Thursday, January 24, 2013

Preds Blues Preview 1/24/13

Just three days after their first meeting, the Preds and Blues square off again, only this time it is in St. Louis. St. Louis took the first game of the week in a shootout, but now the Preds have a taste of winning. The Preds should be well prepared for this game, Monday nights film should allow for better game planning for tonight. Monday night the Blues looked simply dominant at times. From puck control to time of possession, the Blues kept the tempo in their favor and made it tough for Pekka and the defense. 

I suspect lines will be:
Defense Pairs

Look for the defense to try and key on Tarasenko. It is going to be tough with last change, but the Preds will have to do their best to match up the Oshie line with the with the Weber pair. 

My prediction: Blues 5-4

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preds Wild Recap

The head lines should read: Not even Suter can stop Preds. The Preds win their first game of the season beating the wild 3-1. The wild grabbed the first goal of the game. It was Heatley throwing a shot on from the blue line, the puck was then tipped by either Klein or Parise (still inconclusive). Nick Spaling would answer with a rebound from a Kevin Klein shot. Then in the third Marty Erat blocks an attempted clear by Backstrom and then scores on the vacated net. The Preds went on the power play with a minute left in the game where Legwand put one past Backstrom.

Colin Wilson again looked great. Wilson has shown improvement in each game this season. Wilson's stick handling has been amazingly impressive. Both his passing and use of body have shown growth, not to mention his awareness and confidence have both seemed high this season.
Klein played phenomenally in this game. Parise broke in for a one on one with Klein. Klein stripped the puck from Parise, and he made it look easy.
Bourque did not look like a player coming off of injury, he hustled like normal, and even received his own clear. I assumed Bourque would be a step slow, but he simply wasn't, he moved well and was a productive member of the team.
Craig Smith was invisible again.
Clutterbuck was an absolute wrecking ball on the ice today. He took big shots at both Halischuk and Gil. I felt Clune needed to step up and do something about them, but then again, there was no real strategic advantage to fight.
The Fisher Kostitsyn Erat line had some great chemistry tonight. There was a nifty set of drop passes one shift that really helped the cycling.
The Preds up to this point had not impressed me during 4 on 4 play. Both defense and offense seemed to click giving the Preds great scoring chances.
Ryan Ellis may make better break out passes than Ryan Suter. This will take more time to see, but Ellis's vision and passing lead to at least one break away for the Preds.
Finally Mason looked great. Mason handled pressure with ease including a point blank chance coming from a hard ricochet off the back boards.

1-0-2 gets the Preds four points in three games, again not a bad start. And man did it feel good to watch Ryan Suter post a -3 in a loss.

Minnesota Wild Preview 1/22/13

I'm not ready to call this a must win, but any type of losing streak will put this team in a serious hole. The Minnesota wild looked dynamic on offense in their first two games. The Preds will have to key on Parise and Heatly if they want to keep the score low.
Mason will be starting in net, hopefully the defense will step up and protect him. Mason is more than capable, but he is not Pekka Rinne.

My Prediction: 4-3 overtime win for the Preds

Blues Recap

The good news, the Preds have gotten two points so far, the bad news, they have given up four to divisional opponents. To steal Trotz's word, last night was a "man's game." There was plenty of hitting, there were a couple of scrums, and healthy amount of penalties.

The Good: Colin Wilson continued to look phenomenal. Wilson's puck handling and passing has looked top line worthy. He may finally be the forward we all want him to be.
While I am not ready to call him Ryan Suter, Roman Josi has looked beyond exceptional in these first two games. He is moving the puck well, and not making the rookie mistakes he made last year. While I believe Josi will need to gain some muscle the kid has looked great so far.
Ryan Ellis has also been impressive in the first two games. Ellis could also add some muscle, but he has great stick work and positioning to make up for his small size. Then there is his offensive game, the defenseman has a nose for the puck and makes exceptional break out passes, example: Colin Wilson's goal against the blues.

The Bad News: Pekka did not look good in the shoot out against the blues, both Oshie and Steen scored with relative ease. On the other hand, it was Pekka and a couple of simply ridiculous saves that got the Preds to the shoot out.
Craig Smith has not looked up to game speed. The second year forward has made several bad give always, landing him in Trotz's dog house. Smith needs to get back to shooting the puck, he only had one shot against the blues. Don't be surprised if Smith gets benched versus the wild tonight.
Several Preds, including Sergei Kostitsyn missed open net chances that could have given the Preds a two goal lead.

A final note, do not blow this out of proportion, the Preds got 2 of 4 possible points, it isn't exactly what we want, but it is not a bad start. This team is showing skill as they knock off the rust. The Preds will be alright.

Game day preview later.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Preds Blues 1/21/13

Tonight the Preds look to recover from Monday nights shoot out loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. It is the St. Louis Blues making their way to the music city. Last year the Preds were 4-1-1 against the Blues. Having said that the Blues did not have Ken Hitchcock for a couple of those wins. Tonight should be a hard fought match with lots of physicality and probably a fight or two. Look for Craig Smith to have a chip on his shoulder after being called out by coach Trotz monday night. Also look for Colin Wilson to try and step up and earn his spot on the second line. It will be Halak in net for the Blues.

My Prediction: The Preds will take this one 3-2. They understand the importance of this game and Trotz usually has Hitchcocks number.

Closing note: Shea Weber can not take anymore five minute majors, while I agree someone needed to fight Boll it did not need to be our best player. Yip, Mcgratten and Clune have a purpose, they needed to be used.

Recap should come tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Dream

Monday night the Nashville Predators and the Predator foundation hosted a bowling event to support the fight against pediatric cancer. I left Murray Monday afternoon in hopes of meeting some fellow Pred fans, maybe grab an autograph and get me roll on. What I walked into was so much more than I was hoping for. I signed up as an individual, I had no clue who my teammates would be, but i could not have asked for better people. My team included five of the most wonderful and enthusiastic individuals I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I had the luck of being paired with a couple (the Bauman's) who worked with the Predator's Foundation. These most generous people took be around and introduced me to people such as Coach Peterson and Tom Callahan (@predsradio). Our Teams celebrity was Michael DelGiorno of WTN who played the role of team comedian. I am ever grateful for the wisdom he passed me about the radio industry. And I con't forget our team coaches Mrs. Crisp and Mrs. Grimson. Both of these women were simply a joy to be with. I repeat, I could not have had a better team, we were eaily the most enthusiastic lane in the whole alley.

I can not say enough about the event as a whole. Ryan Ellis and Craig Smith shared the lanes with fans while all the coaches tried to return to athletic glory. The list of celebrities was outstanding, JP Dumont captained a team, Willy Daunic won most improved player, and Tom Callahan went perfect through nine on road to a 275. One of the highlights was talking Notre Dame football with Pete Weber while he was not commentating the action. Gnash was there with the infamous air horn helping bowling balls to the gutters.

This was simply an amazing night, a great cause and a ton of fun. If you get a chance to attend an event like this I reccomend it. I went to this event hoping to have some fun, I left knowing that this would be one of the highlights of my year.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Sophomores

There have been several great posts on Roman Josi and whether he will be able to fill Ryan Suter's roll on the top pairing. Personally, I'm not worried about Roman Josi, I am worried about the young kids on offense. Which sophomore stud will step up and be the offensive threat that Nashville needs. Both Craig Smith and Gabriel Broque are heading into their second year with the big club, the question is, who is going to step up? Which of these young men will add the scoring touch that Nashville so desperately needs?

Craig Smith is a six foot one inch center from Madison, Wisconsin. After playing two years for the home town Badgers, David Poile was able to convince Smith to leave college for the bigs. In seventy-two games with the Predators, Smith scored fourteen goals and twenty-two assists. The twenty-two year old had six power-play points helping the usually dismal special teams. Smith also racked up thirty penalty minutes while registering a minus nine. Smith has one great up side, he takes shots, not something normal for a young Pred. The ex-badger took one hundred and seventy-two shots ranking him 115th in the league. Smith's rookie numbers rank him as the number two overall Predator rookie, losing only to Alex Radulov by one point. (Just think if he hadn't skied that empty netter.)

If Craig Smith can follow in the footsteps of Alex Radulov, Smith will put up about sixty points in the coming season, we can only hope this happens. David Legwand put up twenty-eight points in his rookie year with the Preds. More than likely, Legwand is the path that Smith will follow. Smith and Legwand are similar players, both are known to have game breaking speed, while being solid in the defensive end. Craig Smith looks to be the next "Predator" forward.

I see Craig Smith playing on the second or third line. If Smith can be paired with offensive talent like Colin Wilson, he looks to have a offensively packed year. He should put up somewhere between forty and fifty points, assuming last years slump can be broken. As fans we can only pray that Trotz does not give Smith the Geoffrion treatment.

Gabriel Borque is a five foot ten inch speed demon, straight out of the Canadian wilderness. Bourque only played forty-three games in the NHL this year, but he made it count. In just over half a season, the young forward registered nineteen points, tallying seven goals and twelve assists. It is impossible to say what he could have done with a full season, but if we were to double everything, Bourque would be the new Predator's rookie scoring champion. It is a big if, but had he doubled his totals, Bourque would have tied Craig Smith in goals, while beating him in assists.

We can only speculate how these player will turn out, but it is my hope that we will see Gabriel Bourque turn into something similar to Steve Sullivan. I expect to see Bourque on the third line with Nick Spaling, developing his game. Bourque can change a play with his speed, and he uses that speed to be one of the teams top forecheckers. I'm hoping for thirty-five to forty points out of Bourque, but more importantly I see him becoming more responsible in his own end. Down the road, Bourque may be one of the Preds top offensive threats, just not this year.