Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eulogy for Steve Sullivan as a Nashville Predator

Steve Sullivan at the NHL Awards Show during happier times

I went to an extended three hour meeting at lunch and came back to sort through the pieces to what appears to be the end of Steve Sullivan's career with the Nashville Predators.

First thing I saw was that Puck Daddy had a story about @sully reacting to a David Poile interview on WNSR via Twitter. His information was taken from Dirk Hoag's article at OnThe Forecheck, who was a first hand witness to the interview and tweets and has the original story.

Here's an interesting exchange between Hockeybuzz's Brandon Felder (BF) and Steve Sullivan (SS) that was on my Tweetdeck.

SS: WOW! WOW! WOW! (during interview Poile Interview)

BF: Just heard a rumor that @Sully26 was looking for 4 years, around 5 mill per year. Feel free to shoot down the rumor Steve.

SS: Yes i will shoot that down!

BF: @Sully26 Ok bud. I take your word for it. Hope it all works out for you regardless. You've been 1 on my favs to talk to each year.

BF: As most of you saw, @Sully26 says those rumors are false so that rumor is down for the count.

Later BF: Wow. Sources are coming in quick. @Sully26 reportedly willing to go 2 or 3 yrs at 4.5 or 5 but Preds said no. Just a rumor as stated.

Even Later BF: This whole situation is fascinating. Plus its playing out somewhat on Twitter. Interesting that @Sully26 didn't deny my 2nd rumor.

I wish that all this was a misunderstanding and that Steve Sullivan and the Preds will come to an agreement before free agency begins tomorrow, but I am a realist.

If all this plays out the way it looks like it's going, Steve Sullivan will be playing elsewhere in October. Sully has always been a fan favorite and will be long remembered positively for his years in Nashville and being the first Predator to win an NHL Award with his Masterton Trophy.

Hockey players have a limited period of time to make money for a lifetime, so Steve cannot be faulted for chasing the dollar when it appears that he will get a substantially better deal elsewhere through the free agent process.

On the flip side, the Predators have a very tight budget and can only do what they are able to do. This appears to be a situation where no matter how much everyone wants to put a square peg in a round hole, its not going to fit.

With everything Sullivan has been through, with two surgeries and two years of rehab, he deserves the full support of the Nashville fans as he does what he has to do to provide for his family and future security.

Sully, you will be missed. Thanks for the memories.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Thanks to @sully26, Brandon Felder, Dirk Hoag and Puck Daddy for leaving the trail to follow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tuesday Tid-Bits, POTG Podcast Up

Thanks to all who came on PredsOnTheGlass Radio last night. It was a fun show. Montreal NHLTweetup organizer and the hockey queen of Twitter, @dani3boyz came on and brought traveling partner Kate aka @antheia and Doug aka @NYIsles10 who covered the draft for Isles Official's Outlook with her. Jeremy Gover from Section303.com was on briefly with us before he headed out to L.A. (lower Alabama).

It was fun to hear the escapades of the tweetup crew including hanging with Bruce Boudreau and seeing the Stanley Cup paraded around in the streets. A good time was had by all in Montreal but mostly it was all about new friends and old friends hanging out and getting to know each other better. It was a fun show to do and anyone that listens will enjoy it too.

For pictures by @antheia go here. It helps visualize the stories on the podcast. Here's a link to another set of pics, starting with George Laraque plaing hockey with a bunch of kids on the synthetic ice outside the Bell Centre.

Around the Pred Nation...

John Glennon reports little action on the Preds front as far as signing any UFA's. He goes further and discusses what the Preds may encounter on the Free agent market come Wednesday.

Paul McCann also checks in with a few free agent ideas.

Forechecker's daily round up is here and also focuses on free agency.

Bleacher report asks the question"Is David Poile up to the Challenge?"

From David Boclair at The City Paper, Gerry Helper has been added to the Team USA communications team. Gerry is a key player for the Preds front office and does more than you could ever imagine, including being Steve Sullivan's "handler" at the recent NHL Awards show.

Canada's #1 Predator fan checks in on the draft.

Around the NHL...

Ryan at the RedLightDistrict is adding tons for free agent stuff by the hour and also has a funny piece on Brian Burke.

We are not going to try to cover every signing over the next few weeks but I do think that the Pens resigning Bill Guerin is an important one for their team and continues a good story of his jumping from a last place team to win the Stanley Cup late in his career. Jussi Jokinen back to Carolina at a good price is also noteworthy.

Marion Hossa will have to decide between the home town discount of $4 million a year with Detroit or cashing in elsewhere.

Former Phoenix owner Jerry Moyes doesn't like the $148 million bid by Jerry Reinsdorf, presumably because there is noting in it for him. Bill Daly will be in Phoenix tonight to rally support. Details at SaveTheCoyotes.

From E J Hradek, what about a return to the ice for Ed Belfour.

John Tortorella says that the "party is over" at Blueshirt Banter.

Here is something rally random... I was really fascinated with this castle on an island in the middle of the Hudson River when @antheia sent a Twitpic on their journey to Montreal. Now I know all about it and you can too.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Checking out my TweetStats! Interesting the path we leave behind. @dani3boyz is my most popular reply. The rest of the graphs aren't surprising either.

The Hockey News has a look at the Central Division Free Agency picture.

SBN is kicking off a series of podcasts on BTR hosted by various page hosts. Tonight's is the first and is hosted by Defending Big D. This should be a good addition to the BTR hockey offerings.

Ted Leonsis claims bloggers have "raised the game" for newspapers and traditional media in a good interview that was done at the Awards show.

USA Hockey announced a list of 34 players invited to attend to attend the orientation camp in August. Ryan Suter is the only Predator invited to camp.

Ryan at the RLD just posted his final Free Agent Frenzy Predictions.

Per @kausatoday: Agent Steve Bartlett just told me that clients Sullivan, Scuderi, Cole and Gionta are going into the market barring unforseen changes. This can't really be a surprise to anyone. John Glennon has an update that outlines Sully's choices.

Mirtle buts together a good summary of all 30 teams free agent needs in a handy chart.

Holiday Week Monday Updates and POTG Radio Tonight

After a big weekend with the Entry Draft we are lucky to be facing a four-day week in the States before the long Fourth of July weekend.

Listen to PredsOnTheGlass on internet talk radio

No better way to start the week than with tonight's PredsOnTheGlass Radio show. To keep in tune with the festive Summer holiday season, we will have a fun show tonight. We'll touch on the draft and how the Predators did with Jeremy Gover from Section303.com and then bring on Montreal NHLTweetup organizer and the hockey queen of Twitter, @dani3boyz.

Dani and all the others at the Montreal Tweetup appear to have had a great time and we will have her give us all the details of the big weekend. I have given her free reign to invite others to stop by with their accounts.

So far, I know she has lined up her travel companion @antheia and @NYIsles10 a writer who covered the draft for Isles Official's Outlook. Beyond that, there is no telling who will call in. Stop by and see for yourself. It is guaranteed to be a fun show.

In Pred World...

John Glennon has a look at the Preds busy Monday trying to sign their UFAs at Inside Predators. He also covers several free agent issues from yesterday's presser with David Poile. In a third story John discusses Poile's thoughts on the players taken in the draft.

Jim Diamond takes a look at Ryan Ellis at the Examiner.

Dirk has a good seletion of stores at OnTheForecheck including more details on the death of Hugh Jessiman's mother, Laura.

Paul McCann provides a few points from David Poile at yesterday's press conference.

Here's a late roundup of the draft from David Boclair at the City Paper.

From the Milwaukee Examiner, a roundup of the Pred's draft picks who won't see time in Milwaukee anytime soon.

Cam Reid, the Pred's final draft pick is a popular guy. This is the second out of town story that I've seen on him.

Around the NHL...

Ryan at the RedLightDistrict is doing yeoman's work on the draft and the free agent frenzy. No one is covering it better.

It's looking more likely that the Sedins will leave Vancouver.

Mirtle starts a series on Free Agents with the goaltenders. Forwards are here.

As a followup to yesterday's note about John Tavares throwing out the first pitch at Citi Field, here is the actual account of his first pitch. Further followup from Dee Karl indicates that the moment wasn't on the ESPN broadcast. Great job ESPN, the all sports (except hockey) network. So here is a video recap from the NHL (nice footwear selection John).

A match made in heaven, Chris Pronger and the Flyers, from ProHockeyNews. The already tough Flyers are now even tougher.

Off Topic but an interesting take on Canada as a country.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


From @ Sean_Leahy "NHL Network US to broadcast TSN's "Free Agent Frenzy" on Wednesday from 1-6pm"

NHL.com's look at 50 of the top free agents (note: not "The" 50 Top Free Agents) Talk about CYA.

The Hockey News has an interesting post about how many second round picks actually make it to the NHL.

Blueshirt Banter suggests that our guest tonight on POTG, @dani3boyz, should be considered for an "more official position" with the NHL.

From @kausatoday "Rangers' John Tortorella and Islanders' Scott Gordon will be USA's assistant coaches at Olympics."

Fox will take questions from Twitter during MLB All-Star game.

The Preds announced Rosters, Times and additional info for the Developmental Camp next week in Nashville.

@pwnicholson is really on the stick as he has sent a Twtvite for the Saturday session of the Preds Prospect Camp as well as a Facebook Event Page.

Forechecker gives us a Free Agent Cheat Sheet that is really handy to have everything in one place.

From @JonAdmirals "Tonight's radio show on WSSP from 6-8 pm. Paul Fenton, Ray Shero, Todd Richards, Scott Ford and Gino Cavallini. Best Center Ice show EVER!" That's pretty stiff compitition for POTG but I guarantee we will be less serious and have more fun.

In the Duh! category from Kukla's, Rads will not be back to the NHL this season. Forechecker puts an even bigger fork in Rads here.

Eklund is being persistent on the Cammelleri to Nashville rumor. I don't see how we would pay $6 mil plus and a long term deal for Cammelleri and not be able to sign Sully and Ward for significantly less.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thoughts on The Day After and Sunday Updates

Taking a look at this year's NHL Entry Draft through the rear-view mirror gives you a more even perspective than we had in the days leading up to the draft and in the midst of it.

Other than the massive hype and buildup as to who would be the number one pick, thanks to Garth Snow's ability to keep a secret, the draft was relatively uneventful compared to the ones of the recent past.

There were fewer trades and few unexpected picks through the first round. I think the lack of movement can be attributed to a fairly deep draft and the the extra couple of million dollars that teams got on the cap when the NHLPA agreed to invoke the inflator clause. With the bump in the cap, fewer teams were in a position to dump salary in exchange for a pick.

The Pronger et al to Philly trade was the biggest blockbuster trade with the one between Calgary and Florida a distance second, especially considering that they were only getting signing rights for a few days.

I think that the Predators had an excellent draft top to bottom. If the rule of thumb to be successful is to have two regular NHL players five years from now, the Preds look to be in good shape with their top two picks.

The more I read about Ryan Ellis, the better he looks. If he continues to grow and develop over the next two to three years, the Predators may have the answer to the power play problems that have plagued them since day one of the franchise.

Zach Budish, the second pick, was slated to be a top ten player in the draft prior to a football injury last fall. If he recovers, he could be the steal of the draft for the Predators. All the other picks have glowing attributes that we will have to keep an eye on over the next few years.

On the second day of the draft, the Preds went for size and forwards which made up for the diminutive defenseman taken in the first round.

David Poile said that he was pleased to have nine of his ten picks playing in North America. Four will be playing in college. For the budget conscious Predators, this will give the team plenty of time for the scouts to to watch the players develop and to get the players names on a contract.

Russians were out of vogue in this year's draft with only seven being picked, primarily due to the issues with the KHL. With the KHL starting a 17 year old draft this year, this is probably a trend that will hold for years to come.

With a few days to regroup before the free agent frenzy begins on Wednesday, hopefully the Preds will focus on resigning Steve Sullivan and Joel Ward. For the prices that they will command, I doubt that they will do better on the open market.

As a final word, thanks to the folks at The Daily Herald again for giving the NHL draft complete coverage. In addition to my story today, they had another long AP story and a complete list of every player taken broken down by team. For small town paper in a non-traditional market in the South, that is really impressive.

In Pred Nation....

Predators.com have their second day summary with a bunch of links here and at their Draft Central.

John Glennon at the Tennessean had several good stories and features on the draft. Here's a round-up story and a brief synopsis of each player taken. For those who like pictures here are two links - one two.

Section303.com overcame some serious technical issues to produce this edition of the 303:30. What they came up with was really good including interviews with Dee Karl, Damian Christodero, and Jordan Schroeder.

Dirk takes a look at the Preds draft class at OnTheForecheck.

Paul McCann give his breakdown here.

The University of New Hampshire has a post about the Pred's sevent round pick, Cam Reid.

Around the NHL...

Ryan at the RedLightDistrict has tons of draft coverage including the final grades for each team. He gave the Preds a good grade. Check it out.

The GM always doing the most talking, Brian Burke, says he is pleased with the Leafs draft. Would he say anything else?

Here's a breakdown by the numbers of the draft from NHL.com and a story about high schoolers gaining in popularity. The Preds took two, Zach Budish and Nick Oliver.

For all the picks broken down any way you want to cut it, go here.

Dee Karl has a funny post about John Tavares first opportunity to receive a chorus of boos from Ranger fans tonight on National TV.

Here's a nice story from Ray Ferraro on his son, Landon getting drafted.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Country of Origin and Complete List of Trades at the Entry Draft

2009 Entry Draft Selections by Birthplace

Canada 102
United States 55
Sweden 24
Finland 10
Russia 7
Slovakia 5
Czech Republic 3
Belarus 1
Denmark 1
Germany 1
United Kingdom 1
Total 210

Complete List of Trades at the 2009 Entry Draft

Friday Trades

Anaheim traded D Chris Pronger and C Ryan Dingle to Philadelphia for RW Joffrey Lupul, D Luca Sbisa, Philadelphia’s 1st-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft (pick #21), 1st-round pick in 2010 and a conditional pick in the 2010 or 2011 Entry Draft.

Minnesota traded pick #12 in the 2009 Entry Draft to NY Islanders for picks #16, #77 and #182 in 2009.

Columbus traded picks #16 and #77 in the 2009 Entry Draft to NY Islanders for picks #26, #37, #62 and #92 in 2009.

Calgary traded pick #20 in the 2009 Entry Draft to New Jersey for picks #23 and #84 in 2009.

Anaheim traded pick #21 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Columbus for picks #26 and #37 in 2009.

Detroit traded pick #29 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Tampa Bay for picks #32 and #75 in 2009.

Saturday Trades

NY Islanders traded pick #56 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Columbus for picks #62 and #92 in 2009.

Florida traded D Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary for D Jordan Leopold and pick #67 in the 2009 Entry Draft.

Calgary traded picks #84 and #107 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Los Angeles for pick #74 in 2009.

NY Islanders traded pick #91 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Phoenix for a 3rd-round pick in 2010.

Atlanta traded pick #95 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Los Angeles for picks #117, #120 and #203 in 2009.

Minnesota traded picks #99 and #133 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Edmonton for C Kyle Brodziak and pick #161 in 2009.

Los Angeles traded picks #107 and #138 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Florida for Florida’s 3rd-round pick in 2010.

Washington traded D Sami Lepisto to Phoenix for Phoenix’s 5th-round pick in 2010.

Pittsburgh traded unsigned draft choice G Chad Johnson to NY Rangers for pick #151 in the 2009 Entry Draft.

Nashville traded pick #148 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Tampa Bay for a 5th-round pick in 2010.

Los Angeles traded C Brian Boyle to NY Rangers for a 3rd-round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.

Calgary traded D Jim Vandermeer to Phoenix for C Brandon Prust.

Atlanta traded pick #177 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Chicago for a 5th-round pick in 2010.

Dallas traded pick #189 in the 2009 Entry Draft to San Jose for San Jose’s 6th-round pick in 2010.

Phoenix traded pick #187 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Vancouver for the rights to D Shaun Heshka.

Edmonton traded pick #191 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Ottawa for a 6th-round pick in 2010.

Nashville traded pick #202 in the 2009 Entry Draft to St. Louis for St. Louis’ 7th-round pick in 2010.

Pittsburgh traded pick #211 in the 2009 Entry Draft to Montreal for a 6th-round pick in 2010.

Information provided by the National Hockey League. (c) 2008 NHL. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday Draft Thoughts and Notes

The initial reaction to the Predators drafting Ryan Ellis at the Predator's Draft Party was a loud chorus of boo's as everyone appears to have have had unwarranted high expectations that the Preds would get a top offensive player that would make a difference for the team in the near future.

Realistically, the only way that could happen was if the Predators had made a significant trade into the top three or four slots. I had talked to Gerry Helper at the Awards show last week and he had indicated that something like that was not in the books for the Preds and that they were more likely to move down if their targeted player was already taken.

The player everyone seemed to want the Preds to draft was Jordan Schroeder who actually fell to the 22nd pick after being listed in several mock drafts in the top ten.

We found out last night after the pick that the player that the Preds had wanted all along was Ryan Ellis. A big premium was put on the fact that Ellis came from a Memorial Cup winning program that was coached by ex-Pred Bob Boughner.

I'm sure that David Poile had a high comfort level in picking Ellis since he is coached by someone that he has personal knowledge of. Additionally, with Boughner set to coach Team Canada in the Juniors this year, Ellis will be a key player in a big tournament where he will have the opportunity to grow quickly.

While everyone appeared disappointed initially, the real test will be five years down the pike when the players from this draft will be much more of a known quantity.

Around Pred Nation...

Forechecker has a complete analysis of Ryan Ellis that should tell you everything you every wanted to know about the newest Predator first rounder.

Brandon Felder includes some tweets of fan reactions in his post on Ellis.

John Gleenon has two Tennessean main articles here and here and offers commentary including how surprised he was with Ellis and a discussion about trades and Saturday's picks.

Section303.com has a good synopsis of the mood of the crowd at the Franklin O'Charley's when the pick was announced.

Mark McGee gives his take on the Ellis selection at On The Mark.

Here's the City Paper's story on Ellis.

Condolences to Hugh Jessiman, who's mother, Laura passed away this week while vacationing in Scotland. Thanks to Dawn Scott for the heads up.

Around the NHL...

We sat with Ryan of the RedLightDistrict at the draft party last night. He had good success in his mock draft and is pouring on tons of coverage of the draft today at the RLD. Thanks for saving us a seat.

ESPN's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun give a good recap of the first night of the draft.

Jerry Reinsdorf offered $148 million for the Coyotes on Friday.

Our Islander's favorite writer, Dee Karl has two stories about John Tavares being the number one pick, one at Hockeybuzz of the official variety and then a few other comments at her old site, Seventh Woman.

Big Trade on Friday night was the Ducks trading Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle to the Flyers for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and three picks. That was followed Saturday morning with the Panthers trading the right for Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary for Jordan Leopold and a third round pick.

Seven Swedes were taken in the first round which was a record. With all the issues with the KHL, there were few Russians high on anyone's list in this year's draft.

One of the surprising picks in the draft was Matt Hackett, who was the number one ranked North American goalie. He slipped to #77 and was picked up by the Wild.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday's Pred's Picks

Round 2 (#41) - Zach Budish
Round 2 (#42) - C.-O. Roussel
Round 3 (#70) - Taylor Beck
Round 3 (#72) - Michael Latta
Round 4 (#98) - Craig Smith
Round 4 (#102) - Mattias Ekholm
Round 4 (#110) - Nick Oliver
Round 5 (#132) - Gabriel Borque
Round 5 (#148) - Traded to Tampa for their 2010 5th round pick
Round 7 (#192) - Cam Reid
Round 7 (#202)
- Traded to St Louis for 2010 7th round pick

The Draft Blog at the Predators site has ongoing updates and insights.

Here's an extensive story on second pick Zach Budish. He also did a blog at the combine.

A similar story on
Michael Latta is here.

Here is the preds.com wrapup story on day two of the draft. The Preds ended up with three defensemen, 7 forwards and 2 picks in the 2010 draft out of this year's 12 picks. I was really surprised with the lack of trades overall that took place this year. The players invoking the inflator clause keeping the salary cap almost the same gave teams that were considering dumping players for picks a little more head room to deal with.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Predators Get Their Man in Ryan Ellis

The Nashville Predators picked Ryan Ellis, an 18 year old puck moving defenseman from Freelton, Ontario, with the eleventh pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft in Montreal. Ellis is a member of the Windsor Spitfires team in the Ontario Hockey League that won the 2009 Memorial Cup title.

Nashville General Manager David Poile was ecstatic with the pick saying, "This was the guy that we wanted to get." Further he said, "Ellis is a very dynamic player and probably the best puck handling defenseman in this year's draft."

Ellis is targeted as a player that will be able to run the power play for the Predators. Poile explained, "We are always looking for offense and Ellis is as good as they come on the defensive side of the puck."

With two years of Junior Hockey eligibility remaining, Poile expects that Ellis will transition from the Junior level, to Minor Pro level and on to the NHL.

Ryan Ellis was coached at Windsor's by ex-Predator, Bob Boughner who was named the OHL Coach of the Year after Windsor won the Memorial Cup this past season.

In 2008-2009, Ellis scored 89 points in 57 games including 22 goals and 67 assists. In the playoffs he scored 8 goals and added 23 assists in 20 games on the way to the Junior Hockey title.

When asked about being a Predator Ellis said, "It's very exciting. I didn't quite expect it. I couldn't be happier. It's a great place to play hockey and grow up, and I'm very excited to be headed to Nashville."

Ellis admitted to knowing little about the city other than what Boughner had told him which was "that that the people were real nice and they have country music."

Ellis has been criticized due to his small stature, standing 5"10" and weighing 175 pounds. Ellis doesn't consider his size to be an issue saying, "I like to lay a hit when I can and mix it up physically. It's really more about positioning."

When asked to describe his game, Ellis responded, "I'm an offensive defenseman. But I think someone who I compare myself to is Brian Rafalski, or Brian Campbell, one of the two. They are smaller guys, but they compete physically and they are offensive and very responsible on their own end, as well. I think that's who I would like to be compared to anyway."

Poile said that the fact that Ellis has been a winner at every level played a big part in his development and the Pred's interest in him. The Predators are trying to build a winning attitude at every level and Ellis will be a part of that.

According to Poile, prior to the Predator's pick, the draft played out exactly as they had expected. After the Predators took Ellis with the eleventh pick, Minnesota, who was up next, took a time out and traded their pick to the Islanders as the Wild were set to pick Ellis had he been available.

When asked about day two of the draft, Poile said that he expects to see more movement among teams. The Predators have eleven total picks remaining in rounds two through seven and do not expect to use all of them. Poile says that trades are possible that will bring players to the Predators or move some picks forward to next year's draft.

Poile indicated that decisions will be made based on whether a person on their list of wanted players is available when the Pred's pick comes up. Several other teams have salary concerns and may be willing to move players in exchange for picks.

The remainder of the draft on Saturday, will move much quicker as there will only be a couple of minutes between each of the remaining 181 picks.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Photo courtesy of windsorspitfires.com

Friday's Draft Day Updates

This is the day hockey fans all across North America have been waiting for with the first round of the NHL entry draft being held tonight in Montreal. Coverage starts at 6:00 on Versus in the US. Saturdays coverage will be on the NHL Network and streamed online.

Locally, Predator fans will be meeting at three separate locations of O'Charley's for draft Parties that are official Predators functions. The official NHLTweetup will be held at the Franklin location. To respond to the TwtVite go here.

Probably the biggest development this year will be the information generated by Twitter from the floor in Montreal. Jamie Shalley @HTM_NHLHomeIce went as far as to call it the "Twitter Draft" which describes where most Tweetdeck aficionados will get their primary information this year. Television can only focus on a couple of things at once whereas the information on Twitter is only limited by how quickly you can read and absorb different opinions.

I haven't done a draft preview in this space but did one a couple of weeks ago (that is a bit dated) for the View from My Seats who published it today. I also did another version of it for The Daily Herald which came out this morning. I would like to thank the Columbia Daily Herald for giving Hockey the top of the page on draft day over Thursday's NBA draft, Baseball and everything else.

In Pred Nation...

John Glennon of the Tennessean reports that David Poile has spoken with Steve Sullivan's agent and will meet again the first of the week. The are reported to be apart on money and length of contract. I like Forechecker's posting yesterday which lays out the way to fund Sully's return.

John also has a few tidbits in his blog including information on Canada possibly picking a couple of Pred D-men for the 2010 Olympic Team.

Forechecker has is Friday roundup which includes the question Is Sutter the new Radulov? This is actually a link to Jim Diamond's column at the Examiner.

Mark at The View from 111 makes good points about the Pred's past draft performances. It is critical that we do better tonight than we have in some of the past drafts.

David Boclair at the City Paper tries to set realistic expectations for Pred fans for the draft in that whoever the Preds get in the first round will probably not play anytime soon.

Paul McCann talks about Michael Jackson on draft day. I was hoping this would be an MJ free column. Since it came up, my closest encounter with the odd one was when I was working the stage crew for three days at the Victory tour show at Neyland Stadium in August 1984. I can't say that I was ever a fan. Sorry, I have to be honest as is discussed in a link below.

@Sully26 tweets "I can't imagine how nervous those 18 year old boys are feeling in Montreal today. The beginning of all their dreams starts this weekend."

Here is Tom Calahan's video preview of the draft from Preds.com.

Around the NHL...

All Habs has a great response to Pierre McGuire and his apparent dislike for hockey bloggers. Most writers that I read are accountable to their readers and would not intentionally mislead or lie to their readers. As the MSM shrinks, bloggers and podcasters fill the void and provide content not found elsewhere. Anyone who is not accountable to their readers and themselves will not have a readership for very long. Some bloggers (Forechecker for example) provide original content that is not available anywhere else at any price. It's the new media, and those who don't embrace it and/or try to fight it will perish.

Gary Bettman sent an open letter to Coyote fans in conjunction with the Coyote open house Thursday night which appears to have been a huge success wit up to 4000 fans in attendance. Here is a TSN story that is encouraging to the loyal Phoenix fans.

Follow up on Twitter @PredsOnTheGlass for ongoing updates.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Most updates today will be via Twitter...

John Glennon at Inside Predators takes one last stab at what the Preds will do. It includes a quite from yesterday, ``Based on our list and our confidence level, it looks like we’ll be drafting at Number 11,’’ Preds general manager David Poile said late Thursday. ``I never say never, but it doesn’t feel like we’ll be moving up or down. But things can change when players get taken ahead of you.’’

Tipped off by Mirtle to "A huge list of all the NHL mock drafts available"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Highlights as We Wait for the Draft

We are a day away from the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal. Another reminder of the Predator's Draft Tweetup at O'Charleys in Franklin, which is an official Predators function. To respond to the TwtVite go here.

I have not written a draft preview in this space because I wrote one for "View from My Seats" a couple of weeks back that is scheduled to be on their site on Friday.

In the Preds World...

John Glennon at the Tennessean has an article and a stats page on players that the Preds may pick in the eleventh slot if indeed they do draft there. Kevin Allen at USA Today has an article about US players that may go in the first round.

Glennon had another piece last night that says tonight may be critical in his dealings with the agents of several free agents including Steve Sullivan. John has a roundup article here that covers several topics.

Kevin Allen has another article with an interesting quote from David Poile, "Under the salary cap system, draft picks and younger players are now worth a lot. They are good currency for making trades, and I anticipate things are going to happen here." I do indeed believe that the Preds will try to add needed scoring by trading down in the first round and/or grouping a package of some of their 12 picks to acquire low cost scoring help.

Forechecher has a variety of topics in his Thursday post. He has really had some good articles lately (as always) including this one yesterday on the Preds contending for the cup..

I'm looking forward today to listening to a couple of podcasts from last night that I missed. The Program featured Chris Wassel, Russ Cohen and others talking about the draft and Brandon Felder and Paul McCann had a lively exchange on this week's edition of Hockey Buzz Radio.

Around the NHL...

Puck Daddy did a round up of the Top Ten things that happened in the hockey blog world that is really interesting. This is a must read.

Mirtle had his draft day primer which will help you prepare to prepare for the draft.

From the Sporting News, here is a good listing of the draft order complete with notes of how the picks were traded to the current holder.

Three reports out of Russia (via the Washington Post) say that Sergei Federov has signed a two year deal to play in the KHL for Metallurg Magnitogorsk. After listening to him at the Award show talking about his brother, Fedor signing a 2-year deal, I had a good idea that we had seen the last of him in the NHL.

Sports Business Journal has an article about Jim Balsillie that is a complete history of his dealings with the NHL.

Gary Bettman covered a range of topics in a Globe and Mail story about the Board of Governors meetings.

Kukla's has a story that says the NHLPA will probably approve a second Winter Classic game. This is looking more likely every day. E J Hradek has an analysis of why the union is up for it.

Dee Karl has a story about the Islander's number one pick and how the fans should prepare.

Stay Classey has a couple of interesting scenarios involving Dany Heatley and draft picks among the early drafting teams. The Globe has another story saying that Brian Burke and the Thrashers may deal to put Toronto in position to get the Schenn brother.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Funny story about the Velcro nameplates on the jerseys that the draftees model on stage from Chris Botta. We had a talk with Colin Wilson about the Velcro models several weeks ago when he modeled his first "real" Preds jersey.

Duh!... Gretzky will accept a salary cut for the team to stay in Phoenix. My bet is that he will settle past debt from the Moyes ownership with an even bigger % of the new ownership.

Rumor via Forchecker "RT @kelceybrade NHL Speculation: Edmonton Oilers are apparently interested in Nashville's Jordan Tootoo. Price Robert Nilsson & draft pick." Nilsson's biggest claim to fame was being a part of the Ryan Smith trade in 2007 and has never scored more than 12 goals in a pro season. It had better be a good draft pick.

Michelle Kenneth reports that Brendan Shanahan will return for another year. The Devils are considered the "backup" plan. Michelle offers Shanny a bit of advice too.

Greg Zanon's younger brother, Brad, has resigned with the Florida Everblades. He plans to attend an AHL camp after training with Greg this summer.

David Boclair looks at why few Russians will be drafted this year and ones the Preds have drafted in the past.

Forechecker gives us the heads up on the NHLPA voting to invoke the inflator clause this year which will leave the salary cap virtually unchanged.

From the Bruins Blog, possible Predator draftee has a couple of Bruins that he looks to for direction.

RLD published their final two round draft preview.

Here is a primer on cliches and what they mean during the draft telecast.

Forechecker has been eating his Wheaties again with his analysis of the Preds situation under the new revised salary cap that was released today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings and the Long Summer

Yesterday, I asked the question on Twitter "Does anyone else think the Awards, HHOF announcements, draft, and free agency should be spaced out a little more?"

I got a variety of responses as you would expect ranging from those pleased with the system because it allowed extra time off from reporting during July and August to those that agreed with me because those months are fairly dead in the hockey world.

This year, the season ending events would have been even more jammed up had the Stanley Cup Finals not been moved up from the original schedule. Otherwise, game seven could have been a couple of days before the Awards show.

To me, it just seems like a severe case of "hurry up and wait" where four major announcements/events are crammed into a two week period and then we have a two month dead time after the dust settles until camps start opening up.

Several of the players that I saw in Las Vegas whose teams had made early exits in the playoffs (like Steve Mason) were already ready to get back on the ice too. While the summers are short for the teams in the finals, for hardcore fans (and some players) July and August are very long months.

In Predsville...

Two more days until the Predator's Draft Tweetup at O'Charlies in Franklin, which is an official Predators function. To respond to the TwtVite go here.

John Glennon takes a look at past drafts and how Preds drafted players fit in to the current roster.

Forechecker's daily roundup is here. Things are getting slim in the hockey news world as we have been reduced to a few of the same topics. I promise I didn't copy. (I actually do most of my dail update the prior night and finish it when I get up).

Jerred Smithson is playing a charity softball game in BC.

Brandon Felder and Paul McCann host this week's edition of Hockey Buzz Radio tonight at 6pm.

Around the NHL...

Trouble in Tampa? The riff between owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie deteriorated to the point where they had to have a talk with the commissioner. A radio report yesterday said that Bettman said that everything was OK. Isn't that what we heard about Phoenix about six months ago?

The conference call on the HHOF announcements was interesting. Here is the AP summary.

As expected, Brent Sutter was named the new Calgary coach at an afternoon news conference. Here is what the Calagry Sun had to say about it.

Hockey Buzz's newest writer, Dee Karl, talks about the Woodstock like event with bloggers headed to Montreal on Friday.

Hockey Leaks have another mock draft and Brandon Felder picks Jordan Schroeder for the Preds with their eleventh pick. I personally think there is about a 25% chance the Preds will make a move to pick higher and a 50% chance, they will trade to move down a few spots.

Puck Daddy reports that the Flyers are being confirmed as Boston's opponent in the upcoming Winter Classic.

Wayne Gretzky says that Jerry Reinsdorf would be a good owner for the Coyotes.

Chelios Watch... Chris is going to hold a press conference this morning at Cheli's Chili Bar and Restaurant in Detroit to talk about his future. After not being resigned by the Wings, he indicated that he still wanted to play next season.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


In the "why hockey is the best sport" category... This stuff from Titan's running back extraordinaire Chris Johnson who no longer wants to be "dash" in the "smash and dash" combo with LenDale White. He now prefers the moniker "every coach's dream". This leads me to having dreams about seeing Jordin Tootoo lining up the pretty boy against the walls and hitting him full out. It's crap like this that really turns me off about the NFL and NBA.

Brian Burke plans for a tougher team, better goaltending and spending up th the cap in Toronto. Would you have expected anything else?

Forechecker has a new post this morning on how the Preds fit into the overall salary structure in the league and whether they can compete for a Stanley Cup within their budget. This is a really good piece and ties in to my discussion with Robyn Regehr last week where he said the NHLPA had no issue with teams spending on a budget. They aren't thrilled with floor teams but respect teams that do work in a profitable way to maintain franchise stability.

Ryan at the RedLightDistrict has his off season report on the Red Wings and Steve Sullivan.

Jon Jordan tries to offer a glimmer of hope for Lightning fans worried about the management situation and losing Vinny.

Update on the Chelios watch... ESPN says that Chris wants to play in the Eastern Conference and his agent will start contacting teams when he officially becomes a free agent on July 1.

Mark from the View from 111 offers his analysis of the Predators, possible free agency and the salary cap. Both he and Dirk have looked at the Pred's budget vs the cap today and I think the Predators have been and will continue to be one of the more reasonable teams as far as trying not to break the bank by overspending on talent. If you look at the Rangers who have $24.5 million tied up in Gomez, Drury, and Redden and another $13 million in Rozsival and Lundqvist, they are far more hamstrung than the Preds would ever imagine. To me, I would prefer to have a viable team in Nashville long term, than to have a team swimming in red ink that could be sold at any time.

Great analysis of team's past draft performance by Bird Watchers Anonymous based on opportunity cost of who they could have taken. Confusing? Read the piece.

Michelle Kenneth has been digging and says "according to his agent, he doesn't know if he'll play next season. If he does...there may be conflicts, unless he's a NYR." It appears Matt Sundin may have a business conflict with his new PokerStars Ambassador title. Michelle further explains "If Mats retires, he's fine. If he doesn't, he would have to be a NYR in order for this contest to not be a conflict. Mats signed the contract w/ PokerStars before he knew he was going to return to play for 2008-2009. He plans on honoring the PS contract."

John Glennon gives the full draft order of all rounds as he speculates on the Pred's first pick.

Paul McCann checks in with five to watch for the Preds in the draft. I would expect a lot of draft talk tonight on HockeyBuzzRadio at 6:00 on WNSR.

Top storylines at the draft per Scott Burnside at ESPN.

Episode 13 in the One Percentile Podcast with Mick Kern and Eric Gage is now up. This is always really good.

Mirtle verifies that Mike Babcock will indeed be Canada's coach at the Olympics. Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Lemaire will be assistants.

Congrats to the USA soccer team in beating Spain 2-0 breaking their 35-game unbeaten streak. I'm note a big fan of soccer but this is really impressive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 Hockey Hall of Fame Class Named

From HHOF Conference call, Class of 2009 announced - Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, and Lou Lamoriello.

The hardest working writer in Nashville, Dirk Hoag, the Forechecker, already has brief summaries of each player's career up at On The Forecheck.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Tuesday Round-Up on Draft Week

Thanks to all who appeared on Monday's POTG Radio show. We had Russ Cohen from Hockeyology and the Hockey Prospects show on XM, Michelle Kenneth from Inside Hockey and Ryan from the Red Light District lined up in advance and then were blessed with visits from Jeremy Gover from Section303 and Chris Wassel from The Program.

Listen to PredsOnTheGlass on internet talk radio

We had really good discussions about the NHL Awards with Michelle as well as a great look at the draft with Russ and Ryan.

Jeremy dropped by to plug this Friday's Predators Draft Tweetup at O'Charlies in Franklin and the live podcast that Section303 will be doing during the draft. To respond to the TwtVite go here. Obviously, you don't need to be on Twitter to attend as it is an official Predators function.

Around the Pred Nation...

The Predators have voting open now for the "Fan Awards." Go here to cast your ballot.

Forechecher was up early today with a round-up chocked full of stuff. There's a lot of links here to check out as you study Friday's draft. Dirk's interview with Preds Chief Scout Jeff Kealty was so good, I'm linking it again.

Hockey's future has their final look at the Pred's 2009 Draft needs. There's nothing really surprising as they say the Preds need offense.

Paul McCann counters fellow Hockey Bussard Brandon Felder's post from yesterday. This should make for an interesting Hockey Buzz Radio episode on Wednesday night.

Here's a link only for a picture of David Price throwing out T-shirts at a Preds game. I don't remember that. I must have been out in the hall.

Around the NHL...

The big highlight of the day in the hockey world will be this afternoon's announcement of this year's Hockey Hall of Fame class. Best bets appear to be Steve Yzerman and Bret Hull. Others with shots at inclusion are Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille, Dave Andreychuk and a variety of others. CP has a story here.

Brett Hull acknowledged that he was going to be inducted.

Craig Custance caught up with Robitaille last night to see if he was nervous.

In the hearing in Phoenix yesterday, Judge Redfield T. Baum accepted a modified version of the NHL proposal to have a duel path auction with a non-relocate bidders sale on August 5 with a secondary date for a relocate sale on September 10 if a local sale is not possible. Five for Howling attended the court session and has a wrap up here. The NHL's Bill Daly comments here.

Word from the Globe and Mail that Mile Babcock will be Canada's coach for the 2010 Olympics.

Mirtle has a story about the end of the line for Chris Chelios. I am really saddened by his retirement since seeing him during warm-ups for the Wings when they play the Preds always gave you a little burst of adrenalin as the ire got stirred up on first sight. Funny, when I saw him at the NHLPA meetings on Friday (where the Mirtle photo was taken), he seemed like a decent guy and was funny to listen to. I especially liked his shirt that said "Detroit, You wouldn't last a day here."

One of my favorite writers, Dee Karl, of Islander's Seventh Woman fame, has moved her wisdom to Hockeybuzz and her introduction is here.

On the draft front, Silver Seven has the top ten draft steals of the last 10 years, including Pekka Rinne at #5.

Here are TSN's final Rankings. They had their final draft preview show Monday night with Bob McKenzie which can be seen here with his top 30 picks.

B D Galloff has the final word on who the Islanders will take with the #1 pick.

Here's another draft preview from Bleacher Report with the Preds taking Jordan Schroeder. They also discuss the Russians being out of favor this year.

In the "something that won't happen" category, the Tampa Bay Business Journal says the Lightning could be a target for NHL contraction. Nashville is also included in the top five. As Robyn Regehr said on Friday, contraction is not something that the NHLPA even discusses.

Mirtle checks in on the Tampa situation which is at a critical point as the deadline to trade Vinny is 7/1 when his no-trade clause kicks in.

Totally Off Topic... This is a really interesting article that puts forth the premise that the overt consumerism of the 20th century is being replaced by social network skills as shaping a person's identity. If this is true, then this will totally reshape our future economy.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


From Puck Daddy - Regarding BU/BC at Fenway, from a source: "I’m hearing college game would be in the weeks following the Winter Classic, not the same day."

The Calgary Flames scheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference at 4:00 Central which we assume will be to announce Brent Sutter as the new head coach. It should not conflict with the HHOF conference call set for 2:30 Central.

Interesting perspective on why Hamilton will never get a team from a Canadian, Bob McCown.

John Glennon has a very fair approach to the Predator's dealings with Steve Sullivan. He also reports that the
"Preds have made qualifying offers to seven of their eight potential restricted free agents -- Ryan Jones, Ryan Maki, Cal O'Reilly, Antti Pihlstrom, Kelsey Wilson, Matt Ellison and Denis Platonov." It's looking less and less likely that we will see Sully in a Preds uniform again which is sad from a fan's perspective but David Poile is responsible for running a business within a budget and gets paid well to make unpopular decisions when he has to.

At Calgary Flames Press Conference - Brent Sutter confirmed as new Head Coach.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back to the Grind and POTG Radio Tonight

After a week in Florida, three days of work, and then a quick trip to Las Vegas for the NHL Awards Show, Monday would seem like a real bummer.

Listen to PredsOnTheGlass on internet talk radio

However, I am excited about tonight's POTG Radio show between 7:00 and 8:00 Central. We have a great show planned that will be hard to squeeze into an hour. Jackson is in Florida (again) and he claims that he will join us. I do have Ryan from the RedLightDistrict on hand to sit in the co-pilot's seat.

First up, we have Michelle Kenneth who covered the Awards show for Inside Hockey. I have known Michelle over the internet for a while, and finally got to meet her in person and hang out at the Awards show and the NHLPA scrums. We are going to take a look back at the entire event and share our reflections of what went on.

Next up, we will have the return of NHL draft expert, Russ Cohen from Hockeyology, the Hockey Prospects show on XM, and numerous other ventures. We had Russ on a few weeks back and discussed his new book that is coming out in September, 100 Ranger Greats. Russ' in depth Pro Hockey Draftology publication is avalible here.

Ryan from the RedLightDistrict will also give his input into the draft with a focus on what the Preds might do on Friday night.

We hope you plan to attend tonight's show or catch it on the podcast if you can't make it live.

In Predator Nation...

If you missed it over the weekend, on Sunday I posted 11 video interviews from the NHL Awards Show and 6 interviews from the NHLPA meetings.

First up, a reminder for Friday night's Predators Draft Parties, Paul Nicholson set up the Tweetup at O'Charlie's in Franklin. To respond to the TwtVite go here. Obviously, you don't need to be on Twitter to attend as it is an official Predators function.

The big buzz around town is still about Steve Sullivan winning the Masterton Award at the NHL Awards show on Thursday night. Just about everyone had a story about it including Forechecker, The View from 111, Section 303, What the Puck, Paul McCann, Preds.com and POTG.

The flip side of the coin is that it is looking less and less likely that the Predators will resign any of their UFAs before July 1. John Glennon had a story on it over the weekend. Preds.com also had a Draft Preview story that included some hedging on David Poile's part. John Glennon has a new story today that has more on the Preds probably not resigning players.

From what I saw in Las Vegas, I think it is doubtful that Sully resigns with the Predators. For his part, he would rather play in Nashville than anywhere else. Realistically, it is probable that he will get more money elsewhere and Sully's primary concern is for his family and taking care of their long term needs.

Forechecker has his Monday updates and gives us some props for our "Vegas Adventure."

Jim Diamond takes a look at how the Preds stocked up on defense in the 2003 draft.

Here's a story on Cal O'Reilly's little bother Ryan who is aniouxly awaiting draft day.

Sunday's Tennessean had a listing of players that the Preds might take in Friday's draft if they stay at the eleven spot in the draft, which I don't expect.

Mark at The View from 111 had another great analysis of the winners and losers in the Phoenix situation.

Around the NHL...

It appears Brent Sutter will be named the new head coach in Calgary. This is really a slam to Devils fans that he would whine and quit and then go to the Flames. An announcement is expected at any time.

A second outdoor game on New Years Day is being discussed, and will be in Calgary. This will be the first step in killing something that was unigue and special over the last two years.

The Make It Seven Day Ralley in Hamilton was probably not as big as hoped for (hundreds, not thousands). The video that I saw was at a low angle from the stage which masked the actual size of the crowd.

The sale of the Montreal Canadians to Molson was reported to be as high as $550 million, far greater than Jim Balsillie was trying to sneak a team into Hamilton for. That makes the $212 Million plus a $150 Million relocate fee look like a good deal.

@reporterchris of the Canadian Press was at the NHLPA meetings when Bettman spoke for two hours on Saturday. Here is his report. I got to meet Chris in Vegas and he is a really good guy.

Looking to Tuesday, the HHOF class of 2009 will be announced in a news conference at 2:30. Winging it In Motown has a poll to cast a vote to see how close you can come.

From Kukla's comes a story about the Selke Trophy voting and how random it was. Out of 131 ballots, 71 different names appeared. For full voting totals, here is the list.

In the "I guess it's news" category, Matt Sundin will not play in the 2010 Olympics.

Dee Karl at Hockey Barn has an interesting story about what she would do if she had the Stanley Cup for a day.

More later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass


Paul McCann has a new post today looking at the top Pred UFAs.

Garth Snow won't be swayed on the first pick by popular opinion per Newsday.

Per @kausatoday: To talk to Bouwmeester before July 1, Florida Panthers want a draft pick, which would become a 1st rounder if he signs.

For those with a unlimited bank account that can go to the Montreal Tweetup started by @dani3boyZ there are a bunch of good prizes for those in attendance.

Interesting article on Kukla's with by Patrick Hoffman interviewing Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog. When asked about the future of hockey coverage on the internet, Kalman responded "I can definitely see every team with two or three blogs like mine competing on the beat the way the papers have since the dawn of time. It might be the laid off newspaper guys starting their own sites or some of the bloggers that exist gaining access. But whether the paper guys want to accept it or not, this is the future of sports coverage. And the NHL is the perfect breeding ground for this because it seems that the league is more blogger-friendly than the rest of the major sports." This is a good point that is becoming a reality fairly quickly with newspapers cutting back on expenses and not sending reporters to road games. This was just an excerpt. Everyone should go to the original for the whole interview.

Sam Woo gives Brent Sutter an F and kudos to the Devils for Martin Brodeur day.

Puck Daddy gives a wrap-up of Bettman's visit to the NHLPA over the weekend and gives props to POTG by posting our video with George Laraque where I thought he was going to punch me because he couldn't understand my question.

Forechecker points to a spreadsheet that has everyone drafted since 1994 that can be viewed anyway you want to sort it. You could kill a few hours with this.

The Fourth Period has a Sully story but the main reason to click here is the Ovechkin interview on the red carpet in the right column. Claims he's taking the 2K girls back to the room.

Brandon Felder checks in on the current Sully negotiations (or lack there of) and other thoughts about the Preds as they approach July 1st.

John Glennon writes about Zack Kassian, a right winger from Peterborough that John speculates may be a good fit for the Preds. If the Preds trade down as has been discussed, Kassian may be avalible later in the first round.

Forechecker has just added an interview with Pred's Head Scout Jeff Kealty. While he doesn't get into specific players, the interview lays out everything you would like to know about the process. Great Job Dirk!

One of our guests tonight on POTG Radio, Ryan from the RLD, breaks down the Preds off season.

Chris Botta writes about the Islander's draft "process" and how it leads to Tavares.

Per Kukla's Chelios will not return to the Wings next season. As he told us on Friday, he had a meeting set with Ken Holland today to discuss the next season, so I guess it didn't go well for him. How would Chelios look in Predator colors next season for about $650,000 a year as a #7 defenseman?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Video Interviews from the NHLPA Meetings

In conjunction with the NHL Awards Show, the NHLPA held their two day season ending meetings at the Venetian Hotel and Resort on the Strip in Las Vegas. Meetings were held Friday and Saturday, highlighted by Gary Bettman's first visit to an NHLPA meeting in his reign as commissioner.

Bettman was scheduled to speak for an hour on Saturday but ended up going for two hours with an extended question and answer session.

On Friday, before leaving town, I was able to go by the Venetian for a brief player availability between the morning session and the afternoon golf tournament. A few folks like Predators Shea Weber, Greg Zanon and Kevin Kline were in a big hurry and were reluctant to talk but others like Robyn Regehr were very forthcoming and were willing to answer all questions.

The first video has short clips with Chris Pronger, Shea Weber, Chris Chelios, and George Parros. Topics included the salary cap, the inflator clause, fighting, head shots, mixed martial arts moves by players, and other topics.

The second video is by far the liveliest and features George Laraque. He was very keyed up as he discussed making fighting safer, the rules of engagement, staged fighting, misconducts, and other issues. When I asked about a lack of respect among players for each other at the end of the clip, I felt like I was being engaged. Enjoy the clip as I cowered and was ready to duck.

I found a new non-Predator favorite player while talking to Calgary's
Robyn Regehr. He is a very engaging individual with extensive knowledge of NHLPA issues and is very forthcoming in his discussions. He covers a wide range of economic issues in the clip prior to my running out of memory in the camera. If you only want to watch one video, this one is the one to watch.

Regehr was incredibly friendly when I mentioned that I was from Nashville and spent another ten minutes off camera talking one on one about small market hockey and rehabilitation of franchises.

The NHLPA is very interested in keeping Nashville financially healthy as it is recognized league wide as a favorite destination for the players. He said that the players really look forward to coming to Music City and always hope for time off to get out and about in town.

After spending time around the players, coaches and officials at the Awards events and the NHLPA meeting, I came away with increased amount of respect for the group as a whole based on the quality of the individuals in the game of hockey.

I have never been a proponent of athletes as role models for kids but I did meet several players that are truly good folks and are worthy of a role model tag.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Video Interviews from the NHL Award Show

As promised, I uploaded a bunch of the video from the NHL Awards show at the Palms Resort and Casino from last Thursday night. Hopefully, this many videos in one post won't melt down any CPUs.

We were given an opportunity to speak with the players briefly before the Red Carpet and then again with the winners after they received their awards.

The following videos seem somewhat random and out of contest at times but will give you an idea of what it was like to be at the awards show and hear what the players had to say.

First video is with Nicklas Lidstrom, of the Detroit Red Wings. He discusses the last shot that could have tied game seven as well as the alleged snub by Sidney Crosby.

Fellow Red Wing, Pavel Datsyuk discusses his first "fantasy pick", how many awards he wants to win, and then stone walls me on a discussion about the KHL.

Next clip is raw footage from the Red Carpet outside the Palms Resort. The video includes Rob Simpson, the Arkells, Dan Bylsma, Geno Malkin, Max Talbot, Jeremy Roenick, Steve Sullivan, Michael Buble, Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergi Federov and about 50 more players and celebrities. See who you can find in the video. A favorite of the ladies seems to be a brief interview with Michael Buble at the 6:13 mark.

Vancouver's Roberto Luongo speaks briefly about winning the NHL Fan Fav Award.

Ethan Moreau, from Edmonton, talks about winning the King Clancy Trophy based on his volunteer work in his community. He also discusses the rumors that the Oilers may be interested in acquiring Dany Heatly.

Tim Thomas of Boston was one of the more enjoyable players to listen to after winning he won the Vezina Trophy. He was very emotional on the podium and incredibly reflective in this video. I got to ask him about the 2010 Olympics and he has an interesting response. You can't help but become a fan of Thomas after hearing his story.

Folks in Nashville may be disappointed that Pekka Rinne did not win the Calder Trophy but it was much closer than we realized when he did not make the top three. He finished fourth, only four points away from third place. This video of Steve Mason really shows how young and shy he is off the ice. We did discuss the upcoming season and how tough the Central Division will be.

Zdeno Chara unseated Nicklas Lidstrom from his domination of the Norris Trophy and is very grateful for the award in this video. When asked how he will celebrate the award, he made a humorous comment and then his love for his family and daughter really shows through. What a great guy Zdeno really is.

The interview everyone was waiting for was Alexander Ovechkin. This was his first trip to Las Vegas and I doubt it will be his last. He fell in love with all the attention and the city fell in love with him. He was clear to point out that the Russians won six trophies. Plans for celebration, go to the pool, have a couple of beers.

Sergei Fedorov was officially on hand as a presenter but appeared to act as a handler for Ovechkin and Geno Malkin. Malkin was very shy about speaking English and actually refused an interview with me one on one because no one else was there to help with the language.

Fedorov did give an interview in the hallway after the official activities had ended and discussed the big night for the Russians and his status for the upcoming season and the possibility of going to the KHL.

Finally, just to add a bit of flavor for the Awards Show After-Party at the Rain Nightclub, here is a 360 degree panorama clip from the center of the round room. All of the NHL Trophies were placed on the stage for viewing and pictures. Lord Stanley had received quite a workout during the day and was probably pleased to rest on center stage.

I hope you enjoyed the videos. Admittedly, they weren't the highest quality at times, but is is probably more quantity than you will find elsewhere.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass