Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marty Erat Seeks Second Medal and Wednesday Wrap-Up

Martin Erat is the only Nashville Predator playing in the 2010 Olympics with a medal already in his possession. At the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Erat scored the game-winning goal for the Czech Republic in the third place game to pick up a bronze medal.

As Erat heads to Vancouver, he has the second longest tenure with the Nashville Predators. Only David Legwand, who was the original draft pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, has been in the organization longer.

The 28 year old native of Trebic, Czech Republic was a seventh round (191st overall) in the 1999 draft. After he was drafted, he played two years of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League in order to transition to the North American game.

Playing with Red Deer, in 2001, he won the Memorial Cup (championship of the Canadian Hockey League) and led his team and goals and points in the playoffs. He also won a Gold Medal representing the Czech Republic in the World Junior tournament mid-season in 2001.

With the Predators in desperate need of scoring, Erat made the rare jump from junior hockey to the NHL for the 2001-2002 season. In his first year with the Preds, he set rookie records for games (80) and assists (23) and he also scored nine goals.

For the better part of three seasons from 2001-2004 Erat played on one of the more memorable lines in Predator history, the "vowel" line. He generally played along side Vladimir Orszagh and Denis Arkhipov, who were also young players from Eastern Europe.

Erat was considered the least talented of the three line mates and actually was sent to the AHL for a portion of the 2002-2003 season. Now, Orszagh is retired and Arkhipov is toiling in the KHL, while Erat has become the highest paid Predator in team history signing a contract last year that will keep him with the Preds through the 2013-2014 season.

In eight seasons with the Predators, Erat is among franchise leaders in several categories. He is second in goals scored (121) and total points (339), and is third in assists (218) and games played (532).

Erat is currently having one of his better seasons scoring 19 goals and adding 20 assists in 54 games. After a slow start, Erat has scored 14 goals since the first of December and has been the best player on the ice at times this year for the Preds.

His best years came in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 when he logged 57 points in consecutive seasons. Erat's best year in the playoffs was 2007-2008 when he had a goal and three assists as the Predators lost to Detroit in six games.

At the Olympics in Vancouver, Erat has been reunited with former teammate Tomas Vokoun who will be the starter in goal for the Czechs. The Czech Republic is considered to be a top five team and while not the favorite stands a good chance of a medal.

Erat's Czech Republic team beat Latvia 3-2 in overtime last night and will face Finland tonight at 9 p.m. CST in the quarterfinals of the medal round.

In Pred Nation...

A big thanks to On Nashville and Eric Shuff as we hear that PredsOnTheGlass will be featured on the new site that highlights various blogs around Nashville and has the most comprehensive blog roll in the area covering blogs of all types and tastes. It is quite an honor since the site started this week and we are one of the first featured web sites. Thanks again!

Forechecker has a post on the new Arena deal that includes an MP3 of an interview with Ed Lang at the bottom of the post. Dirk also has come out with a new OnTheForecheck line of clothing.

John Glennon has news on the Alexander Radulov front at Inside Predators. We will never see him in a Pred's uniform again.

See Puck City has a story about the big Predator comedy night at Zanies last night. It sounds like it was a blast. It looks like the place was packed.

Jas Faulkner continues his Olympic Odd Couple story with part three of the series.

Olympic Notes...

Todays Men's Hockey Schedule

USA - Switzerland 2:00 CST NBC
Canada-Russia 6:30 CST CNBC
Finland-Czech Republic 9:00 CST CNBC
Sweden-Slovakia 11:00 CST CNBC

Jim Diamond chronicles Canada's win and the end of the line for Goc and Sulzer. Another view was that Canada's 8-2 win over Germany was deemed a "national tragedy" in Canada.

One of the highlights of the game was Shea Weber blowing a puck through the net. Here is the video.

John Glennon previews today's Canada Russia matchup which should be one for the ages in Olympic hockey history. While the world will be watching Canada and Russia, Team USA's focus will be on Switzerland at 2 p.m. CST.

From the Rink looks at the time split between action and commercials at the Olympics. This is another explanation why hockey gets sent off to cable.

Mirtle takes a look at team depth among future Team Canada opponents.

Around the NHL...

Puck Daddy looks at the five biggest disappointments of the season so far.

It's been a while but Mick and Eric are back with the One Percentile Podcast Episode 24 discussing the USA-Canada game.

Mile High Hockey has a two part interview with Adrian Dater. Here is part one and two. It is a good read.

RLD Hockey Radio podcast volume 2 is up for your listening pleasure.

Paul Kelly and the NHLPA have settled their differences.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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