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.


  • 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,

Sweet Revenge: Predators Pummel Blues 6-1

Marty Erat does like to be injured.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure exactly where to begin. The team that hit the ice wearing Nashville sweaters was NOT the same club that has worn the jerseys previously. The Predators stayed consistent in both defense and offense, and Pekka Rinne was back in his Finnish phenom pants. Though the Predators only lead in shots over the Blues in the first period (9 to 4), the fact Nashville took a chance on shots for once proved successful, thus putting the breaks on the Blues 6-1. Again, I’m not sure even where to begin. So many plays, passes, shots, etc. were in Nashville’s favor, I just hope they can hang on to this voodoo that they’ve come across. For a team that has only two regulation wins, ten points are mind-blowing. Here are the highlights from tonight’s blowout over the Blues:


  • Martin Erat powered back from his lower-body injury, hitting the ice against the Blues. Jonathon Blum, who proved his worth on NHL ice last Saturday against San Jose, got the nod to suit up once again. Brian McGrattan and Matt Halischuk settled with scratches.
  • Blues’ Center Andy McDonald took an early tripping penalty in the first, giving Nashville a chance at a powerplay goal. Ryan “The Rocket Ship” Ellis took a wrister from the corner, sneaking it past Brian Elliot for his second goal of the season (2:10). Martin Erat picked up his third assist and Colin Wilson picked up his second.
  • Nashville camp out in the Blues’ zone, with newcomer Rich Clune slipping a tip-in to sink his first NHL goal at 15:53. Colin Wilson would pick up his second assist of the night (third altogether) and Paul Gaustad would pick up his first assist.
  • Nick Spaling would sink his teeth into a wrist shot, earning his second goal of the season at 19:13, putting the Predators up 3-0 at the end of the first. Brandon Yip would pick up his second assist and Roman Josi would gain his first assist of the season.
  • Nashville would extend the momentum into the second period, with Kevin Klein pulling a Shea Weber and sending a killer slapshot past Elliot, thus pulling him from the game completely. Klein gained his first goal of the season at 9:09, with assists from Jonathon Blum (1) and Martin Erat (4).
  • Gabriel Bourque decided it was his time for a goal, tipping it in past rookie goalie Jake Allen. Not a good start to his NHL debut, no? Bourque’s goal was assisted by Colin Wilson, his third of the night and fourth overall.
  • A holding call on Roman Josi would prove why the Blues are second in the league in powerplay goals. Alex Pietrangelo would nab his second goal of the second with a backhander past Pekka Rinne. Pietrangelo’s goal would shift the momentum in favor of the Blues, pushing the Predators to either buck up or fall back.

Though the Blues took the reins in the third period, Nashville remained consistent, despite being out-shot 14 to 7. Pekka Rinne can be praised for his continuous saves, keeping the Blues at bay. A wrist shot at 16:34 from Martin Erat was the nail in the coffin for the Blues, sending Nashville up 6-1. Erat’s third goal of the season was assisted by Ryan Ellis (2) and Jonathon Blum (2).

Thirty-two shots on goal and only one snuck by. That’s the Pekka we know. Looks like the Finnish phenom is getting back into a rhythm, one I hope I didn’t just jinx. Even rookie sensation Vladimir Tarasenko couldn’t work his magic around Peks.

Penalties are still an issue with the Predators, with Nashville seeing six and the Blues only taking three. For a team that is second in the league for powerplay goals, the Blues weren’t exactly the team to give powerplay chances to. However, Pekka and the Predators held strong, only allowing one PP goal. Here are the six box sitters:

  1. David Legwand – 12:41, 1st Period – Diving or “embellishing”
  2. Roman Josi – 11:53, 2nd Period – Holding
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 16:07, 2nd Period – Hooking
  4. Shea Weber – 19:38, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Roman Josi – 1:15, 3rd Period – Cross-Checking
  6. Nick Spaling – 17:07, 3rd Period – Slashing


What a step in the right direction for Nashville. As I mentioned in previous posts, though shootout points are helpful, points in regulation are the key to the Stanley Cup. Okay, not the key, but one of many that the Predators have to nail down to compete throughout the season.

But there is certainly no way I can criticize tonight’s game. Absolutely outstanding defense, offense, and overall teamwork shown by the Predators tonight. It’s hard to believe that, just five games ago, Nashville fell 3-0 to this exact same team. This is the Predators team we expect to see. This is the Predators that will make it far in the playoffs.

Don’t forget! Tomorrow night at Dave and Buster’s at Opry Mills: The debut of The Kevin Klein Show at 6pm! Get there early for prime seating, as you don’t want to miss Kleiner or his special guest, Pekka Rinne!

Until then,

Predators Knock off Last Undefeated Team in SO

Craig Smith does not like the doghouse.

Now that shootouts are becoming the norm for the Predators, it is only natural that they would eventually get pretty good at them (thankfully). The Predators have only notched one regulation win, the other two being settled in a shootout. Nashville seems to be a freak of nature in the league this season, with that one regulation win, yet still holding their own with nine points. However, they are still last in the league in offense (gasp) and are the only team not to have a win on home ice, thus far (excuse me, they’ve been on a long ass road trip, thank you). Even with their setbacks and chug-a-lug start, the Predators are hanging in there, trying desperately to get a bit of momentum to power through this short, but backbreaking season. Knocking the last remaining undefeated team off its high horse? Very good start. Here are the highlights from Saturday’s game in San Jose:


  • Jonathon Blum hit the ice Saturday night, his first steps on NHL ice since December of 2011. Blummer stepped up to replace the ailing Martin Erat, who took a puck to the ankle/foot during practice on Friday. Don’t expect Marty’s injury to be as bench-warming as Hornqvist’s, however.  Brian McGrattan remains on the scratched list.
  • The first and second period’s produced zero goals for either side, but action remained on high as both teams tore out of the gate on fire. San Jose out-shot Nashville in both periods, but Pekka remained on point, keeping the Sharks at bay and preventing them from continuing their undefeated streak.
  • Something sparked the Predators in the third, with Sergei Kostitsyn notching his first goal of the season with just 59 seconds on the clock. His wrister was assisted by Colin Wilson, his first assist of the season.
  • The Predators would hold the Sharks back until a careless mistake by the Predators in the form of a “too many men on ice” penalty stopped them in their tracks, allowing Martin Havlat to gain his third goal of the season. The Predators would out-shoot the Sharks nine to seven in the third period.
  • As usual, overtime was uneventful, though the Predators continued to out-shoot the Sharks, this time two to one. While that isn’t much, it is refreshing to see the Predators take a few shots every now and then.


  • SAN JOSE – Michal Handzus – SAVE
  • NASHVILLE – David Legwand – SAVE
  • SAN JOSE – Ryane Clowe – SAVE
  • NASHVILLE – Craig Smith – GOAL
  • SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski – SAVE

Now, what were we saying in the last post? Maybe Sergei dropping down to the third line and Craig finding himself in Trotz’s doghouse would possible motivate them to prove their worth? Looks like, so far, it’s doing the trick. Another face to commend is Jonathon Blum – for someone who hasn’t been in a Predators sweater in over a year, he didn’t bat an eyelash when it was his time to step up.

Penalties were abound in this game, a usual thorn in Nashville’s side. Here are the five penalty takers:

  1. Brandon Yip – 0:59, 1st Period – Hooking
  2. Jonathon Blum – 16:15, 1st Period – Interference
  3. Mike Fisher – 6:05, 2nd Period – Slashing
  4. David Legwand – 17:01, 2nd Period – Tripping
  5. Craig Smith – 12:26, 3rd Period – Too Many Men on Ice

Though we are happy the Predators are getting points, wether they win or lose in the shootouts, they cannot slide their way to the Stanley Cup on shootout points alone. The Predators are nearing the cliff of safety points and are going to have to nab some regulation wins if they want to continue pushing towards the Cup.

The Predators will finish out their road trip tomorrow against the nagging St. Louis Blues, an opponent that hasn’t been as kind to the Predators thus far.

102.5 THE GAME and FIFTH THIRD BANK present the all-new Kevin Klein Radio Show, starting this Wednesday (2/6) at 6PM at Dave & Buster’s at Opry Mills! Kevin’s first guest of the season will be goaltender, Pekka Rinne! Someone had to replace Tootoo, right?

Until tomorrow,

The Lineup Shuffle: Who’s getting Switched Around?


Is this Colin Wilson’s time to shine?

Looks like Trotzy is trying out some new lineups in hopes of a boost some offensive action i.e. goals and maybe – going out on a limb here – a win or two.

Here are the new lines:
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Martin Erat
Brandon Yip – David Legwand – Gabriel Bourque
Nick Spaling – Craig Smith – Sergei Kostitsyn
Matt Halischuk – Paul Gaustad – Rich Clune

Huge step forward for Colin Wilson who, not even a year ago was trying to claw his way out of Trotz’s doghouse. Huge step backwards for Sergei Kostitsyn who, as we all know, just isn’t quite getting the whole “shoot the puck because you can score” concept. Colin is creative on the ice, which may just be exactly what the Preds need to get a move on in this season.

Trotz has also thrown around the idea of bringing up a few prospects from Milwaukee, but no confirmation as of yet.

The Predators take on the defending Stanley Cup champs, the L.A. Kings, tomorrow night at 9:30 CT.

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.

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.

Radulov & A. Kostitsyn Suspended for Team Violation

Don't make that face! You got caught red-handed, mister!

As you may have all heard by now (yes, we are way behind on relaying this message), forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn have been suspended for Game 3 of the series between Nashville and Phoenix on Wednesday, after violating team rules late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

General Manager David Poile laid the hammer down hard on the two Eastern European players, extending this message to both the press and public:
“The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centered around doing the right things,” Poile said. “We have always operated with a team-first mentality and philosophy. Violating team rules is not fair to our team and their teammates.”

Per sources who know of the issues, Radulov and A. Kostitsyn were seen in Scottsdale, Arizona (about 45 minutes away from Glendale, AZ) at a bar and were there as late as 4AM. The team has a strict policy on “party hardying” and it is clear why the two drove that far to go to a bar: they didn’t want to get caught.

Both Radulov and A. Kostitsyn have been notable in the playoffs thus far for the Predators, with Alexander notching one goal and five assists and AK46 three goals and one assist. Although Radulov’s puck-handling will be missed, AK46 could possibly be the thorn in Nashville’s side on Wednesday night.

With Radulov and Andrei out of the lineup, who will be their replacements?
Don’t get too nervous, there are plenty of guys biting at the tooth to get some playoff ice time.

Here’s one guy that’s definitely been itching for more ice time; he’s been pretty vocal about it as of late. If Toots can manage to keep a level head, his physicality could come in handy against the pesky Coyotes. However, there’s a reason Toots has taken a back seat and, although he’s worked hard during practices, his silly mistakes could prove fatal to the Predators with the series so close to being handed to Phoenix.

Halischuk is what we call a “silent assassin”.  Although not a popular, well-known player, Matt Halischuk has made a name for himself and found a permanent home on Predators ice. Halischuk averaged 15 goals and 13 assists in the 2011-12 season, saving the Predators with a few of those moves. However, Hally’s been a  bit quiet in this post season, but he has been nursing an injury.

Rookie Craig Smith has had a good mixture of awesome and complete atrocious moments, but the boy is a good hockey player all around. Craig averaged 14 goals and 22 assists in the 2011-12 season, which is pretty impressive for a rookie. Craig hasn’t seen much ice time during the playoffs thus far, but has managed to sneak in an assist so far. However, Smith is a speedster and has proven by showing a little aggression out on the ice, both attributes the Predators could use at this time in the series.

There is simply no excuse for the actions both Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn committed on Saturday night. Some would just brush it off as two young, 20-somethings looking for a good time after taking their first loss, but rules are rules and both David Poile and Barry Trotz were not afraid to put their foot down, risky playoff move or not.

It’s never good to defy your team and teammates at any time, but during such a pivotal point in a series that could end your run at the Stanley Cup is NOT the best time to drink your cares away (especially when there’s a game the next day).

With punishment, maybe Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov will realize that their team, teammates, and fans take this series very seriously and would appreciate that, no matter how old and rambunctious they are, they are professional athletes that should act as such.   

Just chalk this mistake up as another thorn in Nashville’s side as they fight to regain their footing towards the Stanley Cup.

Until then,

(Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Radulov Rundown: Why Predators Fans should Celebrate

Should Predators fans be excited about Radulov's possible return? We say, "YES."

We we going to try to avoid jumping on this “Radulov Watch” shenanigan, but after reading into many of the reports from the KHL and the NHL, it seems we should do a rundown of our own as well (just in case the big man himself decides to come back tomorrow).

So the big question is, why should Nashville Predators fans be excited about all of this Radulov talk? Most fans of today’s Predators never got to see #47 in action at the Bridgestone, so most don’t know what all the fuss is about. Sure, you can watch YouTube videos like this one:

… Or this one:

… Or heck, even this one:

From any of those videos above, you can tell Radulov’s an extraordinary player and why he’s considered the best hockey player in the world outside of the National Hockey League. So why, why, why (?) would he run to the Kontinental Hockey League instead of playing with fellow great players in the NHL?

In the beginning… 

Alexander Radulov was drafted in the 1st Round (15th Overall) in the 2004 NHL Draft at the tender age of 18 but did not hit ice with the Predators until the 2006-07 season. In that season alone, Radulov racked up 18 goals, 19 assists, and 37 points. His 2007-08 season was even better, totaling 26 goals, 32 assists, and 58 points. Gaining that much momentum at only 21, could you imagine if he returned now with the experience and maturity he has generated over in the KHL?

Running Back to Russia…

With such a prominent career in the NHL blooming, why would a young, 21-year-old aspiring athlete ditch what so many young hockey players strive to reach and return home? There are many theories behind Radulov’s motives:

  • Immaturity – Take a note from last year with Colin Wilson, Radulov had some immaturity problems, but what 21-year-old male finally on his own doesn’t? Isn’t that what college is? Unfortunately, college is nothing like a professional sports team in a foreign country and, if things aren’t going your way, why not run back to the safety net that is home?
  • Pride – On the same lines as immaturity, pride can sometimes make people do some silly things. When you know you’re great, why wouldn’t you want to go somewhere you’re the greatest player in the league and you have no rivals? In the NHL, although Radulov was outstanding in his own rights, he still had to compete against the likes of fellow 2004 1st Round draftee Alex Ovechkin and 2005 1st Rounder Sidney Crosby. Why not take a deal in the KHL to be your own star instead of possibly competing against the likes of those guys or others?
  • Lack of Confidence – Radulov has a tendency to overreact when scoring a goal. You definitely cannot mistake when he makes a goal, for his celebrations are a little on the eccentric side. Rumor has it that older guys like J.P. Dumont and Jason Arnott would give the young Russian a hard time about his exaggeration, thus finally sending the young gun packing.

Beside these three factors, there are probably a ton more circulating about, much more than we can cover in a blog post. However, with this cons come pros:

  • Maturity – Alexander Radulov is now 25 (going on 26 on July 5th) and, after a successful career thus far in the KHL, the young Russian is passing the hump of the twenties. Although most of the time maturity comes with age (most is the key word), Radulov has grown, both as a player and as a person, since leaving the NHL and if he intends to create a legacy in the NHL, now is the time to return.
  • Humility – Though we can’t think of any possible way Radulov has been humbled by his experience in the KHL (he did achieve the title of greatest player in that league), as stated before, pride and immaturity walk hand-in-hand and so does maturity and humility. Hopefully, with Radulov’s maturity, his need for competition has risen and he will set his pride aside to share the podium with fellow teammates.
  • Confidence – Wether it was true or not, Radulov will have no one to “hurt his feelings” due to the fact most of the team, minus David Legwand and Martin Erat, have moved on. In fact, Radulov, Suter, and Weber were all pretty close, so Radulov would be returning to old, familiar faces. That, and could Radulov possibly keep Suter and Weber in Nashville with his return? Let’s not float down that road just yet…

Okay, okay, okay… So you still aren’t impressed. How will he improve the already power lines such as the SK-MF-ME and the AK-SK-DL lines? Although he was embarrassingly terrible in defense, what he lacks in that department, Radulov goes above and beyond to make up in offensive gold. Both patient and skilled with the puck, Alexander Radulov can do just about everything with a puck a defense and goalies have nightmares about. So his defense was terrible while he was in Nashville, that was almost five years ago. Radulov has proven himself as a complete player in the KHL, growing offensively and defensively alike.

It’s truly hard to explain into words how powerful Alexander Radulov is and, with the NHL and the KHL stepping out of his way, Radulov can basically ‘Pass Go and collect $200’.  This, of course, has sent the other Western Conference coaches and General Managers into an uproar, but the NHL sees nothing wrong with Radulov hoping on a plane and hitting the ice in a Predators sweater tomorrow.

Maybe this post helped, maybe it confused you even more; which ever the case, Alexander Radulov would be like the prodigal son returning to his father, or so we are hoping. Not only would Radulov extend the Predators chances in the playoffs, he might help them reach the almighty Stanley Cup. That, or he’ll do absolutely nothing. By the way the other GMs and coaches are having a meltdown of his possible return, we are thinking Radulov will be a force to be reckoned with… Something the Predators have been needing for a long time.

So, until tomorrow, the fateful day that is the Ides of March (and what is also Peyton Manning Watch for Nashville), may Alexander Radulov bid Russia goodbye and hop a plane straight for Nashville, Tennessee.

Until then,

(Photo credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)

Preds Player Profile: Hal Gill

Welcome to Smashville, Gill!

Defenseman Hal Gill will take the ice tonight with his new teammates of the Nashville Predators against the Dallas Stars tonight. Gill has been apart of the NHL for quite a while, so to celebrate his arrival to the Predators, let’s get you a little aquatinted with the 36 year old!

Hal Gill was born in Concord, Massachusetts on April 6, 1975. The 6’7″ defenseman was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 8th Round (207th overall) in the 1993 NHL Draft, but spent four years playing at Providence College. Before entering college, Gill was a well-known quarterback for Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, MA!

Hal Gill finally hit the NHL during the 1997-98 season with the Bruins and played over 600 regular-season games with Boston before turning to Lukko in the Finnish SM-liiga league when the 2004-05 NHL season was in lock out. In July of 2006, Gill was picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs, averaging his best numbers in his career. In February of 2008, Hal Gill was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second round draft pick in the 2008 Draft and a fifth round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft.

While in Pittsburgh, Hal Gill picked up what could possibly be the most important aspect to the Nashville Predators. On June 12, 2009, Hal Gill held up the Stanley Cup after defeating the Detroit Red Wings. Less than a month later, Gill signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens. He would then resign for another year during the 2010-11 season.

And then that leads to Nashville! On February 17, 2012, Nashville traded Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a second-round pick for both Gill and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Hal Gill grew up in Bolton, Massachusetts and has three children (son, two daughters) with wife, Anne.

Other notable facts about Hal Gill include:

  • Ranks 14th in the NHL with 122 block shots this season.
  • Played 53 games this season with the Canadiens, eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) and 29 penalty minutes.
  • Ranks 3rd in the league’s penalty killers.
  • Played his 1,000 game with the Canadiens on October 20, 2011 against former team the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Appeared back-to-back in the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, winning with the Penguins in 2009.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn was a fellow teammate during the 2009-10 season at Montreal.

Hal Gill brings with him to Nashville stamina and experience, exactly what the Predators need amongst the young, rookie-filled team. With his Stanley Cup win under his belt, Gill will provide the knowledge the Predators need to claw closer to the ultimate prize in the NHL.

Welcome to Nashville, Hal Gill!

Until then,

(Photo credit of: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

Predators Face 3rd Loss in a Row, Fall to Bruins 4-3 in Shootout

Shea Weber scored the first goal for the Predators, but was it enough?

The Predators hoped to shrug off the past two losses with a trip to Bean Town to face the 2011 Stanley Cup champs, the Boston Bruins this afternoon. However, similar to the Ottawa situation, Boston was coming off a nasty previous loss, one where they lost 6-0 to the Buffalo Sabres. As such, the Bruins were seeing red and the Predators, although in white, blue, and gold, might as well should have been wearing giant targets on their chests. With 17,565 in attendance, could the Predators knock out the reining Stanley Cup champs and seal the win? Here are the highlights from today’s noon start game in Boston:


  • A surprise in the scratch department, silent but deadly Matt Halischuk was scratched, along with rookie Ryan Ellis. This meant the usual Brandon Yip and Jack Hillen finally got some ice time, but sadly, Brian McGrattan was scratched yet again.
  • Both teams battled back and forth until 16:00 in the first when Boston’s Patrice Bergeron hit a wrist shot passed Pekka Rinne on a shorthanded goal for his 16th goal of the season. The Predators and the Bruins would ended the first period 1-0.
  • The Predators caught up at 7:32 when Shea Weber used the power play to his advantage and nailed his one-of-a-kind slap shot passed Tim Thomas, his 11th goal of the season. Ryan Suter picked up the assist on Weber’s goal. The Bruins and the Predators would end the 2nd period tied at 1.
  • The Bruins wasted no time in the third, with a backhand goal from Daniel Paille, his 9th goal of the season.
  • Patric Hornqvist waited until 9:33 to slip a wrist shot passed Tim Thomas for his 17th goal of the season, tying the game at 2. Sergei Kostitsyn and goalie Pekka Rinne picked up the two assists.
  • Mike Fisher finally put the Predators up and over the Bruins at 16:28 with a backhanded goal of his own, his 17th goal of the season. Patric Hornqvist and Francis Bouillon picked up the assists on Fisher’s goal.
  • At 18:53, Milan Lucic was able to tie the game by sending a wrist shot passed Pekka Rinne, his 20th goal of the season. Neither team was able to score again in regulation, thus throwing the game into overtime.
  • Both Boston and Nashville fought back and forth during overtime, but neither time was able to get one passed the goalies to end the game. Here is the shootout play-by-play:
  1. BOSTON – David Krejci – SAVED BY RINNE
  2. NASHVILLE – Sergei Kostitsyn – SAVED BY THOMAS
  3. BOSTON – Tyler Seguin – GOAL
  5. BOSTON – Patrice Bergeron – GOAL
  • With two successful sweeps passed Pekka, Boston sealed the 2-points and the game, leaving the Predators to hang their heads and tuck tail back to Nashville. Although Nashville slipped away with one point, now is not the time to go on a losing streak. This is the 3rd game in a row the Predators have lost 4-3 and, although it could be worse, a loss is a loss.
  • Although it’s easy to blame Pekka, he honestly hasn’t done anything different. He was able to block 38 of 41 shots on goal, which is pretty outstanding. It all plays back to the Predators defense and shots, neither of which we want to delve into at this moment.
  • The Predators were given three power play opportunities, one of which they were able to capitalize on. Unfortunately, the Predators were able to give Boston two power play goals out of four chances. Here are the penalty takers:
  1. Mike Fisher – 10:37 1st Period – Hooking
  2. Craig Smith – 13:02 1st Period – Too many Men/Ice
  3. Sergei Kostitsyn – 10:30 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Sergei Kostitsyn – 17:42 3rd Period – Tripping

The Predators head home with a third loss hanging over their heads and hope to start back on a winning streak when division rival the Chicago Blackhawks come to town on Valentine’s Day. As stated before, there’s never a good time to have a losing streak, but with the battle for division and conference leaders at steak, now is really not the time. We can only hope for the best on Tuesday.

Until then,

(Photo credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)