All the thoughts of an undefeated preseason came crashing to an end last night as the out manned Nashville Predators fell to the Atlanta Thrashers by a 5-4 score. The Thrashers were led in scoring with two goals by ex-Pred Josh Gratton who is known more for punching faces rather than pucks into nets.
Marty Erat led the Preds in scoring with two goals but still finished -2 on the night. Other goals came from Peter Olvecky and Mike Santorelli who is really making his case for the sixth forward position. David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist each had two assists. The Preds out shot Atlanta 37-21.
The stats sheet makes it appear that neither Pekka Rinne (5 of 8 shots stopped) or Dan Ellis (11 of 13) was very effective in goal.
On Defense, both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber were +3 while the young guys looked to take a beating with Laaks0 and Sulzer each going -3. Francis Bouillon needs to make a quick recovery or the Preds may need to give Chris Chelios a call before he signs with the AHL Chicago Wolves.
After four exhibition games, I am somewhat disturbed with what we are looking at on the blue line. Paul McCann suggested that Ryan Ellis might play a couple of games before heading back to Juniors even though he sat last night. I could see that as being a good thing. You never know. He could stick.
The Predators head to Fort Campbell today for team building exercises before playing the final two preseason games this weekend. After meeting the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Sommet Center, the Preds will travel to Columbus for a game Sunday afternoon to wrap up the pre-season.
I would expect several more cuts after today's outing as the Predators will try to use the last two games to get work for as many healthy regulars as possible. Expect Rinne and Ellis to each play a full game over the weekend.
In Pred Nation...
Jim Diamond used the stats sheet to try to get some ideas from last nights game. Here is his analysis. The Tennessean has the AP story. Here is the homer story from the AJC.
NHL.com has a lengthy analysis of the Predators team a week before league play opens. Here's a second post about specifics.
Mark Willoughby is checking out his new part-time gig at Hockey Independent with a discussion about the Jordin Tootoo- Tom Sestito fight last Saturday. Mark writes that it was a "staged" fight. Everyone who was aware of the circumstances knew Tootoo would be willingly lured into a fight. I was Tweeting about match-ups before the game.
I've got a post coming on the fight too with different issues to discuss. Rest assured, neither Mark nor I are "no fighting" type folks, but there are points that need to be dealt with in the physical part of the game.
Forechecker Dirk Hoag, Tom Callahan, Paul Nicholson and Derek Perez have been chosen to sit on a panel at Social Media Club Nashville on October 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.. This will be a conflict with the Predator's Meet the Team Party. Hopefully the Social Media Club will switch dates so that more can attend.
Forechecker was also a guest on Chris Wassel's The Program Podcast last night. Click here to hear our man Dirk in action.
Admirals Short Shifts has a complete summary from the Ads first day in camp yesterday. With so many of this year's eventual Admiral regulars still in Nashville, there are a lot of new faces in camp. Coach Lane Lambert comments on the battle for the second goalie slot between Chet Pickard and Jeremy Smith. There's good video coverage at the Ad's web site.
According to CSN Philly, the Flyers sent prospect Patrik Hersley to the Preds in exchange for "future considerations". The 6-3, 205 pound blue liner has played sparingly in North America the last two seasons, splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. Hersley was originally drafted in the fifth round, 139 overall, by the L. A. Kings. There is no apparent reason for the Pred's interest in the 23 year old Swedish native other than possibly organizational depth.
Dan Ellis makes the list of Top Ten Backup goalies at THN. That should not be a surprise to anyone.
The Montreal Gazette has more on Bouillon's potential return.
Around the NHL...
It was another crazy day in the Phoenix courtroom yesterday as Jim Ballsillie has basically dropped all his demands that the team move anytime before next June and appears to be making offers on the fly to do just about anything to win the courts favor. Judge Baum did not make any rulings on the proposed mediation and did not tip his hat on a time frame for any rulings.
David Shoalts from the Globe has his latest take on the Coyote's fiasco. The Toronto Star relied on the AP story.
Super Agent Alan Walsh thinks Ballsillie made big points @walsha: "Offering to keep team in Phx for 09-10, $25mil nonrefundable to Glendale + allow for search for local owner, he now makes compelling case".
Meanwhile as you can see from the poster, The Coyotes dropped the price of opening night tickets to $25 for the lower bowl and $15 elsewhere for the opening night game. If you act before 9:00 this morning you can beat the crowd.
Pierre LeBrun puts a cap on the Islander to Kansas City discussion with a post at ESPN.
Craig Custance has a store on veterans trying to make teams and has a Preds angle included.
Matt Reitz has more on the role of enforcers in the game.
Ryan at the RLD is down to a two team race for the cup. See who is left.
Olie Kolzig officially retired yesterday and the Washington Times talked to David Poile about him. Poile was the GM that officially made Olie a first round pick in 1989.
Hip Check Heaven has a Central Division preview and buries the Preds in the basement with some typical negative comments.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass