Realignment: Who will Rival the Nashville Predators?

Could this mean the end of the NSH/DET rivalry?

After tonight’s rough and disheartening shutout, I think it’s time to move onto a much lighter subject. Possible realignment of conferences!

Wait – Are you having déjà vu? You should be, for this isn’t the first time it has been brought up. A proposed realignment of the Western and Eastern Conferences into four smaller conferences has been put out there, but has also been shutdown in the past.

The possible realignment was brought up by the boys over at Hockey Night in Canada, which got a lot of people taking about rivalries that could come to an end next season if said proposal was passed. Here’s a look at the possible conferences:

Proposed “Conference 1” and “Conference 2” – Source: HNIC

The proposed “Conference 3” and “Conference 4” – Source: HNIC

Thanks to Nick Costonika for the screen captures from HNIC, you can see that a few teams lose their renowned rivalries. Okay, none are terrible on the Eastern Conference front (the Flyers still have the Penguins, Toronto still has Montreal), but – and this could be because we are partial to the Central Division – Detroit will lose its in-conference rivalries with Chicago and Nashville. Though in all honesty, it makes more sense for Detroit to be in the East, the breaking up of the Central Division would be devastating, as they are the most heated division in the Western Conference.

However, it would be interesting to see if Detroit could stay on their toes in a division alongside such teams as the Boston Bruins (which would lose their heated meetings between the Rangers and such).

How about the Nashville/Detroit rivalry? How will the “Pred Wings” handle not seeing their beloved “team on the down low” as often in Music City or vice versa? Yes, it would be difficult to say goodbye to such a loving rivalry, but Nashville no longer relies on big names like Detroit, Chicago, or St. Louis to pack the house. With twenty-two straight sell outs, the Predators have dug themselves a nice, cozy home at the Bridgestone Arena, and they have plenty of inhabitants to keep the electricity on.

Nashville will still have Chicago and St. Louis if the conference realignment was allowed, but a new, more original rivalry may come about. St. Louis and Chicago would pair up, no doubt, and Dallas and Colorado could knock each other around, but Nashville? Who would Nashville choose to be eir “team they love to hate”?

We’ll give that honor to the Minnesota Wild. Why Minnesota? Really, must you even ask? With Ryan Suter making the move to the Wild in the off-season, Nashville fans already have a bad taste in their mouths whenever the name “Minnesota” or “Wild” is even mentioned. Yes, we have no doubt the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators would form a new, possibly historical rivalry, and that sounds fantastic.

Either way, this realignment is just a talking point. Though it has been proposed and is on the table for next season, it is not set in stone and will probably be shot down just like in previous attempts. Though we like the rivalries we have now, realignment would be helpful, especially travel-wise for teams like Nashville (the farthest East team in the Western Conference) and Winnipeg (the farthest West team in the Eastern Conference).

A girl can only hope, right?

Controversial Call Leads to Demise in Minnesota

There’s a reason Gaustad is a bit irate.

The Predators have already had their way with Minnesota once this year, reminding Ryan Suter of the team he abandoned back in the off-season to “be closer to home”. With a shutout victory of defending Stanley Cup champs the L.A. Kings on Thursday, Nashville was still riding high as they flew into St. Paul to face the menacing Wild. However, tonight would prove much more difficult than the last time they visited, with controversy to follow suite.

KEY POINTS:

  • The seven d-man assault left Matt Halischuk on the scratched list, along with Brian McGrattan. Similar to the first encounter with Minnesota, Chris Mason was called up to man the net.
  • Paul Gaustad would be the leading man of the night, notching his first goal of the season at 10:11 in the first period with a wrister past Backstrom. Craig Smith would pick up his first assist of the season as well.
  • As usual, the Predators were out-shot in the first period, this time 10 to 6 by the Minnesota Wild.
  • The second period would prove a bit more physical for the Predators, with the Wild hammering down at all costs. After immense pressure on net, the Cal Clutterbuck collected a tip-in goal from Ryan Suter to tie the game at one.
  • The Predators would not retain a goal after Clutterbuck’s, nor would the Wild, thus sending the game into an all-too-familiar scenario. However, this is where the controversy comes into play. Apparently, there is a new face-off rule and Mr. Paul Gaustad did not abide to those new standards… Here’s Rule 76.4:

“Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck withtheir hand in an attempt to win the face-off. Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shallresult in a minor penalty. This penalty shall be announced as ” Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation”. The two players involved in the actual face-off (the centers) are not permitted to play the puck with their hand without incurring a penalty under this ruleuntil such time as a third player (from either team) has at least touched the puck. Once the face-off is deemed complete (and a winner of the face-off is clear) hand passes shall be enforced as per Rule 79.”

Slow motion for me, move in slow motion for me.

…And here’s a .gif of what Gaustad did wrong:
Did you catch Gaustad’s mistake? No? As you watch the animation above, note that Gaustad’s hand grazes the puck as he and Granlund battle it out. Although it is clear Gaustad is not “batting the puck away to win the faceoff”, that is what the referee apparently thought, as this was probably his first encounter with this new rule at hand. The Wild would inevitably score on Gaustad’s penalty, sealing the win in favor of Minnesota in OT.

But was it really a bad call on the ref’s behalf that crushed the Predators? Though it wasn’t very helpful, this new rule did not solely cause certain doom for the Predators last night. A double minor on Devin Setoguchi in the third period, giving the Predators a four-minute powerplay, could’ve prevented this whole “Rule 76.4” mess in the first place, had the Predators worked together to nab a goal. Now, the Predators did outshoot the Wild twelve to eight in the third, but Nashville had plenty of opportunities to throw this one in the bag, but just couldn’t seem to get it together long enough to capitalize on their attempts.

The Predators will have to shake this one off quick, as they return tonight to face the ever welcoming Chicago Blackhawks, their first meeting of the season tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

Until then,
GO PREDS

Third Time’s the Charm; Preds grasp 3-1 Win over Wild

Nick Spaling capitalizes in Minnesota

FINALLY! A POST WITHOUT EXPLAINABLE EXCUSES! Ahh, just kidding; the Preds didn’t do that bad during the last two games, but how refreshing it is to write the first winning post of the season! And against the power couple that is Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, no doubt!

The Predators started out a bit iffy tonight, similar to last night’s start with the Wild showing the upper-hand. Showing no fatigue from last night’s shootout loss to the Blues and the late night plane ride, the Preds kept par with Minnesota, inevitably holding strong for the win. Here are the highlights from tonight’s first win of the season:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad traveled to Minnesota with the team and even took to the ice during practice this morning. However, his upper-body injury is still on the mend, so he, Jonathon Blum, and Brian McGrattan were your three scratches for the night.
  • Gabriel Bourque, who played a substantial role during last year’s playoffs, boarded a plane from Milwaukee at 7AM this morning to join the team in St. Paul. Bourque did not originally join the team at the end of the lockout due to an injury, healing while with the Admirals.
  • Chris Mason was given his chance to hit the ice for the Predators once again since 2008, getting the nod as starting goalie against Niklas Backstrom. Pekka Rinne, after a rough two games at home, took a needed break, although many were weary of Mason’s preparation against a 2-0 opponent.
  • Minnesota started out on the feisty side, keeping the action centered around Mason and the Predators’ zone. At 6:02, Dany Heatley knocked one past Mason, his third goal of the season.
  • The Wild’s early strike stirred the pot for the Predators, waking them up near the end of the first period with a wrist shot at 16:31 from Nick Spaling, his first goal of the season, to tie the game. Kevin Klein and Brandon Yip both picked up their first assists of the season.
  • The second period remained quiet on the goal front, but not on the defensive and offensive front. The Predators put up more shots on goal during the second (10 to Minnesota’s 7), and Chris Mason made some key and valuable saves to avoid sending the Wild into the lead.
  • The majority of the third period had most Predators fans wondering if they were going to see yet another shootout (three in a row?!), with both sides taking an even amount of eleven shots on goal during the period. However, Martin Erat nailed the magic backhand past a misplaced Backstrom to put the Predators up 2-1 for his second goal of the season at 11:45. Unassisted, we might add.
  • The Wild would pull Backstrom to give them an extra hand, but a last minute slashing penalty on Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended up backfiring on the Wild, giving the Predators the upper-hand and David Legwand’s first goal of the season at 19:43 on the powerplay. His snapshot was assisted by Nick Spaling.

The game was full of penalty action, both on the Predators and the Wild. Thankfully for the Predators, none of their penalties had a reprocution of a goal in favor of the Wild, but the latter can be said for Minnesota. Here are your Predators that wanted some alone time in tonight’s game:

  1. Rich Clune – 1st Period, 2:18 – Fighting
  2. Nick Spaling – 1st Period, 12:16 – Tripping
  3. Patric Hornqvist – 1st Period, 19:55 – Roughing
  4. Shea Weber – 2nd Period, 4:03 – Interference
  5. Brandon Yip – 2nd Period, 19:17 – Roughing
  6. Patric Hornqvist – 3rd Period, 9:47 – Goaltender Interference

The Zach Parise/Ryan Suter pairing have proven to be a power couple in just two games, but it was proven tonight that they are flawed and are not invincible. Though Roman Josi and Shea Weber have not meshed as well as Suter/Weber once did, the season is still young and, though it is a shortened season, the Josi/Weber pairing has time (not too long) to mesh and maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget all about that “Ryan Suter” character.

Let us not forget backup goaltender, Chris Mason. The Wild were brutal on net when they were in the crease, giving both the Preds defense and Mason a run for his money for not being a lanky, 6’7″ Finnish phenom. Mason blocked 28 of 29 shots on goal; though you can argue Peks has stopped many more than that while balancing on his right pinkie, Mason revived a few reluctant fans (and analysts) who just weren’t sure about how he could stack up to both Pekka and former backup goalie, Anders Lindback. After tonight’s performance, it looks like Chris Mason has measured up and surpassed even our critiques.

The Predators are off tomorrow night, but face the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday night. After tonight’s reviving win, will the Predators take that momentum across the West?

Until then,
GO PREDS!

Predators find Weakness in Shootouts, Fall to Blues 4-3

Predators notched a few more goals, but was it enough?

We’d like to start out with an explainable excuse as to why the Predators fell short tonight against the Blues, but unfortunately, rust and adjustments just can’t quite get them by tonight. The first period started out slow and steady for the Predators, then rocket-powered during the second. The momentum seemed to fizzle during the third, and completely dissipate during overtime. With the team heading straight to Minnesota tonight, are the Predators ready to take on this hectic, fast-paced season? Here’s the rundown of tonight’s head-shaker:

KEY POINTS:

  • Paul Gaustad was scratched tonight due to an upper body injury sustained in Saturday’s game. Rich Clune took to the ice for his first time in a Preds’ sweater to replace the injured Goose. Jonathon Blum was the second scratch of the night, with Victor Bartley being sent back down to Milwaukee.
  •  As mentioned before, the first period seemed a little bit of a “slow go” for the Predators, with the Blues taking control early. However, the Predators picked up the pace, with Colin Wilson striking gold first, sinking the puck passed Jaroslav Halak at 9:10. Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Ellis both picked up their first assists for the season on Colin’s goal.
  • Before Predators fans could finish celebrating, the Blues responded with a goal of their own at 10:28 with a goal from Vladimir Tarasenko, his third goal of the season.
  • The Blues would take the lead at 15:04 with a powerplay goal from Andy McDonald for his first goal of the season.
  • Mike Fisher would quickly tie the game once again at 17:13 on a powerplay goal of his own, his first goal of the season. Martin Erat would pick up his first assist of the season, along with Patric Hornqvist who picked up his third. 
  • After notching his third assist, Patric Hornqvist felt it was time to seal a goal of his own, slipping one past Halak at 12:53 on the powerplay. Martin Erat would pick up his second assist, along with Mike Fisher picking up his first assist.
  • It seemed as if the Predators would keep the Blues at bay during the third period, but alas, Alex Pietrangelo would notch one at 12:10 past Pekka Rinne to tie the game.
  • Overtime saw no goals, though the puck stayed in the Predators’ zone if not all of the five minutes, making it look as if the Blues were on a permanent powerplay. Thus, to the shootout they went:

SHOOTOUT SUMMARY:

  • NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – SAVE
  • ST. LOUIS – T.J. Oshie – GOAL
  • NASHVILLE – Martin Erat – SAVE
  • ST. LOUIS – Alexander Steen – GOAL

PENALTY SUMMARY:

The Blues spent more time in the penalty box than the Predators did (Predators only landed in the box during the first period), but the Preds only had one more powerplay goal than St. Louis. Here’s the penalty box rundown:

  • Rich Clune – 1st Period, 4:55 – Boarding
  • David Legwand – 1st Period, 13:32 – Hooking
  • Shea Weber – 1st Period, 17:37 – Interference
  • Hal Gill – 1st Period, 19:58 – Roughing

The Predators have no time to recuperate or collect themselves before the next game, as they should be on a plane headed to Minnesota to face the oh-so-wonderful Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Though not completely run over by the Blues like the Red Wings were on Saturday, the Predators still have more work to do if they want to compete in this short, fast-paced season. Offense is definitely a must, but that goes with a grain of salt. If the Predators do not collect themselves fast, they’ll be sitting on the shelf before they can even catch their breath.

The Predators will be in Minnesota tomorrow to face you-know-who and the Wild at 7PM. You won’t see the Preds back in Nashville until February 7th, so prepare yourselves for TV screaming time, thanks to the circus coming to town (yay!).

So what attitude will the Predators take on this seven-game road trip? We are hoping offensive, physical and mental toughness, along with plenty of shots-on-goal. We’d appreciate plenty of road Frosties.

Until tomorrow,
GO PREDS

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!

O Captain, Our Captain? The Decisions of Signing Shea Weber

Is signing Shea Weber that important to the future of the Predators organization?

It’s been awfully quiet on the home front as the wake of Ryan Suter’s signing with the Minnesota Wild is finally beginning to settle. Though some are still licking the wounds Suter [and Jordin Tootoo] inflicted on both the fans and organization, most are finally turning their attention on the captain himself and what David Poile will do to anchor the star defenseman in Nashville.

Ryan Suter high-tailed it to Minnesota to be closer to friends and family, we understand. However, it’s quite obvious that Suter was tired of living in Weber’s shadow – It was a little Batman and Robin-ish, if you think about it – and was ready to be the star of his own team. Yet, Suter won’t be the star by any means; thanks to the combined signing of he and Zach Parise, it looks like it’ll be ‘two’s company’ in Minnesota. Sorry, Suter.

Becoming the face of the franchise
Due to Suter booking it North, now Shea has the opportunity to be the face of the Nashville Predators. Even though Mike Fisher, Pekka Rinne, and David Legwand are pretty familiar faces, Weber is the most familiar amongst the league and beyond. Essentially, if signed, the Nashville Predators will be Shea Weber’s team. It will be his opportunity to take the horse by the reins and steer this franchise into a legacy lead by him alone. Now, who do we think will take Suter’s Alternate Captain position? We’re going with David Legwand and we’re almost positive you were, too.

Make him an offer he can’t refuse
A bit ‘Godfather’-ish, right? Well, it’s either that or trade him for all he’s worth. Suter can go on and on until his face turns blue about being completely “forward” with David Poile and the Predators franchise, but we aren’t buying. However, we cannot completely turn this all on Suter; absolutely not. No, David Poile should not have built his pillars so high on promises alone. Anyone can say half way through the season that he has no intentions to pursue other opportunities, but thoughts and minds change. It was clear Suter was not going to return to the Predators, and Poile wasted too much precious time waiting on his decision. His attention now should be fully focused on signing the captain – which means offering what is reasonable without going overboard – and, if it starts looking hairy, make a decision or move on to Plan C. If not, Poile might see even more players jumping ship before Weber’s wake can subside.

A team without Shea Weber
Say, worst comes to worst, and David Poile and the Predators cannot reach a deal with Shea Weber. What’s next for the Predators? With Tootoo and Suter jumping ship, it’s enviable fans will be left with lifesavers themselves, completely disheveled as to what happened to their unsinkable team and what will happen next. However, not all is lost if the captain abandons ship before the passengers do.
Let’s use the Edmonton Oilers, for example:
When Wayne Gretzky was traded, the decision by the Oilers was deemed complete ludicrous and mind-boggling by the rest of the league. I mean, it was Wayne Getzky. However, as we all know, one player does not constitute a team; he can make a huge, major contribution, but he is not a team as a whole. Likewise, the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup two years later.
The Predators have this opportunity, just as much as the Oilers did back in the day. Is Nashville in the same predicament as the Oilers? No, but it’s a good life example of how a move so ridiculous and outrageous can turn into the greatest celebration in the hockey world. Shea Weber is not everything to Nashville and, if traded, the Predators could gain a Stanley Cup-worthy team from his departure to another franchise. Or, it could send Nashville into a Columbus-like atmosphere (worst scenario).

The Waiting Game
Unfortunately, until David Poile and Shea Weber come to a deal, all the fans can do is wait and watch. Weber has opted out of arbitration, which is a good sign, but it doesn’t mean everything. Every day that goes by is both good news and bad, though most lean to the pessimistic side of that coin. David Poile is a general manager for a reason, so – although most are hurt to admit it – we must put faith in Poile’s decision making and his ability to convince Weber that Nashville is the place plant his roots long-term, possibly for the rest of his career. It’ll be difficult, especially with the prestige history that shines from teams like Pittsburgh, Montreal, and/or Detroit, but what Nashville has that these teams do not is a building legacy. Every year, the Predators break a new record franchise-wise, and why wouldn’t Weber want to lead this organization to its first third-rounder, its first Stanley Cup finals, its first Stanley Cup.

Ryan Suter and Jordin Tootoo are gone, there’s no time to look back on the past and dwell. The time now is to continue to Predators run towards the Cup and it’s time for David Poile to either do this with Shea Weber behind the wheel or leave him at the station. Weber isn’t going to come back cheaply, but Nashville’s perseverance has proven it can make it through the toughest of times…
and Shea can either tough it out long-term or hit the trail.

Ryan Suter heads Home: Signs with Minnesota Wild

You won’t see these three together any longer.

Three days after Free Agency began on July 1st, Ryan Suter has finally made his decision as to where he will sign long term with. That team? Well, if you honestly believe after all that hubbub that he’d go, “Eh, I’ll just stay here in Nashville”, we’ll you were a bit naive.

Ryan Suter has signed a 13-year, $98 milllion contract with the Minnesota Wild. The defenseman told Predators’ GM David Poile that “family reasons” edged him over to the Wild, even though Nashville was just $8 million shy of the Wild’s overall pay amount. Poile was expressed his betrayal by saying, “the disappointing part is that wasn’t what we talked about all year long” [about him staying in Nashville].

Unlike the Jordin Tootoo debacle, Suter actually has a reason to go to Minnesota; it’s closer to home and it’s the closest team to his family in Wisconsin. You can’t hate the guy for taking the chance to return go closer to home, though you do have to roll your eyes at the fact he wanted to play for a “contending” [for the Cup] team.

However, the Minnesota Wild could possibly take a stab at the Cup this coming season, as Zach Parise, too signed a 13-year contract with the team, just moments after Suter’s announcement. As you recall from last season, the Wild were leading the Western Conference for a majority of the season, then suddenly dropped off the face of the hockey world. Could the pairing of Parise and Suter override the partnership that Suter and Weber had? Only time will tell. Who knows, these two could be oil and water with each other.

Now the question remains as to what Nashville will do. Of course, their first priority now is to claw at Shea Weber to keep him around, even without his best pal, Ryan. GM David Poile will probably make an outrageous offer to Weber, but what else does Nashville have to lose?

As long as Nashville is able to get Shea Weber on board without Ryan Suter, the Predators should be just fine without defenseman, Ryan Suter. However, Poile better be kissing Weber’s feet and cutting his steak at this point.

Good luck in Minnesota, Suter!

Predators stay Busy while Suter Watch Continues

McGrattan, Gaustad, Mason, and Gill all quipped for Nashville next season.

The Predators made some key moves before and on July 1st, the day that Free Agency went into effect. Though many eyes are watching the Suter and/or Parise situation, the Predators weren’t going to hold off until #20 finally came to a decision.

On Friday, just two days before his chance at Free Agency, Nashville signed the Goliath himself, Hal Gill to a two-year, $4 million contract, sealing himself to Predators gold for the 2012-13 season. With the size, strength (and surprisingly a bit of speed – when he gets moving), Gill will continue to shine alongside Roman Josi for two more years.

Fairly late last night, Nashville released the news of the signing of another trade deadliner – Paul Gaustad. Obviously, Poile recognized his expertise in Face Offs and Penalty Kills, signing Goose to a four-year, $12 million contract. Wowza. There is much debate about wether Nashville overpaid for Gaustad, but his last contract was for $9.2 million; of course he wasn’t going to go for anything less. Plus, Gaustad’s consistency rules him as a green flag for Nashville; something they’ll really need if Suter bails.

The Predators decided, for their first ever July 1st signing, to chose goalie (and former Predator) Chris Mason to a one-year, $1.25 million contract as a backup for Pekka Rinne. Though many were lead to believe Milwaukee’s Jeremy Smith was going to jump over to Nashville and cover Rinne, Poile did not lie when he said he wanted a veteran goalie to take the backup position. However, one-year contracts can mean many a thing; Wether Nashville brought Mason back aboard to help get Smith ready to take over or what, we don’t think Mason will be with Nashville very long. The Predators have never had a veteran backup before, so it will prove interesting to see how Mason will do behind the Finnish phenom.

And, as of a few moments ago, Brian McGrattan posted an excited tweet about returning to Nashville (to counteract a previous disheartening announcement from Jordin Tootoo…). The Predators confirmed that they did, in fact, sign enforcer Brian McGrattan to a one-year, $600,000 contract to wear the gold once again in the 2012-13 season. With Tootoo’s signing with Detroit (we’ll have a whole separate post about that one), it seems like Big Ern will be the new favorite of the Predators. After being picked up in October of last year, Preds fans fell in love with the big guy, thanks to his beloved antics, wild fights, and heartbreaking struggles off the ice. Like we said, McGrattan will be replacing Toots very quickly as everyone’s favorite tough guy.

As of 8:30, that is all Nashville has locked in for certain, but Ryan Suter watch is still having some of us bite our nails until the bitter end. As we mentioned earlier, Jordin Tootoo split for Detroit, leaving a bunch of bewildered, speechless fans in his wake. Like we said, we’ll have a complete post dedicated to his “unjustified” decision momentarily. Besides Tootoo, Nashville said au revoir to veteran Francis Bouillon, as the Montreal Canadiens took him back for a one-year, $1.25 million contract. Bouillon is a bit of a hometown hero in Montreal, so returning to Canada is a welcoming sign for the Cube. He was a class act in Nashville and we wish him all the best with the Habs.

It’s getting late, but the night’s not over; anything is bound to happen now that the free agents are on the loose. Stay tuned for more information with the Predators as it comes through the media.

Hitting the Market: Jordin Tootoo declines Offer from Preds

Is this Jordin Tootoo’s Swan Song in Nashville?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predators Sign Brandon Yip to One-Year Contract

Yip looks so intense, whereas the Red Wings look… out of it?

Just four days after announcing the trade of goalie Anders Lindback, the Predators have switched gears and have set up a contract with one of the players.

Brandon Yip, placed on waivers by the Colorado Avalanche and picked up by Nashville in January, has been signed to a one-year (one way), $750,000 contract for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Colorado initially placed the young Right Wing on waivers due to an ailing injury, but Yip shined with Nashville in the four months he was with the Predators.

Brandon didn’t shy away from leadership, leading us to believe that is one of the key reasons as to why David Poile signed the 27-year-old. That, and he doesn’t (hasn’t) defy Barry Trotz and didn’t cost too much to add on for another year. However, Yip’s determination proved reliable for the Predators during the regular season and in the post season, giving Poile even more reason to sign him on.

So that leads to who will be next? July 1st is around the corner and Poile and the crew have a lot of thinking to do. Did we think Yip would be the first to be signed on? No, but he will be key to Nashville’s success for next season. With Yip on board, will Poile bite his tongue and (do the right thing) and sign his college buddy Colin Wilson to a contract?

Preds on the Line as of June 19th

Again, who will be next? David Poile will hope it to be Ryan Suter, but we highly doubt that.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Image)