Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Predator’s Successful Season Falls Short of Goals and Wednesday Wrap-Up

By any account, the Nashville Predator’s 2009-2010 season was a success. In the pre-season, hockey experts did not expect the Preds to make the playoffs or even be competitive in the tough Western Conference.

By the end of the year, the Predators had compiled a 47-29-6 record that was good for 100 points and seventh place in the conference. This was the fifth straight year for a 40 win season, a streak that only five other NHL teams can claim.

The Predator’s success during the season was based on a team concept since the Preds had few stars or top scorers. “We had a concept at the start of the year called ‘all in’ where everyone has to contribute,” Barry Trotz explained. “That’s the only way our franchise can be successful.”

This year’s team was Trotz’s favorite in the Predator’s 12-year history. “We found ways to win. We got key goals from people that you didn’t expect. When people went into slumps, other lines picked it up. We just found a way. This group was a special group. This team had more character than any we have had”

In the pre-season, the team had three goals: to return to the playoffs, win a playoff road game, and make it to second round. The Preds accomplished the first two but fell short on the third.

The Predators faced a tough Chicago Blackhawks team in the playoffs and played toe to toe with them until the Preds lost a lead with 14 seconds left in game five on a horrible play where they gave up a short-handed goal to Patrick Kane and then lost in overtime. The Hawks finished of the Preds last Monday at the Bridgestone Arena.

The highlight of the post-season has been Barry Trotz’s nomination for the Jack Adams award which is the NHL’s version of the coach of the year. “I am humbled by that (nomination),"explained Trotz. “I am the one guy that believes that any success we have as an organization is through the team.”

Trotz continued, “The Jack Adams is not only a reflection of my coaching staff but also our management staff, our trainers, the scouts, and the players since they are the ones who get it done.”

The future of the Predators is bright. They have two of the best defensemen in the league with Olympians Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Pekka Rinne is one of the best young goaltenders in the league and will continue to improve for several years.

On the offensive side, the Predators have a great mix of veterans like Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan as well as youngsters like Patric Hornqvist, who scored thirty goals in a break out season, and rookie Colin Wilson who got better every game.

“The strength of our team and it’s future is home grown players that grew up in the organization and matured into NHL players, Trotz said. “We are proud of the ones we have and have and know there are more on the way.”

Last Night's Playoff Action...

The San Jose Sharks shocked the Red Wings with a 4-3 overtime victory to take a 3-0 series lead. Patrick Marleau scored the game winner and was assisted by Joe Thornton who also had a goal in regulation. Big Joe has played well in the last two games after not scoring previously in this year's playoffs and basically being a no-show in past playoff action.

Pittsburgh and Montreal played it close before Evgeni Malkin's game winner 1:17 into the third period. With a 2-0 victory, the Pens now lead the series 2-1.

Tonight's Games...

Boston travels to Philadelphia tonight for a 6:00 CDT game with the Flyers. Philadelphia has their backs up against the wall as they do not want to go down 3-0 in their battle with the Bruins.

In the late game at 8:30 CDT, Chicago travels to Vancouver for another tough battle in Western Conference action. The series is tied 1-1.

In Pred Nation...

The Windsor Spitfires won the Robertson Cup with their sweep of the series over the Barrie Colts. Prospect Ryan Ellis had three assists in the Spitfires 6-2 clincher over the Colts. Windsor now moves on to the Memorial Cup to play for the overall Canadian Junior Championship. Ex-Pred Bob Bougner coaches the Spitfires.

Jim Diamond has a good piece on Dan Ellis' uncertain future. It must be accurate since Dan himself re-tweeted the post on Twitter.

(Ed note: Jim related that this comment may place him in a bad light but that in no way what was intended. He is always 100% accurate. I've just never seen an athlete retweet an article about themselves. It was kind of like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.)

Teresa Walker has the latest update on flood damage at the Bridgestone Arena.

Gabriel Bourque was named the CHL player of the week.

David Singleton has an analysis of the Predators cap situation with a look to next season at Hockey Independent.

Ex-Preds enforcer Patrick Cote is on Twitter. Who would have known? RT @metricjulie: The Predator!!! RT @patrick_cote: My silverstar walk out t shirt For those who dont' remember Cote's career with the Preds, Hockey has his fight resume. His 30 fights in the Pred's first season were a major draw for early NHL hockey in Nashville.

Here is an early bout between Cote and part time Pred broadcaster Jim McKenzie.

Around the NHL...

Ryan at the RLD has his early picks for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

There's no conclusive evidence to "bite-gate" between Dan Carcillo and Marc Savard. Jas Faulkner has commentary on the incident.

Amanda Fortier has a great piece about what it's like to be a Canadian hockey fan and how it permeates the entire society at View From My Seats.

Puck Daddy has the inside story of the octopi eating shark that was thrown on the ice in San Jose in game two.

The ads are out for the World Championships on Universal Sports. Steve Lapore has the video.

New video at Hockey54: Interviews on H-54 TV. Former #NHL refs Hogarth, Scampy & Fraser talk puck with!

Flood Update...

Our friend Sheri Magrini, who runs the web site, lives in Chicago and is starting relief efforts up there for the City of Nashville. It is really unbelievable how the internet and social media has drawn folks from across the country together as friends that are available to help from afar in times of need.

Patten Fuqua has a great piece about why Nashville has been ignored by the nation's media during the current catastrophe.

Mark Willoughby also writes about what a great community in the true sense of the work that Nashville really is. It's no wonder that folks move here and bever want to leave.

Being in the insurance business, I am well aware that flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner's policy. A special flood policy is required but it is only available to folks in a specified flood zone. Many of the folks that were flooded could not have purchased a flood policy at any price because they were considered to be in a prone area. The Tennessean has a post about flood insurance that does not tell the whole story.

For those needing FEMA assistance since Nashville is now officially a disaster area, here is the website link or you can call call (800) 621 FEMA to sign up for help.

Here's a map of flood damage in downtown Nashville.

Preds101 puts out a call for help a few house league players from the Centennial Sportsplex.

Odds and Ends...

Here is a link to a BB app that is called Player for Youtube. I've not been happy with the web display of YouTube vids so this appears to be an improvement.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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