Memories & History Made: Remembering the 2017 Predators Playoff Run

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Image Source: NHL.com

As Garth Brooks once (and probably still does) sang, “I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” And what a beautiful dance it was for the Nashville Predators; one might even use the word “GLORIOUS” (all caps needed) to describe the unbelievable run that was the road to the Stanley Cup. Alas, the dance was abruptly cut short just two wins shy of the ultimate prize. And while it is easy to be bitter – be it termed salty nowadays – one cannot look back and be disappointed. The Predators barely scratched their way into a playoff spot – number 16 of 16 to be exact – and somehow defied the odds (and the experts) by sweeping the Blackhawks, bashing the Blues, defeating the Ducks, and landing in the Stanley Cup Final. This postseason brought more than just a city together, it brought a state, a region – one could even say – an entire hockey nation together. It certainly put Nashville in a spotlight that couldn’t be ignored and, once exposed, there was no returning that (saber tooth) cat to the bag.

It’s taken me three days, but I’ve gathered some of the best memories of the Nashville Predators’ outstanding push to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s funny what can be forgotten over a period of two months, so reflecting back on all of it kind of took the sting out of watching Crosby hoist the Cup in Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. So please enjoy this trip down Memory Lane with me and be warned, some of the video clips have not been censored. This is hockey, after all.

  1. The Sweeping of Chicago

The experts were all against us. Everyone was prepared for an early Nashville exit. Everyone except for the Predators. Sweeping a divisional rival is pretty huge to begin with, but having it be a team like the Chicago Blackhawks? This sweep was only the beginning to Nashville’s historic playoff push and it couldn’t have happened in a better fashion. No Chelsea Dagger was ever heard.

And of course, after the historic sweep of Public Enemy #1, people began to wonder where Jordin Tootoo disappeared to after making this comment before the series even began:

2. Fiddler, McLeod & Harry Z: The Heroes Nashville Needs

Three unlikely heroes were born during this postseason. Their names? Vernon Fiddler, Cody McLeod, and Harry Zolniercyzk. While you expect multiple goals from guys like Johansen, Subban, Forsberg, and the like, it was these three guys who played significant roles this postseason to push Nashville to its first Stanley Cup Final.

3. #DoItForKevin

Kevin Fiala has a bright future in Nashville and boy, did he light that fire during the playoffs when he was given the chance. No one can forget it was Fiala who helped Nashville sweep Chicago with his beautiful overtime goal. Sadly, his playoff run was cut short in the second round against the St. Louis Blues when a slam into the boards resulted in a fractured femur. The team made sure to fight on in honor of their young winger, taking out the Blues in six games.

4. This Corey Perry GIF

No real reason other than I truly enjoy watching this over and over.

5. Pekka being Pekka

“Rinne Wall”, “The Eraser”, “ImPEKKAble”. Whatever you call him, Pekka Rinne is a gift from somewhere else (see Finland) that tends to defy gravity and all human logic when it comes to minding the net. Here are a few examples of Rinne’s inhuman abilities caught on camera (along with a cameo from #MonsterBlock):

6. Captain Ellis (@Ellis4Captain)

Unless you are living under a rock (or just haven’t joined Twitter), there’s no way you missed the absolute gold from this parody account. The tweets are posed as a Civil War soldier writing to his mother on the front lines of battle, which magically paired well with its hockey theme. The comically Photo-Shopped images that accompany the tweets only further solidified this account into Twitter history.

7. #TEAMTN Love

The Tennessee Titans have not shied away from showing its love its professional counterpart across the Cumberland, with players appearing throughout the regular season taking in a match. However, it was the postseason that really brought that love out in the open, especially with the Titans Offensive Line. But beyond the beer chugging, catfish loving NFL players, the Memphis Grizzlies expressed their support, along with the Nashville Sounds. The #TeamTN love even extended to Atlanta, where the Braves sent their support as well. Sorry, diehard (clingers) Thrashers fans.

8. Ilya Bryzgalov

The Bryz. Where to begin with that guy? To avoid going to deep into the cosmos with everyone’s favorite Russian (feel free to look up anything involving the universe and bears with his name attached), let’s just say his visit to Nashville during the Stanley Cup Final was everything we could have ever dreamed of. Check out his videos below and – again – I encourage you to YouTube him for even more hilarity.

9. Instrument of Crime

Will we ever be able to associate catfish with anything else ever again? Let’s be honest: Pittsburgh had this coming. By baring folks with Tennessee licenses from purchasing catfish at local markets, you pretty much asked for it. Jake Deveral, better known as Catfish Jake, just happened to be visiting family in nearby Ohio when it occurred to him that he’d be in the area during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Purchasing a catfish in Nashville, Jake transported the mudcat up to Ohio and then over to Pittsburgh in his britches. Using Old Spice to cover the smell, Jake was able to smuggle the contraband into PPG Paints Arena and chuck it onto the ice. Deveral was escorted promptly from the building, but not all was over. A Pittsburgh judge slapped Catfish Jake with fines, which included “possession of an instrument of crime”. Long story short, the charges were dropped, but not before “Instruments of Crime” became a part of Predators history.

10. These Poor Penguins Fans

We won’t go into that “pumped in noise” conspiracy as these two fine Pens fans are a clear example of that bull-honky.

11. Best in the West

Bitter as you may all still be, there are plenty of good things to recall from this playoff run including that your Nashville Predators – coming in as the 8th seed – are officially the Best in the West for the 2016-17 season. Awarded the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl on home ice after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6, the Nashville Predators will officially have their first banner at Bridgestone Arena at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. While the ultimate goal was not met, one cannot dismiss this history-making moment.

12. Ryan Johansen

Yes, Ryan Johansen needed his own segment. Whether he was chirping with Kesler or notching goals, Johansen’s presence on the ice (and off) was exactly what Nashville needed in this postseason. We could pull the “what-ifs” about where Nashville would be at this moment had he not suffered from acute compartment syndrome, which required emergency surgery after Game 4 against Anaheim. Even after being sidelined for the remainder of the postseason, Johansen’s presence in the locker room kept the team on its toes. You just can’t help but love him and wish he had been around to help Subban get under Crosby’s skin in the Final.

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Photo Source: @PKSubban1

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Photo Source: Brooks Bratten, Nashville Predators

13. The Beautiful People

Oh, they tried, but no other NHL team was able to produce the star power that Nashville was able to garner throughout these playoffs. While some were new to the program, most of Nashville’s “beautiful people” didn’t just jump on the wagon in April. Notable names like Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood (obviously), and Kelly Clarkson have been active at games for years. Let’s also not forget to mention Rex Ryan, of all people, is a season ticket holder. While we didn’t include all the famous folks here, it is safe to say there was definitely a FOMO about Nashville.

14. Listerine Fights Bad Breath

Let’s begin by saying, when P.K. Subban was asked by a reporter as to what he and Sidney Crosby were chatting about on the ice, do you honestly believe he would repeat what was actually said? No. For one, it’s an in-the-moment conversation (if you want to call it that) and two, it isn’t for the faint of heart. Being a quick-on-his-toes kind of guy, Subban casually mentions that Crosby just didn’t care for his breath. Needless to say, the story took on a life of its own and Listerine got a nice little plug it didn’t expect. It is fair to say there was a Listerine booth outside Bridgestone Arena before Game 6 last Sunday.

15. Lavi Fist Pumps

No explanation needed as to why this made the list. BOOM.

16. #FireMilbury

To avoid firing myself up, I will not go into detail as to why Mike Milbury needs to be fired from NBC Sports, because I have a feeling you probably know why as well. There are many speculations as to why Milbury does not care for Subban and none of them are good enough to stand a solid reasoning. Whether it’s because he’s “old school” or what have you, his comments are not good for the growth of this sport, especially when it comes to minority viewers. Predators fans (and fans of other teams) made their opinions of the “shoe beater” known with signs and special words after Game 6.

17. Knoxville

While cities across the state hosted watch parties and cheered on the Predators, including Cookeville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Lebanon, etc., it is Knoxville who deserves a blurb on this list. Some have chalked up the enthusiasm as the city was just hungry for a championship (see 1998), whatever it was, Knoxville came out swinging in support of its brother to the west. As TV ratings began to come out after games, Knoxville continuously appeared in the top 5 cities watching the series, hitting double digits. Perhaps the combination of that winning hunger and the fact that the Predators and the Knoxville Ice Bears have such a great relationship helped open the eyes of many of our East Tennessee brethren to the greatness that is NHL hockey.

18. Dennis K. Morgan

Again, this is another topic that needs to be on the list, but I don’t particularly feel obligated to go into details about. Apparently approached by The Tennessean, regular anthem singer, Dennis K. Morgan, expressed his displeasure in being passed over by “A-List” singers during the playoffs. Needless to say, there weren’t many fans that came to his rescue and there’s a highly good chance the Predators will be searching for a new anthem singer for the 2017-18 season. If you missed this moment or want to relive the head-smacking, read the article below:

19. Goodwill amidst the Battle:

Although the Stanley Cup was the main focus, one cannot forget to mention the goodwill that came about throughout the postseason as well. During Round 2 against the Blues, the city of St. Louis was hit by historic floods. As a city that once faced our own thousand-year flood, it was only understandable that Predators CEO/President Sean Henry would partner with his Blues counterpart to help collect funds through auctions to assist in the relief. One particular feelgood moment that you may have missed was when Matt Irwin replaced a kid’s hockey gear after he heard that it had been stolen. Another heartfelt moment came just last week when Mike Fisher and Roman Josi visited their tiniest fan who was battling cancer. Sadly, the young boy passed away on Monday.

20. Good Gravy Goals

While some other good gravy goals have been scattered throughout this list, here are a few that didn’t fit anywhere else but are just too good to pass up and forget.

21. GLORIOUS

The word ‘GLORIOUS’ (again, all caps needed) has become almost synonymous with the Nashville Predators’ playoff run and I am betting it will be on the level of “All I do is Win” and “Run this Town” for future seasons. Nashville’s Game Ops enjoys their wrestling theme songs, but this one more than just stuck, it took on a life of its own. In my understanding, it was first played at Bridgestone Arena after Bobby Roode, the wrestler for whom this song belongs, performed in a Predators jersey against another wrestler donning a Blues jersey. Don’t quote me on that, but ever since that match, “Glorious” became Nashville’s anthem as they marched towards the Cup.

22. Hockey History

There’s no doubt this was a history making postseason for the Nashville Predators. While compiling all of the history would take a post of its own, here are a few notable records that Nashville broke and look to break again next season.

23. The 7th Man

And last, but certainly not least, we want to celebrate you, the 7th Man. You are what not only blew the minds of the hockey world, but the globe in general. There is no denying that Nashville is a hockey city; you just can’t argue it. While some have certainly tried, their negativism has been easily drown out by the Standing O and the thousands of fans outside of the arena. While we know the chants created by Cellblock 303 are nothing new, it came as a rude awakening to many an opposing fan, player, and members of the media. And while some were disgruntled by our “nontraditional” fan base, the majority were completely amazed and overwhelmed by your passion. Below are just some of the moments you blew the rest of the hockey world out of contention.

Looking back, it is amazing to see everything the Predators were able to accomplish in a matter of a few months not only for our city, but for the hockey world as well. NBC certainly can’t be mad at what Nashville brought to its ratings, and nor can the NHL. While this chapter in Predators history comes to a close, it certainly isn’t the end of the book. The Predators have the recipe in place to create another historic Stanley Cup run and we cannot wait for October to get that party started.

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2017 NHL All-Star Roster Announced

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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.

 

 

Preds recall Stefan Elliott

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Image Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Late this afternoon the Nashville Predators announced that they have recalled defenseman Stefan Elliott from the Milwaukee Admirals:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Wednesday that the club has recalled defenseman Stefan Elliott from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions. He will wear No. 7 for the club.

Elliott, 25 (1/30/91), has 24 points (8g-16a) in 82 career NHL contests with Colorado and Arizona since the 2011-12 season. Prior to being acquired by the Predators on Jan. 15, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound blueliner notched six points (2g-4a) in 19 games with the Coyotes, and since the trade, he has 17 points (6g-11a) in 29 AHL games with the Admirals. Colorado’s third selection, 49th overall (second round), in the 2009 Entry Draft was a 2015 AHL All-Star, the 2011 recipient of the Bill Hunter Trophy as the WHL’s top defenseman and the 2009 CHL Scholastic Player of the Year while with the Saskatoon Blades.

ICYMI, the 25-year-old defenseman has been recalled in time to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night due to Ryan Ellis suffering an upper-body injury in last night’s game against the Dallas Stars.

As you can see from this .gif, there’s no doubting why Ellis left the game last night. Ouch. While I am not sure how serious this injury is, I can assume he’ll be out for a few games – possibly the remainder of the regular season, which consists of just five more games.

The Predators will have their third chance to clinch a playoff spot tomorrow night with a win over the 43-25-8 Penguins. Also, if the Avalanche lose to the Presidents Cup-winning Capitals Friday, that will also give Nashville a spot in the playoffs.

Ryan Ellis: Is He Nashville’s Trade Bait?

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before I get started, please note that this is just my opinion and my speculation. If I end up being right, that’ll be cool; if not, no big deal!
With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), the rumors are bound to fly and who does Nashville have that could be trade-worthy? Remember, in order to get something good, you have to give up something good in return (i.e. a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). That player, in my opinion, could be Ryan Ellis.

Before you implode, I personally think Ellis is a good fit with where he is; I’d rather not see him get traded away. However, he may be the only aspect Nashville would be willing to part with and still get what they need.

Ellis, though doing exceptionally well under Peter Laviolette’s system, is actually down in points from last year (a time when some people thought then that his trade value was decreasing). However, he could still surpass those numbers this season (27 overall last season, just 18 so far this season), but where is he?

Yes, I am aware he is listed on the Injured Reserve, but you usually hear updates periodically during this stance as to a player’s condition. Ryan Ellis? The last thing I find reported on his condition was from Tom Willis on February 6th:

And even this does not give a “yea or nay” as to how he’s coming along since suffering a lower-body injury back on January 8th against the Dallas Stars. What I thought was just an ankle sprain must’ve been much more, as he has missed fourteen games since then; and the Predators aren’t slowing down without him. Mattias Ekholm, who is normally paired with Ellis, has done exceptionally well without his counterpart, though an injury from Sunday’s bout in Florida has him sidelined.

Ah, but he signed a five-year, $12.5M contract extension back in August, which caused a bit of controversy, if my memory serves me correctly. That, unfortunately, doesn’t exactly matter; if Nashville can get what they want out of a deal, they’ll take it. A good example would be this past off-season when Nashville traded Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward James Neal. Hornqvist was signed to a five-year, $21.25M extension at the end of the 2012-13 shortened lockout season, but was dealt to the Penguins just a year and two months after his five-year contract went into effect. And you know you never thought Hornqvist would ever be traded; don’t lie.

Another prime example? Kevin Klein. Nashville signed Klein to a five-year, $14.5M contract extension in September of 2012, but traded him off to the New York Rangers for Michael Del Zotto just a year and four months into his extension. So, needless to say, although Ellis’ contract will come into play if Nashville does consider him for trade, it won’t play a huge factor if they can get what they want.

Another, more interesting topic to point out is… Where is Ryan Ellis’ jersey on the GnashVegas auction block? A far stretch into me searching for reasons as to why Ellis would be up for trade consideration, but a clue nonetheless. Check out all the auction items here, if you haven’t seen the list yet. Ellis is a popular player and still on the organization’s roster; so where’s his jersey? Heck, they even have a Marek Mazanec and Vince Gill jersey up for bid. Just a speculation, but if he is up for trade, who would want to bid upwards to $600 for a jersey, only to have that player traded right afterwards? Who knows, maybe that’s not even on the Predators radar and they just haven’t gotten his jersey up there yet. But, my lovely sister (you may know her as @Hutch8504 on Twitter) pointed that out to me last night while at the game and it piqued my interest.

Beyond all those factors, Ryan Ellis has trade worth. His history of junior hockey achievements is what ignited Nashville’s interest in him back at the 2009 NHL Draft, chosen 11th overall and that performance could enhance his trade value. Another factor is that he is on a team with the best defense in the league; any team struggling with this component would bite at the chance to snag Ryan Ellis.

Again, all of this is just my two cents: take it or leave it. But, if Ryan Ellis is a trade factor, who would you like to see Nashville claim? Personally, I’m liking the thought of bringing Cody Franson back or possibly even Phil Kessel. Evander Kane was on my radar at one point, but then he went all MIA and yea, Nashville doesn’t need that (see: Andrei Kostitsyn & Alexander Radulov take Phoenix). That, and Kane was just traded to the Buffalo Sabres (along with Zach Bogosian, and goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf) for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia, along with a 2015 first-round draft pick. Good gravy.

Ah, the fun of speculation and rumors abound before the NHL Trade Deadline. It never ceases to fail us… for the most part.

Carter Hutton Shines as NSH blanks PIT 4-0

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After being shutdown by the Colorado Avalanche Friday night 3-0, the Predators retreated to the City of Brotherly Love in search of a win against the 28-13-8 Penguins on Sunday afternoon. However, the last meeting between these two ended poorly for Nashville, as Pittsburgh entered the Music City and wiped the floor with the home team 3-0 (on the James Neal bobblehead night, no doubt). But the woes of being shutout aren’t the only thing nagging at the Predators; the St. Louis Blues are on a hot streak and have their sights set on taking the Central Division lead.

SCRATCHES: Pekka Rinne, Olli Jokinen

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Roman Josi put Nashville on the board at 4:05, sending a slapper by Marc-Andre Fleury, his ninth of the season. Filip Forsberg (26) and Shea Weber (24) notched the assists.
  • At 6:38, Gabriel Bourque sent his own slapshot towards the net, tallying his third goal of the season. Bourque’s slapper needed no assistance.
  • Nashville only had two more SOG than Pittsburgh, giving Carter Hutton some much deserved credit (NSH, 7; PIT, 5).

SECOND PERIOD:

  • In what looked like a goal-less period, Eric Nystrom gave the Predators a 3-0 lead at 19:19, his sixth of the season. Taylor Beck (5) notched the assist.
  • Again, props to Carter Hutton as this time the Penguins tallied eleven SOG compared to Nashville’s seven. Oh, and Nashville took four penalties during the second, giving the Penguins too many man-advantages.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Nashville’s only goal during the third would come from Mike Fisher’s wrister on the powerplay at 8:20, his twelfth goal of the season. Filip Forsberg (27) and Roman Josi (24) would collect the assists.

NOTEWORTHY:

  • Filip Forsberg surpassed Mike Ribeiro to take the lead in points amongst the team. Ribeiro, who is one point shy of his 700th career, has 43 whereas Forsberg now has 44.
  • Not only was this Carter Hutton’s first road win of the season, it is also his first shutout (second career shutout).
  • Predators continue to hold first in the league (again) at 70 points. The Ducks, too, are at 70 points, but alas, they have lost one more regulation game than the Predators.

So there you have it: Shutout by Colorado on Friday, retaliated against Pittsburgh on Sunday and blanked them 4-0. Nashville also held off St. Louis taking the Central Division lead as well (NSH has 70 pts, STL has 68). It’s no doubt the Blues are hot right now (won the last five) and are, at this point, biting off Nashville’s heels for the lead. Chicago isn’t too far away, either; they sit a comfortable six points back, but that hasn’t stopped them before.

Want to see the Predators in action? Well, February is your month as Nashville has more home games on the schedule than I know what to do with, starting tomorrow against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mazanec Recalled; Rinne Skates

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It comes as no surprise that the Predators have recalled goaltender Marek Mazanec now that they All-Star break is over and it’s time to get back to business. However, to go along with said recall is the fact that Pekka Rinne has been cleared to skate and will gearing up to begin practicing with the team once again.

It was pretty clear all along that Rinne wouldn’t spend the entire time frame he was given (3-5 weeks) and Mazanec’s original recall was a good testament to that. However, until he is officially called back into action, do not count your chickens before they hatch. With him skating now, though, I give him a good week before he returns; possibly the away game against the Penguins on February 1st or the home game against Toronto on February 3rd. Don’t quote me on that (unless I am right), but I have a good feeling Rinne will be back sooner rather than later.

Tomorrow, the Predators welcome in Central Division rival, the Colorado Avalanche, then have yet another back-to-back Friday (in St. Louis) and Saturday (in Denver).

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 fall to Hawks 3-1; Time to Rest Rinne?

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Source: Kristen Jerkins Photography

Nashville hasn’t lost a home game since being pummeled 3-0 by the Penguins on October 25th, but another one was bound to happen sooner than later. Unfortunately for Preds fans, it came at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. What could add insult to injury is the fact that Chicago played the Montreal Canadiens last night at home, which usually puts said team at a disadvantage compared to a team [Nashville] who has a day to rest. Leave it to Chicago to bypass that hindrance and jump the Predators in the Central Division standings. You read that correctly:
Screen shot 2014-12-06 at 8.49.31 PMLooking at the glass-half-full, this loss wasn’t as devastating (stats wise) as it might feel; especially if you have to listen to belligerent Hawks “fans” as you leave the arena tonight. Though Nashville was only given two powerplay chances and managed to detour Chicago’s four chances, those were still two advantages the Predators failed to capitalize on that could’ve changed the game. However, the Blackhawks do currently hold the best penalty kill in the league, but that’s no excuse. The Predators are now 1-for-45 on powerplay goals at home this season; 28th in league just above the Wild and the Sabres. It is a weakness in advantage that is slowly catching up to the Predators as they push forward into the season.

Another factor to look at is impact on Pekka Rinne. Though there is no way you’d rest him while playing divisional opponents, when is the man going to get a break? Rinne has appeared in the 23 games thus far, whereas Carter Hutton has only seen three games worth of ice time. Yes, Pekka has been the much needed asset for securing many of Nashville’s 17 wins, but it may be time to give the Finnish Phenom a rest or two. Perhaps that will be the case for Tuesday’s game against Colorado; though a Central Division opponent, they sit four rankings below the Predators in sixth. However, ranking position means nothing if you’re goaltender isn’t on point, but Hutton has had enough rest and might want to stretch his legs. Truly, the only other time Pekka might legitimately get a break is on the 22nd when Nashville goes into Columbus. Yes, Pekka Rinne has saved many a butt and missing him from the net is definitely a risk (See last season), but starting him every single game is also a risk. You may play your best golf with your 9-iron, but eventually you’ll need your putter.

Kudos to Colin Wilson tonight for not allowing the Blackhawks to celebrate a goose egg tonight. His wrister past former Mississippi RiverKings (and Milwaukee Admirals, yea) goaltender, Scott Darling was his sixth for the season; assisted by Victor Bartley (1) and Mike Fisher (2). If you are stuck on the Mississippi RiverKings mention, that’s because it’s a Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) team and he is the first of said league to make it to the NHL. Jumping around that stat, Colin Wilson is certainly on his way to having one of the best seasons of his career. I mean, this kid went from constantly being tossed into Trotzy’s Doghouse to actually getting ice time to find his comfort zone. He has put up great numbers in the past, but I am foreseeing a much better performance from the 25-year-old under Laviolette’s system for sure.

Welp, don’t get too down, Preds fans; it’s Saturday night and, just remember: the Predators are doing 100x better than the Titans and shhh! Hockey’s not supposed to do better than football!

Nashville Falls 2-1 in Carolina

Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The time has come for Nashville to visit the state to the right (…North Carolina) and take on the 7-13-3 Carolina Hurricanes. Interestingly enough, the ‘Canes collected their most recent loss to a team Nashville is currently tied first in the league with (A.K.A. the Pittsburgh Penguins). Ahh, but that doesn’t mean the Hurricanes are just going to bow down to Nashville and allow them to continue their hot streak – heck no; they’ve got the same finish line as the rest of the league. So, with that, let’s get to some highlights:

First Period:

  • Well, not too much action in the first period, except for a tip-in goal from Jeff Skinner (6) at 18:59, giving Carolina a late first period lead.
  • No penalties for either teams and Nashville managed to get eight shots on goal, while the Hurricanes tallied six.

Second Period:

  • No goals, no penalties, and just ten shots for Nashville and thirteen for Carolina.

Third Period:

  • Just 55 seconds into the third, Victor Rask (4) sent a slapshot past Pekka Rinne to put the ‘Canes up 2-0 over Nashville.
  • Mike Ribeiro makes certain Nashville doesn’t leave with a goose egg thanks to a backhander past Cam Ward. Roman Josi (10) nabbed the assist on Ribeiro’s 7th goal of the season.

Unfortunately, Nashville’s four-game winning streak came to an end in Carolina as the Preds fall 2-1 to the Hurricanes. The Predators need to brush it off fast as the St. Louis Blues will be in town on Thursday night.

Weekend Review: Still Undefeated in Regulation

Image Source: Zimbio.com

Image Source: Zimbio.com

This past weekend was filled with some ups and downs if you are a follower of the Nashville Predators, but overall, it was a good weekend. The Preds took a quick road trip Northward, making pit stops in both Winnipeg and Chicago on the way home. Back-t0-back nights can be rough on any team, and Nashville is no exception… especially when you are facing a notoriously dangerous team like the Blackhawks on the second night of that back-to-back. But, as mentioned before, Nashville came back a little bruised, but certainly not beaten. Here are the quick highlights from Friday night’s escapade in Winnipeg and Saturday night’s throwdown in the Windy City.

Preds @ Jets – W 2-0
First Period:
– Mike Ribeiro got the ball rolling at 16:20 in the first period for his second goal of the season. Seth Jones (1) and Anton Volchenkov (1) picked up the assists.
Second Period:
– No goals in the second period, but Winnipeg came out swinging with ten shots on goal to Nashville’s seven.

Third Period:
– James Neal would light his first lamp in gold at 7:31 in the third with some assistance from Filip Forsberg (4) and Anton Volchenkov (2).

Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Pekka Rinne – First shutout of the season
2nd Star: Anton Volchenkov, two assists.
3rd Star: Ondrej Pavelec

 

Preds @ Blackhawks – L 2-1 OT
First Period:
– Johnny Oduya wasted no time drawing blood at 1:49 for his first goal of the season.
– Shea Weber would match Oduya’s goal at 11:17 with a powerplay goal, his third goal thus far of the season. Mike Ribeiro (1) and Colin Wilson (2) claimed the assists.
– Nashville came out on the sluggish end in the first period, with Carter Hutton getting his money worth with 12 shots on goal compared to Nashville’s miniscule three. However, it only took three shots to sink one for Nashville, whereas it took twelve for Chicago to slip one by Hutton. Glass half full, yes?

Second Period:
– Nada in the second period in the terms of goals, with Nashville only tallying one shot on goal during this period. Eek.

Third Period:
– Another goal-less period, but this time with Nashville ramping up the shots factor to twelve.

Overtime Hockey:
– Overtime didn’t last too long for both sides, as Jonathan Toews managed a breakaway to sink a shorthanded goal, ending the game in favor of Chicago 2-1.

 

So, one shutout against Winnipeg is in the books and one loss in overtime to Chicago. But hey – Nashville has not lost in regulation yet, thus keeping them ranked #1 in the Central Division. So, as I mentioned before, not all from this weekend was a loss and it ended up being pretty good for the Preds — minus their continuation of coming out in a sluggish, uncoordinated fashion as of late. Preds are back home this Tuesday against Martin Erat and the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes for a three-game stance (with Chicago and Pittsburgh heading this way, too).