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.

 

Preds Finally Score; Fall to Islanders 3-1

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Positive news! Nashville earned their first goal since defeating the Colorado Avalanche two games ago!
Negative news! The Predators lost to the New York Islanders for the first time (in regulation) since April of 2002!

So they lost, but they got a goal in there and didn’t receive their third goose egg in three consecutive games; I’ll take that. It’s not fun to watch your team struggle, especially when they are actually worth a damn… when they want to believe in themselves. I won’t go into the usual list-like rundown, but just the major highlights from Tuesday night’s game:

  • Marek Mazanec was given the green light as the starting goalie, his first in the NHL. Though Nashville lost 3-1, Mazanec blocked 24 of 26 shots on goal from the Islanders. For his first shot as a starter, Mazanec shook the nerves and proved his potential.
  • Both teams took the same number of shots on goal at the end with thirty-three. Unfortunately, New York was just a little luckier than Nashville.
  • David Legwand enjoys elbowing people, as he was called for two penalties within three minutes of each other in the 2nd Period.
  • Rich Clune did his usual enforcer act, picking up a major shared with duking partner Matt Martin.
  • Patric Hornqvist notched his fifth goal of the season and the only one of the night at 14:30 in the 3rd Period. After his elbowing fix, David Legwand picked up his 11th assist & Shea Weber collected his fourth overall.

So, after 6 games on this 17-day road trip, Nashville now sits at 2-4-0 with Pittsburgh the last stop before welcoming the Blackhawks to town on Saturday. Back-to-back games tend to hurt even the strongest of teams, so here’s a tried & true test for the Predators.

More than just a Goalie Problem: Preds Shutout Twice in a Row

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

There’s no question that Nashville misses Pekka Rinne, but is it really just an absent five-star goalie that is slowly digging the Predators into a deeper hole? Sorry, but it isn’t. As easy as it is to blame Pekka Rinne’s hip infection for the reason Nashville has been imploding, it’s not the whole truth.

There is no reason for me to go over the highlights of the Winnipeg & New Jersey games, due in part there weren’t any highlights (for Nashville, anyway). For a team the Predators skated past twice this season, a trip to Winnipeg was supposed to be a no brainer on this 17-day road trip. And that, my friends, is the kind of thinking that gets you killed; or, in this case, completely and utterly dominated 5-0. You could almost say that’s exactly what the Jets were hoping for when the Predators came strutting into Winnipeg. One possible highlight from that game? Marek Mazanec got his NHL debut after Carter Hutton was pulled after 8:23 of pure torture.

And, after the embarrassing outcome in Winnipeg, Nashville took a second beating in Newark, losing yet another 5-0 matchup. Carter Hutton was again given the go in goal, but just couldn’t keep the Devils from racking up the goals. And don’t think I’m targeting Hutton; oh no. This is not only goalie error, but defensive error, too. The reason Pekka Rinne is known affectionately as “The Eraser” is because he is constantly erasing Nashville’s defensive errors. Pekka just has a knack for picking up where the defense leaves off and poor Hutton just hasn’t mastered that strange ability yet. It’s not that Carter can’t stop goals, he just needs more help from his teammates, who have always slacked just a bit.

So what’s next? The Islanders, who haven’t beaten Nashville in regulation since 2002, are up next on the schedule then one last stop in Pittsburgh against the Penguins. Oh, and let me note that the last stop in Pittsburgh is back-to-back with a visit from the Chicago Blackhawks. No pressure, Preds.

One last thing: Check out this video of Rich Clune’s tussle with Winnipeg’s Adam Pardy. Blood.

Preds top Islanders; Jones nabs first NHL Goal

sethjonesSaturday was wedding day for us, but for all the other Preds fans out there, it was a day to celebrate. After a crushing 0-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, the Predators knew something had to change in order to not make that mistake again. And Nashville did not disappoint against the 2-1-1 New York Islanders. Here are the highlights from Saturdays game:

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Though no goals were collected for either side, Nashville took the reins and notched nine shots on goal to the Islanders’ four. However, similar to Nashville’s attempt on Toronto’s Bernier, Evgeni Nabokov just wasn’t letting the puck in the net.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Thanks to a boarding penalty given to Casey Cizikas against Eric Nystrom 51 seconds into the period, rookie Seth Jones was able to collect his first career NHL goal at 1:03 with a slapshot assisted by veterans David Legwand (1st assist) and Shea Weber (1st assist). You can watch the goal here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-Xaik3y_qA
  • The Islanders would respond at 12:39 with a snap shot past Pekka Rinne from Frederik Nielsen for his second goal of the season.
  • New York would jump ahead of the Predators at 15:28 with a wrist shot from John Tavares, his third goal of the season. For those interested, Tavares is also an amateur dentist. On Friday night, he didn’t even hesitate to yank out his own tooth after taking a puck to the face. Here’s a lovely .gif, if you don’t believe me (you may have to click on it to get it to go, but fair warning):

toothYea, we couldn’t help but put that in here.

  • Late in the second period, at 19:07, Patric Hornqvist tied up the game with a wrister for his first goal of the season. Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis picked up the assist.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMZN-Bi0shs

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Ryan Ellis would seal the deal for Nashville at 3:23 with his first goal of the season. Matt Cullen (2nd assist) and Craig Smith (2nd assist) would pick up the assists on the game winning goal.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1P5kqws1qA

Was it because Viktor Stalberg jumped off the IR so quickly or maybe Gabriel Bourque’s return that boosted some Preds pride? We aren’t sure, but Stalberg’s offensive presence may have played a deciding factor in Saturday’s game. Both teams were given two powerplay chances, but surprisingly, Seth Jones was the only one able to capitalize on the opportunity (which is good for Nashville anytime).

The Predators welcome in the 2-4-0 Florida Panthers tomorrow, who are a little down in the dumps after getting shutout by the L.A. Kings 3-0 yesterday. But remember, the Predators lost to the Panthers during two of their preseason games (6 to 3, then 3 to 2 in OT).

But, let’s leave this post on an interesting side (wait, the Tavares tooth pull wasn’t good enough?); how about Ryan Ellis taking on new Predator, Eric Nystrom? Yes, little Ryan Ellis put up his dukes against Eric Nystrom, who was then with the Dallas Stars. Here’s the video:

We are sure there isn’t any bad blood left.