Predators stay Busy while Suter Watch Continues

McGrattan, Gaustad, Mason, and Gill all quipped for Nashville next season.

The Predators made some key moves before and on July 1st, the day that Free Agency went into effect. Though many eyes are watching the Suter and/or Parise situation, the Predators weren’t going to hold off until #20 finally came to a decision.

On Friday, just two days before his chance at Free Agency, Nashville signed the Goliath himself, Hal Gill to a two-year, $4 million contract, sealing himself to Predators gold for the 2012-13 season. With the size, strength (and surprisingly a bit of speed – when he gets moving), Gill will continue to shine alongside Roman Josi for two more years.

Fairly late last night, Nashville released the news of the signing of another trade deadliner – Paul Gaustad. Obviously, Poile recognized his expertise in Face Offs and Penalty Kills, signing Goose to a four-year, $12 million contract. Wowza. There is much debate about wether Nashville overpaid for Gaustad, but his last contract was for $9.2 million; of course he wasn’t going to go for anything less. Plus, Gaustad’s consistency rules him as a green flag for Nashville; something they’ll really need if Suter bails.

The Predators decided, for their first ever July 1st signing, to chose goalie (and former Predator) Chris Mason to a one-year, $1.25 million contract as a backup for Pekka Rinne. Though many were lead to believe Milwaukee’s Jeremy Smith was going to jump over to Nashville and cover Rinne, Poile did not lie when he said he wanted a veteran goalie to take the backup position. However, one-year contracts can mean many a thing; Wether Nashville brought Mason back aboard to help get Smith ready to take over or what, we don’t think Mason will be with Nashville very long. The Predators have never had a veteran backup before, so it will prove interesting to see how Mason will do behind the Finnish phenom.

And, as of a few moments ago, Brian McGrattan posted an excited tweet about returning to Nashville (to counteract a previous disheartening announcement from Jordin Tootoo…). The Predators confirmed that they did, in fact, sign enforcer Brian McGrattan to a one-year, $600,000 contract to wear the gold once again in the 2012-13 season. With Tootoo’s signing with Detroit (we’ll have a whole separate post about that one), it seems like Big Ern will be the new favorite of the Predators. After being picked up in October of last year, Preds fans fell in love with the big guy, thanks to his beloved antics, wild fights, and heartbreaking struggles off the ice. Like we said, McGrattan will be replacing Toots very quickly as everyone’s favorite tough guy.

As of 8:30, that is all Nashville has locked in for certain, but Ryan Suter watch is still having some of us bite our nails until the bitter end. As we mentioned earlier, Jordin Tootoo split for Detroit, leaving a bunch of bewildered, speechless fans in his wake. Like we said, we’ll have a complete post dedicated to his “unjustified” decision momentarily. Besides Tootoo, Nashville said au revoir to veteran Francis Bouillon, as the Montreal Canadiens took him back for a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Bouillon is a bit of a hometown hero in Montreal, so returning to Canada is a welcoming sign for the Cube. He was a class act in Nashville and we wish him all the best with the Habs.

It’s getting late, but the night’s not over; anything is bound to happen now that the free agents are on the loose. Stay tuned for more information with the Predators as it comes through the media.

Predators nab Nine Picks in 2012 NHL Draft

2012 NHL Draft

Though once thought a complete loss for the Predators, David Poile was able to work his magic at the last minute and seal Nashville with a few key draft picks in both the second and third rounds. Thanks to his maneuverability, the Predators picked up nine potential players yesterday in the 2012 NHL Draft. Here is a quick rundown of who Nashville nabbed and what they could bring in the future:

Pontus Aberg

Pontus Åberg – Predators first draft pick (37th overall)
Thanks to Poile’s slick trade move with Tampa Bay, the Nashville Predators were able to snag this young forward who is said to be the ninth best skater in the draft. Per scouting reports, Aberg has killer shooting accuracy, tremendous puck handling skills, and tends to pass the puck well (Trotz will like that). However, reports on consistency issues have been brought up, bring certain current players to mind (SK74). But, keep in mind, Aberg is tied to Swedish team Djugarden through the 2013-14 season, so the 19-year-old has plenty of time to outgrow any issues.







Colton Sissons

Colton Sissons – Predators second draft pick (50th overall)
With their second pick in the draft, the Predators stepped away with another forward, this time Canadian Colton Sissons. Scouting reports have nothing but praise for this young Center, acknowledging his strong skating and defensive style, along with unique offensive characteristics. As the captain for the Kelowna Rockets, the trait of leadership shines with this kid, proving he’ll fit in just fine when he’s eventually called to Nashville.








Jimmy Vesey




Jimmy Vesey – Predators third draft pick (66th overall)
The Predators chose an Ivy League bounder with their third pick, nabbing Left Winger and Boston native, Jimmy Vesey. Vesey is slated to play for Harvard this upcoming season, but don’t let his brains fool you; the kid broke the EJHL single-season scoring record (48-43-91), winning league MVP, and taking home the Bruins’ John Carlton Award for combining exceptional hockey skills with academic excellence. In his recent draft interview, Vesey stated that he looks up to Mike Fisher and has a thing for Country music. Sounds like, once makes his move to the NHL, Vesey will do just fine here.


Brendan Leipsic

Brendan Leipsic – Predators fourth draft pick (89th overall)
The Predators did a little trading with the New York Rangers to get their fourth pick, trading their 3rd Round pick in next year’s draft for a Canadian Left Winger, Brendan Leipsic. Currently on the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks roster, Leipsic is known for three attributes: speed, skating, and energy. However, similar to Aberg, Leipsic is prone to a bit of inconsistency at times. But, with his aggressive style and physical nature, Leipsic is bound to be a top forward at some point in his career.





Zach Stepan

Zachary Stepan – Predators fifth draft pick (112th overall)
Does his last name sound familiar? If you’re a fan of the New York Rangers, perhaps it does. Cousin to Derek Stepan, Zachary is blazing his own trail, even stating that he has been following the Predators for about two years now, impressed with how far the franchise has come. Stepan has trained under the Shattuck-St. Mary’s program, the same one that brought up Sidney Crosby. Speed, strength, and control keep this kid flying high on the radar, despite his small frame. His aggressiveness towards bigger players reminds us of a one, Francis Bouillon.







Mikko Vainonen

Mikko Vainonen – Predators sixth draft pick (118th overall)
With a name like Mikko, you must have guessed Nashville’s sixth draft pick hails from Finland. As Nashville’s first defenseman pick of the draft, Vainonen brings a lot to the table as defenseman go. At over 200 lbs, slow and steady is not an option for this Finn; Speed and his excellent stickwork make this kid a force to be reckoned with. However, as far as scouting reports go, most do not see this 18-year-old as more than just a puck pusher, but (being the age he is) he will have plenty of time to grow.







Simon Fernholm

Simon Fernholm – Predators seventh draft pick (164th overall)
Yet another Swede to add to the Predators potential roster is defenseman, Simon Fernholm. At 187 lbs, the young Swede will need some time to grow into his defenseman position, but again, time will help build his character as an NHLer.






Max Görtz

Max Görtz – Predators eighth draft pick (172nd overall)
…And the Predators pick up another Swede with their eighth pick, Right Winger Maz Gortz from Swedish team, Färjestad. Gortz is a large forward, with a good release and solid technical skills. He will stay with Färjestad at least another season.





Marek Mazanec

Marek Mazanec – Predators ninth draft pick (179th overall)
With the parting of Anders Lindback, the Predators chose, with their final pick of the draft, a goalie from the Czech Republic by the name of Marek Mazanec. At 6’4″, we’re pretty positive this Czech goalie is well on his way to fitting in just fine amongst the organization’s goalies.





You won’t have to wait too long to see how these nine draft picks match with one another, as the Predators Prospect Camp starts this week at Centennial Sportsplex. All in all, we would conclude that Nashville had a very successful draft day and that maybe, just maybe, David Poile should get a little pat on the back.

Fans Appreciate Final Home Game, Predators Shutout Stars 2-0

Pekka Rinne hits the ice after sitting a night on the scratched list.


  • Jordin Tootoo managed to avoid the scratched list Thursday night, but a few other guys weren’t as lucky. Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk, Jack Hillen, and Ryan Ellis topped out the scratched list on Fan Appreciation Night.
  • With the first two periods proving scoreless, it was Francis Bouillon who finally got the ball rolling at 4:28 of the 3rd Period, sealing his 4th goal of the season. Patric Hornqvist (16th assist) and Andrei Kostitsyn (19th assist) picked up the assists on Frankie’s goal.
  • Patric Hornqvist would put the Predators up by 2 at 18:00 in the third for his 26th goal of the season. Brandon Yip (4th assist) and Mike Fisher (27th assist) picked up the assists on Horny’s 26th goal.
  • The Stars pushed the limit during the 3rd period after Frankie’s goal, but it was Pekka’s keen eye that gave the Predators their 5th shutout of the season. The Predators out-shot the Stars 31 to 28, something that normally doesn’t happen for the Predators.
  • Like Tuesday, penalties plagued the Predators and caused a bit of lag for the team. Four penalties compared to Dallas’s two could have ended badly for Nashville, but thankfully, Dallas was unable to slip one passed the Finnish Phenom. Here are the four offenders:
  1. Bradon Yip – 2:44 1st Period – Interference
  2. Hal Gill – 12:39 2nd Period – Interference
  3. Andrei Kostitsyn – 9:52 3rd Period – Tripping
  4. Mike Fisher – 19:05 3rd Period – Delaying Game – Puck Over Glass

On another good note to go along with the shutout, Detroit lost to the New Jersey Devils Thursday night, bumping the Predators back into the 4th playoff position. With Detroit’s loss, the Predators are now guaranteed no worse than 5th position. However, it will be up to Chicago on Saturday to decide if the Predators will keep 4th position and home ice advantage.

So, if you didn’t get one of the jerseys off of the players’ backs, don’t worry – No one else we know did either. But what a great way to end the regular season at home with a shutout.

The Predators are off to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the last game of the regular season. The puck drops at 8PM CT.

Until then,

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Predators Power past Detroit 4-1, Gain 4th Position

Alexander Radulov celebrates his 2nd goal since returning to Nashville on 3/22.

Had we not been on the brink of passing out from exhaustion, we would have had this post up right after last night’s game ended because… did you see that Predators team?!

Normally an intimidating and hostile place for an opposing team to visit, the Predators had no fear walking into The Joe last night and taking back the 4th position in the Western Conference playoff race from the Detroit Red Wings. In a nutshell, if the Predators can continue to play the way they did last night, Predators fans better get ready for a long and prosperous post season. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Motor City:


  • Martin Erat and Roman Josi were back in the lineup last night, a relieving sign since Marty has been missed on the SK-Fish-Marty line. Hal Gill has been truly missing Roman Josi, for these two have a chemistry only Disney can create. Jordin Tootoo came off the scratched list himself, his upper-body injury proving to be nothing to worry over. Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Brian McGrattan, and Jack Hillen rounded out the scratched list.
  • The first period remained scoreless, with both Pekka Rinne and the newly-returned Jimmy Howard blocking some key shots on goal. Nashville out-shot Detroit 9 to 7 in the first period, but even though his first game back due to injury, Jimmy Howard was ready to go.
  • Gabriel Bourque was finally able to get the best of Howard at 13:05 during the 2nd Period, sending a wrist shot over the goalie’s shoulder. Jordin Tootoo picked up his first assist since February 28th (24th assist) along with Hall Gill (12th assist) on Bourque’s 6th goal of the season.
  • Francis Bouillon would put even more pressure on Detroit with a wrist shot of his own at 19:27 (ROAD GOO GOOS!). While Detroit’s defense was focused on Alexander Radulov, Frankie was able to sneak in and put the Predators up 2-0 for his 3rd goal of the season. Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the assist on Frankie’s goal, too.
  • Alexander Radulov would out-dance Detriot and Howard once again, sealing his 2nd goal of the season at 2:40 in the 3rd Period. Andrei Kostitsyn (17th assist) and Pekka Rinne (5th assist) picked up the assists on A-Rad’s goal.
  • Detroit was finally able to get one past Pekka Rinne at 16:57 with a wrist shot from Jiri Hudler for his 24th goal of the season.
  • Shea Weber added a nail to the coffin for Detroit at 19:20 with a bouncing empty-netter, his 17th goal of the season. David Legwand (32nd assist) picked up the assist on the captain’s bouncer.
  • Obviously, all of the “Pekka-ing” around town channeled the Finnish goalie, for Pekka Rinne was unstoppable last night (minus one goal, of course). Pekka was able to stop 31 of Detroit’s 32 shots on goal last night, giving Peks his 42nd win. Check out this unbelievable video of Pekka Rinne completely robbing Henrik Zetterberg from a goal.
  • In typical Nashville fashion, the Predators were out-shot 27 to 32, but thanks to Pekka, the defensive lines, and accurate shots, Nashville proved to be the better team last night.
  • Although playing like a Stanley Cup contender would, the Predators had their share of penalties last night. Although only one more than Detroit, it was still more than they needed to risk. Here are the three penalty box buddies:
  1.  Paul Gaustad – 5:42 2nd Period – Tripping
  2. Nick Spaling – 14:04 2nd Period – Hooking
  3. Alexander Radulov – 16:24 2nd Period – Too Many Men/Ice

By coming out in Detroit and embarrassing the Red Wings at home, the Predators not only pushed past Detroit for 4th spot, they also boosted their confidence as they come home tonight to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Back-to-back games are rough, so the Predators will need to cling to the confidence of last night to take on Chicago tonight.

The puck drops at 7PM in Smashville.

Until then,

Predators smash Blackhawks 6-1

Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, and Sergei Kostitsyn celebrate with Mike Fisher.

The Predators ended last night’s game with a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, but they had no time to celebrate. When most teams have a hard time playing two nights in a row, Nashville came out in Chicago looking like a brand new team, refreshed and hungry for a win.

The Blackhawks are currently sitting behind Nashville in both the conference and division, only behind by two points. While the Predators have been struggling the last few games, Chicago has been shinning, winning the last five of their games. Sitting that close to pushing forward in both the conference and division, the Blackhawks needed to extend their winning streak to six.

However, the Blackhawks have certainly struggled against the Predators all season, with the Blackhawks only beating the Predators 5-4 on October 31st in OT. Also, with Jonathan Toews out with an injury and Duncan Keith out for a five-game suspension (due to elbowing Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin intentionally in the face, ending his season), the Blackhawks would have to put forth a good effort tonight against the Nashville Predators. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game in the Windy City:

  • Jordin Tootoo returned to the lineup after being scratched last night against the Winnipeg Jets in Nashville, but Colin Wilson and Roman Josi are still suffering from their injuries. Also suffering from an unexpected injury is Martin Erat, who made the trip with the team to Chicago, but is said to be suffering from an upper-body injury. Andrei Kostitsyn replaced Marty in the all-powerful SK74-Fisher-Erat line. Adding to the scratched list was Craig Smith, Jack Hillen, and Brian McGrattan.
  • Both teams put the pressure on early, but it was Nashville’s defense that stole the show. Pekka Rinne was up to his old tricks, making some key saves early on in the game. Chicago took to shooting early, taking eleven shots in the first period alone.
  • Jordin Tootoo had his butt handed to him at 4:56 in the first period after dropping the gloves with Bradon Bollig. Instead of hitting the penalty box for five minutes, Toots headed straight for the locker room. It was clear Jordin’s ear was bleeding, but reports claim he has suffered from an upper-body injury due to the fight. When he did not return to the game, it was clear that he indeed was injured more than just a cut on the ear. He is iffy for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis. Here is the video of the beat down on Toots:
  • Matt Halischuk redeemed Nashville after Tootoo’s beat down at 6:16 with a wrist shot past Corey Crawford for his 14th goal of the season. Brandon Yip (3rd assist) and Paul Gaustad (14th assist) picked up the assists on Halischuk’s goal.
  • Nashville would continue to dominate the 1st Period with a wrist shot from Andrei Kostitsyn at 15:28. David Legwand (31st assist) and Patric Hornqvist (15th assist) picked up the assists from Andrei’s 16th goal of the season.
  • The only goal in the 2nd Period would come from reining goal scorer, Patric Hornqvist at 5:42 on the power play. First awarded to Alexander Radulov, Hornqvist would enviably be given credit for the goal, his 25th of the season. Radulov (2nd assist) and Shea Weber (30th assist) would be given the assists.
  • Continuing to keep the ball rolling, Francis Bouillon would sink his 2nd goal of the season just two minutes into the 3rd Period. Rookie Ryan Ellis (8th assist) and Matt Halischuk (12th assist) would grab the assists early in the 3rd Period.
  • Viktor Stalberg would finally give the Blackhawks breathing room at 5:58, his 19th goal of the season.
  • Shea Weber would quiet the Chicago crowd at 6:34 with an amazing slap shot past Ray Emery, sealing his 16th goal of the season. Cleanly winning the puck at the face-off, Mike Fisher picked up the assist (25th) for Weber’s goal.
  • After grabbing the assist, Mike Fisher would seal his own goal of the night at 17:33 with a snap shot past Ray Emery for his 24th goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (11th assist) and Pekka Rinne (4th assist) picked up the assists.
  • Chicago only out-shot the Predators 25 to 24, but it was clear who had the better accuracy with the shots and who was the better goal tender (or, for Chicago, goal tenders). The Predators gave the Blackhawks five power play chances, yet the defense and Pekka Rinne were able to keep Chicago at bay. Chicago only gave Nashville three power play chances, but Nashville was able to capitalize Sean O’Donnell’s hi-sticking penalty. Here are the five penalty box sitters for the Predators:
  1.  Jordin Tootoo – 4:56 1st Period – Fighting
  2. Sergei Kostitsyn – 10:36 1st Period – Tripping
  3. Brandon Yip – 16:32 1st Period – Boarding
  4. Shea Weber – 13:34 2nd Period – Interference
  5. Patric Hornqvist – 3:57 3rd Period – Slashing

The team that showed up in Chicago tonight is clearly a team that contend for the Stanley Cup. What changed them from the team from last week? Well, there’s no telling, but the momentum that the Predators conveyed tonight should be in hand during the playoffs and the remainder for the regular season.

The Predators will travel south of Chicago to St. Louis to face the Blues on Tuesday, the puck dropping at 7PM. If the Predators can take on the Blues as they did tonight against Chicago, Nashville could push themselves further in the rankings. After tonight’s win, however, they did surpass the Detroit Red Wings once again for 4th in the conference.

Until then,

(Photo credit: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Predators blast the Blackhawks 5-2

The Predators with their first win over the Blackhawks this season.

The Predators welcomed Central Division rival (for the first time this season) the Chicago Blackhawks into Smashville tonight before a sold-out crowd, the 15th for the Predators. Although the crowd was about 55% Preds fans, 45% Blackhawks fans, the Predators didn’t seemed too phased by the large amount of red throughout the arena. With Chicago being 4th in the league (3rd in the division) and the Predators being 8th (4th in the division), a win over Chicago would be a huge boost for the Predators. And, in true Predators form, Nashville whipped the Blackhawks 5-2 in regulation. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:


  • A surprising scratch tonight was Matt Halischuk, who was given the night off for new kid Brandon Yip to hit the ice for the first time as a Predator. Brian McGrattan was also scratched for the night and, as expected, Ryan Suter is still out due to an upper-body injury.
  • Marián Hossa gained the first goal of the night, putting Chicago up over the Predators at 15:05 with a nice backhand shot. However, the Predators fans didn’t have to wait long for the home team to respond…
  • At 17:19, Craig Smith chipped a nice wrist shot passed Corey Crawford on the power play, his 10th goal of the season. He was assisted by both Ryan Ellis and Sergei Kostitsyn. There’s a good reason why Nashville is 2nd in the league on the power play.
  • Kevin Klein wasted hardly any time during the second period, sending the Predators up 2-1 with a wrist shot. He was assisted by both David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque and this is his 3rd goal of the season.
  • The Predators continued to dominate in the second period, with a wrist shot goal from Colin Wilson at 11:14, his 9th goal of the season. He was assisted by David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn, who was denied a goal earlier in the game, finished up the second period with a wrist shot at 16:03. This was SK74’s 12th goal of the season and has a 27.3% shooting percentage. Also, a side fun fact, Sergei is the only player this season to score two Frosty goals. He was assisted by Mike Fisher and Martin Erat.
  • Marián Hossa scored his second goal of the game (20th for the season) at just 48 seconds into the 3rd period, making Preds fans wonder if the Blackhawks would try to redeem themselves in the third.
  • However, Patric Hornqvist renewed faith with a nice slap shot at 3:08, his 13th goal of the season. It looked like at first Kevin Klein had sealed the goal, which would have made for his first multi-goal in a game. However, after it was rewarded to Klein, it was soon given to Hornqvist. Maybe next time, Klein!
  • The Predators out-shot the Blackhawks by only one shot, 23 to 22 and Pekka Rinne was able to block all but two. After allowing four goals, Corey Crawford was pulled and replaced by Ray Emery (Yea, he played for Anaheim last season…). Emery blocked four of five shots during the third, but it just wasn’t enough to save the Blackhawks in Smashville.
  • There weren’t many penalties during this game, with the Predators only giving the Blackhawks one power play chance. The Blackhawks, however, gave the Predators two chances, one of which the Predators capitalized on. Here is our one Predator who faced the penalty box:
  1. Jack Hillen – 14:08 3rd Period – Roughing
  • Francis Bouillon was injured during the first period and left the ice for the remainder of the game. According to Head Coach Barry Trotz, Bouillon’s injury does not look serious, but there’s no way of truly telling. We are hoping this upper-body injury does not involve a concussion again. There is a good chance someone will be called up from Milwaukee due to Bouillon’s injury, and it could possibly be Jonathon Blum. Time will tell.

With this win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Predators are now 9-2-2 against the Central Division and are now 28-16-4 on the season. The Predators have Sunday off, but welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets into Nashville on Monday night. The Predators will then take on Chicago once again on Tuesday night in Chicago.

Thanks for coming down, Chicago! We’ll see you Tuesday!

Until then,