Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WHOA! We're back! And Preds beat Minnesota.

Yeah yeah it's probably odd to see no posts between November 5th and April 4th but it is what it is. It's not important.

Anyway. A nice little win by the Preds on Tuesday night at the Bridge.....I suppose. Every point is meaningful, but no one can argue that something just looks a little bit off with the team lately. I can't put my finger on it but it's something. And this isn't the time of the year to be out of your rhythm.

On the bright side, good ole' 'Ders Lindback played pretty awesome in net, as he got the start because Pekka was apparently quite sick. The only goal he gave up wasn't gonna be stopped by anyone unless they just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Great game by Ders and he rightfully received first star honors.

With the win the Preds (temporarily) move into 4th place, yet again leap-frogging the Wings, although Detroit has three games left compared to our two.

Nashville ends the season with two winnable games. One at home Thursday against Dallas and the last in Denver against the Avs to end the season. Both games could be potentially interesting, as we are looking for the 4th seed above both Detroit and Chicago, but Dallas will be coming into the game in a must-win situation.

The Stars currently trail 7th place Phoenix (and 3rd place Los Angeles) by four points and 8th place San Jose by three. Dallas screwed themselves on Tuesday by losing at home to the Sharks, but the bottom line is if the Stars beat us they'll still be technically alive with losses by any of the three aforementioned Pacific teams.

Colorado is currently four points behind 8th place, so any point by San Jose will eliminate them from contention. However if the Avs beat Columbus on Thursday and San Jose loses to LA, the game Saturday would presumably decide Colorado's post season fate, as a win over us and another Sharks loss to the Kings would send them playoff-bound in the most unlikely of scenarios.

Either way, all great postseason possibilities aside, the Preds are a better team than either Dallas or Colorado, so honestly anything less than four points in the final two games will be a disappointment.

Bottom line: Winning our final two games and Detroit failing to sweep their final three (@ St. Louis, home vs. New Jersey and Chicago, respectively) and we will be 4th place, with home ice in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Bring it on.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gameday Thoughts: 11/5 - Preds@Sharks

The signing of Pekka Rinne has put the Preds on the national stage over the last couple of days and rightfully so. Just hours after signing the extension, Peks went out and capped a 3-0 shutout over the Coyotes, in front of an announced attendance of 72. Oh, and also, it was his birthday. That's a nice day I'd assume.

Now the Preds take their talents to South Bay and say what's up to an old nemesis: the San Jose Sharks.

Ron Wilson is long gone from the Sharks bench, as are (probably) most of the ill feelings Pred fans harbor for the team because, let's face it, they owned us two straight years in the playoffs. Aside from that though, the Sharks are just a horrible matchup for us and always have been.

They're a strong, well-disciplined team and the usually-young-and-gritty Preds tend to get over matched by San Jose, especially in their building.

After a relatively slow start, the Sharks have won six of seven and are hitting their proverbial stride. The only true weakness they have is on the penalty kill, which they rank 27th in the league.

And hey, the Preds are 17th on the power play so far this season, which is a far cry from their usual rank somewhere well below that.

As far as the Preds go as a whole, since their loss to the Sharks last week in Nashville they have been playing better hockey by winning three of four, and their loss coming in a 5-4 loss at Chicago.

Notes: Backup goalie Anders Lindback has yet to make a start this season and is more than likely going to end that trend during this California trip. Look for it on Wednesday at Anaheim, as it's the back end of a back-to-back with LA and Anaheim.......Sergei Kostitsyn and Kevin Klein are probable. Nick Spaling is still on IR but will skate today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gameday/Pekka Rinne Day: Preds@Coyotes/Pekka signs $49 million Extension

The Preds have been looking pretty decent lately with nice wins at home against Tampa Bay and Anaheim, and a tough yet encouraging loss 5-4 at Chicago on Monday.

We head to the desert tonight looking to avenge our home opener loss to the Coyotes. All that is well and good but today it's all about Pekka Rinne's whopping 7-year/$49 million dollar extension. Okay, one down, two to go right? Well maybe not.

The way I see it is this: I love the Pekka signing, 7/mil, whatever that's cool, although I think that pretty much dooms Weber's future with us because he's going to want to make a boatload of money. That is, unless Suter leaves and Weber is signed. Out of those two I have a very hard time thinking that Weber is more likely to stay that Suter. Suter, like Rinne, seems to really enjoy it in Nashville and seems like a guy who is perfectly content in a small-market. Weber likes it here I'm sure, but I could see him going somewhere else pretty easily. I think Suter "avoided" the question because that's the professional way to go about it. They have a game tonight.

So now if we have Pekka and Suter theoretically locked up for 7 and 6.5 (sure, why not?) million next season, add that to the rest of the "key players" making over a million with guaranteed contracts (based only on 2012/13 cap hit):

13.5 million plus:

Legwand - 4
Erat - 5.5
Fisher - 3 (UFA after next year)
Hornqvist - 3.25 (RFA after next year)
Klein - 1.35

Those players combined would make 30.6 million. Weber's fate is up in the air, and it doesn't include Kostitsyn who is a RFA this summer (making 2.5 million), Wilson who will be resigned for quite a bit more than his current 800k salary, and Tootoo who will be here forever. 

Defensively, Bouillon (probably gone), Blum, Hillen, and Laakso are free agents as well. So basically, everyone is except Klein.

Now my thought process is this: If we re-sign Suter and then trade Weber are we going to be able to get a good package in return that we would be able to keep under the cap, or are we going to let him walk and settle for the draft pick compensation? Obviously all of this is under the assumption that Weber isn't back with us.

I guess what I'm getting at is in my mind keeping all three ties our hands too much down the line and doesn't allow us to do much in the free agent market unless we let some of our young pieces for the future go, like a Hornqvist, Wilson, Kostitsyn, etc and I just don't think that's worth it. That's not even including the fact that I'm sure Fisher will want to be re-signed by both himself and the fans in 2013.

I'd love to re-sign Suter and look for an affordable-yet-useful package for Weber. I think it can be done with the right pieces. If anyone can make it happen I think our front office can.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting to Know: The Anaheim Ducks (again)

Who: Anaheim Ducks (5-3-1, 11 points) at The Mighty Predators of Nashville (4-4-1, 9 points)
Where: 501 Broadway
When: Saturday, 7pm
What: Awesome

Quick. What comes to mind when you think of the Anaheim Ducks?

If you're like most people you probably think of the awesome Disney movies or maybe Teemu Selanne.

For me though, I think of the most memorable week and a half in Preds history last season. I think of Bobby Ryan stomping on Jon Blum's skate. I think of their pathetically weak goal horn. I think of Shea Weber and Jerred Smithson, and then Game 6 in all its awesomeness.

New year though, and new story. We are currently a shell of the team that knocked the Ducks out in April and are looking for anything positive to hang our hats on. Well, the 5-3 win last night helped.

Anyways, as we do sometimes, we will be profiling the Ducks and everything that truly matters about their team, fans, and city. Enjoy.

 Origin: In 1993, the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were founded by The Walt Disney Company (hence the team name) and began play as the Western Conference half of that year's expansion class along with the Florida Panthers. The team drafted Paul Kariya in 1994 and he would be the face of the franchise for the better part of a decade. In 2005, Disney sold the team to a new local ownership group and the name was changed to the current Anaheim Ducks, along with their current logo, jerseys, and color scheme.

City: Well, not much to discuss here. Personally I live about 30 miles outside of Anaheim and can vouch for this one, as can anyone else who has been there for anything besides theme park purposes. Anaheim is, for all intents and purposes, the "capital" of Orange County, which is basically just a huge suburb of Los Angeles. The city itself is the 10th biggest in California and is known worldwide for Disneyland. The "city" of Anaheim doesn't really have any kind of identity, and neither does any city in Orange County, as they don't really have anything to hang their hats on other than thinking it's not a part of LA. I'm going to avoid the "Housewives", "The OC", "Laguna Beach", etc. stereotypes and just stick with saying Anaheim is pretty lame in general. They get pretty rowdy from time to time for baseball (Angels) games, so props on that one, but that doesn't count for much here.

Fans: Unlike their Los Angeles neighbors to the north, Ducks fans have a severe reputation for being fair-weather and passive. I was at Game 2 in Anaheim (the Bobby Ryan stomp game) during last year's playoffs and I wasn't sure what to expect from an away crowd for a playoff game. Well, aside from the fact that it wasn't any louder than many regular season games in Nashville, I didn't encounter any real kind of intimidation which was kind of disappointing because I wanted to see what the Orange County crowd could dish out at me. Other than my friend I went with who is a Ducks fan, the only person near me who even tried to give me a hard time was a typical OC kid that was in skater clothes and a 3/4 sideways hat. Clearly repping the Ducks to the fullest yo. Right. Also another side note, their arena looks like Macy's in Cool Springs and that annoys me.

Famous People: Rebecca Black, Gwen Stefani

Well there it is folks, all you need to know about the Ducks, version 2011-2012.

Prediction/Abrupt Ending: Preds 3-2. We finally played a good game and I'm enjoying the momentum we got. In reality, who knows?

Also, Erat is playing finally. Score.

Go Preds.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gameday: The Wanna-be "Bolts" @ Preds

First off, the real "Bolts" are the San Diego Chargers. Let's get that out of the way. Stick to the Lightning.

Anyway, following a game in which we played sort of decent against the Sharks, the Preds take on the high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Bridgestone.

Fortunately for us, their "high-powered offense" comes with a huge setback, and that's a terrible defense. They're second-to-last in goals allowed this season. Only Columbus is allowing more, so really among actual NHL teams Tampa Bay is last.

In the one game I've seen Tampa play this season they were embarrassed in their home opener, giving up seven goals in a 7-4 loss to the Panthers. Not that the Panthers suck, but you would think that this is a prime opportunity for our offense to begin to click and generate some scoring chances, especially with Fisher back and anchoring the top line.

In goal, we don't know who's starting for either club but one would have to assume for the Lightning it's Mathieu Garon seeing as how Dwayne Roloson's stats on this young season are closer to what mine would be than Garon's.

For Los Preds I hope it's Rinne. Not that I have anything against Lindback but at this stage we're essentially in desperation mode, and we could sure use the best goalie in the league against a good offense like Tampa.

Fun fact: We are last in the league in shots for AND shots against. Not a good combo.
Second fun fact: Although this will surprise no one, we are actually THE youngest team in the NHL. Well, were.....I don't know if Fisher and Bouillon raised that bar.
Third fun fact: Erat is out tonight, or so says Trotz. 

Prediction: we get outshot 34-21. Here we go let's do this.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nor Cal Sucks: Sharks Beat Preds 3-1. Panic Ensues.

I know we haven't posted in awhile, but this is worth my time. I posted this on the Preds boards over on and we go on here.....

In my 13 or however many years of being a Preds fan I've never felt so.....I don't know....disappointed maybe? Hopeless?

1998-2001ish: Expansion mode. Success would be fantastic but it was against all odds, and we knew it was unlikely.

2001ish-2004: Never had success before but we knew we were shedding the expansion status and better things were likely on the horizon. Didn't know what winning was like yet, but we could feel it coming around the corner, especially with the 2003-2004 playoff berth.

2004-2005: Lockout but at the same time knew that a small market like us was being fought for and hoped that we would be able to compete with the "big boys" when the lockout ended. We did.

2005-2007: Man were we a good team. 4th place both years, although should've been higher because of the playoff format, and despite running into the Sharks both years we established ourselves as a franchise that was learning to win and make a name for ourselves in the league.

2007-2008: What a roller-coaster of a season. Began with the sale/Balsillie garbage and "Save Our Preds" rally, ended with a playoff berth against all odds.

2008-2011: Although missing the playoffs in 2008-09, we still had guys flourishing into established veterans and future key pieces. 09-10 was the infamous first round exit but we were more solid than in years past, and of course last year we reached heights we never had before. Fantastic ride and we couldn't wait for the future of the club to unfold.

Present: Well, July 1st (opening of free agency) came and went. Predictably we didn't do fact we did less than nothing. I was afraid of this as I saw the likes of Ward, Sullivan, and yes even Dumont and Goc leaving. Then Franson and Lombardi (who we all were cautiously hoping would come back at some point during his lengthy contract) departed via trade and we got almost literally nothing in return. I didn't know how this was going to work but I figured it would, as it always had in the past. we are, 7 points in 8 games, and have been out played in arguably all eight of them. Youngest team in the NHL....only team in the league to be outshot in each game.....and hard-pressed to find any kind of offensive productivity in any consistent form, and we're forced to either be A.) forcefully optimistic, or B.) incredibly disappointed that just five months ago we were at the peak of our franchise.

Do we have potential on the roster? Of course we do. Every team in the NHL should have potential on their roster. I just think it's personally sad that we've sunk this low after last season. I realize that we were trying to "save money" for Weber, Suter and Pekka after this season, but there had to be a better way to do it.

I'm as big of a fan as anyone.....and I hope like hell I'm wrong.....but wow does this ever have the makings of one. long. season......

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Musings

There's not a lot to get hyped up about from the last 3 games. So let's take a look at the state of things, with some facts to get you through. Remember, it's early in the season.

The Preds are currently riding a 3 game losing streak into their matchup tomorrow night against the Canucks. Since we know already what everyone's feelings are about Vancouver and the Canucks, we can save that post for later. The Preds did manage to squeeze 1 point out of their losing streak when they lost to the Devils in a shootout though (hey gotta look at the positives).

Currently the team sucks in the +/- category: Legwand, Suter, Weber, and Tootoo all lead the team with 1.

That tells me the team is not scoring goals. Either that, or the other team is shooting a shit ton more goals then us.

We've scored 10 goals in 5 games whereas our opponents have scored 15.

Here's a fun fact for you. Nashville ranks 29th in the league for shots on goal with an average of 23 per game. Our opponents are averaging 32.8 shots per game on us.

So the solution is simple right? Or am I missing something? Yes of course Pekka can be a brick wall, but we need some offense to help him out. His save percentage is still .926, but his goal average is 2.37 per game. Unless we score some goals, or beef up the defense, we can't put the W up. (By the way the league leader in save percentage is at .960 - Pekka is not far off)

Did you know Pekka got an assist last game?! When Pekka is the spark for your offense you know something is wrong.

But it's early everyone... This just proves how defense wins championships, but offense is going to get you to the playoffs.

Come back soon Marty and Fish! And for the rest of the Preds... SHOOT THE PUCK!

But to start getting you ready for tomorrow night, here's an awful song from the Vancouver faithful. I can't believe this song was actually popular in Vancouver. They really like shitty music there. It's an awful cover of an awful song made by a girl that wishes she never put it out. When is Nashville going to start getting this stuff? We have a lot of talented people here. A lot of musically talented people... hmmmmmm