Category Archives: Features
Wednesday afternoon, the Elite Edge Hockey Showcase wrapped up at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. With 220 participants from 27 states around the country, players looked to hone their skills — some with college on the mind, others thinking about Junior in the Canadian Hockey League.
For one Brentwood native, the Showcase was a good opportunity to get ice time before trying out for the USA Under-17 National team later in the summer.
Sebastian Lemm currently attends Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota. The prep school has produced some of the National Hockey League’s biggest stars including Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews.
When Lemm was 14 he contacted the coach about getting into the school. The 6’1, 170 pound forward had to go through a tryout and then get accepted into the school.
When the Predators lost their second round playoff series to the eventual Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks, one sidelined Nashville forward looking from the outside in was impressed with what he saw.
Marcel Goc signed with Nashville late in the summer of 2009 heading into the 2009-10 season. After two years with the Predators, the Calw, Germany native talked about the difference one year makes.
“I came here two seasons ago. Last year, we went out in the first round against Chicago. Game five was the deciding game of that series,” Goc said, highlighting that the Predators had a 3-2 lead with under 20 seconds to play in regulation and allowed Patrick Kane to score short handed to send the match to overtime.
If there is one thing the Nashville Predators can count on for the 2011-2012 season it is solid defense. The Predators have captain Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, one of, if not the best, top pairing in the NHL, anchoring the blueline. Kevin Klein and rookie Jon Blum played solidly together down the stretch and into the post-season. This leaves Cody Franson and Francis Bouillon under contract with the big club next season to round out the Predators top-six defense corps.
Ryan Ellis, the Predators 2010 first round draft pick and Memorial Cup winning defenseman, will play his first year of professional hockey, with all things being equal, in Milwaukee. Roman Josi is also a highly touted prospect who just finished his first full season with the Admirals. In 13 playoff contests, Josi scored one goal and recorded 6 assists for 7 points. Additionally, the Predators recently signed Mattias Ekholm, the Swedish Elite League’s rookie of the year. Ekholm is also likely to play his first North American season next year.
Even if Bouillon cannot resume play because of a concussion that ended his season in January, with the strong defensive prospects waiting for their chance to play in the NHL, left out of the mix, then, is Shane O’Brien.
Nashville Predators forward Joel Ward believes the Preds have moved forward this past season as a hockey club. But the question is whether Nashville will continue to move forward with or without Ward as a member come next season.
The Predators completed their best ever season when ousted in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals series against Vancouver. A part of the team’s success can be attributed to the consistent play of Ward throughout the Anaheim and Vancouver series. Ward now owns the Predators franchise record for goals and points in a post-season with 7 goals and 13 points.
“We made strides over the year. We all got together and made a pretty good push. We’ll have to go over it in the summer and regroup, just give it an extra little bit over the summer and hopefully have a better result,” he said.
While the product on the ice has made strides, so has the off-ice product. The Predators went from averaging 14 900 fans a game to 16 100 fans. The growth has not been lost on Ward.
The Nashville Predators have been looking for a playoff hero during the Western Conference semi-finals. Goaltender Pekka Rinne has been incredible, keeping the Predators in close one-goal games. But scoring goals against Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo has not been easy.
Mike Fisher, Shea Weber, Jerred Smithson and Jordin Tootoo–heroes in the series against Anaheim–have been all but kept off the scoresheet. Fisher recorded his first point in the series on Saturday night when he set up Joel Ward’s snap shot early in the third period to give the Predators a 3-2 lead.
Predators forwards, and linemates, Ward and David Legwand rose to the challenge Saturday night in Vancouver, each scoring two goals for Nashville.
“Our backs are still against the wall. We have to come home and play hard and get another win at home. You have to fight your way out. We were in a crunch for the last 20-30 games. Hopefully we will be ready to go,” Legwand said about the Game 5 victory and being prepared for Game 6 on Monday.
The Western Conference Semi-Finals series between the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks is back in British Columbia for Game 5 on Saturday night, with Nashville on the brink of elimination.
Before game 4, Predators defenseman Shane O’Brien talked about how important it was for the team to even the series.
“We let one slip away there in game three. They took home ice advantage right back from us. If you look at the playoffs, home ice advantage hasn’t been as important as years before,” O’Brien, the former Canuck, said about the overtime loss in game three when the Canucks were awarded two questionable power plays that both resulted in goals for Vancouver, including a power play marker to end the game in overtime.
“It’s no secret, we don’t want to get down 3-1 in this series against a good time like that over there. You don’t want to fall down 3-1 going back to Vancouver for game 5.”
It took 94:51 and double overtime to do it, but the Nashville Predators evened their Western Conference Semi Finals series against the Vancouver Canucks at 1-1. Matt Halischuk scored with 5:09 left in the second overtime.
Halischuk doesn’t take credit for the goal and highlights the play of his linemates. “It was a great play by Spals [Nick Spaling] to get me the puck. Smitty [Jerred Smithson] did a great job of winning the draw and driving to the net. I was able to get a quick shot off and I was lucky it went in,” he said.
“It’s definitely a big boost to split with Vancouver,” Halischuk added.
The Predators acquired Halischuk from New Jersey when Nashville traded Jason Arnott during the off season last summer. Nashville also received the Devils second round pick for the 2011 Entry Draft.
Halischuk spent most of the season in Milwaukee and was first called up for Nashville’s January 16th game against Chicago. Halischuk was sent to Milwaukee after the February 9th game against Colorado and was called back up in time for the February 26th contest against the Dallas Stars. During his 27 regular season games, Halischuk picked up 4 goals and 8 assists.
Jordin Tootoo’s goal and 4 assists in six games during Nashville’s Western Conference Quarter Finals series against the Anaheim Ducks is considered by many to be a key turning point of the series in the Predators favor.
Tootoo assisted on Jerred Smithson’s overtime winning goal in Game 5, as well as both of Nick Spalings goals in the series clinching Game 6 last Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
As a result of his slick play-making abilities, Tootoo has been attracting national attention.
Wednesday, Tootoo was named the National Hockey League Players Association’s (NHLPA) player of the week for his role during the quarter finals.
In previewing the upcoming Western Conference semi-final between the Predators and Canucks, Radio Team 1040′s Jeff Paterson points out that in the last month, from March 24th, Tootoo (5 goals, 7 assists) has more points than last year’s Hart Trophy winner, and Canucks captain, Henrik Sedin (1 goal, 11 assists).
The Nashville Predators visit the Anaheim Ducks tonight in game one of the Western Conference Quarter-Finals. The Predators just narrowly missed out on home ice advantage when they lost last Saturday, 2-0, against the Blues to end out the regular season.
Anaheim’s top line consists of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Ryan Getzlaf. Combined the three have 103 goals and 142 assists.
Predators defenseman Cody Franson says the key to playing against Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan is to play a physical game. “They are probably the best line in the League. When you are playing against guys of that calibre, that size and that skill set, you want to play physical against them and take away their time and space. You know, make it tough on them,” he said.
The Nashville Predators will open their Western Conference Quarter-finals against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, April 13th at Honda Center.
- To beat the Ducks, the Preds need to stop Perry
In a battle of offense versus defense, the Predators big guns will look to stop some of the NHL’s most talented forwards in order to move on to the second round of the playoffs. Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and goaltender Pekka Rinne will have to contend with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan, as well as Mikku Koivu and Teemu Selanne.
Predators Head Coach, Barry Trotz, says that one thought comes to mind when you think of the Ducks. “When you think about Anaheim, you think about the big line, that’s where it starts and ends,” Trotz said, adding, “Out of the players who have come through in the last couple of months, [Perry] has been as good as anybody. He’d be my MVP vote for the West.”