Preparing for Game 5

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Game 5 is upon us, ladies and gents and from here on out, it’s do or die for the Nashville Predators if they intend on hoisting that big silver Cup in the end.

I am not going to go into what the Predators need to do to win tonight (and those two other possible games); no, we know and the players, coaches, and whatnot know, too. It’s just a matter of getting the job done. Scott Darling is not invincible; he truly is all that has stood between the Predators and taking Round One. Chicago should be kissing his feet right about now because, without him, they’d be facing a quick exit out of the playoffs themselves.

Here’s what’s been happening since Tuesday/Wednesday’s Game 4:

  • Yesterday afternoon, the Predators recalled nine players from Milwaukee. No need to panic, everyone; this is not regular season so there is an unlimited amount of players you can have on a roster. Some may see some ice time, but really, they are just here for emergencies and/or experience. The players chosen? Joe Piskula, Rich Clune, Marek Mazanec, Magnus Hellberg, Anthony Bitetto, Johan Alm, Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, and Viktor Arvidsson.
  • No surprise, the Blackhawks have chosen to go with Scott Darling as their starter for tonight’s game.
  • No need to panic – Kris Martel quickly reported that Wilson did show up to the locker room looking fine.

  • Speaking of those participating in practice…

    Though Fisher was a game time decision Tuesday (and didn’t play), knowing that he’s back out there again is a good sign. Also, long time no see, Eric Nystrom! Though I am doubtful of his magical return for tonight’s game, his presence brings hope.

  • Anaheim becomes the first team to advance to the second round, sweeping the Winnipeg Jets. However, Jets fans stood tall with the sinking ship, giving their team an affable standing ovation for a tremendous season.

  • The Ottawa Senators live to see another day game, shutting down the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 last night.

I have been on edge all day so far and I hope you have been, too. The love for hockey is crazy like that, I guess. It’s going to be deafening in the Bridgestone Arena tonight; I hope you got your tickets. To say this game is huge for either team is an insane understatement.

Go Preds.

 

Only a Day Away…

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As the image above suggests, tomorrow begins the pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup and on the agenda? Ottawa at Montreal, Islanders at Washington, Calgary at Vancouver, and Chicago at Nashville.

It’s been two years since the Predators and Nashville have seen playoff hockey and there are a ton of new faces (both player and fan-wise) that will see an entirely new side of the game they’ve come to love. Here’s a few things that have been happening around the rink & then some:

  • The World is a Stage –
    Despite many claiming that the Predators will be “twisting” the National Anthem to thwart Blackhawks fans, they actually have been doing this for quite a few games now; nothing new, guys. What will they be doing, you ask? Simply having the crowd sing the National Anthem instead of a performer; that’s it. No “God Bless America” or what have you, just some good ole mono a mono American harmonizing… or lack thereof. So, if you are coming to Game 1 tomorrow, gargle some salt water and practice your “Do, Re, Mi”, because there’s good chance you’ll have to drown out some obnoxious hollering.
  • Return of the Kane –
    After suffering a broken clavicle back on February 24th, Patrick Kane has announced he will be suiting up for Game 1 tomorrow night. Chicago didn’t suffer as badly as many fans would’ve thought during Kane’s absence as they finished 10-4-1 without him. However, though Kane’s return really doesn’t scathe the Nashville bench, it will pose a bit of a threat.
  • Bring ‘Em On [Up] –
    With injuries starting to increase, Nashville has had to make a few recalls from the Milwaukee Admirals to adjust. Two players to make the recall list just in time for the playoffs are defenseman Joe Piskula and forward-favorite, Kevin Fiala. Piskula, who was signed on a one-year contract over the summer, has one game under his belt this season for Nashville, and likewise for Fiala (who was drafted this season). This could be a turning point for both men, as strength and tenacity shown during key battles (like the playoffs) always strike a [good] cord. Update – Piskula will not have a chance at the NHL playoffs, as he has just been reassigned to Milwaukee. What a bummer, man. So, here’s to you, Kevin Fiala!
  • Not quite IR Level –
    Let’s see… Mike Fisher (lower-body), Cody Franson (upper-body), and Eric Nystrom (lower-body). So the count isn’t as high as it has been in the recent past, but we’re beginning to wonder at least about Nystrom and his injury. Of course, Ellis’s recovery was never discussed when he was out for that extended period of time, so nothing to see here; just still day-to-day. Both Fisher and Franson were at practice today, though Franson donned a “no contact” white jersey. There’s a good chance Fisher may be back for tomorrow’s game, or at the least Friday.
  • Peks (and so forth) on Point –
    It’s hard to argue against Pekka Rinne’s excellence in goaltending, but all things must come to an end eventually. No, I am not saying Rinne is in the downside of his career by any means, but it is no secret the rest of the team (and fans) rely on the Finnish Phenom a little too heavily at times & Lord knows he isn’t perfect. With the defense on the slide as of late (and Pekka still recovering from the effects of – you know – e. coli in his reconstructed hip),  Rinne has let a few escape by him that he’d otherwise put a stop to before it could even leave the stick. In order to push the Blackhawks aside and move forward in the playoffs, both the defense and Rinne are going to need to be on point. With Patrick Kane’s return, there’s even smaller room for error as that kid is known for pinpointing weaknesses – be it on the goaltender or some other blunder – and he will eat well beyond his fill.

Surprise! The whole world is against the Predators… again. Of course, after a lovely six-game losing streak to end the season & completely letting the Central Division slip through their hands, it’s easy to see why the hype over the team we’ve held dear to has come crashing down. That’s fine – let those who follow the bandwagon push on elsewhere. As the national treasure Tracy Lawrence once (probably continues to) sang:

“Everybody wants to slap your back,
Wants to shake your hand
When you’re up on top of that mountain.
But let one of those rocks give way,
Then you slide back down,
Look up and see who’s around then”

Yea, that’s how it usually goes with the Predators and Nashville needs to feed off of that and put some momentum behind their skates. They are the perpetual underdogs who had an outstanding season and kind of sort of blew it in the latter half. All teams go through ruts, right? Ah, but Nashville’s ruts always seem to be a little more heavier than say, Pittsburgh or Chicago. It’s a stigma they’ll probably carry for the rest of their existence as an organization – a non-traditional team on the march to contend with the big boys. And, for those who are not native to Tennessee reading this post, uh… just as a head’s up: Pretty sure Calgary says “yee-haw” about 100% more times than we ever would. In fact, no one says it here so… stop. Ask Dallas about that saying; it’s more of a Texas thing anyway.

So, cheers to the first round of the playoffs and may the best team move onward to Lord Stanley’s silver Cup. And by best team, I mean the Predators.

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Preds Recall Kevin Fiala

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

After recalling defenseman Joe Piskula on Friday, the Predators announced that fellow Admiral, Kevin Fiala would be making the trip to Nashville. Fiala joined the team for today’s practice, along with recently injured Mike Fisher. All players were accounted for during practice except for both Cody Franson and Eric Nystrom.

The Predators and Blackhawks begin the battle for the Stanley Cup this Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena. Though Nashville has taken as many steps as possible to avoid an overflow of “red” in the arena, methinks it’ll still be pretty… ugly in there.

Roster – Preseason vs. Lightning

c3c4736eda313461a153118a09e33706Earlier this afternoon, the Predators released who will be hitting the ice tomorrow night for the first preseason game on home ice.

DEFENSE:

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On Defense: Roman Josi, Shea Weber, Johan Alm, Joe Piskula, Mattias Ekholm, and Anton Volchenkov.

FORWARDS:
PicMonkey CollageqList of Forwards: Eric Nystrom, Austin Watson, Calle Jarnkrok, Filip Forsberg, Gabriel Bourque, Kevin Fiala, Paul Gaustad, Olli Jokinen, James Neal, Taylor Beck, Vanilla Ice Mike Ribeiro, and Rich Clune.

GOALTENDERS:
PicMonkey Collage2Goalies: Pekka Rinne and Marek Mazanec.

Noticeable players taking the night off are:
– Colin Wilson, who collected an assist on Filip Forsberg’s wrister.
– Derek Roy, who assisted in Craig Smith’s goal.
– Craig Smith, who picked up a goal in yesterday’s game in Tampa Bay.

Schedule: Preds Training Camp

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Hola! Long time, no read! Eh, I’ll be back to posting a ton more once the season starts, so please bear with me. Now that Rookie Camp is over and done, it’s time for the big boys to return to town and get ready for the all important official start to they 2014-15 NHL season! Training camp began this morning at Centennial Sportsplex, but was not open to the public. Tomorrow, on the other hand, and the following days will be open to the public for your viewing pleasure (and beneficial for optimal lunch hour hockey time). Here is the on-ice schedule to follow in order to get your maximum hockey allowance before pre-season begins *gasp* next Tuesday.

Friday, September 19th:
– 8:45AM – 10AM
– 10:45AM – 12PM
– 12:45PM – 2PM

Saturday, September 20th:
– 8:45AM – 10AM
– 10:45AM – 12PM
– 12:45PM – 2PM

Sunday, September 21st:
– 10:30AM – 11:30AM
– Scrimmage @ 12PM
Monday, September 22nd:
– 9:45AM – 11:15AM
– 11:45AM – 1:15PM

Tuesday, September 23rd:
– 11AM – 12:15PM
6:30PM – @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Wednesday, September 24th:
– 10:45AM – 12:15PM
– 12:45PM – 2:15PM

Friday, September 26th:
– 9:45AM – 11:15AM
– 11:45AM – 1:15PM

Tuesday, September 30th – Friday, October 3rd:
– 11AM

Team White:

  • Defense – Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Joe Piskula, Jaynen Rissling, Anthony Bietto, Jimmy Oligny
  • Goalies – Magnus Hellberg, Rob Madore
  • Forwards – Olli Jokinen, Filip Forsberg, Calle Jarnkrok, Paul Gaustad, Viktor Stalberg, Brendan Leipsic, Viktor Arvidsson, Joe Pendenza, Justin Kirkland, Mikka Salomaki, Zach Budish, Jon Puskar

Team Silver:

  • Defense – Anton Volchenkov, Taylor Aronson, Victor Bartley, Mike Little, Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, Aaron Irving
  • Goalies – Pekka Rinne, Devin Williams
  • Forwards – Tristan Grant, Eric Nystrom, James Neal, Pontus Aberg, Gabriel Bourque, Tommy Veilleux, Mike Ribeiro, Felix Girard, Matthew Campagna, Colton Sissons

Team Blue:

  • Defense – Mattias Ekholm, Seth Jones, Johan Alm, Garrett Noonan, Brian Lee, Mikko Vainonen
  • Goalies – Carter Hutton, Marek Mazanec
  • Forwards – Craig Smith, Matt Cullen, Rich Clune, Derek Roy, Mark Van Guilder, Colin Wilson, Frederick Gaudreau, Josh Shalla, Austin Watson, Michael Liambas, Kevin Fiala

If you’ve never attended a training camp before and you don’t see your favorite player on the ice in the allotted time slot your chose to show up at, don’t panic; unless it’s Ryan Ellis (that deal is still floating in the atmosphere somewhere). No, there’s no need to panic. There will be different players in each time-slot, so you may see James Neal at 10:45AM – 12:15PM, but not at the 12:45PM – 2:15PM slot. Another thing to remember if you’ve never been is to arrive early. Centennial Sportsplex is bigger than the Ford Ice Center, but it’s no Bridgestone Arena. If you have little ones that want to be up against the glass (or you yourself), pack a brunch and get your booty to West End.