2017 NHL All-Star Roster Announced

c101sywweaeg_4m-jpg_large

Image Source: NBC Sports

Moments ago, the NHL released the final roster of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles January 28th-29th. Not surprisingly, Nashville has only one player on said roster: P.K. Subban, who was voted by the fans as the Central Division Captain. And, with his upper-body injury slated to be healed by the All-Star Weekend, Subban may have to relinquish his captain duties to someone else for safety’s sake.

– CENTRAL DIVISION

  • P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
  • Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars

 

– ATLANTIC DIVISION:

  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
  • Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Shea Weber – Montreal Canadiens
  • Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
  • Frans Nielsen – Detroit Red Wings
  • Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Vincent Trocheck – Florida Panthers
  • Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Kyle Okposo – Buffalo Sabres
  • Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

– PACIFIC DIVISION:

  • Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
  • Martin Jones – San Jose Sharks
  • Mike Smith – Arizona Coyotes
  • Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
  • Jeff Carter – L.A. Kings
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Bo Horvat – Vancouver Canucks

– METROPOLITAN DIVISION:

  • Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals
  • Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Wayne Simmonds – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils
  • Seth Jones – Columbus Blue Jackets

What do you think about the roster for this year’s All-Star Weekend? Nashville isn’t the only team with one representative, but if you want to include former Preds (Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk, Seth Jones, and Shea Weber), then Nashville’s actually pretty well represented.

All joking aside, the big question is will Subban be healthy enough to participate? As mentioned, his 2-3 week recovery time ends at about the time of the All-Star festivities, but should not participate if it risks re-injury (thus keeping him out of the lineup even longer). Of course, that will be something the organization and Subban discuss as time gets closer.

 

 

Advertisements

Subban named Captain in 2017 All-Star Weekend

pksubbanchicagoblackhawksvnashville1kwcegejlxzl

Image Source: Sanford Myers/Getty Images

Despite his nagging upper-body injury, P.K. Subban was named the Central Division Captain for the 2017 NHL All Star Weekend. Based on fan voting from December 1st to January 2nd, Subban beat out several other Central Division contenders for the title, including Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Joining Subban as captains of their respective divisions include Sidney Crosby (Metropolitan), Carey Price (Atlantic), and Connor McDavid (Atlantic). Other attendees of the All Star Weekend in Los Angeles will be announced at a later date.

The festivities, which will be held January 28th and 29th would be right around the time Subban is expected to return from his upper-body injury (good news). If healthy, this will be Subban’s second All Star appearance — yes, his All Star debut was at last year’s in Nashville.

Save

Frustration mounts after 3-2 loss against CHI

filipforsbergchicagoblackhawksvnashvillerhvgjzbkwxtl

Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

While it was clear that Nashville was the better team last night, it wasn’t enough to earn the win against Central Division rival, the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, there were some questionable calls (and no calls) that ultimately gave Chicago their first win in three games.

Unfortunately for Nashville, while it is great to be the better playing team, time is running out as the second half of the season looms in just a few days. Needless to say, moral victories are worthless unless there’s a W behind them. But it is frustrating to see blatant calls missed by the official; even worse, when the wrong penalty is called and the opposing team notches a goal from it. Yes, mistakes like this happen in all sports; officials can’t see everything and sure, they call it to the best of their abilities, but come on. When the replay clearly shows the goaltender tripping a player as he passes through the crease, then you (the official) calls it against the player that was actually tripped? Not only was this game frustrating for the players, it only further disheartened an already frustrated Nashville fan base.

Although the first contact between Kevin Fiala and Corey Crawford was not caught (in .gif form), the contact between Craig Smith and Crawford was:

Somehow, Smith was given the penalty, which lead to Jonathan Toews’ tying powerplay goal. However, Patrick Kane’s goal shortly thereafter (his 700th career point) was totally on Nashville, but it’s still frustrating to think that should have been the goal to tie the game.

But there’s no use crying over spilled milk. The NHL isn’t going to reverse the call or makeup the game. It’s done and in the record books. Maybe Crawford will be fined by the league, but that is highly doubtful. All Nashville can do is build off this frustration and use it to their advantage going into the second half of the season.

Ryan Ellis, for instance, is clearly fed up in this video above. Yes, he’s reacting to the fact that the outcome of the game was essentially decided by the officials, but it also shows how much frustration has been building within this team. Hyped as one of the potential Stanley Cup front runners this off-season, the Predators have done everything but proven they are Stanley Cup contenders. The talent is there, but something just hasn’t clicked. And with both P.K. Subban (and now) James Neal on the day-to-day with upper-body injuries, will the Predators find their way into 2017?

All was not lost last night, however. Mike Fisher picked up his 10th goal of the season, Filip Forsberg notched his 7th, and Ryan Johansen tallied his 18th and 19th assists of the season.

Nashville has one last chance to end 2016 on a high note as they take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight at 7PM. Again, building on that frustration from last night’s loss may be what turns this team around for the second half of the season. Just maybe.

NHL All-Star Game Roster

Roman Josi, Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne

Source: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Shortly after revealing the All-Star Game jerseys, the NHL released the ASG roster. Without further ado, here you go:

Atlantic Division

F Patrice Bergeron (BOS)

Central Division

F Jamie Benn (DAL)

F Jaromir Jagr (FLA) F Matt Duchene (COL)
F Leo Komarov (TOR) F Patrick Kane (CHI)
F Dylan Larkin (DET) F Tyler Seguin (DAL)
F Ryan O’Reilly (BUF) F Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
F Steven Stamkos (TBL) F Jonathan Toews (CHI)
D Aaron Ekblad (FLA) D Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)
D Erik Karlsson (OTT) D Roman Josi (NSH)
D P.K. Subban (MTL) D Shea Weber (NSH)
G Ben Bishop (TBL) G Devan Dubnyk (MIN)
G Roberto Luongo (FLA) G Pekka Rinne (NSH)
Metropolitan Division Pacific Division
F Nicklas Backstrom (WSH) F Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
F Claude Giroux (PHI) F Taylor Hall (EDM)
F Evgeni Malkin (PIT) F Joe Pavelski (SJS)
F Alex Ovechkin (WSH) F Corey Perry (ANA)
F Brandon Saad (CBJ) F John Scott (ARI)
F John Tavares (NYI) F Daniel Sedin (VAN)
D Justin Faulk (CAR) D Brent Burns (SJS)
D Kris Letang (PIT) D Drew Doughty (LAK)
D Ryan McDonagh (NYR) D Mark Giordano (CGY)
G Braden Holtby (WSH) G John Gibson (ANA)
G Cory Schneider (NJD) G Jonathan Quick (LAK)

I’ll be completely honest here (and so will a bunch of other bloggers): I honestly did not believe Nashville would get three players to the roster. Of course, it ended up between the three everyone thought had a chance. Shea Weber had a shoe-in, simply because he’s the captain and they want him in the ‘hardest shot’ contest, but Roman Josi and Pekka Rinne were toss-ups. Though Josi definitely deserves it, Rinne is more well known and money talks.

Over all though, I am definitely happy Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne, and Roman Josi will get to represent Nashville (in Nashville) for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game and weekend.

Here’s what others are saying about the roster choices:

Okay, so I am officially excited; I am not going to lie. Nashville is well represented and that is satisfying enough. Congratulations to Weber, Rinne, and Josi!

Preds thump Blackhawks 5-1

pekkarinnecarolinahurricanesvnashvillekavlxkyzhjul

Image Source: Sanford Myers/Getty Images

While Blackhawks fans joke that Bridgestone Arena may as well be “United Center South”, the boys in gold had different plans last night as they welcomed in fellow Central Division team the Chicago Blackhawks to Nashville last night. The first meeting in Nashville this season, the Predators and Blackhawks’ first bout with one another since last season’s playoff run was Tuesday in Chicago. Excelling on home ice, the Blackhawks dismantled the Predators 4-1 while extending Patrick Kane’s point streak.

While Predators/Blackhawks games aren’t exactly the most enjoyable when they come to town for the Nashville fan, it seemed like the building belonged to its home fans well before the hockey teams hit the ice. I’d go as far to say that the Predators fans drowned out the opposing fans quite well, minus the occasional Hawks cheer here and there. While Blackhawks band-wagoners scoff at the fact that Predators fans get run out of the building when they come to town, it’s the obvious and overstated reminder that Nashville is still a fairly young team. We don’t have to do the math to say that one of the Original Six teams that was established in 1926 has more fans than a team founded in 1998. Who gives a flying you-know-what as to how many Cups you have? You have six and three of those were won within the last decade. It’s not that Nashville has a lack of fans; hockey has been around long before the NHL decided to place a national team here. Piss-ass drunk fans that thrive on being an embarrassment to society are what make Predators fans avoid the arena when Blackhawks fans come to town. Congrats on that achievement.

Moving onward, after the loss Tuesday night in Chicago, the Predators didn’t have to wait long for a rematch as the Blackhawks would arrive for their first match in Nashville this season last night.

FIRST PERIOD:

  • James Neal launched the Predators in the right direction at 6:54 for his 11th goal of the season giving Nashville an early 1-0 lead over Chicago. Shea Weber (10) and Mike Ribeiro (13) notched the assists.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675123214167707649
  • Craig Smith would make his move count at 15:56 for his 6th goal of the season with Viktor Arvidsson picking up his first assist.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675128236347666432
  • Not even a minute later, Filip Forsberg would push Nashville up 3-0 with a power play goal. Heck, Paul didn’t even finish saying the word before Forsberg scored. It was pretty fantastic, really. Roman Josi (15) and Calle Jarnkrok (4) would notch the assists on Forsberg’s sixth goal of the season.
    https://twitter.com/CMS_74_/status/675128630310236161
  • There was no denying who dominated the first period, but the question on everyone’s mind was would Nashville continue the momentum through the remaining forty minutes? Pekka Rinne looked like him old self despite having a few uncharacteristic games as of late. Though Chicago only managed seven shots on goal in the first period, they were all pretty stout.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Though no goals were scored in the second period, what was expected out of Chicago – for the most part – happened. They came out with more flames under their feet than Nashville did, but the Predators didn’t make the usual “second period funk” that they usually take. Chicago would out-shoot Nashville 13 to 8 in the second, but Pekka being Pekka and all…
    https://twitter.com/justinbbradford/status/675141340775215105

THIRD PERIOD:

  • At 5:43, Patrick Kane would “score” to not only put Chicago finally on the board, but extend his point streak to 24. Now, I am not one for conspiracies, but really… this was definitely goaltender interference. Any other time, I am almost willing to bet that goal would’ve been thrown out, but because Kane’s streak is involved… yeah, I do believe it. So sue me. I’m a fan, not a NHL employee.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675150837568679936
  • Neal, on the other hand, extended Nashville lead to 4-1 at 14:55 for his second goal of the night and his 12th of the season. No assistance was needed for his Frosty goal.
    https://twitter.com/TomAWillis/status/675157043905478660
  • And, in a last ditch effort to get Chicago in the game, Scott Darling was pulled to give the Blackhawks the extra man. Unfortunately for them, Eric Nystom has a way of hitting the empty nets (even when down a man on the penalty). Nystrom’s empty-netter + shorthanded goal is his fifth of the season. Like Neal’s second goal, no assistance was needed.
    https://twitter.com/SteveLayman/status/675157760699457537

While Blackhawks fans filed out of the arena before the final horn could signify the victory in favor of the home team, Nashville was gaining a huge morale boost in this win (along with the points, of course). The players are not immune to the fact that Chicago is notorious for taking over the Bridgestone Arena. They take just as much pride in winning these games as the fans do.

With this victory under their belts, the Predators improve their record to 15-9-5 and now sit in third in the Central Division with 35 points (Chicago has 34 and St. Louis -2nd- has 36). Nashville currently sits fourth in the Western Conference.

The Predators welcome in the 12-16-1 Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, but don’t let that standing fool you. Just because the Avalanche are last in the Western Conference doesn’t mean they won’t come out kicking and screaming.

The Morning After: Game 5 – Don’t Snub the Prince

filip

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

My brain is still at home sleeping and did not make the trip to work with me today. Why? Because the adrenaline from last night’s win to force a Game 6 still has me buzzing! …Well, for the most part – I am slowing entering zombie mode. Whether you were in the crowd or cheering from afar, last night’s game was anything but outstanding. The boost from the home crowd, the pressure on Darling, and the resilience of Pekka Rinne gave Nashville the 5-2 victory, providing the good guys a chance at another game.

  • Small Market Snubbed: Yesterday afternoon, the NHL announced who the PHWA had chosen as their nominees for the Calder Trophy, an award that essentially serves as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. A name most notably absent? Filip Forsberg. Per Pete Jensen, “since 1997-98, only one NHL rookie has posted 25+ goals, 60+ points, +15 or better & 200+ shots on goal: Filip Forsberg”. If the award is going to go to a player that sort of makes a showing during the latter-half of the season, then the trophy needs to be known as the “Rookie of the Latter-half of the Season” award, not year.

  • Return of the Fish: Mike Fisher was seen participating in practice yesterday morning, but as to if he’d be in the game was questionable. He even said himself that he wasn’t sure:

    However, he was on the ice during pregame warm-ups and was a starter for the game. No doubt his return helped boost some morale around the locker room.

  • The Real Deal Steal: James Neal gave the Predators their first lead of the night just 47 seconds in the third, opening the flood gates for Wilson and Forsberg.
  • Hey, Mr. Wilson: What a post season it is for Colin Wilson, collecting his fifth of the series last night & setting a franchise record.

  • Don’t Snub the Prince: Filip Forsberg’s a classy kind and he knows just how to retaliate in the right way against the NHL’s Calder snub. Intentional or not, it was truly poetic justice as Forsberg sunk two goals on his former roommate (Darling) and sealed the game winner and Hat Trick on an empty net.

  • First Time for Everything: The Predators are notching a bunch of franchise records this post season, which is understandably awesome. As the old saying goes, “There’s a first time for everything”.

    Nashville squashed that little fact into the dirt (thankfully) and look to squander a few other “never have I evers” before this series is over, too. The Preds are 1-4 in Game Sixes and have never been to a Game 7. As I said, there’s a first time for everything and now’s that time.

  • Three’s a Crowd: Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg, and Craig Smith are all tied for the team’s lead in points (5) during this post season.
  • All Business: Per Kris Martel of Fox Sports, the locker room after the game was all but celebratory.

    Though they deserve to wear the smiles on their faces, it’s still a job out there and their butts are on the chopping block. There’s no time to rest and the boys know it.

Going back to Chicago is going to be tough tomorrow; there’s no easy way to put it. The odds are stacked against the Predators, but they aren’t called the Pesky Preds for nothing, right? Backs against the wall style hockey. If Nashville can pull out the win tomorrow night, I have no doubt in my mind that they can conquer Game 7 at home. They just have to get there. Tomorrow’s game with not only be a physical challenge, but one of mental strength, too. They broke Darling last night and they can sure as all get out do it again. Get through tomorrow night; get through the series.
A quote from Coach Laviolette: “Our back is still up against the wall, and we are still a team who needs to realize where we are at and our place in life right now. If we win, we can come back and play Game Seven, and if we don’t, then we start our summer. I don’t think our guys are ready to go home.”

Other Thoughts:

Puck drops for Game 6 at 7PM.
It’s far from over, folks.
roman-josi-james-neal-nhl-tampa-bay-lightning-nashville-predators-850x560

 

 

Preds help Hawks Count; Take Game 2 6-2

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Well, if that wasn’t a good way to show that Nashville has what it takes to make it beyond the first round then I can’t tell you what was. Similar to Wednesday’s game, there were quite a few circumstances that certainly went against the Predators. However, instead of allowing those instances to bog them down, Nashville persevered and then some to take victory of Game 2 6-2. Here are the main highlights you should take away from last night’s game:

  • Definition of Top Shelf Cheddar? That’d be Colin Wilson, who did just that to give the Predators the lead early in the first period. That snipe was Wilson’s third of the playoffs – he might just be the hero of the playoffs.
  • Patrick Sharp would put Chicago on the board, but Roman Josi would make sure Nashville ended the period in the lead with just three seconds left in the first.
  • The penalty kill was overtly prepared for the possibility of spending some time in the box, due in part to Wednesday’s shenanigans. Gaustad was called for a four-minute high-sticking during the second period, putting the Predators in an all too familiar setting. However, the PK only allowed one shot-on-goal during that four minute spat, boosting not only the crowd but the team as well.
  • Patrick Kane’s goal was greatly celebrated, one could say, as he had five other buddies on the ice to do so with! A huge, monstrous missed too-many-men call lead to Kane’s first goal of the playoffs – one that happened to tie the game. To add insult to injury, the officials would soon wave off a perfectly clean goal from Calle Jarnkrok.

  • Injuries were abound last night, with Taylor Beck traveling back to the locker room after a Seabrook shot, and Shea Weber leaving for the remainder of the game with a lower-body injury. Weber will not be making the trip with the team to Chicago, definitely confirming he will be out at least two game. Mike Fisher, on the other hand, will be making the trip. Here’s a .gif of where Weber’s injury occurred:

  • Craig Smith notched his first of two goals last night in the second, helping to break that awful second period slump and gave Nashville a 3-2 lead going into the third.
  • Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-2 lead in the third, becoming the youngest player in Preds franchise history to score a post-season goal.
  • And, quickly after Forsberg, Craig Smith wanted another taste and notched his second goal of the night on Corey Crawford. Ah, and Pekka Rinne picked up the assist on his goal, too.
  • Mike Santorelli would get the deciding goal for his first in the playoffs, making the final score 6-2 in favor of Nashville.
  • Vince Vaughn was in town to watch his beloved Blackhawks along with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman. The Predators should be beaming to show off such a great game to someone who doesn’t care much for small markets.

Other Thoughts:

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a game for the ages. The Predators went in knowing that things would possibly go against them – as it always has. Instead of taking the beating, Nashville stood firm and expressed the type of discipline they have been lacking for a while. Maybe it was the loss of Weber; maybe it was the excellent PK on that double-minor; whatever the case, there was a fire lit under the Predators that needs to stay lit for tomorrow’s game in Chicago and beyond.

Game 3 in Chicago starts at 2PM — A little bit earlier than the two here at home, I’d say. Like I said, that fire from last night needs to be there tomorrow. Chicago will have the crowd and home ice advantage, which could break them mentally. No need for mentality breaks.

Only a Day Away…

PPLAYOFFS

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.

timehop

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Review

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Columbus, Ohio was the place to be this weekend has the city hosted the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. As you know, Nashville was chosen as the host city for the 2016 ASG Weekend, which will be an event on its own. But until then, let’s recap the fun that happened this weekend in Columbus… Oh, and for the sake of keeping this post from being ninety pages long, we’ll stick to Nashville’s accomplishments:

Team Foligno:

  • Nick Foligno – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Brian Elliot – St. Louis Blues
  • Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
  • Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Arizona Coyotes
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers
  • Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Anze Kopitar – L.A. Kings
  • Radim Vrabata – Vancouver Canucks
  • Ryan Johansen – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Zemgus Girgensons – Buffalo Sabres
  • Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
  • Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Coaching Staff: Darryl Sutter – L.A. Kings

Team Toews:

  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Roberto Luongo – Florida Panthers
  • Jaroslav Halak – New York Islanders
  • Aaron Ekblad – Florida Panthers
  • Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames
  • Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
  • Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
  • Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
  • Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
  • Rick Nash – New York Rangers
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Jakub Vorachek – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Coaching Staff – Peter Laviolette – Nashville Predators

As you recall, Pekka Rinne was not included in the All-Star “draft” due to sustaining a knee sprain. Because Filip Forsberg was chosen last for Team Toews, he was the lucky winner of a brand new Honda Accord. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also won a new Honda, as he was chosen last for Team Foligno.

Source: @NHL

Source: @NHL

Saturday – Skills Competition – Winner: Team Foligno

Despite a good show by Team Toews, it was Team Foligno who reigned in the Skills Competition held on Saturday evening. Both Weber and Forsberg participated in the relay and shootout, but it was Weber who shined – not surprisingly – during the Hardest Shot round.

Shea originally missed his first shot, but more than nailed his second attempt, clocking his shot at 108.5 MPH. Weber certainly won the competition, but missed notching the hardest shot ever recorded, which is held by Zdeno Chara at 108.8 MPH. Forsberg shined in the relay portion, showing off his crazy insane puck-handling skills.

Sunday – All-Star Game – Winner: Team Toews

Though the fell short in the Skills Competition, Team Toews out-powered Team Foligno by a long shot during the actual All-Star Game, winning 17-12. And, believe it or not, though the All-Star Game tends to always have a ton of goals, this was the highest scoring game in its history. Filip Forsberg’s two goals helped get Team Toews to the win, the first goals scored by a Nashville Predator in an All-Star Game. Shea Weber also notched an assist off of Tyler Seguin’s goal.

From the World Wide World of Twitter:

So that’s a wrap on the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. Next Stop: Nashville! But before then, the Predators must press forward with the remainder of this season and push into the playoffs. Pekka Rinne should also be re-evaluated soon, along with Ryan Ellis. The Predators return to the regular season this Tuesday as they welcome in the Colorado Avalanche at 7PM.

Preds hold lead early, fall to Blackhawks 5-4

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

So I asked the in the previous post (the Philadelphia one) as to who would be in net for Nashville tonight. Who is surprised it was Pekka again? Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had my way, Pekka would be half human/half machine and fully capable of handling a full 82-game season; no offense, Hutton. But alas, he is a mere mortal and needs a rest every now and then. However, there’s a good chance Rinne will not rest for tomorrow’s game either, as St. Louis is nipping at our heels as I type. Call me a worrier, but after losing him last season to that E. Coli hip, I have every reason to be nervous of his health. Though the Predators have gained strength under the leadership of Peter Laviolette, Pekka Rinne is still saving their butts more often than not.

Anywho, let’s discuss Chicago, who sits just two points ahead of Nashville for first in the Central Division. However, to discuss the bigger picture, it seems as if Anaheim is Nashville’s biggest threat thus far (when discussing the Cup); they are currently 24-8-6. So a night in the Windy City then back home to face the Blues? Giddy-up.

First Period:

  • Roman Josi got the party started at 11:50 in the United Center with a snap shot past Corey Crawford for his fifth goal of the season. Paul Gaustad tallies the lone assist.
  • Craig Smith pushed Nashville up 2-0 with a wrister at 17:12, his 11th goal of the season. Colin Wilson (9) and Mike Ribeiro (21) claim the assists.

Second Period:

  • James Neal picked up his 12th goal at 7:28 with a excellent tip-in with assistance from Colin Wilson (10) and Pekka Rinne (1). No, that isn’t a typo – Rinne, in fact, picked up the assist.
  • Brad Richards cut the Predators lead 3-1 at 10:33 with a slap shot past Rinne for his seventh goal of the season.
  • Chicago would then come within one of Nashville at 15:48 with a wrister from Andrew Shaw, his sixth of the season.
  • Just two minutes later, Chicago would tie it with slapshot from Marian Hossa on the power play, his eighth goal of the season.
  • With a power play goal of his own, James Neal gave Nashville the lead once again, his second goal of the night and 13th of the season. Filip Forsberg (21) and Roman Josi (17) collect the assists.

Third Period:

  • Sadly, at 18:47 with the extra attacker, Bryan Bickell sends a wrister past Rinne to tie the game, sending it into overtime.

Overtime:

  • No goals in overtime – to the shootout we go.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • CHI – Jonathan Toews – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • CHI – Patrick Kane – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – MISS

And with that, the Nashville Predators fall 5-4 in the shootout and are now 24-9-3. As I have mentioned several times, the Predators take on the Blues tomorrow night at home. Luckily, the Blues may be just as exhausted as they, too have played tonight. However… they beat the Avalanche 3-0. Sheesh.