Schedule Excitement & a Marty Party

Just a few more days… Can you handle the anticipation?

Last night was a big one for NHL fans – the much anticipated schedule was released, thus sending a bunch of us into a calendar blowout, cramming the newly slated games into our already busy schedules. But we must say, what a relief! With the schedule officially released, it’s starting to feel as if the season really is about to start (ahem, finally).

We promptly posted the schedule in our schedule section last night, in case you missed it. It’s there in its entirety for your viewing pleasure (though we believe you have already run your feasting eyes across it elsewhere).

What games have you circled (and circled, and circled) on your calendar? The Predators will host the first two games at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 19th, followed by the St. Louis Blues on January 21st. Then it’s off on a seven-game road trip across the Western Conference. Some key games most fans and analysts are interested in are the games against both the Detroit Red Wings and the Minnesota Wild. Any Preds fan will tell you why; Jordin Tootoo and Ryan Suter. The Predators will face Suter and the Wild on January 22nd in Minnesota, but Preds fans will have their shot at the runaway on March 9th. Jordin Tootoo will be visiting Smashville on February 19th, though I don’t believe many fans will be blowing their Tootoo whistles. The Predators will then travel to the Motor City on April 25th. On a personal note, one particular Lady Pred is excited about April 2nd, when the Colorado Avalanche come marching into Music City (we miss you, Shane O’Brien! ahem).

To be officially official, the actual Lockout ended last night after it was confirmed that the Memorandum of Understanding was completed. Who cares… NHL HOCKEY IS BACK NOW!

NHL training camps opened today, but the Predators stuck to their normal “preseason” routine of training off-ice to start out. However, tomorrow begins the on-ice practice at Centennial Sportsplex which, good news for fans, is open to the public. The practice will run Monday through Friday, 10AM to 11:30AM. Though we’ll be at work, we’ll try to slip in an early lunch break to come soak in the fact NHL hockey is truly back in Nashville.

Martin Erat was named the new Alternate Captain today, stepping up into Ryan Suter’s once shoes. Shea Weber is, of course, still Captain, along with Mike Fisher as the other Alternate. Pekka Rinne has also been given a leadership role this season, which is not surprising by any means. And yes, David Legwand is still the alternate Alternate Captain.

Tickets for the first two home games are on sale now via TicketMaster, while the rest of the regular season will go on sale Friday, January 18th at 10AM.

Have you gotten your tickets for Saturday night? We hope to see you there!

The Tootoo Whistles Silenced: Jordin Tootoo takes Deal from Detroit

Tootoo heads North to Nashville’s rival.

Welp, weren’t we all thrown for a loop? One move we did not see coming came from Jordin Tootoo himself. Tootoo chose to accept the Detroit Red Wings’ three-year, $1.9 million contract after turning down Nashville’s almost identical offer.

When Tootoo decided to turn down the Predators’ offer, it was clear he was letting everyone know his distaste in being benched late in the past season. Of course, as a free agent, Toots was given free range to dip his feet in other franchises’ waters, but when TSN announced Jordin Tootoo’s decision, all of Nashville went silent, as jaws hit the floor.

Detroit. He chose Detroit.
Not Vancouver, not Anaheim, not Chicago (granted, we aren’t sure if these teams even offered him anything, but he admitted three other teams made him offers). Detroit.

His decision to head North to Nashville’s rival “big brother” can be seen in many, many different lights. Either Nashville’s “sizable” three-year contract was bogus or Jordin Tootoo just made it very, very clear to Nashville and its fans he was an unhappy camper by giving them a big middle finger.

It’s hard for us to believe that, after everything Nashville has done for Toots (along with vise versa for what he’s done for Nashville), the enforcer would up and leave to, of all the teams, the Predators’ biggest rival just because he was benched for the later half of the season.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity to put on that Red Wings jersey and play for an Original Six team,” Tootoo stated on a conference call with the Red Wings. This whole sentence feels like, in essence, a knife digging deeper into the backs of the Predators and its fans. Playing for an Original Six team is truly a great feeling for an NHL player but, again, it comes down to which team he ultimately signed with and its history with Nashville.

Although we ultimately have to thank Jordin Tootoo for all that he did for the city of Nashville, we can’t help but refer back to his final ‘Tootoo on 2’ video. The whole “only wanting to hold the Cup in Nashville” and “Nashville is my home”; was that all a lie just to warm our little hearts?

In the end, Toots has signed the papers and is on his way to Detroit, wiping his hands of Nashville for good. Toots, of all people, should know, Predators fans don’t take players leaving on bad terms easily (ask Dan Hamhuis). If he had chosen to go to any other team, Predators fans should be more than happy to cheer for the enforcer when he returned to play against Nashville. However, since he will be wearing red and white, Toots better prepare for the Tootoo whistles to be chucked at him. Nashville and Detroit open the 2012-13 in Motor City on October 12th at 6:30PM.

Good luck in Detroit, Jordin… but don’t expect fans to welcome you back with open arms.

(Photo courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Predators Advance to Next Round, Eliminate Detroit 2-1

The Predators exit the bench after eliminating the Detroit Red Wings.

The Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings faced off in Game 5 last night in Smashville, with the Red Wings hanging at the mercy of the Predators in what could have been their final game in the playoffs. The Predators took Game 1  with ease, lost Game 2 at home, then pummeled the Wings back-to-back in the Joe. With Nashville holding the series 3-1, Detroit needed a “Pittsburgh/Vancouver” miracle to keep the series going, but Nashville was already looking forward to Round 2. Here are the highlights from last night’s history making game:

"All Night Long"

KEY POINTS:

  • Although day-to-day at this point, Hal Gill placed it safe and sat out yet again on the scratched list. Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Chet Pickard, Jack Hillen, Matt Halischuk, and Jordin Tootoo topped out the scratched list. After making a good impression in Detroit, Ryan Ellis got another chance at playoff time, along with Craig Smith.
  • After expressing much frustration, Alexander Radulov finally sealed a playoff goal at 16:10 in the 1st Period, thanks to a nice pick from David Legwand. Leggy’s 2nd assist was the only one on Rad’s first playoff goal.
  • The 2nd Period belonged solely to the Red Wings, with Jiri Hudler slipping a backhander passed Pekka Rinne at 13:45. Hudler’s goal was his second of the playoffs.
  • After helping Radulov seal his first goal, David Legwand reminded Detroit of how well he plays against them by scoring his 2nd playoff goal just 13 seconds into the 3rd Period. Gabriel Bourque (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (4th assist) picked up the assists on Leggy’s goal. With this goal, David Legwand has clinched the 1st Round game-winning goal two years in a row.
  • Although Leggy scored only seconds into the third period, giving Detroit plenty of opportunities to tie or even surpass the Predators, Nashville’s extraordinary defense held the desperate Red Wings back, sealing the series in Nashville’s favor and sending Detroit into an early retirement.
  • Although the Predators do better when out-shot, the Predators surpassed the Red Wings in shots on goal 25 to 22, with Pekka blocking all but one. Detroit attempted to stay under the Predators on shots, only surpassing them in the 3rd Period 8 to 7. If there was an MVP per Round, it’s clear Pekka Rinne would be the winner, hands down. Detroit had many a chance to take the lead and perhaps take the series, but Pekka Rinne and Nashville’s defense (A.K.A. Kevin Klein) thwarted any chance for advancement for the Red Wings.
  • The Predators only faced two of five penalties, with neither team able to score on the given power plays. Here are the two penalty offenders of Game 5 for Nashville:
  1. Mike Fisher – 31 seconds 1st Period – Interference
  2. Brandon Yip – 18:26 1st Period – Goalkeeper Interference

Reaching an outstanding 112 decibels, it was clear the fans were happy with the end result last night in the Bridgestone Arena as the Nashville Predators knocked off the Detroit Red Wings in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs. This is the third time in the past sixteen post-seasons the Detroit Red Wings have failed to reach the second round of the playoffs, even more reason for the Predators to celebrate.

As they say, third time’s the charm, as this is the third meeting between these two teams during the post-season, with Detroit knocking out Nashville in both 2004 and 2008. Last night was little brother’s turn to finally surpass big brother and how sweet it was.

The Predators will now take a nice hiatus while the rest of the league continues to knock one another out, but Nashville will ultimately face the winner of the Chicago/Phoenix game.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo courtesy of John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

GO PREDS

Predators take the Joe 3-1 despite being Out-Shot 41 to 17

Pekka Rinne blocks 40 of 41 shots on goal against Detroit.

The Nashville Predators had already claimed one victory in the Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, their first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history, meaning the Detroit Red Wings would come out swinging in the next round. However, Nashville had a relatively good season against the Red Wings in Detroit, so the pesky Predators weren’t just going hand the Wings the victory without a price. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Detroit/Nashville series:

KEY POINTS:

  • Jordin Tootoo, Hal Gill, Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and Chet Pickard were the scratches for the night, giving Ryan Ellis another chance at playoff hockey. Along with Ellis returned Matt Halischuk, who was feared to have broken a few ribs against Detroit on Friday night.
  • Both the first and second periods proved goal-less, but that doesn’t mean neither team was given prime scoring chances. Thanks to a stellar performance from the Finnish phenom, Pekka blocked 11 shots during the first (Nashville only shot 7) and 17 in the second (Nashville only got 3 shots).
  • After David Legwand’s first goal was waved off due to an “intent to blow the whistle” call, Gabriel Bourque made sure his goal was seen around the arena at 1:55 into the third period. Bourque’s snap shot passed Jimmy Howard was his third of the playoffs and Alexander Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the lone assist on the goal.
  • Jiri Hudler would score a few minutes later on the power play at 3:14 with a tip-in passed Pekka Rinne, his first goal of the post season.
  • Kevin Klein would shine yet again against Detroit, sinking his 2nd post season goal at 6:25. Klein’s wrist shot was assisted by Martin Erat (2nd assist) and Mike Fisher (2nd assist). While the Detroit line followed Martin Erat, Kevin Klein was left wide open, cleaning tapping the puck into the net while Jimmy Howard and the rest of the team tried desperately to adjust.
  • Nashville would hold off Detroit until 19:21 when David Legwand made certain Detroit acknowledged his goal. Leggy was unassisted on his tip-in goal.
  • As stated in the headline, Nashville was out-shot 41 to 17 overall, but if you’ve followed the Predators at all this past season, you’ll agree this isn’t surprising that Nashville was able to pull out the win. During this series, Nashville has been out-shot all but once, and that was last Friday when they lost. It’s clear Nashville does much better when they aren’t constantly taking shot after shot, despite the fan base wishing they would.
  • The Predators were plaque with penalties, yet again, but only allowed one power play goal out of seven chances for the Red Wings. Nashville was only given three power play chances, with David Legwand capitalizing on the last one. Though the refs seemed to favor Detroit, it was clear the penalties called for both teams were over the top. Here are the seven penalty offenders:
  1. Roman Josi – 7:38 1st Period – Interference
  2. Alexander Radulov – 12:18 1st Period – Tripping
  3. Roman Josi – 14:27 1st Period – Cross Checking
  4. Francis Bouillon – 14:01 2nd Period – Hooking
  5. Andrei Kostitsyn – 2:44 3rd Period – Too Many Men/Ice
  6. Andrei Kostitsyn – 7:15 3rd Period – Interference
  7. Matt Halischuk – 13:41 3rd Period – Interference

If there is one thing Detroit needs to realize, it’s that Nashville does better both on the road and when out-shot. After last night’s game, we’re pretty sure the team has come to that realization. With this win in Detroit, Nashville has now pushed themselves up 3-1 on the series, meaning one more win and they clinch the series. The Predators returned home last night at 12:45AM to a sea of adoring fans, who stood out in the cold and rain to welcome their boys home. The Predators could end the series with a win on Friday in Nashville, so be prepared for both teams to come out with passion.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus/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)

Predators Power past Detroit 4-1, Gain 4th Position

Alexander Radulov celebrates his 2nd goal since returning to Nashville on 3/22.

Had we not been on the brink of passing out from exhaustion, we would have had this post up right after last night’s game ended because… did you see that Predators team?!

Normally an intimidating and hostile place for an opposing team to visit, the Predators had no fear walking into The Joe last night and taking back the 4th position in the Western Conference playoff race from the Detroit Red Wings. In a nutshell, if the Predators can continue to play the way they did last night, Predators fans better get ready for a long and prosperous post season. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Motor City:

KEY POINTS:

  • Martin Erat and Roman Josi were back in the lineup last night, a relieving sign since Marty has been missed on the SK-Fish-Marty line. Hal Gill has been truly missing Roman Josi, for these two have a chemistry only Disney can create. Jordin Tootoo came off the scratched list himself, his upper-body injury proving to be nothing to worry over. Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Brian McGrattan, and Jack Hillen rounded out the scratched list.
  • The first period remained scoreless, with both Pekka Rinne and the newly-returned Jimmy Howard blocking some key shots on goal. Nashville out-shot Detroit 9 to 7 in the first period, but even though his first game back due to injury, Jimmy Howard was ready to go.
  • Gabriel Bourque was finally able to get the best of Howard at 13:05 during the 2nd Period, sending a wrist shot over the goalie’s shoulder. Jordin Tootoo picked up his first assist since February 28th (24th assist) along with Hall Gill (12th assist) on Bourque’s 6th goal of the season.
  • Francis Bouillon would put even more pressure on Detroit with a wrist shot of his own at 19:27 (ROAD GOO GOOS!). While Detroit’s defense was focused on Alexander Radulov, Frankie was able to sneak in and put the Predators up 2-0 for his 3rd goal of the season. Radulov (3rd assist) picked up the assist on Frankie’s goal, too.
  • Alexander Radulov would out-dance Detriot and Howard once again, sealing his 2nd goal of the season at 2:40 in the 3rd Period. Andrei Kostitsyn (17th assist) and Pekka Rinne (5th assist) picked up the assists on A-Rad’s goal.
  • Detroit was finally able to get one past Pekka Rinne at 16:57 with a wrist shot from Jiri Hudler for his 24th goal of the season.
  • Shea Weber added a nail to the coffin for Detroit at 19:20 with a bouncing empty-netter, his 17th goal of the season. David Legwand (32nd assist) picked up the assist on the captain’s bouncer.
  • Obviously, all of the “Pekka-ing” around town channeled the Finnish goalie, for Pekka Rinne was unstoppable last night (minus one goal, of course). Pekka was able to stop 31 of Detroit’s 32 shots on goal last night, giving Peks his 42nd win. Check out this unbelievable video of Pekka Rinne completely robbing Henrik Zetterberg from a goal.
  • In typical Nashville fashion, the Predators were out-shot 27 to 32, but thanks to Pekka, the defensive lines, and accurate shots, Nashville proved to be the better team last night.
  • Although playing like a Stanley Cup contender would, the Predators had their share of penalties last night. Although only one more than Detroit, it was still more than they needed to risk. Here are the three penalty box buddies:
  1.  Paul Gaustad – 5:42 2nd Period – Tripping
  2. Nick Spaling – 14:04 2nd Period – Hooking
  3. Alexander Radulov – 16:24 2nd Period – Too Many Men/Ice

By coming out in Detroit and embarrassing the Red Wings at home, the Predators not only pushed past Detroit for 4th spot, they also boosted their confidence as they come home tonight to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Back-to-back games are rough, so the Predators will need to cling to the confidence of last night to take on Chicago tonight.

The puck drops at 7PM in Smashville.

Until then,
GO PREDS.