Saturday, October 11, 2008
Finally, Opening Night at the Sommet Center
After one of the worst performances by a Nashville Predators team in their opening game the Preds limp back to the Sommet Center looking for a much better result tonight against the Dallas Stars. Other than Ryan Suter's goal on the Preds first shot of the season and the continued excellent play of newcomer Joel Ward (which included his first NHL goal) there was little to write home about.
Considered to be the strength of the team, the defense again fell flat on their face. After having sported the league's third best penalty kill last year, the Preds gave up four goals on seven shots. Their power play was equally bad with zero shots on four man advantage opportunities. Barry Trotz felt like Dan Ellis had a great game which is hard to believe for a goalie that gave up five goals on 22 shots but Ellis was hung out to dry all night and the score could have been much work without his unruffled play.
Thank goodness the Preds get to play again tonight with a chance to redeem themselves quickly. Dan Ellis is expected to be in goal again. It will be interesting to see if Trotz reinserts Radek Bonk into the lineup after being a healthy scratch last night. Trotz has been on the warpath for over a week about veterens who weren't playing to their potential so I guess Bonk must have been one that he was disappointed with. I would imagine that Kevin Klein will also find his way into the lineup tonight after having an excellent preseason.
Former captain Greg Johnson will drop the puck during opening ceremonies in a sold out Sommet Center. The crowd will be ready to rock as a fierce hatred of the Stars has developed over the years. The intensity was especially aggravated by the Tootoo-Modano-Robidas incident a couple of years ago when Tootoo cold-cocked Robidas and was then violently struck by Modano who brought the stick in a violent over head wood chop blow to Tootoo's back. (Check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upeLPWApt6w) Dispite the fact this was the game that Modano tied the record for most goals by a US player, Modano never even received a 2 minute penalty while Tootoo was suspended. That still makes my blood boil that Modano didn't get a penalty.
So with that said, I'm fired up and ready to see some hockey. With Tarnasky on the IR it will be interesting to see how the Predators will handle any rough play which will be expected as always when these two teams meet. We will see in just a few hours because it is Hockey Night in Nashville!
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass