Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Do or Die Time on Long Island: Get Out and Vote!

The New York Islanders released the above concept design for the new arena on Long Island on Sunday, just before voting day takes place on Monday.

We have many friends in the hockey community on Long Island and have been strong supporters of the Lighthouse Project in the past and now the push for the new arena and sports complex that is the subject of the vote on Monday.

We encourage everyone who has even a casual interest in hockey to get out and vote on Monday to secure the  future of NHL hockey on Long Island for years to come.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Predators' Crowd at the Blueline Gets Even More Crowded

The Nashville Predators already crowded blueline situation took on another competitor on Friday with the announced signing of Tyler Sloan who was an unrestricted free agent from the Washington Capitals organization.

The 6'4" 210 pound 30 year old signed a two-way deal that will thrust him into a battle with several others for the Preds' fifth, sixth, and seventh defensive position.

There is little doubt that Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Kevin Klein and Jon Blum have the first four slots taken but the field is wide open after that. Brett Lebda, Tyler Sloan, and Teemu Laakso are the three with NHL experience.

Prospects Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, and Victor Bartley are all hoping to make the jump either in camp or as an in season callup from Milwaukee. It also cannot be ruled out that David Poile will pick up another D-man at some point before opening day.

The bottom line is that whoever shows up in September and can prove themselves ready to compete will have a good chance to stick with the team when they open the season. It should make for interesting battles in training camp as the whole array of players try to make an impression.

Make the jump for the official release on Tyler Sloan from the Predators...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shea Weber Versus the Nashville Predators

As the hours tick down to Tuesday's arbitration hearing between the Nashville Predators and Shea Weber and his representatives, Pred Nation hangs on nervously waiting to see if the arbitration will proceed which could herald a shorter term situation with the team's captain or if a deal will be made that will guarantee a longer term relationship between Weber and the team.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

POTG Thursday West Coast Edition: Headlines, News and Links

This morning we are checking in from the beautiful La Quinta in Hayward, California as we are getting ready to head east and spend the day in Yosemite National Park.

In a non hockey note, the game between the Braves and Pirates that ended with a bad call as I slept on Tuesday night, set a record for the longest game but was not the latest ending game in Atlanta. On July 4, 1985 I was at the Braves-Mets game at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium that had multiple rain delays and did not end until about 4:00 AM.

The game had tons of scoring and twists and turns including the unlikely home run in the bottom of the 18th inning by one of the worst hitters in baseball, relief pitcher Rick Camp, to send the game into the 19th when the Mets scored three runs to win 16-13.

At the end of the game they proceeded with the fireworks drawing complaints from the neighborhood. I was one of about 5000 fans left from the originally sold out game. They had been holding a MARTA train all night for when the game was over but it did not matter as the morning trains were ready to roll. It was an experience that I'll never forget.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

POTG Wednesday Getaway Edition: Headlines, News and Links

Today is getaway day for a much needed vacation. Updates will be sporadic for the next few days and I feel certain that the Shea Weber situation will be resolved before I return. Thanks Shea for waiting until I am out of touch to get the deal done.

I would like to thank Conor McKenna of the Team 990 in Montreal for having me on to talk Preds yesterday and a second set of thanks for all the folks that tuned in to listen. They do a good job at 990 and talk hockey all summer long.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Craig Smith Speaks to the Media After Signing First Pro Contract (Audio)

This morning, Predator prospect Craig Smith spoke with he Nashville media shortly after the announcement of signing his two-year, entry level contract.

After two successful years at the University of Wisconsin, Smith's stock with the Predators rose immensely when he played for Team USA in the World Championships during last spring. In seven games, he scored three goals and added three assists and was considered one of the top three players for the team.

Coming into the Preds camp in the fall, Smith probably has a solid chance to make the jump to the team or at least see some playing time during the course of the season.

Make the jump to listen to the audio from the conference call in its entirety...

Nashville Predators Officially Sign Craig Smith

A couple of weeks ago on the day after the "Skate of the Union" event, it was revealed that Craig Smith would be leaving the University of Wisconsin to turn pro. This morning, the Predators officially announced his signing an entry level contract.

After having a successful trip to the World Championship in the spring, his stock rose with the Preds and he was encouraged to make the move to the pro ranks this season.

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

POTG Tuesday Headlines, News, and Links

I have to admit that yesterday was one of the worst day's that I have had in a while. When I got to work the first thing I saw when I booted up my computer was the dreaded blue screen of death. A reboot brought the same sad news. It turns out that gremlins must have gnawed on my hard drive while it slept over the weekend.

My wife accuses me of having a severe OCD symptoms but I will only admit to a milder variety that helps keep me organised to be able to work, write, and do everything else I do. Anyway, with a computer down all day, I had to go to another office with an inferior unit and none of my normal amenities.

My whole routine was shattered. I didn't have NHL Home Ice to set the pace of the day or anything else that reminds me what time it is. By 5 p.m. I was totally worn out with the day and pray that things will be back to normal today. If not, I may be driven to a more severe variety of mental illness than I am accused of having.

Anyway, make the jump to get the hockey news that you came here to see...

Monday, July 25, 2011

POTG Monday Weekend Round-Up: Headlines, News and Links

It's Monday of a week that holds promise to be much better that recent weeks since we leave for vacation Wednesday night to travel to Yosemite, Mammoth, Lake Tahoe, and Pacifica, California for another patented whirlwind trip to cover as much ground as possible in a few days and then come home and suffer through the mundane until we can do it again.

We will not have the daily links during my absence but I will try to pull together some actual feature stories and original video to fill the void.

After pouring through tons of regenerated dog days of summer hockey stories, one that wasn't hockey but was by one of's best stood out. Dave Lozo's private blog about the aging process was an outstanding literary piece.

For all the rest of the hockey stuff. make the jump...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

POTG Weekend Edition: Headlines, News, and Links

Today's "weekend" edition comes late in the day on Saturday which is like a death trap for expecting anyone to find and read a new post. It is a real shame because it has a ton of news and links that really had to be scrounged for in what has turned into the deadest period for hockey news since this blogs inception.

Last summer, the Ilya Kovalchuk saga provided news deep int the summer and the year before that, the Phoenix situation was good for daily commentary as it snaked through all the twists and turns. The situation is the desert is no nearer resolution but nothing is said about it any longer.

My big issue today was that I was distracted with my purchase of a new toy, the Motorola Xoom which I got at Staples with a $100 off coupon which added to the recent price drop brought it down to an almost reasonable $399. It is a great device but the instructions are lacking at how to do a lot of stuff. Thank goodness for geek blogs on the Internets.

Anyway, make the jump for a ton of offseason hockey news for the starving masses...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Craig Custance Visits RLD Hockey Talk (Podcast)

Craig Custance from The Sporting News stopped by this weeks edition of RLD Hockey Talk to chat about all the recent goings on in free agency and the hockey world in general. The discussion also touches on Chris Osgood's retirement and whether he is Hockey Hall of Fame worthy.

Make the jump to join us on the embedded player or go to the BTR site to listen there...

POTG Friday Headlines, News, and Links

Another week of the dog days of summer has almost been conquered as the entire North American continent is sweltering under oppressive heat where places as far north as Toronto are setting all time high temperatures.

Yesterday brought bad news for Pred fans as you will see below that good guy Frankie Bouillon is not doing well. Good news was that my favorite restaurant hangout from the mid 1970's is not going to close after all. Sad news is that the space shuttle program is no more.

For these stories and much more, make the jump to the rest of today's post...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mike "Doc" Emrick Leaves the Devils for Exclusive Deal with NBC/Versus

NBC/Versus has signed Mike "Doc" Emrick to an exclusive deal that will close out his 21 year run with the New Jersey Devils. Go here for his open letter to Devils fans who will miss him as their "voice" of the team.

NBC/Versus is really making the moves as it was reported earlier this week that Dave Strader was leaving the Coyotes for a similar deal.

Congrats to NBC/Versus and their new acquisitions for the new relationships. You will never meet a nicer, more open guy anywhere in the hockey community than Doc.

Make the jump for a video montage of Doc Emrick's highlights...

POTG Thursday Headlines, News, Links, and Commentary

This time of year, in general, where there is such a shortage of  hockey news that a post like Josh Cooper's at The Tennessean yesterday morning that indicated that Shea Weber's talks were in a "stalemate" can set off an all day flurry of blogs, posts, and discussions on Canadian Talk radio to make it one of the top stories of the day.

If you follow the money trail and realize that the comment came from Weber's agent Jarrett Bousquet, then you have to take a serious look at what was to be gained by such a statement.

The Predators are willing to let the negotiations go until August 2, even after all the parties arrive at the arbitration hearing. They are in no hurry. They are going to have Weber for at least another year.

The Weber camp uses the "stalemate" tag to get a rise out of the media and the fans as that is really the only pressure that they can exert. They are basically at the mercy of accepting David Poile's longer term offer or going to arbitration and getting about $7 million (give or take $500K).

The pressure of the date and the fact that the range of the annual value of the contract is pretty well narrowed down to around $7 million dollars a year means that a deal will get done before the arbitration starts.

On a separate note, there is a bunch of stuff about the "big three" after the jump. The reality is that none will be leaving after nest year and there is an outside chance that as part of the "Weber package" you could see all three locked up around the same time.

Make the jump for a ton of news and links...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

POTG Wednesday Headlines, News, and Links

After my allegations that it had turned into a slow summer for hockey news, Tuesday hit the jackpot with a trifecta of major news stories.

Chris Osgood officially retired in the morning, setting off a debate whether the goaltender who has 401 regular season wins and ranks tenth on the all-time win list is hall of fame worthy.

In the afternoon, the Devils finally announced that Peter DeBoer would be their coach and then Steven Stamkos finally brought peace to Tampa fans (as well as the NHL 12 folks) by re-signing with the Lighting.

Make the jump for these stories and more...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

POTG Tuesday Headlines, News, and Links

Today, before we get to all the news and links, the Nashville Predators have a new History Will Be Made Video highlighting "History Rocks" on the Bridgestone Band-stage.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Predators Seek More Income Through Non-Hockey Events

When the Nashville Predators revamped the CEO and COO positions last year to bring in Jeff Cogen and Sean Henry, they brought in two of the best in the league at putting butts in seats in their facilities.

The Predators looked at the situation with a two pronged attack by not only selling more hockey tickets, but by having more quality events at the Bridgestone Arena and using the building to a greater extent more on non hockey dates. With the new convention center opening in a couple of years, the non hockey use will become even more of a focus.

With the announcement last week of a few more additional seats and a Fan Zone in what used to be a fairly dead area of the arena, attempts are also being made for folks in attendance at events to have a more enjoyable time with more things to take in while they are there.

The latest release from the Predators highlights the rise in overall arena attendence putting theme at ninth in the mid-year Pollstar rankings but continued focus and upgrades should boost attendance even more.

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

POTG Monday Headlines, News and Links

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and isn't suffering too bad on the return to work this week. I have ten more days until a much needed vacation.

With a relativity slow weekend on the hockey news front, we were still able to pull together plenty of stories and inks for your enjoyment. Make the jump for your Morning round-up...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

POTG Lazy Summer Weekend Headlines, News and Links

It is that time of year in Tennessee when it is too hot and too humid to do a whole lot of anything outdoors unless you plan on finding a pool or a shower to cool down once you are done.

If you are sitting around inside where it is cool, here is a ton of news and links of all the latest in the hockey world...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bob Miller of the L.A. Kings Guests on RLD Hockey Talk (Podcast)

This week's guest on Ryan Porth's RLD Hockey Talk was long-time Kings Broadcaster Bob Miller. Miller is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, having won the 2000 Foster Hewett Award. He also has a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and the press box at Staples Center is named after him.

He was a great guest and is well worth a listen as he discusses the Kings, topics from around the league, and his career in broadcasting. Make the jump for the BTR player or go to BlogTalkRadio to listen.

POTG TGIF Headlines, News and Links

There was plenty of talk and feedback after the Predators Skate of the Union unveiling of the new "Predator Gold" home jersey. For those who got to see the true color up close (not just in pictures), apprehension turned to relief, and then turned into acceptance.

The only legitimate complaint that I heard was from a lady friend who explained that the gold color did not look good on her but she was committed to buying a road white instead, so it was a win-win for everyone.

There is a really interesting story behind the move to a drastically new concept for jerseys and color schemes. We will post an update on that over the weekend.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Steve Sullivan Speaks to the Pittsburgh Media (Video)

Ex-Predator Steve Sullivan met with the media for the first time in Pittsburgh today. He was highly impressed with the facilities as he should be. They have an amazing set-up in the dressing room and adjoining player lounge.

Make the jump to see the video from Pens TV...

POTG Thursday "Skate of the Union" Edition - Headlines, News, and Links

Lat night was a fun night in Smashville for all those who attended the Nashville Predators "Skate of the Union" where the top brass in the Predators organization met several thousand fans head on to give the latest information  about the Preds directly to the people.

Afterwards, the Predators new home jersey was revealed via a banner on the Batman tower. Here are close up pictures of the new home golds.

We have the  complete video of the entire SOTU. The sound is kind of boomy but the content is unsurpassed and will not be matched anywhere. No other team in the NHL is as open with the fans as what we saw last night.

On behalf of the entire "Bloggers Row" I would like to publicly thank Jeff Cogen, Sean Henry, Chris Parker, Gerry Helper, and Kevin Wilson for talking to us for an hour before the event last night, giving us the first look at the new sweaters, and acknowledging the efforts of our contribution to the team.

Make the jump for today's News and links...

Nashville Predators "Skate of the Union" Address in Its Entirety (Exclusive Video)

For the third year in a row, here is the entire Nashville Predators "Skate of the Union" address video including the question and answers session in it entirety.

Make the jump for all the video...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Dramatic Unveiling of the Predators New Home Jersey on the Batman Building

In a very unusual twist, the Nashville Predators unveiled their new home sweaters to a huge crowd on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza by way of a banner on the side of the ATT Building (AKA Batman Building) at the annual "Skate of the Union" festivities.

Make the jump to "Behold the Gold'...

Nashville Predators New Home Gold Jerseys Revealed

Just prior to tonight's "Skate of the Union" address, the Nashville Predators gave the local members of "Blogger's Row" a sneak peak at the new home gold sweaters that the team will wear this season. The pictures were embargoed until the actual release but we were able to get a few pictures.

All the apprehension that some fans have had about the new color will disappear once you have the opportunity to see one up close and fell the texture of the fabric. This is a guaranteed winner for Preds Nation and will be highly distinctive around the league.

We will have more detail latter. Make the jump for the pictures...

Schedule for Today's Skate of the Union Activities

Schedule of Activities  

POTG "Skate of the Union" Wednesday Headlines, News and Links

Today's "Skate of the Union" activities at the Bridgestone Arena, that will culminate in the keynote address at 6 p.m. draws a line in the dirt from looking back at the past year and gazing forward at the 2011-2012 season.

This is the last scheduled official event until the Predators' Rookie Camp kicks off in 61 days on September 12 at the Centennial Sportsplex.

It is a time to look back and access last season's accomplishments (and pick up a few cast off bargains from the garage sale) and then move on to hear the Predator's brass give their view of what they are planning to accomplish in the future (which will include bringing the Stanley Cup to town for a victory parade down lower Broad).

This is the third annual event and if you have never been here are the videos for year one and last year to give you an idea of what to expect.

We do know that the Predators new gold home sweaters will be introduced but will there be a "July surprise" with a player in attendance or  a special re-signing announcement. There is only one way to find out first hand and that is to show up and be counted.

Make the jump for today's News and links...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

POTG Tuesday Headlines, News and Links

Preds fans are looking forward to Wednesday's Skate of the Union that is being advertised with a large banner on the ATT Building. Everyone knows that the new home sweater will be revealed but will there be other surprises?

After thoroughly looking at the list of available free agents, there is one name near the top of everyone's list that jumps out as a possibility if he remains unsigned on into the offseason. To me, it looks like Vaclav Prospal is the most interesting player on a list of poor choices.

You could put him on a line with fellow Czech, Mary Erat and see what happens. He has probably been edged out by Mike Richards in New York and is a UFA and still is receiving benefit of a buy out from the Lightning on a contract that would have ended next season.

Last season, after returning from injury, he scored 23 points in 29 games. In his last full season he had 20 goals and 38 assists in 75 games for an offensively impotent Rangers. If he could be had for about $1 million and put up 40 to 50 points, he could be a cheap pick up to produce points on a one year contract.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Monday, July 11, 2011

POTG Monday Headlines, News and Links

Since the Nashville Predators concluded RFA-gate at the end of last week, signing the five potential UFAs, this was truly the first hockey-less weekend of the summer. Predator fans have the "Skate of the Union" to look forward to on Wednesday this week which will usher in the road gold jersey and be the kickoff to the new season.

Also, since there is a date for Shea Weber's Arbitration hearing on August 2, there is also a known time frame for that saga to conclude too.

In spite of the off season slowdown, we still have plenty of news and links after the jump...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pete Weber and Terry Crisp Fare Well In NHL Broadcaster Rankings

One of the better things about the hockey off-season is seeing the creativity that comes out in writers when the daily grind of the season isn't at hand. One of the best pieces of the off-season so far is Derrek Zona ranking the NHL broadcasters from all thirty teams.

Zona pulls no punches as he comments on every team's TV crew in a ranking system that runs from one star (poor) to five stars (the best). Folks will probably agree with some and disagree with others, but that is the fun of it.

Nashville Predators broadcasters Pete Weber and Terry Crisp are one of four teams that made the five star rankings along with the guys from Dallas, Florida, and Los Angeles.

About the hometown tandem Zona says, "Another pairing hidden away in an extremely weak television market, Weber and Crisp know what they're talking about and connect with both the stereotypical "new Southern hockey fan" and long-time fans alike. Crisp played for a decade and won two Stanley Cups, then coached for a decade and won another, and he puts all of that experience into each broadcast."

"He has no fear of taking a Predator to task for poor play or a mistake. He's plugged in with the Preds and is quick to point out when an inside tip about a tactic or strategy is applied on the ice. Weber calls a fair and error-free game and moves seamlessly from explaining the basics of the game to calling out line chances and on-ice play."

I would recommend that you go here and take in the whole piece. It is good stuff.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

POTG Weekend Headlines, News, and Links

It is pretty amazing that David Poile locked up Sergei Kostitsyn on a one-year deal that will give him the chance to see if he can reproduce what he did last season. It will be different for him in camp this year as he will be under more scrutiny to see if he can live up to his salary.

I'm am very surprised that the Preds were willing to part with $2.5 million to retain him. I was thinking something along the lines of $1.5 to $1.75 million would be a fair price. I'm sure the fact that teammate Joel Ward got an inflated $3 million in a multi-year deal played into the value.

This was the only deal of the five signings of the RFAs subject to the grievance hearing that I thought was a bit high but David Poile maintained his dignity and level-headedness unlike in the Chicago situation a couple of years ago when they paid crazy money to avoid losing players.

Anyway, we have a ton of news and links for you to carry you through the weekend after the jump...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Brodie Dupont Signed by the Nashville Predators (Press Release)

It's not the signing fans have been waiting for but the Nashville Predators announced that they signed the recently acquired Brodie Dupont to a on-year, two-way contract this afternoon. From what I can tell, it appears Dupont may be an upgrade for Milwaukee from Kelsey Wilson.

Make the jump for the press release from the Predators.

Nashville Predators Sign Sergei Kostitsyn to One-Year Deal

In somewhat of a surprise move, the Nashville Predators signed Sergei Kostitsyn to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. After signing four of the other free agents subject to a NHLPA grievance hearing yesterday, it appeared that Kostitsyn would proceed with the hearing.

It is unclear if the hearing will proceed as the only unresolved plaers are Linus Klasen who has decided to play in Europe and Andreas Thuresson who was traded to the Rangers last week.

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

POTG Friday Morning Headlines, News, Links, and Commentary

David Poile never falls short of amazing the hockey world by finding rabbits to pull out of hat when there are none to be found. Yesterday, he announced the signing of the most critical players that were set to be involved in today's NHLPA grievance hearing.

All four signings were reasonable, with little if any premium paid. This shows that the four involved were true believers in the "Predator Way" and want to be a part of it going forward. The hearing will still take place today in New York before independent arbitrator George Nicolau with Sergei Kostitsyn being the only relevant player under consideration .

Many feel that Kostitsyn is a key piece to this team but I beg to differ. While he had a big year and scored 23 goals and added 27 assists, he was absent when he was needed the most in the playoffs. He played 18 more games during the regular season than he has ever played before at any level. There is no guarantee of a repeat of those numbers.

The Preds are focusing on building a squad of thirty or so players that can play 82 games and then go four rounds deep in the playoffs, turning the volume up in each round. Kostitsyn did not prove he could do that so Poile is not going to pay him beyond what he is worth.

If it is determined that Kostitsyn is an RFA, the negotiations will continue and since he elected arbitration, the team will probably walk away from an award driven by recent "stupid" deals. So be it. There are other players hungrier than Sergei that will fit the bill.

If is determined that he is unrestricted then another team will pay him stupid money that much quicker, but it will not be the Predators. It probably won't be the Vancouver Canucks.

Whatever goodwill was lost with the whole NHLPA grievance filing should be well on the way to recovery with the fan base pleased with the four signings yesterday and the UFA pick-ups on Niclas Bergfors, Jack Stortini, and Kyle Wilson.

Bergfors has potential of a breakout season with some Preds love and Stortini will be the beloved big man who can fight and handle fourth line minutes too. Wilson is a wild car that is waiting for a breakout at the NHL level after proving all he can in the AHL.

Fans can now sit back and enjoy the summer and look forward to the Skate of the Union on Wednesday and wait for the announcement of the re-signing of Shea Weber that I'm betting will be announced before the SOTU so Shea can show up and model the new home golds that folks will fall in love with once they can see and touch the sweater.

For today's news and links, make the jump...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Glendale Mayor Considers Life Without Coyotes

In an exclusive interview with Phoenix News 12, Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs says for the first time in public that Glendale needs to prepare for life without the Coyotes in the city's arena. She also indicated that Matt Hulsizer walked away from his deal after Gary Bettman indicated that it would not work.

Make the jump to see the video from News 12...

Predators Sign Four of Six RFAs Before Hearing (Press Release)

As we expected, David Poile stepped up to the plate and signed Matt Halischuk, Nick Spaling, Chris Mueller, and Cal O’Reilly to contracts prior to Friday's NHLPA grievance hearing.

Spaling and Halischuk signed two year deals while O'Reilly and Muellar signed one year contracts. None of the deals were out of line as to what would be expected under normal circumstances.

With Andreas Thuresson traded to the Rangers, Sergei Kostitsyn and Linus Klassen who has decided to play in Europe are the only players subject to the ruling from Friday's hearing that will be concluded next Wednesday.

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

POTG Thursday Morning Headlines, News, and Links

Could today be the day that David Poile makes a move on one or more of his RFA;s that are up for tomorrow's arbitration hearing? He has now indicated that he probably would not re-sign all of the crew regardless of the outcome.

My guess is that he will sign Spaling at all costs, Kostitsyn if the price is right and is maybe 50-50 on Halischuk and O'Reilly. We will know soon.

In today's news, we hear of a new third line defense for the Preds, the real story on Patrick Cote, a skinny Alex Ovechkin, and much more after the jump...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Updated Information on Smashville's "Skate of the Union" on July 13

Last week we gave preliminary information on this year's "Skate of the Union" in Smashville. The team has now put out a formal press release with more detail. Make the jump to see all the specifics...

E. J. Hradek Discusses The Free Agent Frenzy on RLD Hockey Talk (Podcast)

This week on RLD Hockey Talk, Ryan Porth had E. J. Hradek from NHL Network and as the special guest to discuss the free agent frenzy and the winners and losers so far. E.J. is always a great guest and pulls no punches in speaking the truth. You can listen to the show at BTR or make the jump for the player on our site...

POTG Wednesday Morning Headlines, News, and Links

The Nashville Predators are now two days away from D-Day in the form of the the arbitration hearing on the seven (actually six, since Thuresson went to the Rangers) that will decide whether the players in question will be RFA's or UFA's. I'm still expecting a last minute multi-year deal on Nick Spaling.

Sergei Kostitsyn threw an odd kink into the situation by chosing to go for player elected arbitration which if he  remains an RFA would send him to arbitration and put the Preds in a take it or leave it position. If he is declared a UFA, all bets are off. The Preds could also sign him at any point during the process.

There is no progress on the Shea Weber front with one rumor saying that he wants less years and another story saying that the Drew Doughty negotiations had slowed to a crawl. E. J. Hradek made a good point yesterday on RLD Radio that you can't compare the James Wisnewsky and Christian Ehrhoff signings as they were true UFS'a.

The Preds signed a couple of role players in Zach Stortini and Kyle Wilson yesterday. This seems like two more bricks in the wall of the Predator way.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nashville Predators Sign Zach Stortini and Kyle Wilson

The Nashville Predators announce the signing of free agents Zach Stortini and Kyle Wilson on Tuesday as fans continued to wait with baited breath for more prominent signings.

It will be a reunion of sorts for Stortini who previously played with several current Predators on the Milwaukee team that made it to the Calder Cup finals in 2006. Stortini is a rough and tumble center that could replace some of the grit lost with the departure of Shane O'Brien and the retirement of Wade Belak.

Wilson was a four year college player at Colgate that the Predators hope will mature and provide the same scoring touch in the NHL that he has shown at the AHL level where he scored at least 24 goals and 53 points in four seasons with the Hershey Bears. He played 32 games with Columbus last season, scoring four goals and picking up seven assists in spot duty.

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

POTG Holiday Weekend Wrap-Up, Headlines, News, and Links

Free Agent Frenzy and the long holiday weekend have passed, but for Predators fans the rest of the week should be far more interesting as the fate of the remaining six free agents is still in limbo with a grievance hearing set for Friday. I would be surprised if Nick Spaling is not signed before arbitration, and maybe even Sergei Kostitsyn.

The Shea Weber negotiations continue as it appears that the Weber camp and the Drew Doughty camp  are at a standoff with each side waiting for the other to set the bar and neither has done so. Prior to the stupid money that was thrown about last week, I thought that Weber would sign for something in the $6.5 million range in a long term deal. Now all bets are off.

Fans were upset on Sunday when the Preds traded away Cody Franson in order to take Matt Lombardi's $7 million off the table, but David Poile was cleaning up his books in order to move forward in other areas. I expect to see more moves between now and preseason camp. Oddly enough, the Preds have the lowest payroll in the NHL per Cap Geek.

Fans should not underestimate Niclas Bergfors or Brett Lebda as they are the kind of players that could thrive with a little love from Barry Trotz and playing Predator hockey.

The Predators' Prospect Camp showed how well the team has done over the last few years in drafting top players even in the later rounds. This appears to be the year when a couple of defenseman will have the opportunity to side step Milwaukee on the road to Nashville.

Make the jump for today's news and links...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Predators Trade Franson and Lombardi and Sign Niclas Bergfors

As the Nashville Predators Development Camp wound down, the Preds were busy elsewhere swinging a four player deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs and and signing free agent forward Niclas Bergfors.

The deal with the Leafs sent defenseman Cody Franson and injured center Matthew Lombardi to Toronto in exchange for defenseman Brett Lebda and 22 year old Robert Slaney who played mostly in the ECHL last season. Also in play is a 2013 fourth round pick with the Preds receiving one from the Leafs if Lombardi plays in 60 games over the next two seasons and the Leafs getting the Preds' if he doesn't.

Lebda never appeared to find his way in Toronto, playing only 41 games last season. He played the better part of five seasons with Detroit and got his name on the Stanley Cup in 2008. He is set to make $1,475,000 this season and will be an UFA at the end of the year.

Franson was thrilled with the trade as all of his family have been a lifelong Leafs fans. On NHL Home Ice he said that "it was a dream come true." You can hear from both Franson and Lombardi on separate conference calls at Leafs TV.

The move was obviously made to clear salary and take away the uncertainty of having $7 million tied up over the next two years in a player that may never take the ice again.

The Predators then turned around and signed Niclas Bergfors to a one year dead for $575,000. Bergfors had a successful rookie season in 2009-10 playing with New Jersey and Atlanta, scoring 21 goals and adding 23 assists. Last year with Atlanta and Florida his production fell to 12 goals and 24 assists.

Make the jump for the two press releases from the Nashville Predators...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ex-Predator Joel Ward Speaks to the Washington Press

Joel Ward spoke to the Washington Capitals press corps this morning. Go here to listen to the audio from the Caps' web site.

As much as he will be missed in Nashville, fans have to be happy for seeing a good guy get a handsome payday with a four year, $12 million deal. He had nothing but positive things to say about the Predators who would never be able to offer him a deal with those type of numbers.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Nashville Predators Acquire Brodie Dupont From Rangers

The Nashville Predators traded Andreas Thuresson to the New York Ranges in exchange for Brodie Dupont, a winger who has one game of NHL experience after a four year pro career. The move removes one of the seven RFA's from the Preds that is in question at next Friday's qualifying offer hearing.

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

Friday, July 1, 2011

Joel Ward and Steve Sullivan Sign New Deals

Ex-Nashville Predators Joel Ward and Steve Sullivan signed new deals on opening day of the NHL free agency period.

The 30-year old Ward parlayed his recent playoff success into a 4-year $12 million deal with the Washington Capitals which doubles his $1.5 million salary for the past two years with the Predators. Ward had 7 goals and six assists in 12 playoff games for the Preds after only having 10 goals and 19 assists in 80 regular season games which was the lowest production of his three seasons in Nashville.

Sullivan signed a one year $1.5 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins which is a drastic cut from his $3.75 million payday with the Predators last season. However, after the Preds decided to go in other directions, the deal will allow Sullivan to continue his career with a good team that has a good chance of going deep in the playoffs.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Nashville Predators Grievance Hearing Set for Friday, July 8

What was first reported by Darren Dreger on Twitter now appears to be fact with the hearing to determine if the Nashville Predators filed their qualifying offers to their seven restricted free agents in a timely manner will be held a week from today on July 8 at a yet to be determined location.

Make the jump to read highlights from the the story from

Marcel Goc Signs Three-Year Deal with the Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers announced the signing of Marcel Goc to a three-year $5.1 million contract which doubles his $775,000 salary with the Nashville Predators in the 2010-11 season.

Goc was limited to 51 games last season due to multiple stretches on injured reserve with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. He missed the Preds final 24 games as well as all 12 playoff contests. He scored 9 goals and picked up 15 assists. He was on pace for his best season ever prior to his injury.

Florida was working to get to the salary floor with earlier signings of ex-Pred Scottie Upshall, defenseman Ed Jovanovski, and goalie Jose Theodore.

More Later..

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

Official NHL Free Agent List and Explanations (Press Release)

As the free agent clock started ticking this morning, the NHL released their official free agent list by category with the breakdown of compensation for group 2 free agents (RFA) and explanations of what each category actually means.

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

David Poile Previews What Free Agent Day Means for the Predators (Video)

As the free agent frenzy approaches, Nashville GM David Poile discusses the Predators situation with Tom Callahan. Make the jump to see what Poile had to say courtesy of  Preds TV...

Nashville's Online Hockey Media Has Strong National Presence

Once again, the Wikio ratings are out and hockey sites in Nashville continue to do well on a national basis placing four sites in the top 22 for the month of June.

On The Forecheck is second only to Kukla'a Korner, while Red Light District ranks sixth, Preds On The Glass is 14th, and Cellblock 303 checks in at the 22nd position. No other NHL market comes close to what the Nashville online media has accomplished.

June's numbers could have been driven by the Nashville area media presence in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards with Red Light District/Smashville 24/7, Inside Smashville, Cellblock 303, and Preds On The Glass in attendance. The city was also well represented at the NHL Entry Draft with Cellblock 303 and Preds on the Glass pulling double duty. New site, Puck Scene was also in Minneapolis.

The rankings are another indication of Nashville becoming more of a "new traditional" hockey market with a maturing acceptance nationally as a strong hockey market.

Make the jump for the complete list...

POTG Friday Morning Headlines, News, Links, and Commentary

Happy Canada Day!

As we head to the opening of this year's free agent period at 11 a.m. CDT this morning, the Nashville Predators are in the midst of the biggest crisis since Jim Balsillie was dispatched back to north of the border in the Summer of 2007.

This year's free agent market is one of the worst in years with few quality players and 30 teams with extra money to spend on a bloated cap. In the best of situations this would not be a free agency period conducive to the Predators style of operation. Now there is a bigger problem to consider.

What was initially poo-pooed by the team and the league as a non-issue has now turned into a full blown mess with an arbitration hearing with the NHLPA and four key young players are at risk of walking away with no compensation to the Predators.

The fact that his happened at all, regardless of wrong-doing or not, has far-reaching repercussions.

The Predators were not expected to be big players today in the free agent market. With few players and prices way to high, it is simply the "Predator way." Now, in spite of the "business as usual" mantra, even if a bargain showed up at the door they could be hesitant to make a move.

At some point, the Predators could may be forced to spend more than was necessarily to re-sign the four RFA's with the players now holding all the cards with the potential of UFA status in a sellers market. With a limited budget, extra money spent could make a difference in another free agent acquisition or a deadline deal later in the year.

Thirdly, if some or all of the four players are lost, Shea Weber will not be a happy negotiator. From the beginning, Weber has stressed that he doesn't want top dollar if the key components to the team can stay intact. If these four guys leave, part of that argument is lost.

Finally, the biggest loss of all may be the Predators' fan's confidence in the team. Fans have been very forgiving and understanding and have felt that no matter what, the Preds have always had another rabbit in the hat. This time, the Predators may be short a rabbit.

Make the jump for today's news and links...