Thursday, February 17, 2011

Predators Face Vancouver in Critical Match and Thursday Thoughts

The Nashville Predators host the Vancouver Canucks tonight at the Bridgestone Arena in another important Western Conference match.

Vancouver has the best record in the NHL and has a nine point lead over second place Detroit in the Western Conference race. They are 8-2-0 in their last ten games.

The Predators have played well recently but have been inconsistent, going 4-4-2 in their last ten. With Anaheim and Dallas losing last night, the Preds moved back in to fourth place in the Western Conference.

This is the Canucks first visit to Nashville since March 7, 2010 when the Preds lost 4-2. This season, on January 26 the Preds traveled to Vancouver and lost 2-1 with all the scoring coming in the final period.

A key for the Predators is to hold the Canucks to three goals or less where they have a less imposing 12-12-7 record this year. When they score four or more goals, they are 25-0-2.

Roberto Luongo (27-9-7, 2.24, .926) finally lost a game on Monday to St. Louis after going 16-0-5 since December 5. He dis not play in Tuesday's 4-1 win at Minnesota.

Pekka Rinne (20-14-6, 2.10, .930) is coming off a career high 48 save performance on Tuesday when the Preds lost to San Jose 2-1 in overtime.

Vancouver has been winning in spite of having a decimated blue line. Kevin Bieksa became latest injury when he was hit in the foot on Tuesday. Evan Oberg may be recalled to take his place. The Nucks already have Dan Hamhuis, Andrew Alberts, Alexander Edler, Keith Ballard and Lee Sweatt out due to a variety of injuries.

With 20 healthy skaters, it will be interesting to see who the Predators sit tonight after J P Dumont was a healthy scratch on Tuesday. Kevin Klein was nicked up against San Jose but did participate in yesterday's practice.

The Predators return to the Bridgestone Arena ice again on Saturday night against Phoenix.

Other game previews cone from Amanda DiPaolo, Sam Page, Predatorial, David Boclair, The Tennessean, and

Previews from Vancouver can be found at The Province, Vancouver Sun, Nucks Misconduct, Kurtenblog, The Canucks Way, and Canucks Hockey Blog.

Programming Note...

Yesterday, on Ryan Porth's RLD Hockey Radio the guests were E J Hradek of ESPN and NHL Live and top NHL Agent, Jay Grossman who's most famous client is Ilya Kovalchuk. It was a great discussion on the trade deadline, playoff race, and individual awards at this point in the season. Jay also gave insight as to how agents view the trade deadline.

Listen to internet radio with Ryan Porth on Blog Talk Radio

In Pred Nation...

Josh Cooper brings news that Frankie Bouillon is headache free and starting to work out.

Colin Wilson explains how he got the news on the Mike Fisher trade.

Mark Willoughby asks the question as to whether the NHL actually contributed to the big Pens-Isles brawl last week.

The Province has a feature on Marty Erat who likes his new line mate, Mike Fisher.

ESpN named Sergei Kostitsyn the bargain player of the year based on his points and his salary.

Dirk Hoag is spending a lot of time thinking about J P Dumont and makes a valid point about his lack of playing time contributing to his meager production.

The Predators and Cracker Barrel are presenting an open skate on the ice at the Bridgestone Arena Saturday afternoon. Go here to sign up.

Dan Bradley has a review of the Predators game operations at Excellence Through Guesswork.

Shea Weber and Blake Geoffrion are finalists in the Nashville Sports Council's Celebration of Champions. has a feature story on Blake Geoffrion's storybook career.

Jay Levin has Preds prospect updates.

The Milwaukee Admirals have big games on Friday and Sunday this weekend and even have a Bob Uecker bobblehead giveaway.

My Alma mater, Columbia Central High, will be saluted at the Preds-Coyotes game on Saturday for winning the high school football state championship.

Around the NHL...

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was hospitalized early yesterday for unknown issues and was not on the bench last night.

After their 7-6 loss to Washington last night, Anaheim traded Paul Mara to Montreal.

Kevin Allen has his list of ten teams that will be active at the deadline.

RLD Hockey continues their series with a look back at the 2008 trade deadline deals.

Jonas Hiller has been placed on IR with light-headedness.

With the Phoenix sale nearing completion, the Atlanta Thrashers move to the forefront of franchises possibly on the move. This AJC story quotes one of the owners threatening to leave town.

The details of the bond sale in Phoenix have been released.

View From My Seats has the results of PuckChat 13.

Steve Lapore has the schedule for the NHL's coverage of the Heritage Classic this weekend.

The New Jersey Devils have launched "Mission Control" to be the hub of their social media. Even after watching this video, I'm still not sure I understand what they are doing. My friend @speakoftheDevs is sending more information.

Adrian Dater has his top five fighters in the NHL.

Things continue to slide in Denver with another loss and Matt Duchene out indefinitely.

It's all about the rumors. Intent to Blow has the story of Tomas Kaberle trying to get his name in the mill more often.

Down Goes Brown has a test to administer to NHL players to determine concussion symptoms.

Odds and Ends...

The fans of Justin B**ber are turning into Cyber-Bullies it appears. The young punk also is acting like some type of health care expert too. It sounds like he knows about as much as Barak Obama.

Motorola steps up with pricing info on the XOOM and also confirms a WiFi version.

In an odd experiment, homeless people in New York were given phones and Twitter accounts.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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