rinne by Matt Fraser for his first NHL career goal.
  • Fifteen seconds later, Reilly Smith would pick up his third goal of the season with a tip-in goal, nudging the Stars over the Predators 2-1.
  • Roman Josi would collect his second goal of the season at 3:05 with a slap shot assisted by David Legwand (4th assist) and Patric Hornqvist (5th assist).
  • Mike Fisher would pick up a double minor for a high-sticking penalty at 7:29, giving former Pred, Vernon Fiddler his first goal of the season with a slap shot, thus beginning the onslaught of tension between the teams.
  • Brandon Yip and Eric Nystrom would drop the gloves at 11:45. Yippers isn’t one to back down from a fight, but he isn’t the first to start a scrum, either. Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it:
  • Loui Eriksson would push the Stars up 4 to 2 with a powerplay tip-in past Pekka Rinne at 9:21 for his fifth goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher and Vernon Fiddler would jabber back and forth, a typical trait of Fiddler that works very well against his opponents. It wasn’t until after Shea Weber was high-sticked in the face (and would eventually need stitches) that things started to turn in favor of Nashville. It’s amazing what an Angry Shea will do to motivate a team.
  • Patric Horqnvist would rally back for the Predators at 13:43 with a powerplay backhander, his second goal of the season. Martin Erat would pick up his eighth assist and Roman Josi would pick up his third of the season, second point of the night.
  • The Stars would hold the lead 4-3 at the end of the 2nd period, with them out-shooting Nashville thirteen to ten. After a few scrums around the net and a couple dirty swings, both teams were ready to seal the win in the third period.

THIRD PERIOD

  • Still working with the momentum from the second period, both teams kept both goaltenders on their toes, but it would be Mike Fisher who would find the sweet spot, backhanding a goal through Nilstrop’s five hole. Fisher’s game tying goal was his fourth of the season, with an assist from Colin Wilson (10th assist) and Roman Josi (4th assist, 3rd point of the night).

OVERTIME

  • It took Roman Josi just 28 seconds into overtime to collect his third goal of the season for the GWG. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his seventh assist with Shea Weber picking up his fifth assist.

 

MUSINGS:

  • Roman Josi not only sealed the game winning goal in favor of Nashville, he also hit a career milestone. Josi collected four points overall during last night’s game, a career high in his young professional career.
  • Speaking of milestones, Mike Fisher’s GTG was his official 200th career goal.
  • And yet another milestone to talk about, last night’s game was Shea Weber’s official 500th professional game, all noted as a Nashville Predator.
  • Hal Gill, Paul Gaustad, and Brian McGrattan were all scratched for the night, with Gaustad expected to return Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks. Gill, who is suffering from an upper-body injury, is still deemed day-to-day.

 

Although regulation wins are cleaner and a bit less stressful, points are points and, in the race for the Stanley Cup, one point is better than no point, right? Either way, overtimes and shootouts are becoming part of the norm for the Nashville Predators, so as long as they can get the two points out of them, a win’s a win.

UNTIL THEN,
GO PREDS

 

Realignment: Who will Rival the Nashville Predators?

Could this mean the end of the NSH/DET rivalry?

After tonight’s rough and disheartening shutout, I think it’s time to move onto a much lighter subject. Possible realignment of conferences!

Wait – Are you having déjà vu? You should be, for this isn’t the first time it has been brought up. A proposed realignment of the Western and Eastern Conferences into four smaller conferences has been put out there, but has also been shutdown in the past.

The possible realignment was brought up by the boys over at Hockey Night in Canada, which got a lot of people taking about rivalries that could come to an end next season if said proposal was passed. Here’s a look at the possible conferences:

Proposed “Conference 1” and “Conference 2” – Source: HNIC

The proposed “Conference 3” and “Conference 4” – Source: HNIC

Thanks to Nick Costonika for the screen captures from HNIC, you can see that a few teams lose their renowned rivalries. Okay, none are terrible on the Eastern Conference front (the Flyers still have the Penguins, Toronto still has Montreal), but – and this could be because we are partial to the Central Division – Detroit will lose its in-conference rivalries with Chicago and Nashville. Though in all honesty, it makes more sense for Detroit to be in the East, the breaking up of the Central Division would be devastating, as they are the most heated division in the Western Conference.

However, it would be interesting to see if Detroit could stay on their toes in a division alongside such teams as the Boston Bruins (which would lose their heated meetings between the Rangers and such).

How about the Nashville/Detroit rivalry? How will the “Pred Wings” handle not seeing their beloved “team on the down low” as often in Music City or vice versa? Yes, it would be difficult to say goodbye to such a loving rivalry, but Nashville no longer relies on big names like Detroit, Chicago, or St. Louis to pack the house. With twenty-two straight sell outs, the Predators have dug themselves a nice, cozy home at the Bridgestone Arena, and they have plenty of inhabitants to keep the electricity on.

Nashville will still have Chicago and St. Louis if the conference realignment was allowed, but a new, more original rivalry may come about. St. Louis and Chicago would pair up, no doubt, and Dallas and Colorado could knock each other around, but Nashville? Who would Nashville choose to be eir “team they love to hate”?

We’ll give that honor to the Minnesota Wild. Why Minnesota? Really, must you even ask? With Ryan Suter making the move to the Wild in the off-season, Nashville fans already have a bad taste in their mouths whenever the name “Minnesota” or “Wild” is even mentioned. Yes, we have no doubt the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators would form a new, possibly historical rivalry, and that sounds fantastic.

Either way, this realignment is just a talking point. Though it has been proposed and is on the table for next season, it is not set in stone and will probably be shot down just like in previous attempts. Though we like the rivalries we have now, realignment would be helpful, especially travel-wise for teams like Nashville (the farthest East team in the Western Conference) and Winnipeg (the farthest West team in the Eastern Conference).

A girl can only hope, right?

The Shutouts Continue; Preds Fall to Canucks 1-0, Wings 4-0

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yikes. The past two days have been brutal on the Predators; heck, this whole week has. Back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday and back-to-back games Friday and tonight. The Predators fell to Colorado five to six on Monday and barely snuck by Detroit 4-3 in OT on Tuesday. Last night’s game against Vancouver was a heartbreaker with the Canucks nabbing a goal late in the third period to seal the 1-0 victory. And tonight… Well, the Predators just weren’t offensively on ball to get any goals tonight and Peks, who is fighting the flu, just wasn’t at his best tonight.

Normally, we have a the game summarized in bullet points (we like to keep it plan and simple). But tonight, we are going to keep it short and simple, rather.

For Nashville, this has to be disheartening. Five shutouts in only nineteen games when the team was only shutout three times during a full season last year.

The Predators did just about everything right tonight, they took to the net, out-shot the Red Wings in the first two periods (tied with nine shots in the third), found some offensive initiative, but Jimmy Howard had what we’d like to call a “Pekka” night. He was everywhere the Predators needed to be and then some. Those games happen and unfortunately, they will happen to the Predators.

But you will have to agree, no matter how much we’d rather not talk down the team, tonight’s game was just plain lousy.

Injury update: Hal Gill was deemed unworthy to return to the game tonight before the third period, sustaining a lower-body injury.

Like I said, keeping it short and simple tonight. All that must be said is if the Predators want to see the playoffs this season, the cannot afford to have another two-in-a-row shutouts. With this shortened season, Nashville will have to be more prepared for back-to-back games. The Predators will actually see another back-to-back with both the Canucks and Red Wings on April 14th and 15th.

Nashville flies back home tonight with disheveled dreams and will take on the Dallas Stars on Monday at Bridgestone Arena. Maybe a nice Sunday off will clear the team’s heads and power back onto the Road to the Stanley Cup.

Until then,
GO PREDS