Preds of the World(s)

worlds

Now that the season has officially ended (whether we want to cope with it or not), some of the Predators aren’t finished hitting the rinks just yet. Six – thus far – of Nashville’s players will be taking off to the Czech Republic to represent their home countries in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Here’s who we have thus far:

TEAM SUOMI (FINLAND): PEKKA RINNE
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  • Pekka was named to the World Championship All-Star team in 2014 and also won MVP that year as well.

TEAM SUISSE (SWITZERLAND): ROMAN JOSI & KEVIN FIALA
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  • Kevin Fiala may be young, but he is no stranger to Team Switzerland. Fiala has competed for Suisse in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
  • Roman Josi has a number of accolades from participation with Team Switzerland, including IIHF World Champion MVP, Silver Medalist, Media All-Star Team, and Best Defenseman in 2013.

TEAM USA: Seth Jones
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  • Seth Jones, like Kevin Fiala, is no stranger to the IIHF Worlds for Team USA. Jones helped lead Team USA to gold medals in 2011 (WJC18), 2012 (WJC18), and 2013 (WJC). He played alongside teammate Craig Smith last year and helped bring Team USA to 6th place.

tre kronor (sweden): filip forsberg & mattias ekholm
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  • Filip Forsberg has never seen less than second place while suited up for Tre Kronor, winning the silver medal in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Forsberg helped lead his World Juniors team to overall victory in 2012. In 2014, Forsberg was named World Junior Best Forward and MVP. Surprisingly, this will be Forsberg’s first bout away from World Juniors.
  • Mattias Ekholm has had as lucrative of a career with Tre Kronor has Forsberg has, but he did help Sweden collect the bronze medal last year.

Since the tournament officially begins Friday, I do not if any other Predators will be added to their country’s rosters, but who knows.

As I mentioned, the tournament kicks off Friday with Team Latvia vs. Team Canada (4:15PM) and Team Czech vs. Team Sweden (8:15PM) in the O2 Arena and Team USA vs. Team Finland (4:15PM) and Team Russia vs. Team Norway (8:15PM) in the CEZ Arena. Let me elaborate on those puck drop times, too. Those times would be relevant to those within the Czech timezone; the Czech Republic is seven hours ahead of the Central Timezone. Needless to say, the first games would start at 9:15AM our time, and the second games would start at 1:15PM. Here’s a TV listing of where you can view the games:

Date Game Network Game time (CT)
Fri., May 1 Team USA vs. Finland NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.
Sat., May 2 Team USA vs. Norway NBCSN (delay at 10 p.m.) 1 p.m.
Mon., May 4 Team USA vs. Russia NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.
Thur., May 7 Team USA vs. Belarus NBCSN (live) 9 a.m.
Fri., May 8 Team USA vs. Denmark NBCSN (live) 1 p.m.
Sun., May 10 Team USA vs. Slovenia NBCSN (delay at 2 p.m.) 10 a.m.
Tue., May 12 Team USA vs. Slovakia NBCSN (live) 10 a.m.
Thu., May 14 IIHF Quarterfinals NBCSN (live) 8 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 9 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 10:30 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 12 p.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 1 p.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 10:30 p.m.
Sat., May 16 IIHF Semifinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 8:30 a.m.
IIHF Semifinals Live Extra app, TV TBD 12 p.m.
Sun., May 17 IIHF Bronze Medal Game Live Extra app, TV TBD 11 a.m.
IIHF Gold Medal Game NBCSN (live) 1:30 p.m.

I’ll update this list if anything changes or if any new players are added to their country’s rosters.

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Roman Josi & Simon Moser added to Swiss Olympic Roster

Top: Roman Josi, Bottom: Simon Moser

Top: Roman Josi, Bottom: Simon Moser

While there won’t be any Predators on Team USA, Roman Josi and Simon Moser will be represnting Nashville on the Swiss Olympic team in Sochi this February.

Josi already has experience in the Olympics, being named to the roster back in the 2010 Winter Olympics and has represented Switzerland in multiple IIHF tournaments, including being named MVP and Top Defenseman of the 2013 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Simon Moser is new to the Olympic roster, but has been quite impressive for Nashville’s farm team this season, the Milwaukee Admirals. Moser has, thus far, 15 points with six goals and nine assists. Though no experience with the Olympics, Moser was apart of the 2012 IIHF Swiss team, but tore his ACL and ended his season as quickly as it began.

Filip Forsberg name WJHC MVP & Top Forward

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Though they Team Sweden out in the World Juniors Championships to Finland 3-2, that didn’t stop Filip Forsberg from nabbing the all-important title of tournament MVP and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Directorate’s Top Forward. With 12 points in the WJC alone (four goals and eight assists), the Swedish captain was just one point shy of tying Henrik Sedin’s record (13 points in 2000) in one series.

Filip Forsberg was allowed to participate in the tournament with special permission from the Predators, which in turn ultimately showed his potential, given the right circumstances and atmosphere.

Courtesy: IIHF.com

Courtesy: IIHF.com

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.

BREAKING: NHL & NHLPA come to Agreement with IIHF & Olympics

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It’s official: NHL players will be allowed to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, thanks to an agreement between the NHL & NHLPA and the IIHF & Olympic committee. The NHL will have an Olympic break between February 9th – 25th, with Team USA opening against Team Slovakia on Thursday, February 13th at 6:30AM. Team Canada will face off with Team Norway the same day at 11AM. This is the fifth consecutive Olympics the NHL has participated in since 1998 – so what’s the big deal on their agreement?

Well, the fact that it took them a bit longer than it should have and now they can finally release the 2013-14 regular season schedule! We will have it up for you once it’s available!

Hockey Season Officially Ends for the Predators

Surely SK74 and Patric Hornqvist aren’t going at it? Picture from the 2010 Olympics.

With Slovakia ending the Czech Republic’s run at the championship 3-1 in the semifinals, all of Nashville’s players have been eliminated from the IIHF World Championship. The Predators had a good amount of players who jumped on board after the post season, despite going into Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Here’s a final rundown of who played for who:

Team Belarus – Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn
Team Switzerland – Roman Josi
Team Sweden – Patric Hornqvist
Team USA – Craig Smith
Team Czech – Martin Erat

Andrei, Sergei, Roman, Craig, Martin, and Patric

Team Belarus and the Kostitsyn brothers were first to be knocked out of the tournament, falling to Team Canada 5-1 on Tuesday, May 15th. Sergei Kostitsyn did manage to collect a goal during his short run in the tournament. Also on Tuesday, Craig Smith and Team USA eliminated Roman Josi and Team Switzerland 5-2. On Thursday, Team Finland overthrew Team USA to advance 3-2, knocking out rookie Craig Smith.  Martin Erat, who notched a goal against Team Sweden, eliminated Patric Hornqvist and Tre Kronor 4-3.

As of yesterday’s game between Team Slovakia and Team Czech, Marty “Party” Erat was the only Predator left in the running for the gold. Unfortunately, Erat was sidelined early in the semifinal game, leaving the ice during the 1st Period after a shoulder check by Slovakia’s Libor Hudáček. Here’s the video from the game:

It was announced by Czech GM Slava Lener that Martin Erat does have a concussion, which could potentially affect the Predators in the upcoming season. Although the 2012-13 season is a little over five months away, concussions are a bit of mystery when it comes to treating them properly. That, and Martin Erat’s history of concussions is virtually unknown, so the way his body handles the healing process of a concussion will be on a day-to-day basis.

Martin Erat, though his a bit more serious, was not the only player injured during the World Championship. Sergei Kostitsyn dislocated his shoulder during the match between Team Canada after being hit by Kris Russell, a currently St. Louis Blues defenseman. As stated, although not as serious as Erat’s concussion, Kostitsyn will have to sit back a while to let it properly heal.

UPDATE ON ERAT CONDITION:
Martin Erat’s agent, Mike Deutsch has just announced that, despite what Czech GM Slava Lener stated earlier, Erat did not suffer a concussion and is simply suffering from a ‘stiff neck’. Good news for both Martin Erat and the Nashville Predators, but we will keep you updated in case the story changes once again. 

Hockey has officially ended for Smashville, but hockey altogether is still chugging along, wether our favorite players are on the ice or not. Now that all is done, it’s now time for the part of the off-season everyone dreads: Who stays and who goes…

Martin Erat being helped off the ice.

Sergei Kostitsyn seeks Long-Term Contract with Nashville

Sergei taking a break during practice.

Sergei Kostitsyn, or SK74 as he is affectionately called, is what is known as a “young gun, rebel” type… or, at least, he was. Sergei has worn the Predators jersey for two seasons now and, although they’ve heard the many of rumors, Nashville has never seen the rebel, immature side of the 25-year-old Forward from Belarus.

A 7th Round Pick in the 2005 Draft at the tender age of 18, Sergei was a bit of a diamond in the rough. The potential was clearly there (he wouldn’t have even been considered for the NHL if it hadn’t), just a little masked by insecurity and a lack of confidence in himself. SK74 was drafted by the  Montréal Canadiens, the same team that found potential in older brother, Andrei Kostitsyn.

As most former Habs players have admitted, finding the perfect fit in Montréal is a bit challenging, and with his lack of confidence and insecurity, Sergei found himself fighting to stay above water. In frustration, Kostitsyn did whatever he thought would get himself more attention, and potentially more ice time. However, acting out and bad behavioral issues wasn’t the direction the young Forward wanted to walk down, especially alone.

Missing the bus to a preseason game in 2009, being suspended for not reporting to Montréal’s AHL farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs; Sergei and fellow teammate, goaltender Carey Price even got into an argument about Sergei’s lack of effort and commitment to the team. Montréal and Sergei Kostitsyn were clashing, and both the NHL and the KHL were watching.

Though his behavioral issues out-shined his potential as a great player at times, one team saw past the frustration and immaturity that comes with being a young, ice-deprived hockey player. The Nashville Predators traded Dustin Boyd and Dan Ellis in the off-season of 2010, giving the Belorussian a chance at a fresh start.

Both Coach Barry Trotz and General Manager David Poile worked with Sergei, highlighting both his strong and weak spots, instead of letting him fall the the wayside like he had with the Habs. Two seasons later, Sergei Kostitsyn found himself on the top line along with Mike Fisher and Martin Erat, and notched his first career Hat Trick on January 1st.

However, Sergei still had his off moments in both the 2011-12 season and post season. Lack of confidence still plagues the young Belorussian, causing him to miss key passes, shots, and goals. Although he performed well during the Detroit series in the playoffs, SK74 struggled in the Phoenix series, being replaced on the top line by Colin Wilson.

After two season, Sergei Kostitsyn has expressed his desires to be signed to a long-term contract by Nashville, the one team who he was nestled with soundly. No word if SK74’s agent has met with the club yet, but the deadline to tender qualifying offers to restricted free agents is June 29th, giving both sides a little over a month to come to a decision.

Recently, both Sergei and older brother Andrei jumped on board with Team Belarus for the IIHF World Championship. Although Belarus was recently knocked out by Team Canada, Sergei was able to score a goal in his short time with his country’s team. However, Sergei collided with Team Canada’s Kris Russell yesterday, separating his shoulder. Team Belarus Head Coach, Kari Heikkilä stated that Sergei will be all right, but will need to rest for one to two weeks.

Looking back at his issues with Montréal, it’s clear why Sergei wishes to stay with the Nashville Predators. Not only has Nashville worked one-on-one with SK74, tweaking and fine-tuning his value, the club has become both a home and family to Sergei. Nashville has just begun polishing this diamond in the rough, and Sergei Kostitsyn wants to shine brighter.


Here’s a highlight video of today’s (15 May 2012) IIHF tournament games. You can see Sergei’s goal against Canada at the beginning of the video.

Predators seek Ice Time in IIHF World Championship

Roman Josi will hit the ice with Team Switzerland.

The playoffs and hopes of a Stanley Cup in Nashville are over for the Predators, but for some of the players, a chance at a championship isn’t quite over. As teams have slowly but surely been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, NHL players have been packing up and heading to Europe to compete with their country’s national team for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Yevgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) quickly joined up with Team Russia once eliminated, along with notable Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara joining Team Slovakia. Corey Perry (Anaheim), Duncan Keith (Chicago), Patrick Sharp (Chicago) and Alexandre Burrows (Vancouver) hopped aboard Team Canada, along with Jimmy Howard (Detroit) and Bobby Ryan (Anaheim) joining Team USA.

With sixteen countries represented, almost all have some support from an NHL player, minus France, Latvia, Italy, and Kazakhstan. If you’d like to check out who’s representing who, check out the IIHF website. However, since being eliminated on Monday night by the Phoenix Coyotes, members of the Nashville Predators have been stepping up for their respected national teams and continuing their time on the ice.

The rookies have proven they aren’t ready for off-season, with defenseman Roman Josi jumping on board with Team Switzerland and forward Craig Smith joining Team USA. Martin Erat is in the works with joining Team Czech Republic, along with Andrei and Sergei negotiating with Team Belarus. More Predators players are suspected to join their respected countries as the week goes on.

The IIHF World Championship tournament is going on now until May 20th, in both Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.

Update: Just as we expected, another Predator has joined the IIHF for the World Championship. Patric Hornqvist has hopped on board with Team Sweden. We will keep you updated as new players join their country’s team.