One of the more interesting moves made by Predators over the summer was the acquisition of Sergei Kostitsyn.
David Poile traded the signing rights of Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd to the Montreal Canadiens for the 23 year old left winger a couple of days before the July 1st free agent signing day.
Poile then signed Kostitsyn for the bargain basement price of $550,000 for one season making him a low cost, low risk addition to the team..
In three seasons with Montreal, Kostitsyn played in 155 NHL games and scored 24 goals and added 44 assists. His 13.2 shot percentage is impressive. He also played 54 games in the AHL, evenly distributed over the three years.
He has starred in international competitions, including last year's stint with Team Belarus in the Olympics, where he had two goals and three assists in four games. He excelled in Juniors where he was teammates with Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner, who still consider him a friend.
No one questions that Kostitsyn has potential NHL top six forward abilities, while also being an asset on the power play and penalty kill. After last year's season long feud with Canadien's coach Jacques Martin, Montreal basically threw in the towel and "gave" him to the Preds.
Kostitsyn's welcome in Montreal was over and Sergei knew it, "I knew I would be traded but I didn't know where."
With the Predators, during the preseason camp, Kostitsyn has appeared to play better in games than at practice. He played in four games, showing flashes of brilliance at times. His highlight real redirection from Shea Weber against Atlanta gave Nashville fans a look at his potential.
Then, after that game, in the dressing room, he appeared somewhat aloof and struggled to recognize the name of his Captain who fed him the pass on his goal.
The one word that always seems to be used to describe the young Belorussian is "enigmatic" and it fits. You see a guy that has been blessed with plenty of talent and you always seem to be waiting to see more on the ice.
He appears to want to succeed and said all the right things on the first day of camp, "I really like it in Nashville. I think all the guys are nice guys. I fell pretty good here."
He acknowledged that the Montreal media was much different than in Nashville, "I think here is not like Montreal, not too many of you guys (media). There there was like 40 people after every practice."
He also was positive about his ability to mesh with his teammates, "I think I will fit this team, plenty of young forwards that are all fast."
As it stands now, he is not on one of the top four lines and will probably spend opening night on Saturday in the Bridgestone Arena press box. He has been slowed by a foot injury but was back on the ice on Thursday.
Fans, coaches, and teammates are all pulling for Kostitsyn to live up to his potential. After being in the fishbowl environment of Montreal, Nashville is probably one of the best places in the league for Sergei to have a break out year.
There is only so much others can do to help him accomplish his goals. The final piece to his puzzle has to come from within. At this point, everyone is patiently waiting to see what lies ahead.
He will get an opportunity to play sooner than later and he needs to make the most of it every time his skate touches the ice. Nashville is a safe environment for Kostitsyn. He needs to embrace that, put the past behind him, and show the hockey world what he can do.
Opening Day Observations...
The highlight of Opening Day was the Oilers thrashing of the feeble Calgary Flames. Runner-up was Philadelphia sneaking past the Penguins 3-2 with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky making his NHL debut in fine fashion. A close third was the Avs beating the Hawks 3-2 on Paul Stastny's overtime goal.
I couldn't get too excited about the game I couldn't see in Europe or the predictable 3-2 win for the Leafs over the Habs. For Carey Price's sake, I hope he doesn't head in to the home opener next Wednesday with an 0-2 record. Blood in the water for the Montreal media would be very ugly.
We put our necks on the line with our picks the last couple of days. Here are our Western Conference picks as well as the Eastern and Playoff picks. Jackson and I had much different picks across the board this year. We will revisit them in April and June to see how we did.
Forechecker Dirk and I are close on some of our picks.
Paul McCann slipped in his picks yesterday before the opening puck drop in Finland.
ProHockeyTalk has their picks for the season and the playoffs.
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper discussed the power play with Barry Trotz who watched film of every man advantage from last season over the summer. Josh also has a notes column that includes Marty Erat's goals for the season.
Bryan Mullen has a feature article on Shea Weber that gets back to his roots in his hometown.
David Boclair at The City Paper has a piece on David Legwand hoping to break even this season.
Mayors Manor has an interview with Kevin Allen and got a detailed answer of why he thinks the Preds are a contender. Thanks for asking the question.
Congrats to Pred bloggers Dirk Hoag and Ryan Porth who were ranked as the 1oth and 19th in the latest survey by WiKio.
Per Mike Ross at XM 204, the Predators had a 91% renewal rate on season tickets and 1400 new season ticket plans sold this year.
107.5 The River has a series of "60 seconds with..." various Predators that are funny. Go here to for the clips.
Rachel returns at What the Puck with thoughts on the new season and high expectations.
David Singleton has his Predators preview at Hockey Independent.
Preds Odd Man Rush ponders the question of why other teams get all the preseason hype but not the Predators.
What would Friday be without Mark Willoughby's My View.
Predators are fifth in the NHL in points since the lockout.
Over the summer the "No Pink in the Rink" campaign demanded a wider variety of women's hockey wear. Sports Seasons appears to have listened as they have expanded the available offerings.
Fox Sports Tennessee - Dish Network Issue...
We received a press release from Fox Sports late yesterday outlining the status of the contractual dispute between Dish and Fox. Here is the information that they provided...
No Dish for Predators Season Opener
Fans Blacked out after Dish Drops Fox
Dish Network customers will be left in the dark on Saturday when the Nashville Predators open the 2010-11 NHL season against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena. The game, which will be televised on FOX Sports Tennessee at 7 p.m. CT, will not be available to Dish Network customers because Dish Network dropped Fox’s 19 regional sports networks on October 1.
Fortunately, this game is offered by a number of other distributors. For more information, viewers should call 1-877-99-I-PAID or visit www.GetWhatIPaidFor.com.
Around the NHL...
Stu Hackel looks at key questions for all 30 teams on Opening Day.
It's a day late but Matt Reitz has 15 excuses for calling in sick on opening day.
When Cam Fowler plays against Detroit tonight, he will become the second youngest Ducks player ever. His second game will be tomorrow night against the Preds.
Cap Geek rolled out a new daily tracker for dollars against the cap for each team.
There is an interesting new website called Power Scout Hockey which has several charts and graphs to measure team intensity. It is an interesting concept.
Bob McKenzie has 10 rookies to watch that may not be on everyone's radar including Sergei Bobrovsky who was the surprise hero for the Flyers last night in their 3-2 win over Pittsburgh.
George Scoville posted this link to a study that was done about hockey ticket pricing in the secondary resale market. It is fairly long but is good reading.
This is a little odd but the NHL has hooked up with Stan Lee, the Spiderman creator, to come up with 30 "Guardians" to sell to tween boys, and I assume attract them to the NHL.
True Hockey has the note that Joe Thornton was named captain of the Sharks. I like this take better from @ESPN_Burnside: Sharks name Joe Thornton captain guaranteeing lots of good-natured scrums, surfing analogies and years of grisly playoff exits.
Kevin Greenstein picks his top 50 prospects for this season at Inside Hockey.
KingsCast does it Vegas style in Episode 73 at Frozen Fury. Fun stuff, and I doubt any alcohol was involved.
Tim Leone has an AHL preview of the Eastern Conference as well as the Western Conference.
Odds and Ends...
The Nashville RollerGirls begin their journey for a National Championship today at 1:00 when Nashville (5) takes on Dallas (4) in the third bout of the South Central Playoffs. Follow their progress at the WFTDA site, the Derby News Network, and the RollerGirls home page. Here is a preview of today's opening bout.
The Nashville Scene has their Best of Nashville poll results. Shea Weber, Jordin Tootoo and Pekka Rinne were deemed the best Predator Players in the only hockey related category.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass