Hitting the Market: Jordin Tootoo declines Offer from Preds

Is this Jordin Tootoo’s Swan Song in Nashville?

The city of Nashville hosted its Sportsfest at the Nashville Convention Center yesterday, bring some of the greatest names in sports to speak. But for Predators fans, the conference involving Brent Peterson and Pete Weber peaked the most interest.

Peterson made some interesting comments including the possibility of bringing back Hal Gill, the “60/40 chance” of Ryan Suter re-signing with the team, and his thoughts on Erik Karlsson winning the Norris Trophy over Shea Weber (not favoring Karlsson, of course). However, one particular subject perked just about every ear in the convention center, hockey fan or not.

When asked about Jordin Tootoo, Brent Peterson stated that the Predators offered the popular enforcer a “sizable” three-year contract, but declined and is expected to hit the market on July 1st. After his tear-jerking speech from his ‘Tootoo on 2’ finale, stating that Nashville is his home and he wants to bring the Stanley Cup to the city, many fans couldn’t fathom as to why he would turn down a decent offer to stay.

Perhaps Tootoo has been getting some ideas from Ryan Suter. However, besides being teammates, that’s where their similarities stop. Ryan Suter has value on the market and teams are willing to drop what he wants for his rights. Not that no one would want Toots, but if he is thinking he can get more from another team, he might be gravely mistaken. Sure, some team will pay him well, possibly more than what Nashville offered him, but will this new team be as tolerant to his behavior as Nashville has?

We aren’t saying Toots will make another run for rehab, but what if he does? Will this new team stand behind him through thick and thin like Nashville has? Welp, there’s only one way to find out and that’s exactly the road he’s heading down.

Don’t panic, Tootoo fans; Until Jordin officially signs with another team, don’t count it all as lost. Unlike Ryan Suter, we think Tootoo will return this upcoming season in Predators gold. Though “sizable” to us means a good deal, in all honesty, it could mean anything so Toots could be holding out for a better deal.

We can only hope what he said in that final ‘Tootoo on 2’ was the truth and that he wants to bring the Stanley Cup home to Nashville.

Predators put on the Pressure, Coyotes Advance to Western Conference Finals

Wilson was ready in practice on Sunday and proved himself on Monday night.

It was do or die time for the Predators as they stepped out onto the ice in Phoenix on Monday night. Desperation was the main play and collecting goals was the idea. However, with Commissioner Bettman wringing his hands at the thought of selling off the Coyotes, the Predators would need just about everything to fall correctly into place. Unfortunately, even after doing everything they could, including out-shooting the Coyotes, the Predators just couldn’t muster past Phoenix to press on. Although the odds did not fall into the Predators’ favor, Nashville still kicked butt and took names like the team Nashville is used to seeing. Here are the highlights from last night’s series and post-season ender:

KEY POINTS:

  • After the loss on Friday night, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were back in the line up, benching the bruised and beaten Jordin Tootoo and Matt Halischuk. Jack Hillen took to the pre-game warmups, but enviably sat on the scratched list with Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, and Craig Smith.
  • The Coyotes struck first, with Derek Morris notching his first goal of the playoffs at 3:54 in the 2nd Period. As with this entire series, the first team to score won.
  • Phoenix would jump up 2-0 over the Predators at 15:09 with a wrist shot passed Pekka from Martin Hanzal. Hanzal’s goal was his 3rd of the post season.
  • Nashville would pressure the goal hard, keeping the puck, for the most part, in front of Mike Smith. It seemed, though, that no matter what the Predators did, the odds just weren’t in their favor last night (nor the refs…). Colin Wilson, who recently bumped Sergei Kostitsyn from the top line of Fisher and Erat, was the only Predator to slip one passed Mike Smith at 14:01 in the 3rd Period. Although his first goal of the post season, had he spent more time on the ice in the playoffs, we are positive Wilson would have had more. David Legwand (3rd Assist) and Ryan Suter (3rd Assist) picked up the assists on Willy’s goal.
  • The Predators never seem to do well when they out-shoot their opponent, which was the case for last night as Nashville out-shot Phoenix 33 to 17. With every close call, the Predators just couldn’t knock out the relentless Mike Smith.
  • The Predators were given plenty of power play opportunities as well (four), but just couldn’t get a grip around one. In Nashville’s favor, the Predators only gave the Coyotes one power play, with Roman Josi taken an interference penalty at 4:19 in the 2nd Period.

The Predators battled hard, but with fatal mistakes and terrible calls, both made and missed, making it passed Round 2 just wasn’t in the cards this year for Nashville. Although favored heavily to make it to the Western Conference final, Nashville just couldn’t catch a break in this series. The Predators had a tremendous 2011-12 season and notched a few franchise records along the way. To say the Predators “flopped” or “failed” is not optional, for Nashville defied the odds of an extraordinary hockey club in a non-traditional hockey market yet again.

Win or lose, we stand proudly behind the Nashville Predators.

With the advancement to the Western Conference finals, the Phoenix Coyotes will take on the L.A. Kings once the Capitals/Rangers series ends (possibly) tomorrow night. The New Jersey Devils surpassed the Philadelphia Flyers about an hour ago to move on to the Eastern Conference final.

The memories we gained from this past season and post season are once in a lifetime and we are proud to stand behind our Nashville Predators. Lady Preds will continue to post news and information throughout the off-season, so keep checking in!

Until October,
GO PREDS.

Preds gain Momentum in Game 3, Fall Hard in Game 4

The Game Ops Department really stepped up for Round 2

After A. Kostitsyn and Radulov’s curfew incident, it would be up to the rest of the team to take the reins and prove to the NHL world that, even though some of their players aren’t taking the playoffs seriously, there are others who are willing to step up and earn their place on the ice. Lady Preds has had a busy weekend, so we apologize for not having Wednesday and Friday’s games up earlier, but we shall condense them both into one post for your viewing pleasure. Here are the highlights from Game 3 and Game 4 in Nashville.

GAME 3 – WEDNESDAY NIGHT:

  • For their first game at home for Round 2 against Phoenix, Nashville’s Game Ops department really stepped up to amp up the fans. With laser etchings of the Predators logos, a catfish, the players numbers and even signatures, it was hard not to be completely mesmerized. Here’s a video of it shot by a fan:
  • With AK46 and Rads suspended for the night, two hungry bench-warmers got the chance to prove themselves on the ice Wednesday night. Those two? None other than Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo. Although we wouldn’t deem Hali a bench-warmer, he has been sitting out a few games due to an ailing injury. Tootoo, on the other hand, has been warming the bench during the playoffs, so proving his worth and not losing focus was key for the enforcer. Also getting another shot on the ice was Mr. Controversy himself, Colin Wilson. Brian McGrattan, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis topped out the scratched list.
  • David Legwand took advantage of a scoring opportunity at 8:10 in the 1st, notching his 3rd goal of the playoffs. Gabriel Bourque (2nd Assist) picked up the lone assist on Leggy’s wrister past Mike Smith.
  • Mike Fisher would counter Legwand’s goal at 9:16 of the 1st, grabbing his first goal of the playoffs thus far. Sergei Kostitsyn (1st Assist) and Martin Erat (3rd Assist) picked up the assists.
  • Nashville would hold the 2-0 lead over Phoenix in both the second and the third periods, giving the Predators their first playoff win in this series against the Coyotes. David Legwand tried pressing the Predators further with a second goal of his own, but the goal was inevitably ruled as an “intent to blow” call.
  • Nashville took control of the game defensively, with Pekka Rinne blocking all 32 shots on goal, his first shutout of the 2012 playoffs. The Predators gave the Coyotes four power play chances, but Nashville’s defense stepped up when needed and held Phoenix at bay to seal the win. Here are the four penalty offenders:
  1. Mike Fisher – 11:04 1st Period – Interference
  2. David Legwand – 15:39 1st Period – Hooking
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 12:59 3rd Period – Hooking
  4. Martin Erat – 14:18 3rd Period – Tripping
  • Interesting note: Although all four players took 2 minutes in the penalty box, each man collected a point in the game winner for the Preds.
  • The Predators proved that a snide incident involving two irresponsibly players would not phase them while fighting for the Stanley Cup. However, Nashville would have to come out with the same intensity on Friday to keep them from falling deeper into the hole…
GAME 4 – FRIDAY NIGHT:

  •  After a stellar performance on Wednesday night, it was obvious why Coach Barry Trotz did not put Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn back in the lineup. However, would Phoenix expect this out of Trotz and anticipate Nashville’s every move? From its outcome, it looks as if Nashville fell right into Phoenix’s trap, which was for the Predators to come out and play the exact same way on Wednesday.
  • After getting bruised and beaten on Wednesday, Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo took the place of AK46 and Radulov once again, with both players showing great determination on Wednesday. Colin Wilson also came out, once again, proving his puck-handling skills are worth the ice time. Jack Hillen, Brian McGrattan, Ryan Ellis, and Craig Smith continued on the scratched list.
  • Paul Gaustad and Kyle Chipchura dropped the gloves in the first period, with the announcers originally calling Gaustad as Kevin Klein. Here is the video of the two knuckle heads:
  • Rostislav Klesla wasted no time pummeling the Predators, sending already bruised and beaten Matt Halischuk violently into the boards. Klesla was only given a minor penalty of 2 minutes, but Brendan Shanahan ruled this afternoon that Klesla will be suspended for one game (Game 5) due to his unsportsmanlike hit. Luckily, Halischuk was not seriously injured. The video of the hit is below, but you can check out Shanahan’s take on the hit here.
  • Coyotes captain Shane Doan would scored shortly after Klesla’s hit on Halischuk at 14:52, his third goal of the playoffs.
  • At one point during the third period, Nashville was able to slip the puck past Mike Smith for a goal, but in true NHL referee fashion, the goal was waved off due to an “intention to blow” call. This is the second consecutive goal that has been waved off for Nashville due to this “unbelievable” call. Although completely overrun in the first period, the Predators pressured hard in the second and third periods, but were unable to slip past the Coyotes defense.
  • Nashville out-shot Phoenix by one (25 to 24), but even with all the potential chances the Predators were given, Nashville just wasn’t able to pull one out. It also did not help that Phoenix was out to weaken the Predators, pummeling them left and right into the boards.
  • Both Nashville and Phoenix had the same amount of power play chances at three, but neither team was able to capitalize on their advantage. Here are the three Predators offenders of the first period:
  1. Jordin Tootoo – 1:30 1st Period – Interference
  2. Paul Gaustad – 10:00 1st Period – Fighting
  3. Gabriel Bourque – 15:55 1st Period – Slashing

Although coming out with an intensity that can only be described as Predators hockey on Wednesday night, Nashville’s flame completely burned out on Friday, not what the Predators needed in order to contend for the Cup. It was clear Phoenix was completely and utterly prepared for Nashville to play the exact same way they did on Wednesday, which is one of the major flaws in the way Barry Trotz coaches. Now, don’t get us wrong, Trotz is an outstanding coach… in the regular season. However, teams anticipate opponents to fall to familiarity, and Nashville did just that on Friday night. They played it safe and kept the same lineups and plays as Wednesday, giving Phoenix the completely advantage. The one change that was noted was that SK74 was bumped from the star lineup and replaced with Colin Wilson. And, a question we ask, why wasn’t Paul Gaustad in the face-offs? With the highest winning percentage, why did he not get first choice in face-offs?

We could ask questions like these all day until our faces turn blue, but what ultimately matters now is that the Predators stitch themselves back up, change it up a bit, and come out swinging in Glendale tomorrow night. With the Stanley Cup on the line, if Nashville is as hunger as they think they are, tomorrow will not even be a factor.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Radulov & A. Kostitsyn Suspended for Team Violation

Don't make that face! You got caught red-handed, mister!

As you may have all heard by now (yes, we are way behind on relaying this message), forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn have been suspended for Game 3 of the series between Nashville and Phoenix on Wednesday, after violating team rules late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

General Manager David Poile laid the hammer down hard on the two Eastern European players, extending this message to both the press and public:
“The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centered around doing the right things,” Poile said. “We have always operated with a team-first mentality and philosophy. Violating team rules is not fair to our team and their teammates.”

Per sources who know of the issues, Radulov and A. Kostitsyn were seen in Scottsdale, Arizona (about 45 minutes away from Glendale, AZ) at a bar and were there as late as 4AM. The team has a strict policy on “party hardying” and it is clear why the two drove that far to go to a bar: they didn’t want to get caught.

Both Radulov and A. Kostitsyn have been notable in the playoffs thus far for the Predators, with Alexander notching one goal and five assists and AK46 three goals and one assist. Although Radulov’s puck-handling will be missed, AK46 could possibly be the thorn in Nashville’s side on Wednesday night.

With Radulov and Andrei out of the lineup, who will be their replacements?
Don’t get too nervous, there are plenty of guys biting at the tooth to get some playoff ice time.

JORDIN TOOTOO:
Here’s one guy that’s definitely been itching for more ice time; he’s been pretty vocal about it as of late. If Toots can manage to keep a level head, his physicality could come in handy against the pesky Coyotes. However, there’s a reason Toots has taken a back seat and, although he’s worked hard during practices, his silly mistakes could prove fatal to the Predators with the series so close to being handed to Phoenix.

MATT HALISCHUK:
Halischuk is what we call a “silent assassin”.  Although not a popular, well-known player, Matt Halischuk has made a name for himself and found a permanent home on Predators ice. Halischuk averaged 15 goals and 13 assists in the 2011-12 season, saving the Predators with a few of those moves. However, Hally’s been a  bit quiet in this post season, but he has been nursing an injury.

CRAIG SMITH:
Rookie Craig Smith has had a good mixture of awesome and complete atrocious moments, but the boy is a good hockey player all around. Craig averaged 14 goals and 22 assists in the 2011-12 season, which is pretty impressive for a rookie. Craig hasn’t seen much ice time during the playoffs thus far, but has managed to sneak in an assist so far. However, Smith is a speedster and has proven by showing a little aggression out on the ice, both attributes the Predators could use at this time in the series.

There is simply no excuse for the actions both Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn committed on Saturday night. Some would just brush it off as two young, 20-somethings looking for a good time after taking their first loss, but rules are rules and both David Poile and Barry Trotz were not afraid to put their foot down, risky playoff move or not.

It’s never good to defy your team and teammates at any time, but during such a pivotal point in a series that could end your run at the Stanley Cup is NOT the best time to drink your cares away (especially when there’s a game the next day).

With punishment, maybe Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov will realize that their team, teammates, and fans take this series very seriously and would appreciate that, no matter how old and rambunctious they are, they are professional athletes that should act as such.   

Just chalk this mistake up as another thorn in Nashville’s side as they fight to regain their footing towards the Stanley Cup.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Nashville finds Strength in Detroit; Predators Win 3-2

Take that, Klein haters!

Game 3 of the Detroit/Nashville series started bright and early today with the puck dropping at 11AM; the first game scheduled for the day.

Nashville struggled Friday night on home ice, losing to Detroit 3-2 in regulation and tying the series 1-1. With two games down in Nashville, it was time for the Predators to head north to the Motor City to throw-down in the Joe. However, the Predators last visit in Detroit bounced in their favor, wiping out the Red Wings 4-1. Needless to say, the Predators aren’t afraid of Detroit and its fans, but would it be enough to erase the power play issues from Friday? Here are the highlights from today’s game in Detroit:

KEY POINTS:

  • Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen, Chet Pickard, Brian McGrattan, and Hal Gill rounded up the scratched list for Game 3, but one surprise was the scratch of Matt Halischuk. In replace of Hali, Jordin Tootoo hit the ice, along with rookie Ryan Ellis.
  • Good thing Shea Weber feeds positively off of negativity, for he sealed the first goal of the game at 2:48 on the power play for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Every time Weber’s stick would touch the puck, a cascade of “boos” would float amongst the crowd, but Weber quickly silenced them. Andrei Kostitsyn (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (2nd assist) picked up the assists on Weber’s silencer.
  • Kevin Klein would pick up a goal of his own at 3:50 in the 2nd Period, his first of the playoffs after scoring only four during the season. Martin Erat picked up his first assist of the playoffs, also the first point acquired by the top line of SK74-Marty-Fisher.
  • Pavel Datsyuk would finally get Detroit’s ball rolling at 15:03 with a wrap-around goal passed Pekka Rinne. This was Datsyuk’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Johan Franzen stopped the hearts of millions watching when he was able to slip the puck by Pekka Rinne, essentially tying the game with under a second left in the 2nd Period. The goal was reviewed and it was clear the clock had run out just milliseconds before passing Pekka, rendering it no good. Whew!
  • Sergei Kostitsyn would sink the third goal for the Predators at 16:30 with a clean snap shot passed Jimmy Howard. Mike Fisher picked up his first assist and point of the playoffs along with Kevin Klein (1st assist) on SK74’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would leave fans biting their nails at 19:06 when he was able to put the Red Wings within one of tying the game with Nashville on the power play, but the Predators defense would prove impenetrable, holding the Wings at bay until the final horn sounded to end the game.
  • Call this the Series of the Penalties! Twelve penalties in all, with six penalties for each team, giving both Detroit and Nashville equal power play opportunities. Unlike Friday, Nashville was finally able to snag a power play goal, but Detroit was able to snag one as well. Pointless penalty of the day came from Jordin Tootoo, who was called for roughing after pushing on Henrik Zetterberg. If you’re going to take a penalty, at least get a few swings in first! Here are the other Predators who took some time to reflect in the box:
  1.  David Legwand – 12:53 1st Period – Tripping
  2. Jordin Tootoo – 1:21 2nd Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand (served by Patric Hornqvist) – 14:33 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Mike Fisher – 17:46 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Sergei Kostitsyn – 19:49 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  6. David Legwand – 18:23 3rd Period – Holding
  • Pekka Rinne blew Detroit away in usual fashion, blocking 41 of 43 shots on goal. Nashville lacked on the shots on net, only attempting 22, but the accuracy was much better and Howard just wasn’t expecting to be taken out on his own ice.
  • Kevin Klein stepped up today, gaining an assist and a goal, only his 2nd playoff goal of his career. Both Kostitsyn brothers picked up points, with Andrei gaining an assist and Sergei collecting a goal. The top line all finally found a groove, with Fisher and Erat both gaining assists and, again, SK74 with a goal. 
The Predators came out swinging in the first period, but the second and third periods left us biting our nails down to the quick. However, a win’s a win and we will take it, especially when it is up in Motown. This win was actually Nashville’s first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history. As “Not Paul Gaustad” said on Twitter:

Follow @PaulsStick on Twitter

The Predators stay in Detroit until Tuesday, taking on the sea of Red at 6:30PM. Although the defense has been doing pretty well thus far, if Hal Gill can return by Tuesday, we believe there’s no stopping Nashville from taking this series.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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

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

KEY POINTS:

  • 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,
GO PREDS

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

Predators unable to Shake the Blues, Fall 3-0

Pekka Rinne goes to stop the puck before St. Louis could score again.

St. Louis already has their playoff spot clinched, but the Predators only need one more point to capture a spot of their own. The only team standing in their way, of course, is the leader of the Central Division, the St. Louis Blues. Nashville has actually made a good standing against the Blues this season, only losing once 3-2 in a shootout back on February 23rd. In the previous three games, the Predators were able get the best of St. Louis.

Only one game stood between the Predators and a playoff spot (and Barry Trotz’s 500th win). Were the Predators able to knock off the reining champs of the division? Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:

KEY POINTS:

  • Although he practiced this morning with the team, Martin Erat remained on the scratched list this evening in St. Louis. Colin Wilson, however, has recovered from his groin injury and joined the lineup once again. Roman Josi, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and as expected, Jordin Tootoo rounded up the scratched list.
  • Neither team was able to score in the first period, but Nashville came out strong with the shots, out-shooting St. Louis 8 to 6. However, both Brian Elliot and Pekka Rinne were light on their feet, blocking some key shots on goal.
  • St. Louis built momentum off their home crowd in the second period and were finally able to capitalize on the chaos at 6:35 with a snap shot from Jamie Langenbrunner (6th goal of the season), putting the Blues up 1-0 over the Predators.
  • With St. Louis only up by one point going into the 3rd, the Predators had prime opportunities to tie up the game or surpass the Blues. However, St. Louis continued to control the puck over the Predators, with a goal from David Perron at 4:47, his 17th goal of the season.
  • So after Perron’s goal, it looked as if the Blues would take it a little further with a third goal from T.J. Oshie, but the goal was waved off, due to Pekka being pushed into the net. To be honest, it should have been ruled a goal, but the Predators were able to bite the bullet on that call.
  • Oshie must have taken offense to the ref’s call, for at 16:00 he snuck a back-hander behind Pekka to put the Blues up 3-0 (his 19th goal of the season). The Predators would push hard to at least sink one goal, but Brian Elliot was just too fast and accurate for the Predators to sneak one by.
  • The Blues and the Predators were even with shots, but it was clear who had control of the game the entire time. The Blues stole way too many passes from the Predators, making Nashville look like pee wee hockey team compared to the team that destroyed the Blackhawks on Sunday night. Brian Elliot is a beast in his own, though; this shutout over the Predators gave him his third consecutive shutout (9th of the season).
  • There were only two penalties in the entire game, one on the Predators and one on the Blues. Alexander Radulov picked up a hooking penalty at 7:00 in the 2nd Period, but the Blues weren’t able to gain a goal from his mishap.

Not the game the Predators needed to lose, but the team has no time to sulk in misery. Luckily, the Blackhawks lost in a shootout against the New Jersey Devils, falling back a few steps, too. Although the Predators are not likely to face the St. Louis Blues to start off with in the playoffs, depending on how far they advance, they will eventually… and that’s nerve-wracking from a fan’s perspective. If only the Predators can channel the momentum they had against Chicago on Sunday and continue to play that way.

The Predators aren’t headed home just yet. Before taking on the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in Nashville, the Predators have to drop by Detroit one last time this season to face the Red Wings on Friday. Again, channeling Sunday’s game would be ideal. Barry needs his 500th.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Where has Jordin Tootoo’s Passion Gone?

Tootoo salutes the Nashville crowd after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks.

There’s no doubting who the most recognizable Nashville Predator is. Although Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Mike Fisher and Pekka Rinne are pretty familiar faces, there’s one player that everyone – even someone who’s never seen the Predators play – recognizes instantly: Jordin Tootoo.

Maybe it’s because he’s Nashville’s go-to fighter. Or, maybe, it’s because his last name is the same as his number (easiest player to remember). Either way, Jordin Tootoo is as popular as the day he joined the team back in the 2003-04 season. From the get-go, Toots was a born fighter, trying to make a name for himself in the league the best way he knew how. As the first Inuit hockey player to be drafted into the National Hockey League, Jordin Tootoo needed to be memorable. Oh, how far he’s come in these last eight years.

We won’t delve into Tootoo’s past (you have the ‘Tootoo on 2’ segments for that), but if you aren’t aware, Nashville’s Right Wing as fought a few demons in his young life, including alcohol abuse and his overall appearance and demeanor to the rest of the hockey world. Although loved and admired in Nashville as a strong community leader, the rest of the hockey world still see him as an inconsiderate punk of a player, not fit for society.

Despite these trials and tribulations, Jordin Tootoo’s passion for the game has never faltered, always keeping his game a top priority. After taking a step back to reflect and making the decision for rehab last season, Jordin Tootoo has not only improved mentally, but physically as well. He quickly surpassed his career-highs early in the season with 29 points and 23 assists this season. With so much tenacity and velocity, where did his passion suddenly fizzle out?

Jordin Tootoo’s last goal with the Predators was on December 28th at home against the Minnesota Wild, where the Predators won 2-1 in a shootout. Toots has accumulated many assists since then, with his last recorded assist on February 28th against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Since then, Jordin has seemed to be on the iffy side, making horrible passing mistakes and tacking up foolish penalties along the way.

Even though he one of the faces of the Nashville Predators, that one factor won’t save you from the bench and Jordin Tootoo found himself scratched last Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets, his first healthy scratch since, well, we can’t even give you an exact date. With younger guys such as Gabriel Bourque and Ryan Ellis playing with level heads and making cleaner, more accurate plays, Tootoo’s inconsistency had no room for ice time. That, and the recent return of Russian phenom, Alexander Radulov meant someone would be taking a seat in the press box.

Although he was back on the ice the next night against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was clear his frustration got the best of him, taking on the 6’2″ Left Wing, Brandon Bollig. Before the game, Tootoo had expressed his frustration of being scratched to the local news media, but due to his unfortunate loss to the Blackhawk, Toots will now find himself on the scratched list even more. During the fight, Bollig clocked Tootoo in the ear, causing it to bleed. Although we do not know the details of his injury, it was announced that he has an upper-body injury due to the punching match.

Since late January, Jordin Tootoo has been slowly losing steam, and last night’s fight looked as if he were merely trying to show off, not necessarily fight Bollig for a particular reason. There usually always an explaination for Tootoo’s fights, like this one, for example:


Toots took on Mark Fistric on January 5th in Dallas, their first meeting since Fistric put Shea Weber on the IR list with a concussion.

Whether it be an issue involving his personal life, or simply a fluke in his game, Jordin Tootoo has been suffering as of late, and both fans and opposing teams are starting to take notice. Depending on the severity of his upper-body injury, Jordin Tootoo could either spend the remainder of this regular season on the scratched list, or he could end up playing tomorrow against St. Louis.

We love Jordin Tootoo just as much as the next Predators fan, but it was about time someone brought to light the subject that everyone has been whispering about. Rumors of what has slowed Tootoo down have been circulating amongst the fans and others, but until the truth is presented directly from Jordin’s mouth, we won’t go into details of what those rumors were.

We don’t have any doubt Toots will rejoin the Predators organization next season, but hopefully the remainder of the regular season and playoff series will bring back the all-familiar Jordin Tootoo we all have come to love.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

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:
KEY POINTS:

  • 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,
GO PREDS.

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

Predators find a Groove, Nashville Wins 3-1 over Winnipeg

Andrei Kostitsyn during pre-game warmups.

The Predators have only met with the Winnipeg Jets since escaping Atlanta and the name Thrashers, but that was in the preseason on September 24th (the Predators won). The Jets have done fairly well this season, having their fair share of wins and losses. Currently sitting in 10th in the Eastern Conference, Winnipeg is only 5 points away from taking the 9th spot from the Washington Capitals and only 7 points from stepping passed the Buffalo Sabres to take the 8th spot, making them playoff eligible.

The Predators have been struggling as of late, losing two straight games against Edmonton and Pittsburgh and getting surpassed by Detroit for the 4th spot in the Western Conference. With a trip to Chicago and St. Louis looming in the week ahead, the Predators needed the right foothold to get back in the game and Winnipeg looked to be that essential step.
Here are the highlights from last night’s game against the Jets:

KEY POINTS:

  • With Alexander Radulov back in the lineup, a certain popular player had to take the night off. Jordin Tootoo joined the long list of healthy scratches, including Colin Wilson, Jack Hillen, Brian McGrattan, Roman Josi, and Craig Smith. With as well as some players have been performing lately, even the popular guys have to take a night off every now and then. We don’t expect Toots to be benched for long.
  • The 1st Period produced no goals, but both teams controlling the puck evenly. The Predators took 10 shots in the first, but Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec was able to keep Nashville back. On the same means, although only taking seven shots in the first period, Pekka Rinne was able to keep Winnipeg from taking the lead early.
  • Nashville would finally get the best of Pavelec, with a beautiful pass from Alexander Radulov, Matt Halischuk sent a slapshot cleanly into the net at 2:56 of the 2nd Period. Radulov picked up his first assist of the season along with Kevin Klein (14th assist) on Halischuk’s 13th goal of the season.
  • Speaking of Kevin Klein, he was able to make the save of the night, blocking the crease from what would have been a clean shot from Bryan Little. While Pekka was distracted by Andrew Ladd, Klein jumped in front of the net, blocking two shots from Little.
  • Gabriel Bourque would seal his 5th goal of the season with a backhanded goal at 10:01. Nick Spaling (10th assist) and Andrei Kostitsyn (16th assist) picked up the assists on the rookie’s goal.
  • Tim Stapleton would finally get Winnipeg on the board at 12:53 into the 3rd Period for his 11th goal of the season.
  • Shea Weber would sink his 15th goal of the season at 19:50 with an empty-netter, with an assist from Mike Fisher (24th assist) on the power play.
  • Nashville was able to out-shoot the Jets 28 to 25, with Pekka blocking all but one. Although Pekka Rinne has been a little iffy lately, allowing 12 goals in the last three games (definitely not a trait of the Finnish phenom). However, as many games as he plays, it was bound to happen eventually. Every game is played differently, so only tomorrow will tell his Pekka is getting back on his A-Game.
  • Like Thursday night’s game against Pittsburgh, the Predators didn’t give the Jets many penalty chances. Only Martin Erat took a penalty at 12:52 in the 2nd Period for hooking call. The Predators were able to capitalize on one of Winnipeg’s four penalties.

In the two games he’s played so far, Alexander Radulov has gained two points (a goal against the Penguins, an assist against Winnipeg). The fans seemed appreciative to have the Russian phenom back on the team, with the old rendition of “Panama” changed to “Radulov” playing over the speakers. And, with no surprise, the Predators gained their 22nd sellout of the season, thanks to help of many Atlanta Thrashers fans. It was confusing to tell who exactly they were cheering for, for some cheered for the Jets and others threw their jerseys on the ice, sporting Predators attire underneath. Were the Thrashers fans finally coming to terms with the loss of their team? Who knows.

The Predators have no time to relax with a win under their belt, for they are in Chicago tonight to take on the Blackhawks, who are chomping at the bit to pass the Predators for 5th place in the conference. The Blackhawks are only two points away from tying the Preds, so both teams need to be sharp tonight. The Blackhawks may have the upper-hand, not only because they are at home, but because they have won the last five games. But hey, the Predators could end that streak tonight, and as fans, we sure hope they do.

Until then,
GO PREDS.