Monday, October 21, 2013

Predators post game audio from Winnipeg

With little local coverage of the Preds-Jets game from Winnipeg on Sunday night, our friends over at Illegal Curve gave us a heads up for clips from Barry Trotz, Carter Hutton, Matt Cullen and birthday buy, Colin Wilson after the impressive 3-1 road win.

Go here to enjoy! Thanks to Dave at Illegal Curve for permission and keeping us in the loop.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Monday, September 30, 2013

POTG picks for the first real NHL season in a couple of years

It is no secret that I was not pleased with last year's strike-shortened season. Due to the "labor unrest" I surrendered my season tickets and gave up my regular seat in the Predators pressbox.

That being said, I am feeling a tinge of excitement on the eve of a new full NHL season. Therefore, I am inspired to share my predictions for the 2013-14 season.

With the new realignment, it only makes sense to make picks by the conference so here we go.

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh
2. Boston
3. Detroit
4. Ottawa
5. N.Y. Rangers
6. Toronto
7. Philadelphia
8. Washington
9. Montreal
10. N.Y. Islanders
11. New Jersey
12. Tampa Bay
13. Columbus
14. Carolina
15. Buffalo
16. Florida

Western Conference

1. Los Angeles
2. Chicago
3. St. Louis
4. San Jose
5. Vancouver
6. Nashville
7. Minnesota
8. Anaheim
9. Dallas
10. Edmonton
11. Colorado
12. Winnipeg
13. Phoenix
14. Calgary

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Get to know Predators' draft pick Teemu Kivihalme

Our friends at Illegal Curve got the opportunity to have a sit down with Predators draft pick Teemu Kivihalme during last Saturday's show from the NHL store in Manhattan.

Go here and enjoy the interview.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Prediction

After missing both picks in the conference finals, I will now make my last poor prediction of the season...

Chicago Blackhawks over the Boston Bruins in seven games.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday, June 1, 2013

POTG NHL Conference Finals Predictions

After a 6-2 record in the opening round and a 3-1 success rate in the second round, I will put my best ever prediction rate on the line once again for the NHL Conference Finals.

Los Angeles Kings over the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

Pittsburgh Penguins over the Boston Bruins in seven games.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Phil Housley named Predators new Assistant Coach

After a few weeks of relative quiet after the Predators recent dismal season, the news was fast and furious in the last 24 hours.

On Monday night, the news leaked out from Blues broadcaster, Darren Pang that long-time associate coach Peter Horachek had been relieved of his duties. Confirmation of the firing came on Tuesday.

Then, it was announced that former NHL defenseman, Phil Housley has been named an assistant for the Predators. Housley is one of the best offensive defensemen to have played at the highest level and should bring a much needed offensive spark to the Nashville team.

Make the jump for the full text from the Predators' press release...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Second round Stanley Cup Playoff picks

After a surprising 6-2 record in the first round of the playoffs where I erred on my picks of the Canucks and the Ducks, I will continue with more picks from the couch in the hastily started second round of the playoffs.

Chicago (1) in seven over Detroit (7)

Los Angeles (5) in six over San Jose (6)

Pittsburgh (1) in six over Ottawa (7)

Rangers (6) in six over Boston (4)

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday, May 4, 2013

FCA Hockey Clinics coming to A-Game May 17th and 18th

I got a note from friend and Cellblock 303 founder Mark Hollingsworth about the upcoming FCA hockey clinics that will be held at A-Game Sportsplex on May 17th and 18th. It sounds like a good opportunity for kids at the rock bottom price of $20. With most camps and clinics in the hundreds of dollars, this looks like a bargain.

The official information follows...

FCA Hockey Clinics

May 17th & 18th – A-Game Sportsplex
Youth and Adult Skates

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) will be providing two hockey skills clinics during the month of May at the A-Game Sportsplex.   Details as well as registration information is below.  If interested, please sign up online by clicking on the below link.

Who can join us – All youth, high school and adult hockey players looking to improve their fundamental hockey skills.

What are we doing– Two skills clinics led by Rick Randazzo.  Rick is a former West Point hockey player and former college hockey coach.  After the military, Rick went on to coach the United States Naval Academy team to over 120 wins, as well as represent the United States as a coach at the World University Games in Innsbruck, Austria.   Rick is also an affiliate scout with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL. Rick is currently the National Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes hockey ministry and is running skills clinics in all 50 states over a 5 year period.  Tennessee is the 18th  State on the 50 State tour.

Our skills clinic are for players aged Squirt to Midget (High school) and Midget to Adult.  On ice sessions will focus on skill development and are for players of all ability levels. Staff will be working with individual players to improve skills such as skating, passing, stick handling and shooting.

Where – Clinics will be held at A-Game in Franklin, Tennessee.

When –

Adult Clinic (players 15 and older)  – May 17 – 7:05-8:35 on ice, 8:35-9:35 Devotions and Refreshments

Youth Skills Clinic – May 18 – 1:45 – 3:45 on ice (Squirts – Peewees)

                                            3:45-4:45 Devotions and Refreshments

                                            4:45 – 6:45 on ice (Bantams and Midgets)
                                            6:45-7:45 Devotions and Refreshments

There is a $20 registration fee for each clinic which includes a FCA Hockey jersey and a FCA Hockey New Testament Bible.

A recent comment from an Ohio parent…
I wanted to send you a quick email to say "Thank you" for the clinic at Barons arena this past weekend on a couple of different fronts. Trevor really enjoyed himself, as did his little buddies that we invited along. I'm so glad that we could be a part of it and we look forward to seeing you again this Sunday in Mentor.
As for the hockey, I really enjoyed watching you in action with the kids--both in terms of your obvious knowledge and skill level as well as in how you related to the players and their individual skill sets. All too often today in youth sports, there is a dichotomy and a choice that parents must make between "Growing in the child's skill set..." vs "Increasing/maintaining the child's love of the game". It was nice to see a coach that offered the opportunity to do both, and I thank you for that as a parent. My wife and I were Adult leaders of our church's High School Youth Ministry program before we had kids, and I felt like the whole afternoon had a very similar aura to one of our old weekend retreats in those days: You challenged the kids to be better, but yet supported them just as they were.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quick NHL first round picks from the couch

After sitting out the better part of the year with a lower body injury, here is my take on the first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs.

Chicago (1) in six over Minnesota (8)

Anaheim (2) in seven over Detroit (7)

Vancouver (3) in six over San Jose (6)

Los Angeles (5) in six over St. Louis (4)

Pittsburgh (1) in five over the Islanders (8)

Ottawa (7) in six over Montreal (2)

Rangers (6) in six over Washington (3)

Boston (4) in six over Toronto (5)

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Filip Forsberg could make NHL debut against Red Wings on Sunday

In a season that has been disappointing to fans an the team alike, the Nashville Predators announced that recent acquisition  Filip Forsberg has joined the team and could make his NHL debut on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Here is the full release from the Predators...


Nashville, Tenn. (April 13, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that forward Filip Forsberg has been added to the team’s active roster and could make his NHL debut tomorrow against the Detroit Red Wings (6:30 p.m. CT). The 11th overall selection in the 2012 Entry Draft will wear No. 9.

Forsberg, 18 (8/14/94), was the recipient of the 2013 Golden Cage Award as the Allsvenskan’s (Sweden-2) top junior player after posting 33 points (15g-18a) in 38 games in 2012-13. He then helped Leksand gain promotion to Sweden’s top division by ranking second in goals (5) and eighth in points (tie, 9) in nine qualification games.         The 6-1, 188-pound native of Östervåla, Sweden was recently ranked 10th in the world among NHL-affiliated prospects not currently in the League by The Hockey News. Forsberg helped Sweden win gold at the 2012 World Junior Championships, and captained the Swedes to a silver medal at the 2013 World Juniors, being named to the tournament’s All-Star Team in the process.

In honor of the Predators new No. 9’s arrival, the Tennessee Lottery $10 Game-Day Tickets will be sold for $9. These tickets – 100 upper level seats – will be offered exclusively through the Bridgestone Arena box office starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Surprise move lands top prospect Filip Forsberg for Predators

Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile appeared to be having a rather quiet day at the trade deadline until a surprising move was announced well after the 2 p.m. deadline had passed.

Nashville picked up a top offensive prospect in Filip Forsberg in exchange for career Predator Marty Erat and prospect Michael Latta.

Earlier in the day, Poile had shipped defenseman Scott Hannan to San Jose for a conditional seventh round draft pick in this summer's NHL Entry Draft and it appeared that little else would happen in Smashville.

However, according to Poile, Erat had recently requested a trade so it was a shrewd deal that one of the top offensive prospects from last Summer's draft became a Predator.

In a season that has been frustrating to the Predators and their fans, if Forsberg pans out, this may end up being a highlights for years to come.

Make the jump for the full release from the Predators...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nashville claims Zach Boychuk on waivers

Per Kevin Allen, the Nashville Predators early March acquisitions continue as the have picked up Zach Boychuk on waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 5'10" left winger was taken in the first round (14th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes. He played 73 NHL games with the Canes, picking up seven goals and adding 11 assists before being claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh on January 31. He failed to make the score sheet in seven games with the Pens.

After a disastrous west coast swing, where the team was 0-3, the Predators have today off while they hope to regroup for a rare back to back home set with Edmonton and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday nights.

Make the jump for the press release from the Predators...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Predators make two moves as the calendar turns to March

In a normal season, as March beckons, teams that are in the playoff hunt scramble for talent while the others try to pick up assets for the future as they move players that no longer figure into the organizational plans.

In this abbreviated 48 game season, the trade deadline will not occur until April 3 when the Predators have 11 games remaining.

In the last few days the Predators have made a pair of moves that may be a precursor of what may be a calmer year for the Preds at the trade deadline as speculated by Ryan Porth.

On Thursday, the Predators traded fan favorite, Brian McGrattan, who had only appeared in a pair of games in Nashville this season, to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Joe Piskula.

Piskula, the 28 year old, 6-3, 214-pound blueliner, was assigned to the Preds' AHL team in Milwaukee. This season he has played for Abbotsford of the AHL and has 10 points (2g-8a) and 51 penalty minutes in 46 games. In his career, He has played in 10 NHL games with Los Angeles (2006-07) and Calgary (2011-12), going scoreless and posting eight penalty minutes.

With the emergence of Rich Clune as a shift disturber with more offensive upside, McGrattan no longer fit into the Predators' future plans.

This morning, with the Predators down to 20 healthy players, with Hal Gill being placed on Injured Reserve and Brandon Yip being shaken up in San Jose on Saturday, the Predators claimed Bobby Butler from the New Jersey Devils on waivers.

The 25 year old Butler had an outstanding college career at New Hampshire and was a Hobey Baker finalist in 2009-10.

Butler had an excellent rookie year with Ottawa in 2010-11, when he scored 10 goals and added 11 assists with the Senators. The following year, his numbers headed south when he scored only six goals and had ten assists in 56 games. He was placed on waivers and his contract was bought out by the Senators on July 27, 2012.

He then signed a one-year, two-way contract with the New Jersey Devils for this season. In 14 NHL games he has a goal and an assist for the Devils. Earlier this season, in the AHL, Butler had 27 points (16g-11a) in 37 games.

It is unclear what the Predators' plan for Butler who may benefit from a change of scenery and a move to the Western Conference. According to Chris Johnston, Butler was told of the move while the Devils were on the ice in Toronto.

The Predators will play the Stanley Cup Champion, Los Angeles Kings tonight at 9:30 p.m. before returning home for rare back to back home games against Edmonton and Minnesota on Friday and Saturday nights.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Predators re-acquire Scott Ford

In a minor league deal with the St. Louis Blues, the Nashville Predators re-acquired defenseman Scott Ford in exchange for forward Jani Lajunen.

Ford will report to the Milwaukee Admirals where he served as team captain last season. He played in 279 games with the Ads over the last four seasons and was always a fan favorite.

The 33 year-old, 6'3", 218 pound D-man has been a career minor leaguer but has participated in Predator pre-season camps due to his leadership and mentoring ability with young prospects.

Several other moves were announced by Milwaukee including forward Patrick Cehlin and defenseman Taylor Aronson being reassigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Also, goaltender Zoltan Hetenyi has been loaned to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL.

Make the jump for the full release from the Predators...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Watch out AHL! Brian McGrattan to patrol rinks for two weeks

The Nashville Predators announced on Friday morning that enforcer Brian McGrattan has been assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals for a two week conditioning assignment. He will remain on the Preds' roster but receive an opportunity to play with the Ads and become more game-ready.

The 6'4" 235 pound winger from Hamilton, Ontario has only played in two contests in Nashville this year, totaling 12:34 in ice time and had not suited up since January 21. In his limited time, he did not make the score sheet in points or PIMs.

Much of his tough-guy role with the Preds appears to have been taken by diminutive irritant, Rich Clune, who has played 13 games and scored his first NHL goal on February fifth in St. Louis. He is currently tied for second in the NHL in fighting majors with five.

It is unclear if this move is truly a "conditioning" assignment or if McGrattan's abilities are being showcased to other teams who may be looking for additional toughness which appears to be becoming more of a factor in this short intense season.

Make the jump for the complete release from the Predators...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Predators lead in NHL Jennings Trophy race

The Nashville Predators have always been known for stingy defense and world class goaltending but have yet to claim the one piece of hardware that goes to the goalies of the team that gives up the fewest goals over the course of  an NHL season.

According to, "The William M. Jennings Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it. Winners are selected based on regular-season play."

"The Jennings Trophy was presented in 1981-82 by the National Hockey League's Board of Governors to honor the late William M. Jennings, longtime governor and president of the New York Rangers and one of the great builders of hockey in the United States."

After Thursday's 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes by Pekka Rinne, the Predators cut their league leading goals against average to 1.64 goals per game. Nashville has only allowed 23 goals in their 14 contests in route to a 7-3-4 record which is tied for the fourth highest number of points in the league at 18.

The Predators continue their homestand at Bridgestone Arena Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Puck drop will be at 7 p.m.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Comments from a standing "O" from the cripple beside the couch in Preds 6-1 win

As you probably do not know, the reason for my lack of posting and in person presence around the Predators' rink this year is that I will be undergoing a full hip replacement this coming Thursday which will require a six week period of no driving or public appearances. Therefore, I am limited to comments from the couch for the time being.

In spite of my infirmary, I was able to give a standing "O" when the Preds went up 5-0 against division rival, St. Louis, in the two teams third meeting in this young season. After averaging 1.5 goals per game, it was truly a miracle for the Preds to break out with five goals in 30:09 minutes of play.

With the odd scheduling where they actually returned home during the road trip, I was somewhat concerned that it could have been a distraction but Barry Trotz remains a master in the psychology of the game.

Highlights of the game included...

Ryan Ellis picking up the first goal of the game when he fired the puck at the net on the power play and bounced it off a Blues player for the first goal of the game.

Rich Clune picked up his first NHL goal when he was crashing the net and picked up the rebound off a Colin Wilson shot. His first intermission appearance was classic.

Nick Spalling getting his second goal of the year with aggressive play to end the opening period.

Any goal by Kevin Klein is a masterpiece. Klein is the most unappreciated defenseman in the NHL.

Gabriel Bourque finishing up Wilson's shot on goal with his skate (without a kicking motion).

Wilson having a huge three point game as he tries to solidify his position as a young force on the team. His post game TV appearance exuded confidence in front of the camera not previously seen.

Mart Erat grabbing a goal in the waning minutes of the game to gain his scoring confidence.

Pekka Rinne being on top of his game, stopping 31 of 32 Blues shots.

Low points included...

The Preds' lack of discipline that led to three penalties and a Blues goal at the end of the second period.

Preds going down 5 on 3 early in the third to raise Rinne's blood pressure.

Chris Stewart in a scuffle with Paul Gaustad to end the game.

It was really not surprising that the Preds were out hit 17-6 in a game that was frustrating for the Blues.

The Predators giving up 32 shots while only getting 19 on goal (including only three in the second period) , despite the lopsided win.

The Predators finally return home on Thursday night against the Kings which I hope to be able to watch in a post surgery anesthesia haze.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Predators ink new TV deal with Fox Sports

The Predators and Fox Sports announced a "new long-term television rights agreement." Financial arrangements and term were not announced but there was stated that "FOX Sports Tennessee (would be) the home of Nashville Predators Hockey for many years to come.”

Make the jump for the full release from the Preds and Fox Sports...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Couch notes from Nashville's 3-1 win over Minnesota

After improving in each of the first two games and settling for the loser point in each, the Predators made big strides in the final two periods against the Wild in Minnesota and broke into the win column for the first time this season by a 3-1 score.

Chris Mason started his first game of the year for the Predators and limited the Wild to one goal on thirty shots, including several great scoring chances in the games closing moments.

Gabriel Bourque played 14:15 in his first game of the season, after coming back from injury, and appeared to invigorate the third line that he shared with Brandon Yip and Nick Spaling. Bourque spent considerable time around the net distracting the Wild players and could have been in on Spaling's goal that tied the game late in the first period.

Marty Erat played it smart on his go ahead goal after picking the puck from Niklas Backstrom by gently sliding it into the net instead of being cute. As an older player, he is crafting a career to be proud of as a lifelong Predator.

Speaking of long time Preds, David Legwand  has the market cornered on empty net goals and late game markers as he had tonight, picking up the clincher with 17  seconds left on the power play. The Preds have now scored on the man advantage in all three games.

Richard Clune got in his fight in early when he tangled with Zenon Konopka a couple of minutes into the game. I would think the jury is still out his role with this year's team. He did pick up three hits in five shifts.

After a banner night in the face off circle on Monday, the Preds were only 25 of 58 in their second game without Paul Gaustad.

The Predators continue onward on their marathon road trip and will meet the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday. They will also end the trip in St.Louis which will make three of the first nine games against what appears to be one of conference's top teams.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Bourque recalled from Milwaukee

The Nashville Predators recalled Gabriel Bourque from Milwaukee today to provide an additional spark for the 0-0-2 team. He was a key contributor as a rookie last season and has been sidelined recently with injuries.

Here is the full release from the Nashville Predators...


Nashville, Tenn. (January 22, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled forward Gabriel Bourque from Milwaukee (AHL).

Bourque, 22 (9/23/90), has 12 points (7g-5a) in 15 games for the Admirals this season. During his rookie NHL campaign last season, the Rimouski, Que., native ranked ninth in points per game among rookies who appeared in at least half their team’s games (.44), finishing with 19 points (7g-12a) in 43 games. In the 2012 Playoffs, the 5-10, 192-pound left wing tied for the team lead in goals (3), and ranked third in points (5), setting franchise records for points (3g-1a-4pts) and plus-minus rating (+5) by a rookie in a playoff series in the Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Detroit.

The Predators take on the Minnesota Wild tonight at the Xcel Energy Center at 7 p.m. CT (Comcast channels: 1675 HD, 28 SD and 102.5 The Game) in the first of a seven-game, 15-day road trip that keeps the team out of Nashville until Feb. 7 when they face off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena. Individual game tickets and premium seating for the Nashville Predators 2012-13 regular season are on sale now at the Bridgestone Arena box office, through all Ticketmaster outlets,, and (615) 770-7800. Returning this season are the popular Tennessee Lottery $10 Gameday Seats where 100 upper-level tickets will be made available for just $10 each on the day of the game. These tickets may only be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena box office beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of each specific game. Tickets distributed through raffle system. Limit four per customer.

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Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Monday, January 21, 2013

Comments from the couch after Preds 4-3 shootout loss to the Blues

There's not too many comments from the couch tonight, primarily due the the scheduling of a 5 p.m. start on a day when everyone in the Mid-state area that doesn't work for the government or a bank was either at work or heading out into rush hour traffic for the puck drop.

I find it totally incredible that for the second game in a row that Bridgestone Arena had a sellout crowd of 17,113. In spite of all the intense whining and gnashing of teeth during the lockout, citizens of Smashville have obviously forgiven and forgotten all the angst of the past four months.

For the Predators, tonight's hero had to be Patric Hornqvist who had his tenth career three point game with a goal and two assists. Mike Fisher and Marty Erat also has two point games in the loss. I wonder if anyone got a "no, no, no, no, no..." out of him in the postgame interviews.

The Preds were outshot 39-24 and fared even worse in the Corsi at 71-42. They have got to start getting more pressure on the opponent goalie.

Newcomer Rich Clune, received minimal ice time after picking up a boarding penalty against Scotty Nichol on his second shift early in the game. He only skated one shift in the second period and a pair in the third.

Brian McGrattan saw similar ice time as Clune. The Preds were obviously making a statement to the big bad Blues by sending McGrattan and Clune out on the same line with each of their first and third period shifts. Take that Ken Hitchcock! Darth Vader is locked and loaded :)

The Preds' power play continued to be productive with another pair of goals but the PK unit is starting to come into question, giving up a goal in two chances to the Blues.

In spite of Paul Gaustad being out of the lineup, the Preds were 36 of 64 in the faceoff circle for a 56% win percentage. Everyone who entered the circle was at least 50% but Mike Fisher was a glutton for punishment, taking 26 faceoffs and winning 14. Nick Spalling was also tough, winning 10 of 15.

The Predators have never had a drop dead sniper in the shootout but Pekka Rinne has made up for that in recent years. For two games in a row, he has been out-dueled by lesser talent, unfortunately, resulting in two loses.

Tuesday's game against Minnesota should draw banner TV ratings with the Predators facing off against Ryan Suter in the Minnesota green for the first time. I'm sure it will be billed as "mamo a mano" between the ex-defensive pairing but in spite of that, it will be good to see how the "new look" Wild perform with all the new faces (and the empty wallet).

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bartley returned to Milwaukee

Nashville Predators rookie defenseman Victor Bartley has had an exciting few days lately but in the end was returned to Milwaukee today where he will probably stay for a while.

Bartley was one of three Admiral defensemen (along with Ryan Ellis and Jon Blum) that was invited to the Preds abbreviated training camp which was left with an unwieldy eight D-men when the final cuts were made on Friday. Bartley did not dress in the Predators 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus on Saturday night.

On Thursday, in the midst of the Preds camp, Bartley was named as a participant in the Dunkin Donuts AHL All-Star Classic to be held Jan. 27-28 in Providence, R.I.

After much being made of the Predators depth being needed in this year's short season, you would expect Bartley to be the first defenseman recalled should an injury occur.

Make the jump for the full release from the Predators...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Opening Night thoughts from the couch in Predators 3-2 shootout loss

The Preds opened up with as close to a "bye" as you could find, having won 19 of the last 20 home games against the Columbus Blue Jackets. At least the sieve, Steve Mason, didn't start. The BJ's have worked hard  at earning the title of doormat of the Central Division NHL.

The sold out crowd in the arena got their money's worth with 65 minutes of end to end action and six rounds of a shootout before the Jackets doubled their recent Bridgestone win total on a Derick Brassard shot that got past Pekka Rinne to give Columbus the 3-2 victory.

Fox Sports Tennessee had a double fail to start the game. First, through no fault of their own, the Alabama-Texas A & M basketball game ran long. Then, in a major disaster for those wanting to see #hockeyisback, FSTN switched to some meaningless tennis match for the first several minutes of the contest, including Marty Erat's goal 39 seconds into the game.

Stick tap to Pekka Rinne who got the first goalie point of the season on Erat's goal.

Scott Hannen made a good first impression on his teammates when Derek Dorsett put a clean hit on Kevin Klein near the boards and Hannen responded and went toe to toe with the Jacket's agitator.

On the Jackets' power play goal there was nothing Pekka Rinne could have done with Nick Foligno's perfect tip on the Fedor Tyutin's shot. Foligno also got a pipe on a power play midway through the second period when he had Rinne out of position.

After leading the NHLlast season on the power play with ex Pred Ryan Suter having the most points, it was a real confidence builder to see Ryan Ellis get the goal on the Preds first man advantage opportunity this season on a feed from Sergei Kostitsyn trying out his new role on the point.

Kostitsyn was a point a game player in the KHL and continued his success this year with primary assists on the Preds' first two goals. If he continues, he may be an option in fantasy leagues.

It probably wan't a great idea for Captain Shea Weber to tangle with Jared Boll as he stepped up for Craig Smith who Boll hit before the fight. Weber really needs to leave the fisticuffs to others so he can stay out of the box and off injured reserve in the short season.

Barry Trotz did a lot of mixing and matching on his third and fourth lines but was fairly consistent with the Fisher-Kostitsyn-Erat and Legwand-Smith-Hornqvist combinations. Colin Wilson also earned plenty of minutes, playing on several lines. Weber-Josi, Klein-Hannen, and Gill-Ellis seemed fairly set. You have to wonder when Jon Blum or Victor Bartley will play.

The one issue that was most concerning for the Preds was sloppy play on the breakout of their defensive zone. There were too many giveaways that would turn into goals against a better opponent.

The Predators mad a decent push at the end of the third period to try to avoid the dreaded three point game but it was to no avail. The pressure continued into overtime but it still headed to the skills competition.

The Preds will go at it again at 5 p.m. Monday against St. Louis at Bridgestone Arena. Someone needs to give a heads up to the scheduling gurus that most fans in Middle Tennessee do not have a day off for MLK Day. For many STH, it is a useless ticket with the start being when most folks are still at work.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Nashville to win Stanley Cup: You heard it here first!

Abbreviated picks for the abbreviated season...

This year's NHL season is finally upon us after months of highs and lows for fans when word would leak out that a resolution to the lockout was near only to be dashed by harsh words from the negotiating parties. Frankly, for most of the lockout, I thought we were looking at a rerun of the lost season of 2004-05.

That being said, anyone who says with authority that they are confident in their picks for this year's 16 playoff teams is completely delusional. In the shortened 48 game season, any of the 30 NHL teams has a shot at being in the post season (except for Columbus, of course).

The teams that have the most continuity from last season, the fewest injuries to key players, and have the hottest goalie can sneak into the top eight in either conference with even average talent on the roster. Those are keys in any season but with less room for error, they will me magnified much so in this three month sprint to the playoffs.

Short of drawing names out of a hat, here is my best guess at the year's final standings...

Eastern Conference
1.    NY Rangers
2.    Carolina
3.    Boston
4.    Pittsburgh
5.    Philadelphia
6.    Washington
7.    New Jersey
8.    Toronto
9.    Buffalo
10.  Tampa Bay
11.  Ottawa
12.  Florida
13.  Winnipeg
14.  NY Islanders
15.  Montreal

Western Conference
1.    Vancouver
2.    Nashville
3.    San Jose
4.    Los Angeles
5.    St Louis
6.    Chicago
7.    Detroit
8.    Dallas
9.    Minnesota
10.  Phoenix
11.  Edmonton
12.  Anaheim
13.  Colorado
14.  Calgary
15.  Columbus

With the full expectation being called a homer, I predict that the Rangers will win the President's trophy by a hair over Vancouver and will eventually meet the Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Cup winner will be the Predators and many will say that there should be an asterisk in the record book due to the shortened season.

So there it is, guesses as bad as anyone else's. At least in this storybook fantasy, there is a happy ending for the citizens of Smashville.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsontheGlass

Friday, January 18, 2013

Predators set roster for Opening Night versus Jackets

After an abbreviated training camp, there were only a couple of surprises in the Predators 23 man opening night roster that was announced today.

The final cut was forward Chris Mueller who has played 19 games with the Preds over the last couple of seasons. Another surprise was that the team kept eight defensemen, including 24 year old Victor Bartley, who has never played in an NHL contest but was recently named an AHL all-star. Bartley was signed as a free agent in the summer of 2011 and has had one and a half solid seasons in Milwaukee of the AHL.

The roster marks the return of defenseman Jon Blum who struggled early last season after playing well for the Preds in late in the 2010-11 season and playoffs.

Goalie Chis Mason returns to the Predators organization for his third stent with the team, dating back to the franchise's first season when he appeared in three games as a rookie. Always a fan favorite, he has played with St. Louis and Atlanta/Winnipeg since he left the Preds in 2008.

Former Sharks D-man, Scott Hannan, will make his Predator debut after playing 348 career regular season games for San Jose, where he had 79 points and a plus-37 rating. He also played in 58 playoff games having a goal and adding 12 assists.

The roster also features forward Richard Clune, a pick up during training camp, that brings similar talents to the ice that former Pred Jordin Tootoo provided in year's past. Clune appeared in 14 games and 4 playoff contests for the L.A. Kings in 2009 and has since patrolled the ice for the Manchester Monarchs, posting picking up 601 penalty minutes over the last three full seasons.

Missing from the squad is a surprise from last year's team, forward Gabriel Bourque, who came up at mid season and played 43 games, picking up seven goals and twelve assists as a rookie. He also picked up five points in ten playoff games. Injuries have limited him to 13 games in Milwaukee this season.

Finally, with Ryan Suter leaving for Minnesota, Marty Erat was awarded the second "A" as the alternate captain along with Mike Fisher. The newly re-signed, Shea Weber remains captain and probably will retain that title for years to come.

Saturday's puck drop against the Columbus Blue Jackets will be shortly after 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.

Make the jump for the full release from the Nashville Predators...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The NHL is back, so what now?

Early this morning, after an all day and night bargaining session between the NHL and NHLPA, with an assist to US federal mediators, a tentative agreement was reached that should lead to a shortened 2013 season, that will allegedly begin in the next couple of weeks.

It is reported that it will be a ten-year deal so most current players will not have to go through another labor dispute during their careers and fans will not have another lockout looming on the horizon anytime soon.

The big winners in the dispute resolution are the folks whose livelihood depends on games being played and fans filling the arenas. All of the arena workers who have lost 15 or 16 home games worth of income should soon be manning their posts in 30 venues across North America.

Other businesses and employees that depend on foot traffic from games to sell dinners, drinks, and fan related merchandise are also on the winning side of the ledger.

I am also thrilled for journalists and radio media who can actually discuss topics related to the actual sport of hockey instead of the latest rumors (or lack there of) regarding the negotiations.

I have hung with NHL Radio on XM for the duration of the lockout and found that they are quite entertaining without hockey as the centerpiece of the discussion. I am looking forward to the drone of the season where the arguments are about how many games someone should be suspended for an illegal hit.

The big losers, in the short run, are the owners and players who pissed away a third of the season and came across as greedy entities with no regard for the game of hockey or the fans that provide the revenue to be able to earn livings based on playing and presenting a child’s game from frozen ponds of the north.

So what now? Do the fans act as mindless drones and run back to the arenas as they did after the 2004-2005 lockout or have they found other things to do to fill time and spend their entertainment dollars.

My friend Su Ring compared the situation to a boyfriend or girlfriend that disappears for six months and then shows back up on the front doorstep one day and expects things to be the same with no love lost.

From a look at social media today, it appears most fans don’t mind getting ignored by their boy/girlfriend as long as they eventually come back.

I understand the intense love of the game that is somewhat special to hockey fans but before they go all giddy, they should really take a hard look at what has occurred over the last hundred plus days and consider how they have been treated by those who are supposed to be the caretakers of the game.

Forgiveness is a great virtue but not one to be taken lightly.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass