Memories & History Made: Remembering the 2017 Predators Playoff Run

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Image Source: NHL.com

As Garth Brooks once (and probably still does) sang, “I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” And what a beautiful dance it was for the Nashville Predators; one might even use the word “GLORIOUS” (all caps needed) to describe the unbelievable run that was the road to the Stanley Cup. Alas, the dance was abruptly cut short just two wins shy of the ultimate prize. And while it is easy to be bitter – be it termed salty nowadays – one cannot look back and be disappointed. The Predators barely scratched their way into a playoff spot – number 16 of 16 to be exact – and somehow defied the odds (and the experts) by sweeping the Blackhawks, bashing the Blues, defeating the Ducks, and landing in the Stanley Cup Final. This postseason brought more than just a city together, it brought a state, a region – one could even say – an entire hockey nation together. It certainly put Nashville in a spotlight that couldn’t be ignored and, once exposed, there was no returning that (saber tooth) cat to the bag.

It’s taken me three days, but I’ve gathered some of the best memories of the Nashville Predators’ outstanding push to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s funny what can be forgotten over a period of two months, so reflecting back on all of it kind of took the sting out of watching Crosby hoist the Cup in Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. So please enjoy this trip down Memory Lane with me and be warned, some of the video clips have not been censored. This is hockey, after all.

  1. The Sweeping of Chicago

The experts were all against us. Everyone was prepared for an early Nashville exit. Everyone except for the Predators. Sweeping a divisional rival is pretty huge to begin with, but having it be a team like the Chicago Blackhawks? This sweep was only the beginning to Nashville’s historic playoff push and it couldn’t have happened in a better fashion. No Chelsea Dagger was ever heard.

And of course, after the historic sweep of Public Enemy #1, people began to wonder where Jordin Tootoo disappeared to after making this comment before the series even began:

2. Fiddler, McLeod & Harry Z: The Heroes Nashville Needs

Three unlikely heroes were born during this postseason. Their names? Vernon Fiddler, Cody McLeod, and Harry Zolniercyzk. While you expect multiple goals from guys like Johansen, Subban, Forsberg, and the like, it was these three guys who played significant roles this postseason to push Nashville to its first Stanley Cup Final.

3. #DoItForKevin

Kevin Fiala has a bright future in Nashville and boy, did he light that fire during the playoffs when he was given the chance. No one can forget it was Fiala who helped Nashville sweep Chicago with his beautiful overtime goal. Sadly, his playoff run was cut short in the second round against the St. Louis Blues when a slam into the boards resulted in a fractured femur. The team made sure to fight on in honor of their young winger, taking out the Blues in six games.

4. This Corey Perry GIF

No real reason other than I truly enjoy watching this over and over.

5. Pekka being Pekka

“Rinne Wall”, “The Eraser”, “ImPEKKAble”. Whatever you call him, Pekka Rinne is a gift from somewhere else (see Finland) that tends to defy gravity and all human logic when it comes to minding the net. Here are a few examples of Rinne’s inhuman abilities caught on camera (along with a cameo from #MonsterBlock):

6. Captain Ellis (@Ellis4Captain)

Unless you are living under a rock (or just haven’t joined Twitter), there’s no way you missed the absolute gold from this parody account. The tweets are posed as a Civil War soldier writing to his mother on the front lines of battle, which magically paired well with its hockey theme. The comically Photo-Shopped images that accompany the tweets only further solidified this account into Twitter history.

7. #TEAMTN Love

The Tennessee Titans have not shied away from showing its love its professional counterpart across the Cumberland, with players appearing throughout the regular season taking in a match. However, it was the postseason that really brought that love out in the open, especially with the Titans Offensive Line. But beyond the beer chugging, catfish loving NFL players, the Memphis Grizzlies expressed their support, along with the Nashville Sounds. The #TeamTN love even extended to Atlanta, where the Braves sent their support as well. Sorry, diehard (clingers) Thrashers fans.

8. Ilya Bryzgalov

The Bryz. Where to begin with that guy? To avoid going to deep into the cosmos with everyone’s favorite Russian (feel free to look up anything involving the universe and bears with his name attached), let’s just say his visit to Nashville during the Stanley Cup Final was everything we could have ever dreamed of. Check out his videos below and – again – I encourage you to YouTube him for even more hilarity.

9. Instrument of Crime

Will we ever be able to associate catfish with anything else ever again? Let’s be honest: Pittsburgh had this coming. By baring folks with Tennessee licenses from purchasing catfish at local markets, you pretty much asked for it. Jake Deveral, better known as Catfish Jake, just happened to be visiting family in nearby Ohio when it occurred to him that he’d be in the area during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Purchasing a catfish in Nashville, Jake transported the mudcat up to Ohio and then over to Pittsburgh in his britches. Using Old Spice to cover the smell, Jake was able to smuggle the contraband into PPG Paints Arena and chuck it onto the ice. Deveral was escorted promptly from the building, but not all was over. A Pittsburgh judge slapped Catfish Jake with fines, which included “possession of an instrument of crime”. Long story short, the charges were dropped, but not before “Instruments of Crime” became a part of Predators history.

10. These Poor Penguins Fans

We won’t go into that “pumped in noise” conspiracy as these two fine Pens fans are a clear example of that bull-honky.

11. Best in the West

Bitter as you may all still be, there are plenty of good things to recall from this playoff run including that your Nashville Predators – coming in as the 8th seed – are officially the Best in the West for the 2016-17 season. Awarded the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl on home ice after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6, the Nashville Predators will officially have their first banner at Bridgestone Arena at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. While the ultimate goal was not met, one cannot dismiss this history-making moment.

12. Ryan Johansen

Yes, Ryan Johansen needed his own segment. Whether he was chirping with Kesler or notching goals, Johansen’s presence on the ice (and off) was exactly what Nashville needed in this postseason. We could pull the “what-ifs” about where Nashville would be at this moment had he not suffered from acute compartment syndrome, which required emergency surgery after Game 4 against Anaheim. Even after being sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, Johansen’s presence in the locker room kept the team on its toes. You just can’t help but love him and wish he had been around to help Subban get under Crosby’s skin in the Final.

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Photo Source: @PKSubban1

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Photo Source: Brooks Bratten, Nashville Predators

13. The Beautiful People

Oh, they tried, but no other NHL team was able to produce the star power that Nashville was able to garner throughout these playoffs. While some were new to the program, most of Nashville’s “beautiful people” didn’t just jump on the wagon in April. Notable names like Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood (obviously), and Kelly Clarkson have been active at games for years. Let’s also not forget to mention Rex Ryan, of all people, is a season ticket holder. While we didn’t include all the famous folks here, it is safe to say there was definitely a FOMO about Nashville.

14. Listerine Fights Bad Breath

Let’s begin by saying, when P.K. Subban was asked by a reporter as to what he and Sidney Crosby were chatting about on the ice, do you honestly believe he would repeat what was actually said? No. For one, it’s an in-the-moment conversation (if you want to call it that) and two, it isn’t for the faint of heart. Being a quick-on-his-toes kind of guy, Subban casually mentions that Crosby just didn’t care for his breath. Needless to say, the story took on a life of its own and Listerine got a nice little plug it didn’t expect. It is fair to say there was a Listerine booth outside Bridgestone Arena before Game 6 last Sunday.

15. Lavi Fist Pumps

No explanation needed as to why this made the list. BOOM.

16. #FireMilbury

To avoid firing myself up, I will not go into detail as to why Mike Milbury needs to be fired from NBC Sports, because I have a feeling you probably know why as well. There are many speculations as to why Milbury does not care for Subban and none of them are good enough to stand a solid reasoning. Whether it’s because he’s “old school” or what have you, his comments are not good for the growth of this sport, especially when it comes to minority viewers. Predators fans (and fans of other teams) made their opinions of the “shoe beater” known with signs and special words after Game 6.

17. Knoxville

While cities across the state hosted watch parties and cheered on the Predators, including Cookeville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Lebanon, etc., it is Knoxville who deserves a blurb on this list. Some have chalked up the enthusiasm as the city was just hungry for a championship (see 1998), whatever it was, Knoxville came out swinging in support of its brother to the west. As TV ratings began to come out after games, Knoxville continuously appeared in the top 5 cities watching the series, hitting double digits. Perhaps the combination of that winning hunger and the fact that the Predators and the Knoxville Ice Bears have such a great relationship helped open the eyes of many of our East Tennessee brethren to the greatness that is NHL hockey.

18. Dennis K. Morgan

Again, this is another topic that needs to be on the list, but I don’t particularly feel obligated to go into details about. Apparently approached by The Tennessean, regular anthem singer, Dennis K. Morgan, expressed his displeasure in being passed over by “A-List” singers during the playoffs. Needless to say, there weren’t many fans that came to his rescue and there’s a highly good chance the Predators will be searching for a new anthem singer for the 2017-18 season. If you missed this moment or want to relive the head-smacking, read the article below:

19. Goodwill amidst the Battle:

Although the Stanley Cup was the main focus, one cannot forget to mention the goodwill that came about throughout the postseason as well. During Round 2 against the Blues, the city of St. Louis was hit by historic floods. As a city that once faced our own thousand-year flood, it was only understandable that Predators CEO/President Sean Henry would partner with his Blues counterpart to help collect funds through auctions to assist in the relief. One particular feelgood moment that you may have missed was when Matt Irwin replaced a kid’s hockey gear after he heard that it had been stolen. Another heartfelt moment came just last week when Mike Fisher and Roman Josi visited their tiniest fan who was battling cancer. Sadly, the young boy passed away on Monday.

20. Good Gravy Goals

While some other good gravy goals have been scattered throughout this list, here are a few that didn’t fit anywhere else but are just too good to pass up and forget.

21. GLORIOUS

The word ‘GLORIOUS’ (again, all caps needed) has become almost synonymous with the Nashville Predators’ playoff run and I am betting it will be on the level of “All I do is Win” and “Run this Town” for future seasons. Nashville’s Game Ops enjoys their wrestling theme songs, but this one more than just stuck, it took on a life of its own. In my understanding, it was first played at Bridgestone Arena after Bobby Roode, the wrestler for whom this song belongs, performed in a Predators jersey against another wrestler donning a Blues jersey. Don’t quote me on that, but ever since that match, “Glorious” became Nashville’s anthem as they marched towards the Cup.

22. Hockey History

There’s no doubt this was a history making postseason for the Nashville Predators. While compiling all of the history would take a post of its own, here are a few notable records that Nashville broke and look to break again next season.

23. The 7th Man

And last, but certainly not least, we want to celebrate you, the 7th Man. You are what not only blew the minds of the hockey world, but the globe in general. There is no denying that Nashville is a hockey city; you just can’t argue it. While some have certainly tried, their negativism has been easily drown out by the Standing O and the thousands of fans outside of the arena. While we know the chants created by Cellblock 303 are nothing new, it came as a rude awakening to many an opposing fan, player, and members of the media. And while some were disgruntled by our “nontraditional” fan base, the majority were completely amazed and overwhelmed by your passion. Below are just some of the moments you blew the rest of the hockey world out of contention.

Looking back, it is amazing to see everything the Predators were able to accomplish in a matter of a few months not only for our city, but for the hockey world as well. NBC certainly can’t be mad at what Nashville brought to its ratings, and nor can the NHL. While this chapter in Predators history comes to a close, it certainly isn’t the end of the book. The Predators have the recipe in place to create another historic Stanley Cup run and we cannot wait for October to get that party started.

Preds Fans: Don’t Cry because It’s Over; Smile because It Happened

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Image Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Well ladies and gents, that certainly wasn’t the outcome we all wanted for the home team by any means but all good things must come to an end at some point. Unfortunately for Nashville, that end came at a 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Perhaps it was because we gaffed at the Dallas Stars as they fell to the St. Louis Blues 6-1 in their Game 7 the day before that lead to Nashville’s beatdown from the Sharks. Could it have also been the extra day of rest due to a Selena Gomez concert at the SAP Center, an event that caused almost all Preds fans to become Selenators (yes, I looked that up)? Was it the little black cat adorably named “Joe Paw-velski” that ran across the ice during Game 1? Maybe it was because Nashville has never won a game in a playoff series in San Jose. Whatever voodoo or karma you wish to believe in that caused Nashville to crumble last night, it happened and the history making season has come to a close.

But history for the seventeen-year-old franchise was made and that should certainly not be overlooked. Nashville witnessed its first ever Game 7 in Round 1 against the Anaheim Ducks and sealed their first ever Game 7 victory in the same bout. Nashville would reach its second Game 7 in franchise history last night against the San Jose Sharks. Unfortunately, the history books had shut on the Predators at that point. The Predators hit some amazing milestones for its young franchise this season and postseason, which only means they will have to work to go further in the future.

Also to be noted was how the city of Nashville – and all of Tennessee, for that matter – stood with the Predators on their postseason journey towards bringing the Cup to Nashville. Though the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators have a friendly relationship that only rivals due to business aspects, the NFL home team stood tall next to its professional brethren and the players and coaching staff made sure a side of the sports world that may not be as familiar with hockey got a taste of it.

Nashville’s sports roots do belong to football and baseball; there’s no doubting that. But those football/baseball fans have latched onto this frozen sport quite tightly and, whether it was a PR stunt on the Titans part or not, this relationship between the Titans shown through the playoffs was a beautiful thing indeed. With the torrential badmouthing of the Titans and their output on the field, perhaps this was a way for the Titans organization to not only back a winning team, but show its players what winning does for the growth of a fan base. Don’t get me wrong; no matter how terrible the Titans continue to be, they aren’t going anywhere and you won’t find a decrease in tickets sales either. But seeing the emotional connecting that the Predators organization has with its fans – who are also Titans fans – is definitely something of which a fellow professional team should be mindful. Several Titans players, including Marcus Mariota, Taylor Lewan, Delanie Walker, and crowd favorite Avery Williamson made appearances at several playoff games in Nashville.

The Titans weren’t the only Nashville team to stand with the Predators, either. The Nashville Sounds sent out their best wishes via a video:

And, being the Music City, the Predators had plenty of musicians cheering the team onto victory including Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Vince Gill, Tim McGraw, and – of course – Carrie Underwood.

Several Nashville businesses jumped behind their favorite hockey team as well during the postseason push, including the following:

Seeing all the love from around the city and state was a beautiful sight for us who love the sport of hockey. Not only does this benefit the Predators, it also sheds light on youth hockey – in a strange way – as well. There’s no doubt that, when a team is winning, its exposure grows exponentially and, since we live in a college football dominated region, even a little bit of exposure goes a long way. So many new fans were born this post season and, while some will drop off, a good number will continue to follow the Predators into the next season this October and their love (because there’s no other word for it) will blossom into a passion for the sport. I would say Nashville’s exposure as a legitimate hockey town was an eye-opener to many outside of the city. Of course, the All-Star festivities this year certainly helped, but the fan base made its point that we should be taken seriously as a hockey-loving Southern city. It’s that college football mentality that makes us so unique; makes us so passionate. It’s what makes Nashville a true contender for the Stanley Cup at some point.

So what do the Predators and its organization do now? Well, relax, for one thing. Relax then begin preparing for next season. Now that the 2015-16 run is over, news on injuries sustained by some of the players is beginning to surface, including the fact that Roman Josi has been playing with both a broken finger and nose. Filip Forsberg, who was rather quite and “un-Forsberg-like” this postseason, revealed to Tre Kronor, the Swedish national team, that he has been nursing a back injury. I have been asked if Shea Weber was injured due to his performance last night but not every bad night is due to an injury. Sometimes, bad nights just happen. Sadly for Weber, that night came last night in Game 7. Again, these injuries definitely do not excuse for a poor performance, but they do add into it for sure. No player – on any team in the postseason – is playing at 100% right now. The endurance of a hockey player is insane; something I feel basketball and soccer players could learn from.

It would b e difficult to overlook last night’s performance and remember what an incredible season and postseason Nashville has had this year, but it is possible. Before you even realize it (maybe even now), you’ll be asking, “Is it October yet?” and the excitement of a new season will turn you into a little kid again.

The Sharks played a clean, tough series and you can’t fault them at that. I just hope they take out the Blues. And remembering that Nashville was one of the Top 5 teams this postseason is something to be proud of, too. As old Dr. Seuss once coined, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” Yeah, that was cheesy but it’s true… and you know it.

2016 NHL All-Star Week: FYI

Image Courtesy: Nashville Predators

Image Courtesy: Nashville Predators

SEE ALL-STAR TAB FOR MORE RECENT UPDATES

It’s Monday and that means it is officially NHL All-Star Week in Nashville! The city has been preparing for this event for over a month now, but if you walk around SoBro before this weekend, you’ll see most of the changes happening right in front of you.

Winter Park Public Outdoor Rink:
Of course, you are fully aware of the outdoor ice rink that’s been up and running since December 12th, but do you know it’s schedule? As a STH, you are given two complimentary tickets to skate on the Winter Park ice rink, but I have completely forgotten – and I bet a lot of you have, too. The rink will be torn down after all the festivities have packed up on January 31st, so this is your last week to get out there.

Ice rink hours: Opens:
Closes:
Monday 3:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday 3:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday 3:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.

I only mentioned through this Wednesday because there’s a good chance (because Fan Fair starts Thursday) that public skate times may be altered. For good measure, contact @PredsNHL on Twitter (or call, if you don’t tweet) to make sure you’re good to go before heading out there. $15/adult, $10/child and that includes skate rental.

NHL Fan Fair:
Ah, the NHL Fan Fair. The event my season ticket rep told me I could knock out in one day. Of course, I don’t have children, so it is feasible for me to do so. However, if you’ve got little kids, you might want to grab passes for two days so they can wear themselves out. Honestly, I’ll probably buy another day ticket just in case because of the player/alum meet-and-greets. If you are a STH, you missed your deadline to buy tickets at a discount, but they are only $20/piece, so it won’t break the bank if you choose to go last minute. Here is the breakdown of the schedule:

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 2016 – 4PM to 9PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
6:00pm Mascot Showdown (Musical Chairs & Bowling) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
7:00pm LOCASH Honda Stage
7:00pm Brent Burns (SJS) Discover Theater
8:15pm Lonestar Honda Stage
FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016 – 4PM to 9PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
3:00pm Craig Wayne Boyd Honda Stage
4:45pm Ryan Hurd Honda Stage
5:00pm Patrice Bergeron (BOS) Discover Theater
6:00pm Mascot Showdown (Relay Races) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
6:30 pm Matt Duchene (COL) presented by Reebok Autograph Stage
6:30pm Aaron Ekblad (FLA) Discover Theater
7:00pm Steven Lee Olsen Honda Stage
7:45pm Cliff Ronning (NHL Alumni) Autograph Stage
7:45pm Justin Faulk (CAR) Discover Theater
8:15pm Lewis Brice Honda Stage
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2016 – 10AM – 6PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
10:45am John Gibson (ANA) presented by Upper Deck Autograph Stage
11:00am Cory Schneider (NJD) Discover Theater
11:30am Lennon & Maisy Honda Stage
12:15pm Clare Bowen Honda Stage
12:30pm Brandon Saad (CBJ) Discover Theater
12:30pm Dylan Larkin (DET) presented by Upper Deck Autograph Stage
1:15pm Charles Esten Honda Stage
1:30pm Brandon Saad (CBJ) Autograph Stage
1:30pm Roman Josi (NSH) Discover Theater
2:00pm Mascot Showdown (Broomball & Dodgeball) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
3:00pm Luc Robitaille (NHL Alumni) Autograph Stage
3:45pm Pat LaFontaine (NHL Alumni) Discover Theater
4:00pm Russell Dickerson Honda Stage
4:30pm Pat LaFontaine (NHL Alumni) Autograph Stage
4:45pm Kimmo Timonen (NHL Alumni) Discover Theater
SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2016 – 10AM – 4PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
10:30am Danny Gokey Honda Stage
11:00am Shea Weber (NSH) Autograph Stage
11:00am Pekka Rinne (NSH) Discover Theater
11:30am MercyMe Honda Stage
12:00pm Pekka Rinne (NSH) Autograph Stage
12:00pm Shea Weber (NSH) Discover Theater
1:00pm Mascot Showdown (Dance Competition) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
1:00pm Roman Josi (NSH) Autograph Stage
1:00pm Cliff Ronning (NHL Alumni) Discover Theater
2:30pm Tracy Lawrence Honda Stage
***PLEASE NOTE ALL APPEARANCES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE***

If you are a STH, you can access the NHL Fan Fair from 2PM to 4PM on Thursday. Not so nice for us folks who work during those hours, but hey. Late lunch, right? Can’t make it to this special time for STHs? No problem. There will be an area only accessible for Preds STHs where you can access drink specials and meet Preds alumni, broadcasters, and whoever else shows up. Not all diehard Predators fans are STHs, so there will be a special area called “Preds Land” that will have special Nashville-related displays and – you guessed it – Predators stuff. As for what (or who) will be there is still TBA.  As you can see, you can meet some NHL Alum and current players (I like how some players are presented by products) and there will be a mascot competition each day. Oh yeah, and music. Lots and lots of Country music.

Outdoor Concert Series:
As I mentioned, one of the unique features of Nashville hosting this year’s NHL All-Star festivities is the music. There will be music inside the Music City Center (NHL Fan Fair) and outside at the Winter Park. If you just want to peruse downtown and just want free music, this will be your best bet:

IntelliCentrics outdoor concert series:
Big & Rich Thursday, Jan. 28
Lee Brice, Aaron Lewis, John Hiatt Friday, Jan. 29
Chris Young, Tara Thompson Saturday, Jan. 30
Dierks Bentley, Eli Young Band, Kelsea Ballerini Sunday, Jan. 31

Beyond the controversy of people not knowing the musical acts (we’ll get to that momentarily), there are some rather big names in Country music here that you can see for free. Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Chris Young, etc. If you are like me and live here and don’t see these people randomly show up at Tootsie’s on a Tuesday night, then you’ll enjoy this (I don’t go to the “honky tonks” period unless someone from out of town demands it).

Parking:
There are plenty of places to park downtown, especially if you are used to being in Nashville all the time. However, as a frequent downtown parker, you also know that Nashville does not have a regulation to control parking fees. Needless to say, the Music City Center may charge $25.00 whereas, across the street, the Baptist Church may charge $14 every four hours. It’s an ugly mess and no one wants to waste $25 to park when you want to use that money to buy something or eat. Ticketmaster is offering parking in the Pinnacle Building for just $12/day. Of course, with fees, it turns out to be like $15, but at least you’ll know you are in a safe parking lot, it won’t go up after two hours, and it’s within walking distance of the SoBro. The parking will go fast, so jump on it while you can or face driving around finding one:
Saturday Parking
Sunday Parking

Celebrity Coaches:
celebritiesKnow these faces? Apparently, the rest of the country does not. So that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it did make for some good laughs on social media when it was first announced. Just for those who are not from the Music City, a lot of locals couldn’t name these fellas either because – news flash – we listen to more than just Country here. But two guys on here (that I know from experience) are big Preds fans: Dierks Bentley (first picture) and Vince Gill (last picture). Vince Gill has had season tickets since the get-go and Dierks? I’m not sure, but I’ve seen him at a more than a few games over my fandom. I’ve seen Charles Kelley, too (second picture) and I’m sure Chris Young (third picture) has made it to the ‘Bridge a time or two for a game.

Source: Google - Big Ben and Vince Gill

Source: Google – Big Ben and Vince Gill

So, if you don’t know these guys, just know that two are big supporters of the Nashville Predators and the other two could possibly be – and that’s what really matters, right?

Skills Competition Format:
Team Captains Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr, and John Scott have yet to choose from the lineup of players who made the All-Star roster as to who will be on their teams & as to who will perform in which competition, but that’ll come soon enough. Right now, we have the All-Star Skills Competition format and I’ve complied some videos to help if you have never seen it before:

Bridgestone Fastest Skater:

Four players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each match. If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to break Mike Gartner’s record (13.386). If, at the completion of the event, two skaters are tied for the fastest overall time, both skaters will skate a full lap of the rink in an attempt to break the historical best record.

Points Available: 6 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Mike Gartner‘s record an additional bonus point will be awarded.

Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge:

Fans will have two opportunities to exercise their vote in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge. While five spots will be determined by team captains, one guaranteed spot in this event will be determined by the fans, who will vote on Twitter as part of the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Fan Vote campaign.

The eligible candidates are forwards Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fans can vote via Twitter for their favorite eligible player by including his hashtag – #NHLBreakawayDuchene, #NHLBreakawayLarkin or #NHLBreakawaySaad. Voting will open on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. ET and close on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. ET.

Each team will provide one goalie to participate in this challenge. Each shooter will attempt two shots, and teams will alternate after each shot. Style, creativity, and flair are encouraged. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.

As soon as the last competitor completes his routine, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will get another opportunity to make their case on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. The shooter with the highest fan vote will be crowned the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge winner and score one point for his team.

Points Available: 1 – The shooter with the highest percentage of fan votes scores one point.

DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting:

Four shooters from each team will participate, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, with one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins.

Points Available: 5 –The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point.

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay:

This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and two goalies from each team – will consist of four relays with five challenges each: One Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; Passing, with one passer per team; Puck Control, with one skater per team; Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team.

Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one timers, passing and goalie goals in which a maximum of forty-five seconds will be allocated. The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent.

Points Available: 3 – The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point.

Amp Energy Hardest Shot:

Four shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour (mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded.

Points Available: 5 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the player who has the fastest speed scores one bonus point.

Discover NHL Shootout:

18 skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in the three-round shootout. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players, each goal scored by these players will count as two points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt.

Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored; 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck.

If you aren’t a seasoned NHL vet or normally watch the All-Star weekend on television every year, you may think the actual game is the real winner here. Wrong. The Skills Competition is the most entertaining, as you get to see your favorite players (and not so favorite) in a more casual setting where it’s more about having fun than taking everything so seriously. If you can’t make the Skills Competition, it’ll be on NBC Sports at 6PM January 30th.

2016 NHL All-Star Game:
So you may have heard there is a new format to the game than previous years. In the past, the two team captains would conduct a draft, choosing which players to add to their roster. The last guy would end up with a car.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Our own Filip Forsberg won a car last year because he was picked last. How nice. Well, the League has done away with the draft and the two-team system. Now we have four teams and 3-on-3. What? Here, we’ll let the League explain:

* The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid in its entirety to the tournament’s winning team.

* The tournament will feature four teams, one team representing each NHL Division: the Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic.

* Each team will be made up of 11 players: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.

* The 2016 NHL All-Star Fan Vote will allow fans to vote for one All-Star player from each Division, without regard to position. The top vote-getter from each Division will be named NHL All-Stars, as well as Captain of his respective team.

* The remaining 40 NHL All-Stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for a total of 44 All-Star players, with at least one player selected from each NHL team.

* The 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition™ returns to a matchup between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars on Saturday evening, with the winning conference earning the right to select when their semi-final matchup will be played; first or second on Sunday.

* Each game in the three-game, 3-on-3 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will be 20 minutes in length.

* Teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. Games that are tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.

* The Central Division All-Stars will face the Pacific Division All-Stars and the Atlantic Division All-Stars will face the Metropolitan Division All-Stars in the two Semi-Final games.

* The winners of each Semi-Final game will play each other in the All-Star Game Final to determine the overall tournament champion.

* The four division-leading NHL coaches (best points percentage following the completion of games on Jan. 9, 2016) will be named coaches for each of the four All-Star teams

Make sense? Well, we’ll all see how this will work on Sunday, January 31st at 4PM.

All-Star Roster:
I could just link my old post with the roster in it to this post, but that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? In case you haven’t seen who made the list – or you just need a refresher – behold:

Atlantic Division

F Patrice Bergeron (BOS)

Central Division

F Jamie Benn (DAL)

F Jaromir Jagr (FLA) F Matt Duchene (COL)
F Leo Komarov (TOR) F Patrick Kane (CHI)
F Dylan Larkin (DET) F Tyler Seguin (DAL)
F Ryan O’Reilly (BUF) F Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
F Steven Stamkos (TBL) F Jonathan Toews (CHI)
D Aaron Ekblad (FLA) D Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)
D Erik Karlsson (OTT) D Roman Josi (NSH)
D P.K. Subban (MTL) D Shea Weber (NSH)
G Ben Bishop (TBL) G Devan Dubnyk (MIN)
G Roberto Luongo (FLA) G Pekka Rinne (NSH)
Metropolitan Division Pacific Division
F Nicklas Backstrom (WSH) F Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
F Claude Giroux (PHI) F Taylor Hall (EDM)
F Evgeni Malkin (PIT) F Joe Pavelski (SJS)
F Alex Ovechkin (WSH) F Corey Perry (ANA)
F Brandon Saad (CBJ) F John Scott (ARI)
F John Tavares (NYI) F Daniel Sedin (VAN)
D Justin Faulk (CAR) D Brent Burns (SJS)
D Kris Letang (PIT) D Drew Doughty (LAK)
D Ryan McDonagh (NYR) D Mark Giordano (CGY)
G Braden Holtby (WSH) G John Gibson (ANA)
G Cory Schneider (NJD) G Jonathan Quick (LAK)

Are you excited? You should be! Also, if you like beer, two local breweries have concocted some hockey brew just for this special occasion in our city:

Yazoo Brewery and Jackalope Brewery have both released special edition brews for your tasting pleasure. Yazoo’s “Winter Park Wheat” and Jackalope’s “All-Star Citra Pale Ale” are available in their taprooms. Check their Twitter handles for more info on where you can grab these puppies.

 Okay, so I hope I covered everything. If not, you can always visit the official NHL All-Star site for more information. Actually, do check that website or the Predators because events are subject to change if something happens. Also, if you are not from Nashville and have questions regarding the city or whatnot, please contact me via @Lady_Preds on Twitter & I’ll be happy to answer your questions.