After a big win against a struggling Minnesota Wild team last night, the Predators (4-6-1) return home to face the Chicago Blackhawks (7-3-1) at the Sommet Center tonight at 7 p.m. It will be Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Nashville with partial proceeds going to the Monroe Carell Children s Hospital.
The game will be a true test for the Preds to see if they have actually improved or simply took advantage of a team that was worse than they were last night.
The Preds have faced the Hawks twice already in this young season losing 3-1 on October 15 in Nashville and 2-0 in Chicago last Saturday. Marty Erat is the only Pred to break through with a goal for the Preds against the Hawks.
In an scheduling oddity, after tonight's game, the Preds and Hawks will play three more times in December and then be done with the season series which is unusual for a division foe.
Chicago's last game was also against Minnesota when they beat the Wild 3-1 at home on Monday night. While the Preds were playing last night, the Hawks were relaxing in Nashville waiting for tonight's match-up. It will be interesting to see if fatigue becomes a factor in tonight's contest.
It is unclear who will start in goal for the Predators after Pekka Rinne came to Dan Ellis' rescue in last night's contest. It is reported that Christobal Huet will start for the Hawks after he has held the Preds to one goal in two earlier games.
The Hawks will be without Johnathan Toews but will get defenseman Brent Seabrook (who has been out for a week) back into the line-up. Marian Hossa practiced with the Hawks for the first time yesterday but is still weeks away from playing in a game.
The Preds will pay at home again Saturday night against the Dallas Stars, while the Hawks will leave immediately after the game and go to Colorado for a game with the Avalanche tomorrow night.
In Pred Nation...
There were plenty of stories on last night's game including POTG, three from the Tennessean (one, two, three), Jim Diamond, Forechecker, What the Puck and See Puck City.
The most impressive item today is Mark's (The View from 111) story and pictures from his parachute jump from 13,000 feet that we discussed on the radio show on Monday night. He really enjoyed it and gained additional respect for the skill and professionalism of all involved.
Dirk the Forechecker was on Hockeybuzz radio last night before the game. It was a good show that you can hear it from the links here.
John Glennon tells of a different kind of "morning skate" before last night's game.
The Predators are having an online pumpkin carving contest where you can get Pred stencils and upload a photo of your artwork.
Shake-ups in Nashville have had fallout in Milwaukee. Surprisingly, the Ads continue to struggle as they lost to Abbotsford 2-0 last night. Even with the call-ups, Milwaukee was expected to be one of the best AHL teams this season.
Around the NHL...
The National Post reports that even after the NHL acquires the Coyotes next week a quick re-sell may not be eminent.
Here's one no one could have predicted... Gaborik questionable with "lower body injury." How did he last this long?
Here's something that we discussed with Russ Cohen on Monday's POTG Radio. Here are the six players from the Summer's Entry Draft that made it past the nine game mark with their NHL teams.
Matt Reitz (who will be on next week's POTG Radio) at View from My Seats has a complete analysis of hits and suspensions taking a look at several from the past weekend with videos and rulings from the league as well as VFMS. This is a really good piece.
Mirtle is waiting for the bubble to burst in Colorado in spite of the Av's big win last night in Calgary.
In an odd move Newsday.com has gone to a subscriber only site. B. D. Gallof has the story.
Puck Prospectus takes a look at which division is the toughest to play in. Three divisions are considered.
The latest from fantasy expert Rob Higgins is at the Toronto Sun.
The Rink Podcast Episode 51 with Eddie Garcia is up now.
My favorite podcast, The One Percentile with Mick Kern and Eric Gage is Back with Episode #17.
This week's Twitter #NHLPick15 is actually a pick 11 so go here to play.
I would like to thank everyone for all my Twitter and Facebook Birthday wishes yesterday. One of the more unique items I received was a photo of a personalized Preds third jersey with my name and age on it from Josh Taylor. I even got the "C".
It appears the Internet and I share a common birthday as 10/28/69 is pegged as its birth (and Al Gore was no where in site).
Finally, an off topic item of local interest. The Nashville Fairgrounds is being closed which includes the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway which was a mainstay on the NASCAR circuit for many years and hosted two major races a year until the races moved to bigger and better facilities across the country. It's just another bit of Nashville's history that is going by the wayside. If the Preds could figure out how to tap in to the local race fan base it would be an opportunity to introduce a new sport to the racing crowd that involves speed and hitting that race fans might enjoy.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass