Smith with Wild GWG in OT; Preds edge Jet 3-2

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Didn’t the Predators just play the Jets?
Oh yes, they did; and they won in Winnipeg 3-1. So, would the boys be able to capitalize over the former Atlanta Thrashers once again? Especially after the punishing loss in Minnesota on Tuesday? The home crowd always builds some much needed confidence, so here are the highlights from last night’s overtime game:

BEFORE THE GAME:

  • Late Wednesday afternoon, word started floating around that Magnus Hellberg, the 38th overall draftee (first goalie) in the 2011 NHL Draft and the current goalie for the Milwaukee Admirals, would be called up for the Thursday night game.
  • Carter Hutton took to practice on Tuesday, but Pekka Rinne was nowhere in sight, which got the ball rolling on speculations as to what was wrong with the Finnish Phenom.
  • Word was made official yesterday during a press conference with the media regarding Pekka’s condition. Feeling weak and with a high temperature, Rinne bowed out of practice and it was revealed that he has a spontaneous bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip.

Yikes. For any of us that have experience with hip surgeries (no, not me personally), you know that those kind of infections can be serious. Luckily for Peks, it was caught quickly and the medically staff he has access to will not allow the infection to spread by any means. So, in a nutshell, Pekka is out for a minimum of four weeks and it is up to the level-headed Carter Hutton to step up to the starting goalie plate.

  • Mike Fisher skated in practice yesterday, along with concussed Roman Josi. Though Roman is still not 100%, Fisher didn’t hesitate to jump back into the game last night. After his wife, Carrie Underwood accidentally revealed that his lower-body injury was indeed a foot fracture, we assume Mike decided it was time to shake it off and hit the ice. You can’t hate on Carrie for the accidentally slip; it happens sometimes in passing and, unfortunately, this one happened on Twitter were scoop-hungry media ate it right up.

First Period:

  • Shea Weber would get the ball rolling in favor of Nashville at 15:53 with a powerplay slapshot that Ondrej Pavelec just couldn’t wrap his mitts around. David Legwand (5th assist) and Filip Forsberg (3rd assist) picked up the assists in Weber’s third goal of the season.
  • Nashville would end the first period outshooting the Jets just 10 to 9, but Carter Hutton was well-prepared to prove he could backup Pekka Rinne.

Second Period:

  • Winnipeg would finally slip one around Hutton with a wrap-around from Anthony Peluso for his first goal of the season. The second period would end with both teams tied at 1.
  • Winnipeg attacked the puck during this period, outshooting Nashville 14 to 9. It was not surprising that at least one shot would inch past Hutton, but it was actually a sneaky one that did it.

Third Period:

  • Patric Horqnvist would hit a snap shot to put Nashville up again, this time 2-1 at 6:04 for his fourth goal of the season. Mike Fisher (4th assist) and Seth Jones (3rd assist) would nab the assists.
  • Blake Wheeler wouldn’t give up so easily, sending a wrister past Hutton at 16:59 to tie the game again.

Despite extreme effort, both teams were unable to end the regulation period with a game-winner, sending the game into OT.

Overtime:

  • Only two shots between each team was taken during overtime, and it was Craig Smith would was able to capitalize on his shot.
  • With only 17 seconds left in overtime, Craig Smith, who has been stellar thus far this season, sent a slapshot past Pavelec with the help of David Legwand (6th assist) to win the game. Here’s the video:

As we mentioned, Craig Smith has been a quiet stud thus far this season, the kind of stud we have expected from him for a while. After his performance for Team USA during the IIHF series, we were starting to wonder when that grace would hit the NHL ice. So far, with 11 GPs, Smith is currently sitting in 14th amongst the league. We have this feeling his league rank will be getting closer to the Top 10 very soon.

The Predators have one last home game before going on a seven-game road trip. The Preds will not return to Nashville until Saturday, November 16th when they welcome in the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Added Bonus:
Rich+Clune+Los+Angeles+Kings+v+Colorado+Avalanche+OfXJmj8sOf9lRich Clune vs. Matt Hendricks – September 23, 2009
Think they remember this now that they’re teammates?

Preds aquire Filip Forsberg from WSH for Erat & Latta

 

Image Source: Thescore.com

Image Source: Thescore.com

Wowza. What an unexpected surprise for Nashville, wouldn’t you say? Though I would’ve loved to rush to the blog to get this story out sooner, my employer wouldn’t have appreciated me cussing under my breath at my phone as I fought to get WordPress to work on my phone.

Though you know the story by now, the Predators made a surprise move on the last day of the Trade Deadline in the form of trading both Martin Erat and Mike Latta to the Washington Capitals for a forward by the name of Filip Forsberg. *I beg your pardon? We traded Erat and Latté for who?* Well, we hope that now that most of the story and facts have trickled out, we can get you the full blown information here. Let’s take a look at what Mr. Poile did today and was it worth the loss of a veteran like Erat?

Well, from what we gather in a nutshell: Yes, yes it was.
Filip Forsberg was selected 11th overall by the Capitals in the 2012 Draft, the third Forward to be drafted. Let us also mention that the young Forsberg, born on August 13, 1994 (I feel old), has no relation to Peter Forsberg who played for Nashville for a brief time in 2006. The 18-year-old is not currently with the Capitals, though; he isn’t even floating around their Farm Team. Honestly, he isn’t even in North America at all. No, Forsberg is currently in Sweden (where he hails), filling a roster spot with Leksands IF of the Swedish Elite League. With 15 goals and 18 assists in just 38 games, Forsberg looks like the offensive powerhouse that Nashville has longed to acquire (Hey, Radulov…).

Though he hasn’t proven himself in the NHL yet, it was a risk Poile and Co. were willing to take in order to take Nashville to a Stanley Cup. The young Swede has already signed a 3-year entry level contract and is cleared to play in North America now, if he chooses. Though he has one game left in Sweden, it is not for certain if he will make the jump to the NHL this season or next, but believe us, he’ll be wearing the Predators gold soon. David Poile made the comment today that he does want to see him in the lineup soon.

So, if this prospect is so good, why did the Capitals let the 18-year-old go for a 31-year-old vet?
Truth is, Washington gave up on him. Okay, there was more than that, but that is the reason in a nutshell. He hasn’t seen a second of NHL ice time and risking him for a veteran like Martin Erat wasn’t a tough decision for Washington. Plus, they acquire Michael Latta with the trade, who has been a standout for the Milwaukee Admirals as of late. Though Latta will probably hit Washington’s FT, Erat will join alongside Alexander Ovechkin and former Predator, Joel Ward.

More news trickled out as the trade announcement had been made; one that shook Predators fans to the core. Per David Poile in his press conference to the media, Martin Erat had expressed his interest in being traded. Still sore from the Ryan Suter debacle, fans were not ready to hear that Marty Erat, who has been with the team for twelve years, spoke with Poile two weeks before the Trade Deadline about waiving his ‘no-movement clause’ and search for greener pastures. It was clear Erat was no longer happy here in Nashville, which is a shame, but Nashville was “moving on with a younger team” and he doesn’t “have 6- to 7 years to wait for it [Stanley Cup] to happen”.

You can’t hate the guy for being unhappy and for being honest. Poile expressed his displeasure that the Predators and Martin Erat had to come to an end in a negative way, but I wouldn’t say Erat is leaving in a negative light. He expressed his displeasure and Poile honored his request, nothing more, nothing less.

We wish Marty all the luck in the world with Washington and hope he finds a better fit with Ovie and Wardo. It’s hard to see a leader and veteran like Erat wish to leave and, as a fan, it makes you wonder what went wrong. Why was he so unhappy here? Well, everyone has their own opinion as to why Erat may have been unhappy – as do we – but from his own mouth, he and Nashville were no longer on the same page. His lack of performance this season proved his displeasure here, and that you cannot dispute.

As for Mike Latta, we were looking forward to the feisty enforcer in Nashville, but alas, that ship as sailed to the Hershey Bears (Washington’s FT). He was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2008 NHL Draft (72nd overall) and has made a name for himself while with Milwaukee as a fan favorite.

Ecstatic, isn't he?

Ecstatic, isn’t he?

From fellow teammate and Preds prospect, Magnus Hellberg

From fellow teammate and Preds prospect, Magnus Hellberg

 

To gain is to lose, and in order to aquire the future of the Nashville Predators organization, we had to let go of the past; a part of the foundation that his held Nashville together for twelve long years. It is hard to see Erat go, but again, to gain is to lose. Once Filip Forsberg has joined the Predators, fans will see that David Poile made the right move to push the future of the Nashville Predators towards the ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.

We wish you well, Martin Erat.


We wish you well, Mike Latta.

Welcome to the greatest team in the league, Filip Forsberg.

 

 

 

 

Lindback and K. Wilson Traded to Tampa Bay

Anders and his gummy bears will be truly missed in Nashville.

Welp, the first of the trades began today as backup goalie Anders Lindback and center Kyle Wilson were traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for two 2nd-Round picks in this year’s draft (which starts next Friday), a 3rd-Round pick in next year’s draft, and the rights to goalie Sebastien Caron.

After losing key draft picks for Paul Gaustad and Andrei Kostitsyn (one of which is for certain not returning next season), General Manager David Poile needed to make some drastic changes in order to make up for the trade deadline backfire. With the Lindback trade, Poile has jumped back to the front of the pack.

Along with the trade, Poile also informed us all that Ryan Suter will indeed test out the Free Agency waters (like we didn’t see that one coming). Poile stated that Suter will, however, see what other teams will offer him, then see if Nashville will counteract with an offer of their own.

As for who will replace Anders, it will more than likely be Jeremy Smith, the starting goalie in Milwaukee. Also in his press conference, Poile announced that Magnus Hellberg would be coming over from Sweden this upcoming season, meaning he will more than likely take Smith’s goaltending position with the Admirals.

Anders Lindback proved that he was ready to step into the spotlight this past season, so (even though we will miss him dearly) this trade works well in Lindback’s favor for sure. Being the starting goalie along with players such as Stamkos and St. Louis? Yes, we think Anders will do just fine.

We wish Anders well in Tampa Bay and will always welcome him back to Nashville.

 

How the Predators are shaping up as of June 15th, 2012:

Who’s gone (will go) & who’s still here as of June 15th

 

Photo courtesy of: Christian Petersen/Getty Images