Monday, June 28, 2010

Metro Sports Authority Disbands the Finance Committee... Will Reducing Rusty Lawrence's Power Help the Predators?

Buried in an otherwise troubling article about the potentially huge stuctural problems at LP Field, the Nashville Business Journal had this interesting tidbit from today's Metro Sports Authority Meeting:

Also today, the Sports Authority executive committee chose to disband its finance committee and leave fiscal oversight in the hands of the full, 12-member board. Finance Committee Chairman Rusty Lawrence opposed the move, arguing it would be foolish to abolish a layer of fiscal oversight given the Sports Authority’s complex legal arrangements with the Predators and Titans. Other members felt the committee and the full board were duplicating efforts.
Some of you may remember Rusty's thoughts about the Predators in the past.   There was the tax lien incident, which he used to try to extract some concessions from the predators, he's opposed some business opportunities, wanted larger cuts of the Preds revenue.  

Anyway, I'm not sure it makes a huge difference to Pred Nation, but its the off-season.  So any news is news, I suppose.  And seeing as my schedule acutally permitted me to post something (a huge rarity these days), I'd figured I spread the word.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let's Play Oddsmakers


It may be the long, hot, hockeyless days of summer, but fear not.  The Predator blogging community has decided to face off in a game of odds makers.  For those of you unfamiliar with the game, or PTI which I have blatantly ripped this off from, the rules are simple.  I am going to pose a statement to the Predators Blogging community.  They will respond with the odds that the statement is true, and an explanation as to why.

Loyal Fans, its your job to read their answers in the post (which will probably be up Tuesday), and crown a winner.

This week's statement is the following:  Dan Ellis will start in more than 20 games next season in the NHL.  (He started in 28 games last season).

This week's contestants include (but may not be limited to):

Any questions you want to see poised to our esteemed panel of contestants?  Please send your suggestions to  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pizza, Hockey, Radio AND Flood Relief? Yeah, I'll See You Wednesday!


Hopefully you've heard about the two great events coming up.  Wednesday is SlapShot Radio's remote viewing party from Pie-in-the-Sky Pizza.  (More info at Its going to be a blast, for a great cause.  So yes, count me in. You should be there too.  PITS is a really good pizza place (personally I love the wings), so that should serve as enough of a draw, as is.  However, I just love the cause that Paul McCann is trumpeting, the inline rink rebuild.

I grew up on inline hockey (in my garage and on the street).  Without it, I don't ever become a hockey fan.  Countless others are probably in the same or similar boat.  So keeping the rink alive is a worthy and noble cause I believe in.

Hope to see you all there!

P.S. - I'm also planning to be at the Tin Roof next Monday, for The View from 111's fundraiser.  That promises to be a great event too, and I will post about that closer to time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheater!: Too Many Men on the Ice

Ok, so I'm a day or two late on this one, but as my 8th grade English teacher used to say: "Better Never than Late."  With that in mind, lets look into the frenzy that occurred over the game winning goal by the Sharks over the Red Wings.  The most important part of this rule is not the "what it prohibits" but "how to exploit it."

Photo via Nightmare on Helm Street.

Yes, there are seven Sharks' skaters on the ice in the photo.  Foul! Foul! Right?  No.

The Rule:

There is a five foot rule exception According to Rule 74:

Too Many Men on the Ice - Players and goalkeepers may be changed at any time during the play from the players’ bench provided that the player or players leaving the ice shall be within five feet (5') of his players’ bench and out of the play before the change is made. Refer also to Rule 71 – Premature Substitution. At the discretion of the on-ice officials, should a substituting player come onto the ice before his teammate is within the five foot (5’) limit of the players’ bench (and therefore clearly causing his team to have too many players on the ice), then a bench minor penalty may be assessed.

Exploiting the Rule:

The Benches are 24 feet long.  Players get 5 feet of buffer.  Thats 29 feet a the team can gain, for example on a break away.  Take this example from the Preds' playoff win over Chicago.  If the Chicago player had been at the top of the screen (i.e. near the bench) instead of at the top, a lot of ground could have been made up on this play, maybe even potentially broken up.

Sure, this rule isn't exploited very often, Its hard to plan, as all of the variables have to be exactly right: the timing, player positioning, skating full speed may be quicker than accelerating.  Regardless it is still a trick thats good to have in your back pocket.

I will say that the trick is more valuable in beer league games where, well... lets just say that the game isn't quite NHL speed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Help Players of Local Hockey Community Affected by the Flood

As some of you may know, there is a thriving beer league adult hockey league in Nashville at both the Sportsplex and at A-Game in Franklin.  I joined about a year ago, and it was the best decision I've ever made.  The worst rec league game is better than almost any Preds game... and you know how much I love the Preds.  The best part, though, is that the people are some of the best people you will ever meet.  And they need your help.

Several members of the league have been hard hit, as have everyone.  If you have some free time tomorrow, and would like to help out a fellow hockey fanatic, please do.  According to Centennial Sportsplex:

The Boone Trace subdivision in Bellvue was one of the areas hit hard by flooding. It is also home to several members of the area hockey community. They are looking for volunteers to help clean up after the flood tomorrow (5/5). 

If you are interested, please send me an email at, and I will be sure to get you in touch with the people who can get you more specific information tomorrow.

Volunteering for the Flood

Nashville, Please sign up for the Hands on Nashville Volunteer Flood Response.

In the near future I am hoping to organize a Pred Nation centric team of volunteers. In the mean time, please sign up for Hands On Nashville.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nashville, What are you more excited about?

Alot of draft talk on the radio today, especially for a day that may be the most important game in Preds' history.  So here's the question...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheater!: Explaining Erat's Penalty Shot

This edition of "Cheater!" answers a question that several friends had following Erat's penalty-shot goal during game three, namely: "What the !@#$ is going on here?!"

I knew they were rare, but I did not realize  the quasi-historic treat Pred Nation got on Tuesday, as we watched Martin Erat's penalty shot goal. reports that it had been over two years since the last playoff-penalty-shot-goal.  In fact, Erat's goal was just the 19th goal on 59 total attempts in playoff history.

The Video (Ok, I couldn't find video of the penalty, but here's Erat scoring on a penalty shot, and its just as fun to watch).

The Basics: If a offensive player is on a breakaway, and a defender fouls him from behind, the result is a penalty shot (the most awesome penalty of all time!)

The Rule:  Rule 25 is damn long states in part:

"There are four (4) specific conditions that must be met in order for the Referee to award a penalty shot for a player being fouled from behind. They are:
(i)  The infraction must have taken place in the neutral zone or attacking zone, ...;
(ii)  The infraction must have been committed from behind;
(iii)  The player in possession and control ... must have been denied a reasonable chance to score...
(iv)  The player in possession and control ... must have had no opposing player between himself and the goalkeeper."

Infractions that will result in a penalty shot are: 
  1. Being fouled from behind, via Holding, Hooking, Tripping, and Slashing
  2. Deliberate illegal substitution
  3. Deliberately dislodging the net
  4. Falling on the puck in the crease
  5. Picking up the puck in the crease
  6. Throwing something at the skater (Pred Favorite Scotty Hartnell uses his glove as an example... poorly)

NFL Comparison:  No really good comparison, and the penalty shot is pretty self explanatory.  However, the best comparison I could come up with was this: when the defense jumps offsides, the offense often gets a "free play".  I suppose this is the "free play" of the NHL... not really though.  

Can you think of a better one? Leave it in the comments.

Anatomy of a Goal: Out Hawking the Hawks

If I say to you that a long bomb pass through an open neutral zone results in a game winning goal, would you expect that the shooter was Chicago's Patrick Kane, or Nashville's David Legwand.  Well, reset the Legwand 'Meter, so it must be the latter!

This goal is a great example of  a lightening fast transition game by Nashville, and a defense by Chicago  that does not play a Nashville style "Trap".  Its a much better, and differing picture, than game 2's long bombs.  The result, a two-on-one breakaway and a Legwand game-winning goal.

Want to see Chicago's reaction to the game, click here.

The Video

The Breakdown

The play is in the Preds' defensive zone.  Notice first the excellent positioning by the Predators.  Every player is exactly where they need to be.

1.  LW Smithson collects the puck along the boards.  He is going to move toward the net away from the pressure, and collect the puck.  Chicago does not keep up the forecheck, but instead accepts the turnover and starts to transition back to defense.  LW Smithson will make the cross ice pass once the pressure lets up.

2.  Well, Chicago may start to transition, but C Legwand and RW Sullivan bust it down ice.  This aggressive play was not typical of Legwand's line during the regular season, but I'm glad to see it.

3.  The D Man (I think its Weber, but Its hard to tell from the Video: EDIT, its Klien, thanks to Shlimmy for pointing that out.) makes a great pass under amazing pressure from Chicago.  The pass is definitely of the long bomb variety.

4.  Here is another view of the pass.  Again, notice the pressure on the Preds' D.  Notice also how much open ice there is.  This is not a picture you saw very often last night, when the Preds were on defense.  The Preds did such a wonderful job of clogging the neutral zone.

5.  The great thing about this pass is that it catches up to Sullivan, who is skating full speed.  Also, the pass is banked off of the boards, before it gets to Sullivan, so that the odds of it getting turned over are far less.  [The football comparison here is a QB putting a football on a WR's, say, outside shoulder, if the defending CB is on his inside shoulder.]

6.  Sullivan has half a step on the Chicago defender.  He does not quite have the puck in a shooting position, though, so a pass to Legwand makes perfect sense.  Notice that if the Chicago defender chasing Legwand is one or two steps closer to the play, he could get in the passing lane and shut down the play.  No such luck for the Hawks, though.  Speed is so important, especially in the playoffs.

7.  Sullivan makes a perfect pass, forcing Neimi to shift from left to right quickly.  Legwand has half a net to shoot into, and he doesn't miss.  The result is a game winning goal, and 00:00:00 on the Legwand O'Meter.  Go Preds!

The Poll

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hahaha... Ohhh man... That was... Haha... I mean... Wow.

Well that was just a fantastic win for the Predators.  Outstanding defense, a workmanlike effort from the team.  Timely offense.  Grit.  Such a great game.

If you can't get excited about that game, you probably hate fun, or have about had enough of this "good times" thing people keep talking about.  Or you're a hawks fan.

Speaking of Hawks fans, take a look at their live reactions to the third period, in the comments section from the Second City Hockey blog.  Enjoy it tonight, and then forget about it.  A critical game 4 starts thursday.

I plan on having a AOAG up by tomorrow.  Until then, congrats Pred Nation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The "Trap": Why Clogging the Neutral Zone is the Key to Beating CHI

Chicago is a blazing fast team.  We've heard so much in this series that the Preds need to clog the neutral zone in order to be effective.  What happens when the Preds don't clog the neutral zone?  You blink and CHI goes from defense to having two great shots that would have been goals, if not for the heroics of Pekka Rinne.

The Video

The Breakdown

Before I start, let me point out that I am using a highlight of the penalty kill to emphasize the important of clogging up the neutral zone during regular strength play.  I chose the PK example for two reasons: (1) because it shows the importance of staying out of the box, and (2) it is just a great example of what happens when we do not clog up the zone.  Besides, the Preds do such a good job of clogging the zone, it was hard to find a good, even strength example of when we don't.

1.  0:05 seconds to disaster.  The play starts harmlessly.  The Chicago defense has the puck, executing an otherwise bland, average, breakout.  Versteeg  and Hossa are slightly ahead of the play, ready to receive a pass.  Kopecky is to the left of the shot, ready for a long bomb pass.

2.  0:04 seconds to disaster.    Hossa receives the pass.  No Predators are even close to defending him.  He is full speed now, and there is nothing to slow him down.  I'm starting to really hate this guy.

3. 0:04 seconds to disaster.   The red dotted line represents the distance Hossa has traveled since the last frame (that is to say within the same second, are you f'ing serious!?).  The blue dotted line represents C Marcel Goc.

4.  RW Smithson tries to use his stick to break up the pass of Hossa.  Unfortunately, he is not quick enough to get his stick into the passing lane.  As a result, Hossa will both get the pass off and continue full speed into the zone.

The Predators do not have enough pressure on the Chicago players in the neutral zone.  The Blackhawks are able to enter and travel in the neutral zone too easily.  If the Preds had one more skater in the neutral zone, it would go a long way in breaking up those passes.  The Predators must do this (i.e. "Clog the Zone" or "Execute the Trap") in order to neutralize Chicago's speed.

5. 0:02 seconds to disaster.   Hossa continues to fly unabated into the zone, and is still leaving Goc in the dust.   LW Versteeg (ok, he's listed as a RW, but he's playing on the left.  I don't know what the actual line ups were, and honestly, I don't care.  I hate these guys) has the puck, and as soon as he enters the zone, C Kopecky, #82 enters as well.

6.  As the three CHI forwards enter the zone, they create a three-on-two situation.  The defenders are on their heals.  The defense covers the LW and RW, leaving C Kopecky unguarded.

7.  0:01 seconds to disaster.  Versteeg makes a perfect pass to Hossa, of course, who immediately turns the pass into a shot on net.  Preds' D Klein actually has good positioning on Hossa, but regardless, Hossa gets the shot off.

Oh, and #82 C Kopecky...  he's going to skate full speed toward the front of the net, with no one to stop him... so there's that.  Smithson and Goc look slow backchecking, in comparison.

8.  0:00 seconds to disaster. C Kopecky is unguarded and takes a full on slap shot at point blank range.  If Pekka Rinne doesn't "make the save" so much as he is able to get into position and simply absorb the blast.   Thank god those goalie pads are pretty thick.

Wrap Up

Yes, this was a penalty kill.  This tic-tac-toe passing play may not happen during even strength... if we execute the trap right.  However, Chicago has proven over the course of the season that they can play this run-and-gun game on the power play, at even strength, or even short handed.  In my opinion, if the Preds are going to win more games, its going to have to follow the blueprint of game one pretty closely.  For the next few games, slow and boring is beautiful.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cheater!: Elbowing or Charging - More Reasons to Hate Ho$$a

Coach Barry Trotz, who I have the utmost respect for, is saying in todays paper that Patric Hornqvist did not finish Game 1 because of a skate issue. Color me skeptical.

Looking back at the scarce highlights on makes me want to pony up for full Gamecenter Package revealed some interesting tidbits.  Included was this hit on Hornqvist by yours truly, Marian Ho$$a.  There was no penalty on the play, due in part I'm sure, that it was within the first period of game one of the playoffs (i.e. emotions are high, "let 'em play").

The tale of the tape, if nothing else, provided for a great opportunity to provide another installment of "Cheater!", which provides explanations of Hockey penalties to the casual fans out there. (And for the record, I'm not saying this should have been a call... do you?  Vote using the poll at the bottom.)

Here's the video for a full breakdown.
This hit reminds of of a hit on a Red Wing player who I can't remember, during the playoffs.  The story went that he got a concussion during the game, but kept playing, because the rule was that if you suffered  a concussion and sat out the rest of the game, you had to sit out the next game.  He woke up the next morning, and the only reason he figured that he played a game last night was that his foot hurt from where he blocked a slap shot.  He said "my wife had to tell me whether we won or lost".   (I can't remember the player of specifics, if you know, share it in the comments below).

The Rules

1. NHL's New Rule on Headshots:  

Basically: You can't hit a guy in the head.

The Rule: According to the press release: A player is prohibited from making "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact."

NFL Equivalent/Analogy:  Defensive players are not allowed to touch the quarterback's helmet.  Of course, that rule is enforced with an insane level of strictness.   The NHL rule is punishable only by fine, after the fact.

2. Charging

Basically: You can't blow a guy up.

The Rule: Rule 43.1 states that charging is: "minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner. Charging shall mean the actions of a player or goalkeeper who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice."

NFL Equivalent/Analogy:  Tackling.  And just like in the NFL, thats kind of what I love about the games... so... hmm.  Moving on.

3. Elbowing

Basically: Don't elbow.  You need more? Fine.

The Rule:  Rule 46.1 States: Elbowing shall mean the use of an extended elbow in a manner that may or may not cause injury. 

NFL Equivalent/Analogy: Yup, an elbow to the head.  Its 15 yards.

The Poll

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Anatomy of a (GW) Goal: Getting the Puck in Deep

What a game last night Pred Nation!  One thing that I think Nashville did extremely well last night was get the puck in deep.  Why is that important, and how did it lead to the Predators' first-ever-playoff-road-game-winning goal?  Here is the first Playoff Edition of "Anatomy of a Goal."

Its been a while since the last AOAG.  Here's the legend for a refresher on what everything means.

The Video

The Breakdown
1. The Predators have done a good job of getting the puck deep in the offensive zone.  The play starts with a Preds turnover in the corner.  Chicago #22 will recover the puck.

2. This shot is critical to showing how the Preds will win this series.  Notice the Chicago wingers (at the red dotted line).  They are very deep in the zone (put another way, they are very close to their own goaltender).  The Preds can really reduce Chicago's forwards' speed and reduce the possibility of a Chicago offensive breakaway by forcing their forwards to play defense and stay low in the zone, like they are above in 2.

3.  Chicago gains control of the puck.  Predators defense is well positioned (i.e. not scrambling).  The Predators forwards are backchecking.  This is all good for the Preds.  Chicago, on the other hand, are all very close together.  There is no long-bomb pass that is available to quickly get down ice.  When you hear commentators say talk about the importance of Predators "getting the puck deep", this is what they are talking about.

4.  The "Play of the Play".  Smithson's strong backchecking pressures Chicago #22.  Because #22 sees no one in front of him to pass to, he tries to skate around Smithson.  There are two problems with this decision for Chicago. First, he does not make the easy pass to the LW at the bottom of the screen.  Second, he keeps the puck in the zone.  By keeping the puck in the zone, the Predators will not be offsides if they regain possession.

5.  Chicago #22's poor decision to try to skate around RW Smithson results in a turnover, as LW J.P. Dumont skates from behind and steals the puck.  What makes this more difficult for Chicago is that their skaters were anticipating being on offense, and are out of position once the play shifts back to defense.

LW Dumont makes a quick, accurate pass to C Legwand. This pass puts alot of pressure on the last Chicago defenseman.  Lets see what happens...

6.  Oh!  The turnover and the quick pass have left Chicago completely out of position, and scrambling.  Notice that all three skaters are focused solely on (the impossible task) of catching C Legwand.  No one is taking responsibility for LW Dumont.

7.  C Legwand's shot creates a rebound.  The Chicago defense is unable to clear the puck: #6 dove, and is pretty well useless at this point; #5 overskated the play; #22 was not fast enough to get back, and has realized (too late) that Dumont is crashing the net hard.

8.  If you are Chicago, this is the last image you want to see.  The goalie is dead to rights.  The defense is woefully out of position.  Dumont has a fat rebound on his stick, with plenty of open net to put it in.  Goal Preds.

The Poll

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Predators Search Story

PredNation, it has been a long time.  I apologize and hope to get on a more regular posting schedule during this post season.  Hopefully that will start with a Anatomy of a Goal from tonight's Preds GW goal.  In the meantime, here is a Google Search Story about our favorite hockey franchise...

GO PREDS!  See you at Blackstone tonight!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This I Used to Believe, Part 2: Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Hamilton Predators!

Forget Hamilton. Forget Balsillie. Forget “Make it 7”. Forget 14,000.   Forget Leopold.  Forget Boots.   Forget Bankruptcy.  Ladies and Gentlemen, these are your Nashville Predators.

End of story.

A Focus on the Future

This article is not about the troubles.  If you knew them, you knew them all too well.  If you are unfamiliar, don’t worry too much... its all just history at this point.  This is an article about why the Preds are better off, and what to say to those who think otherwise.

I think that this season has served as an inflection point, and that 2010 will be the year that people look back and say “that was the year the Predators came into their own.”

The Four Changes for the Have Saved the Predators

1) 14,000’s no longer a struggle:  In previous seasons, especially before the lockout, former owner Craig Leopold and the Predators were having trouble getting people in the stands.  Post lockout, and post new ownership group, this has not been a problem.  This year especially, the Predators were confident early on in the year that they would make the 14,000 magic number.  There was no talk of the ownership group having to buy remaining tickets.  Instead, all that we have seen are creative, effective marketing campaigns and an attendance number that is beating last years, despite the worst economic times since the great depression.

2) Ownership that knows how to sell in this community.  The prior ownership seemed to try to get local sponsorships by guilting them into a deal.  “We have the fans, we just don’t have corporate backing.  Support Nashville by Supporting the Preds.”  Such logic is hardly convincing.  Contrast that with the recent flurry of sponsorship activity, Bridgestone, Ford, Petron, Softwick, A.D. Vallet. etc.  Its clear that this group knows how to convincingly make the case to local business to support the team: because it adds value to your business.  The marketing team has also done a fantastic job of marketing to the casual fan, a winning strategy in a relatively new hockey market.

3) Phoenix:  After all of former Preds’ vulture suitor, billionaire Jim Balsillie’s maneuvering in the desert last summer, Phoenix still has a team.  It will take an act of nature to rip the Predators out of Nashville. 

4)  The Playoffs:  Ok, I’m going to go out on a limb on this one, but I truly believe that this will be the year the Predators make a little noise in the playoffs.  If they do, it may be the last factor that shores up this franchise once and for all.

To Those Who Don’t Believe Me

Despite ALL of the positive steps this franchise has taken, there are still bumps in the road. Naysayers abound. 

The troubles that have peppered the Predators past have created two types of people, the Anti-fan, and the indifferent pessimist. 

The Indifferent Pessimist:  This person is does not necessarily know too much about the team, but simply knows that the team used to be in trouble.  Thus, the IP assumes this is still true.  Occasionally they may read a headline, whether it was true in 2008 or now in 2010 is just a hack-job, (for example, Paul McCann did a great job of taking the Tennessean’s Nate Rau to task, on one such article/headline published this week.)

My response: A half condescending, half friendly laugh.  No.  The team’s here, for good, and they are doing great.  Any troubles you hear of are just manufactured to sell copy.  I’d go watch a game soon before they sell out... yes, that’s right, sell out.

The Anti-fan:  The Anti-Fan actively thinks the Preds need to leave town.  Whether their reasons are thought out, I will leave for them to argue.  Here’s an example, from the comments section of the Rau piece I mentioned above.  This is “ThumbodyThed’s” reaction to the headline Predators Will Stay in Nashville until 2012:

I was having a pretty good day until I read this headline. Shucks! "Soccer on ice" needs to go. It has no place in the South, especially Nashville. Because of all the hype, I tried once again to watch it, when the USA and Canada played, but this sports fanatic still can't stomach it. A few years back when they experimented with an orange puck, I became a little more interested, as at least I could follow the object of the game. Then they dropped that, and I gave up again.

My favorite part about this comment:  Two years ago they permeated the message boards.  Now, you have to really struggle to find one. 

My Response:  You’re right, to the uninitiated it can be tough to follow the puck, especially if you are watching in standard definition.  This month, as the playoff race is in full gear, watch a game in HD, or better yet, go to a game.  I promise you will be entertained.  If you are not, no harm, no foul.  But listen... The predators are here to stay.  You can gripe if that angers you, you can plead ignorance if the game seems foreign to you, and you can complain while no one listens to you.  Take my advice, though.  When April rolls around, the playoffs are going to be the best game in town.  Get a ticket, I’d be happy to walk you through the basic X’s and O’s.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This I Used to Believe: Part 1 – This is OUR Time!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Let me take you back.... The date is December 22, 2009.  Christmas is right around the corner; cheer and merriment abound.  If you are a Nashville Sports fan, life is pretty good.  The Titans have righted the ship to make their season respectable... and the Predators. 

Oh, those Predators.  Fresh off of winning streaks of 7-0-0 and 6-0-1, the Preds could do no wrong.    The national media was calling our praise in the weekly power rankings, which had us as high as 5th.  ESPN’s Scott Burnside praised the following:

“No money? No problem. The best story in hockey continues to amaze after a statement win in Calgary on Saturday. We bow to you, Coach Trotz.”

Life was good.  Very good.  PredNation cheered as a four year old proclaimed: This is OUR Time!

New Year, New You

As we closed on the first decade of the new millennium, something changed in PredNation.  This change was not for the better.  Outside of the confines of the Sommet Center Nashville Arena? Sommet Center* Bridgestone Something? Sommet Center? Bridgestone Arena, the Predators fortunes had turned. 

We had some positive stretches here and there, but a devastating 5 game losing streak at the end of January dropped the Predators from 5th in the power rankings to 16th, in two short weeks.  We spent February trading blows, wins, and losses with opponents, but were never able to get on a streak.

The snows came... and went.   The trade deadline came... and went.  The Predators needed scoring, and found none.  The Predators found themselves in a familiar position... fighting for a final playoff spot.  Collectively PredNation thought, “I’ve seen this movie... and I know how it ends.”  Humbled and seemingly forced into playing a one-and-done type-cast role, many in PredNation slumped their shoulders, sank their head and resigned to a familiar fact, “This... this is our time.”

If Winter Comes, Can Spring be Far Behind?

March 8, 2010 marked, IMHO, the first spring day.   How can life be bad when it is that nice outside?  Will it mark the change in our hockey fortunes as well? Only time will tell.

The Predators need a winning streak.  Whatever the magic was that driving the Predators ship at the beginning of the year (scoring by those who are paid to score goals, strong play from every line, truly solid goaltending) needs to return to form.  I’m not sure what the answer is, but I know that it starts in Atlanta tonight.  There are not enough games left to waste, or give away like Sunday.  For the Predators to make the playoffs, let alone get in a position to move past the first round, the winning ways need to return, now.

Put Simply: It’s Time.

This I Used to Believe – Introduction


Sorry again for the radio silence, as life continues to be busy.  One thing that we, as fans, should be grateful for is the pure depth and energy that are Predators bloggers.  It is a challenge coming up with unique stories, ideas, and points of view, or put another way, to add value to what is a very rich conversation.  I attempt to do that this week with a new several part piece, called “This I Used to Believe.”

This series of Posts gets its inspiration from two places, which both deserve credit.  First is AJ over at Pull My (Fang)Finger.  He has a great knack for multi-part posts, including the current and very good Callin’ It as I See It, and probably what is one of my all time favorite posts on the Predators: They Are Who We Thought They Were ... We Hope (Part 1 and Part 2). 

Second, This American Life is a top notch program, and I highly recommend that anyone who has a commute download a free episode to listen to.  They also have a weekly podcast available.  A while back they did a piece called “This I Used to Believe” (Episode Page) (Listen Here), which is a rip off of an old Edward R. Murrow piece titled “This I Believe”, in which people from across the world were asked to send in essays finishing that sentiment.  Tens of thousands were submitted, and only 200 made it to radio.

So there you have it... please enjoy part 1: This is OUR Time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So What?: Big Monday Recap

Wow, so the Preds didn't waste any time post Olympic break getting back into the news.  Here's what you need to know about yesterday.  All that drama inspired a new segment at Preds 101, that I'll call "So What".

The Denis Grebeshkov Trade

The What?:  The following tweet by Preds' forward Steve Sullivan sums it up nicely:  @Sullivan26: "Really good addition! Welcome to Smashville Denis Grebeshkov. Hope we find a nickname for him really fast.....".  We acquired this Olympian from Edmonton for a 2nd round pick.

John Glennon has a quote from the D-man, describing his game: "I'm more of an offensive defenseman, not the kind of guy who's going to score lots of goals, but the kind of guy who can create plays,'' Grebeshkov said. "I think I'm good with the puck. My defensive side … that's the side I need to get some improvement in. But still, I don't think I'm bad defensively.''

The So What?:  DG's is similar to Dan Hamhuis in their age, experience, game style, etc.  One key difference is that Hamhuis is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, where DG is restricted free agent.  That means even if the Preds don't resign him, we can get draft picks in return.  Good move GM David Poile.  Does this mean that Hamhuis gets traded?  Most likely.   Would I be totally surprised if Poile wanted to keep every good defenseman on the planet on the Preds' roster... .... ... no, not really.

David Freeman Steps Aside as Predators Governor

The What?: The Predators have 9 owners, and David Freeman was governor of them, and was by far the most vocal and visible owner.  Preds fans love him.  Due to an ongoing dispute with the IRS over back taxes, however, the Nashville Sports Authority believes the Predators may be in default on one of their covenants of their lease.  To try to take the spotlight off of Freeman, he stepped aside.  Tom Ciggaran, of Healthways and AmSurg fame, steps in as Governor.  Today's Tennessean has a good recap.  

The So What?: Not a huge story.  The face of the ownership group might change for interviews, etc., but the running of the club will remain the same.

I tend to believe that he stepped aside due to the fact that the Sports Authority was imposing deadlines on when the tax lien could be resolved.  These deadlines were impossible for Freeman to make, considering the IRS controls that process.  It may be possible that that Freeman may technically be in default due to a loan he had to give the Predators.  He made this loan due to the fact that Boots' shares of the Preds are still in bankruptcy court.  I am ready for those shares to come out of court and back to the Predators (I'm sure the ownership group is as well). 

The Detroit Red Wings Beat the Colorado Avalanche

The What?: Oh man, don't look now, but the evil Detroit empire is only one point back in the standings.
The So What?:  Its going to be a fast month of important hockey.  We NEED to make it to 6th place, because playing San Jose or Chicago in the first round does not sound like as much fun as playing Vancouver.


Want discount tickets to Preds games in march?  Click here for the post or the form.  Tickets are for select games in March.  Why buy them?  Games are awesome.  also, if you do, my club team gets to play at the Bridgestone Arena immediately following the 3/16 game vs. the flyers.  If you want to learn how to play hockey, watch the Flyers.  If you want to learn how NOT to play hockey, stick around for my game!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Three Things The Causal Fan Needs to Know About March

Before I begin, let me apologize for not posting during the Olympic break.  Life got very busy right when the NHL did not, so that was good timing for me. Thanks to all of the other Preds Bloggers who have more stick-to-it-ness than this Preds 101.  Anyway, here's what you need to know for March:

1. Every Game is Freakin' HUGE!!!!

Seriously.  Nashville finds a rather familiar position: "just in" the playoffs, with almost no breathing room.  In March, the Preds play 17 games in 29 days.  (Chris Burton at On the Forecheck provided a great preview this morning). This is a very compressed schedule, though fortunately for the Predators have 10 of those games at home.  The result is that every game is going to be an absolute battle, and that every point is absolutely invaluable.

For those of you who have not been to a Predators game in March, its a different atmosphere than any previous month.  The energy is electric and the crowds are tend to sell out.  Can you tell I'm excited already?

2. The Very Important Trade Deadline Approaches (Wednesday)

In Football, the week 6 trade deadline passes with an annual whimper.  Its absolutely a different story in the NHL.  March 3rd is the NHL trade deadline, so expect the Preds roster to look a little different between now and then.  Goalie Dan Ellis and defenseman Dan Hamhuis are two names from Nashville that my be traded, in exchange for some scoring power.  (John Glennon has a good summary this morning on the trade situation).

GM David Poile tends to be a touch conservative at the trade deadline, so don't hold your breath for a superstar player.  However, the Predators were reportedly just beaten out for young all-star Phil Kessel earlier this year, so I suppose anything is possible.

3. The Other Off Ice Non-Issues will Likely Get Resolved.

With the exception of parking, which will be a bit more difficult due to the Music City Center, March (and April) will hopefully result in several of the off ice issues being put to rest for good.  In reality, there aren't any real issues that need to be resolved... all looks to be well in PredNation.  However, I know that given the teams past troubles, the casual fan can still equate the Predators to a shaky franchise.  To the extent that such an association is a good one (and its not), the next few weeks will hopefully go a long way in purging those negative thoughts.  Why?

  • The New Brigdestone Arena is a huge win for the Predators.
  • Ticket sales will likely hit the magic 14,000, as the playoff push nears.
  • Any playoff revenue is pure profit for the franchise, as the main expense (player salaries) have been fully paid.
Other Random Quick Hits

Section 303, who got a National shout-out by NBC for hosting a gold-medal viewing party on Sunday, did a great job of compiling other quick hit questions.

In my opinion, the most important question to the casual fan is this:  Assuming the Preds make the playoffs, do they finish in #6 or above.  A yes to that question makes the odds of the Preds moving past the first round for the first time in history look MUCH better.  So IMHO, #6 or above is the spot to root for, hockey fans!


Want discount tickets to Preds games in march?  Click here for the post or the form.  Tickets are for select games in March.  Why buy them?  Games are awesome.  also, if you do, my club team gets to play at the Bridgestone Arena immediately following the 3/16 game vs. the flyers.  If you want to learn how to play hockey, watch the Flyers.  If you want to learn how NOT to play hockey, stick around for my game!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Support My Team(s) - Discount Preds Tickets for March


Want discount Pred Tickets?  You Got 'Em.  Get $20 upper bowl or $40 lower bowl tickets to the following games (regular price $36 and $60):

Tue. 3/2 vs. Edmonton Oilers
Thu. 3/4 vs. Colorado Avalanche
Tue. 3/16 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Thu. 3/18 vs. Minnesota Wild
Tue. 3/23 vs. Dallas Stars

My club league team is selling tickets to these games.  If we sell 100 tickets, our team gets to play at the Sommet Center after the Flyers game on 3/16.  Simply download the form at the link above and call, fax, or email your order in.

Interested in playing hockey yourself?  There are two leagues in town, we play through Centennial Sportsplex.  A-Game in Franklin also has a club league.  Never put on skates before? No problem.  Beginner leagues and teams are available.  The next seasons starts in April.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A First-Timer's Guide to Smashville

Smashville Express's Blog (An official blog of the Nashville Predators) did a great job of giving the top 10 things a new fan should learn/know about the team.  The post was from last week, but I just saw it today.  This post is one of a hundred things the new team is doing to court new fans, and here at Preds 101, I'm impressed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More on Cheater!'s Motivation - The Slap Shot Movie

Thanks to Dirk over at for this retweet:

Forechecker RT @newpowersoul: From The Wit and Wisdom of Hockey. Entertaining quotes with interesting pictures.

The motivation for Cheater! (Last night's post available here)...?  Its similar to this clip from the great (only?) hockey movie, Slap Shot, which was featured in the SI article.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cheater!: Boarding or "Thanks For Losing Us the Game, Marty"

Welcome to "Cheater!", a new feature here at Preds 101.  Cheater! is the Anatomy of a Goal (AOAG) for penalties.  For fans new to the game, we'll show you what the penalties in hockey are, and explain why you care.  For the knowledgeable  hockey fan, Cheater! will hopefully dive into the finer points of the rougher side of the game.

Our inaugural Cheater! is none other than predator's own Martin Erat (RW, #10).  His boarding penalty came with less than one minute left in the game, where the Predators where defending a 3-2 lead.  Take a look at the penalty.

The Rule
Basically, you can't hit a guy from behind into the boards.  But here is the official rule 42:  
42.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be thrown violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the degree of violence of the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.
There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player (or goalkeeper) applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact. ...
Football Equivalent/Analogy: Clipping.

The Situation

As in most sports, there are smart penalties and dumb penalties.  A tripping a player on a breakaway to the net can be smart.  Erat's decision to take this boarding call, however, was not.   The Preds were outnumbered 6-to-5, because the Islanders had pulled their goalie in the hopes of scoring a goal to tie the game up.  With less than a minute remaining, the odds of scoring a goal on a 6-5 are not particularly good.  Erat's hit neither clear the puck from the zone, nor prevents a shot on goal.  No, the hit is simply a hit.  

The result is a penalty, which gives the Islanders a chance to stop play and call a time out.  The faceoff moves to the Islanders offensive zone.  Now the Predators are outnumbered 6-to-4.  The islanders score soon after. The islanders go on to win the game in a shootout, and the Predators get only one point in the standings, instead of 2.

The Poll

I plan on posting this same poll for each Cheater!.  Share any additional thoughts below in the comment section.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Jump on Board" - Bandwagon Preds Fans Welcome

Love Peyton, Hate Payton... forget Peyton.  Football's over Nashville.  Until training camp starts back in August (ugh) theres only one show in town, and that is your Nashville Predators.  I absolutely LOVE the new marketing campaign the Preds have launched to highlight this theme... "Jump on Board".

Jump On Board...

The video is long, but the opening says enough: "While the leaves were falling, and you were watching football...".   The video continues with all the things that many Preds fans already know... this has been an exciting season so far.
"Jump on Board..." might officially end with the words "The Smashville Express", but thats not very veiled code for "the Predators Bandwagon."  I love it!

We are all about the Bandwagon fan here at Preds101.   I promise to continue that trend as the run-up to the playoffs continue.

Kudos to the Derek Perez and the new marketing team for doing an excellent job with this year's materials at highlighting the casual fan.

March to the Playoffs

In conjunction with the push, the Predators have released a "March to the Playoffs" ticket package, with tickets starting at $22.  March is a great month for hockey in Nashville, the majority of our games are at home, with several critical homestands against key opponents. The ticket package, of course, also gives you priority for playoff tickets.

The Poll

I think that the marketing team has already been successful this year, IMHO.  (In fact, according to my numbers, the Preds are 1% ahead of ticket sales last year, going into a very strong looking March).  However, marketing is most effective when coupled with a human element.  I've stressed that its up to PredNation to bring our Bandwagon friends into the fold.

So PredNation, how did you become a fan.  Please feel free to leave comments as well.