Tonight's POTG Radio is one that we have been looking forward to for quite a while. XM NHL Home Ice's Rob Higgins will be our special guest. His book, Hockey Fantasy Index, soared into the best sellers list in Canada in the first week of its release.
Rob has a unique formula formula that he developed to give a rating to a player's overall fantasy performance that can be used to gauge performance, show trends, and predict future value based on past performances. Updates can be found at his HFI web site.
When Rob is not pouring over numbers and discussing hockey, he is the leader of Canadian Rock band Dearly Beloved. He just completed a tour of Canada and the United States with Juliette Lewis and has dates every night for the rest of this week across Ontario.
As you can see, tonight's show should be interesting and one you will not want to miss. Please join us live or later on podcast or on iTunes.
Predators Training Camp Round-Up...
With training camp in full force on Saturday and Sunday there was far more going on that could be reported. With 56 players split into three squads, the coaches had to hit the ground running in order to evaluate and sort players as to which ones are serious contenders for jobs and who will be best served by another year of seasoning in the minors.
Something that is a little different this year is that there has been a larger emphasis put on full, game length scrimmages. Full game-like scrimmages between two of the three squads were scheduled for yesterday, today and tomorrow. At the end of the day on Tuesday, a large group of players will be dispatched back to their junior teams or to camp elsewhere.
After the scrimmage on Sunday, Barry Trotz seemed pleased with the performance of the white and silver teams. In the post game scrum he mentioned Colin Wilson, Matt Lombardi and Steve Sullivan as the veterans that stood out.
Among new comers he pointed to Ryan Flynn, Ryan Thang, Gabriel Bourque, and Matt Halischuck as players that impressed. As for the young defensemen, he mentioned Roman Josi and Jon Blum. Mark Dekanich and Anders Lindback were listed as the two that were sharpest in goal.
Trotz qualified all that he said with the caveat that it was early and that he was looking for different things from the veterans and the youngsters who were fighting for roster spots.
Ryan Suter played well and showed why he was deserving of receiving the permanent "A" on his sweater for this season. Shea Weber was in another group so Suter was paired with several other defensemen. Trotz was asked about the possibility of splitting the Weber-Suter pairing and he indicated that it might be considered against teams with two or three strong lines.
Another player that stood out over the weekend was J. P. Dumont who appears determined to regain the minutes that he lost late in the season last year. Trotz specifically pointed to Dumont as a player that came in in great condition and determined to play. J.P. admitted that he was not happy with his performance last season and is determined to return to regular form.
Predators Camp Notes...
Team Blue will play Team Silver today at noon in a full scrimmage. Team white will practice at 9:45. All will be at Centennial and will be open to the public.
Steve Sullivan and Ryan Suter were named permanent alternate captains for the season on Saturday.
David Legwand has moved into the position of the Predators' player representative to the NHLPA after assisting Dan Hamhuis for several years. Ryan Suter will help Legwand as the back-up rep. Legwand felt the hiring of Donald Fehr was a positive move and does not feel that a work stoppage will be necessary.
Last year's "All In" shirts have been replaced with new ones this year with a "Together" theme. Different words, but still the same core "Predator Hockey" message.
Somewhat contrary to that spirit, Trotz told the players to be "selfish" in a good way, as he put it. Basically, he wants every player battling for a position to leave it all on the ice and battle for a roster spot or a chance at an in season call-up.
On the Twitter front, after Dan Ellis' recent episodes, don't expect to see anything controversial out of Pred's Tweeters, Steve Sullivan, Jordin Tootoo and Mark Dekanich. Pekka Rinne assured me, once again, that a Twitter account is not in his future.
On the injury front, Linus Klasen will be out for a few more days from the hit that he took in the first rookie game in Florida. Roman Josi will miss today's scrimmage and is day to day with an upper body injury from Sunday's scrimmage. Preds' third round pick Taylor Aronson is still recovering from an upper body injury from last season and has been skating on his own with no contact.
In Pred Nation...
Predators.com has video highlights from Sunday's scrimmage and Jay Levin did a good job of blogging the action in team white's 7-3 win. With two teams of all Predators on the ice, it is very hard to focus on all the players and match-ups at once.
Josh Cooper has numerous blog posts at Inside Predators and is really getting in to his new position with plenty of enthusiasm and is keeping the readers informed on a minute to minute basis from camp. Expect this to continue throughout the week. It was a pleasure to meet him in person after talking to him on our last episode of POTG Radio.
Josh also had stories on Mark Dekanich, Patric Hornqvist, and Matthew Lombardi. at the Tennessean
Jim Diamond has a piece about Ryan Suter getting the "A" and has a comprehensive season preview for the Predators. He has the Preds firmly entrenched in the playoffs.
It was great spending time with Amanda from Predlines and Jas Faulkner from The Hockey Writers over the weekend at camp. Both are involved in the Bloggers Row initiative and have great insight.
Amanda did a good job of writing about Sergei Kostitsyn's first interview with the media, has a look at Shea Weber as captain, and reviews Barry Trotz's thoughts on Sunday's scrimmage. Jas has a very unique style of writing that is really fun to read. Her report on the first day of camp is a great read.
David Boclair has a piece on what Shea Weber's captaincy will look like.
Jeremy at Section 303 has three minutes with Barry Trotz.
Chris Burton has a laundry list of observations from day one at camp at OnThe Forecheck.
AJ at PMFF was at camp on Saturday and has post that gets existential in its ponderings in his look at the day and looking forward to the Predators season. Very creative stuff.
Paul McCann rolled out a new web design at SlapShot Radio and discusses the hypocrisy involved in the NHL-NHLPA situation.
Kelly at Predators Fanantic reports on her weekend at camp and discusses the social aspect of Predators hockey. While much of the focus is on the ice, hockey friendships among fans are a huge part of a fan's overall relationship with their team and helps build fan loyalty.
Sean Leahy has the Puck Daddy preview of the Predators.
Adam Gretz has a preview of the Predators at Fanhouse with a focus on their homegrown talent.
We are happy to report that Jamie Cartwright (pictured at the top of the left column) did indeed win the contest to sing the national anthem at a Predator's game. We spoke to her Saturday and she was thrilled to death.
Around the NHL...
The first official episode of Drafted 2 at The Score in Canada is now posted. I spoke with Launy "The" Schwartz on Saturday and he's not giving any hints on the outcome of the contest.
Puck Daddy has fifteen burning questions about the Western Conference. It is no surprise that the Pred's backup goalie position is one of them.
George Malik has all you need to know about the Red Wings camp at Able to Yzerman. It sounds different than the Predators' approach.
Congrats to Kevin Burgundy at Stay Classy who will now be a part of The Score's new web site, Houses of the Hockey.
Aaron Portzline reported that the Blue Jackets may be in the hunt for the excommunicated Sheldon Souray. It couldn't hurt the Jackets who need all the help they can muster at this point.
Odds and Ends...
Winning never gets old for nine time world surf champion, Kelly Slater. Over the weekend he won the largest surf prize ever at the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles, California. He not only took home $105,000 but also moved into first place on the the world tour as he tries to claim his tenth championship.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass