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Thrashers v Predators Postgame Recap

So last night the Atlanta Thrashers came to town, and I took the Littlest Forechecker (age 4) to his first hockey game. Since a good deal of my time was spent making sure he wasn't climbing all over the arena, I wasn't able to bring the usual razor-like focus to bear on the festivities, but I'll share my impressions nonetheless:

Littlest Forechecker's First Predators Game
Little Guy during pre-game warmups, before the M&M's kicked in

The Good

1. Getting to meet up with the Falconer from Thrasher's Talons and Southeast Shootout. He made the drive up from Atlanta to watch the game, and we sat together during the 2nd period, talking stats, hockey blogging, and the prospects for our teams. I look forward to meeting up again when the Thrashers come back to Nashville during the season.

2. The top line of Fiddler/Arnott/Dumont looked tremendous. Given the lack of depth on the wing compared to last season, I like the idea of Barry Trotz spreading out the talent a bit (rather than putting someone like Radulov or Erat alongside them).

3. Martin Gelinas showed exactly what Preds fans are hoping for this year - he got his nose dirty in the corners and along the boards, always having a purpose in mind when he went for the puck. All too often last year the Preds got outmuscled in those situations, but Gelinas' savvy play should help address that.

4. The new scoreboard looks great:

New Nashville Predators Scoreboard

The Bad

1. Matt Ellison, to me, seemed to be the anti-Gelinas last night. He hustled after the puck, but wasn't prepared to do much with it once he got there, often being too extended to make any forceful action. He'd beat a Thrasher and get his stick there first, but it would result in a dribbler up the boards or when he was open for a shot, he'd be back on his heels and get off a weak effort.

2. Cody Franson didn't impress me much either. Granted, it was only one game, but I saw loose pucks that he was giving up on way too easily, and he seemed too soft dealing with Thrashers working down close to the Predators goal.

3. The Predators ticket office screwed up my season ticket order! They had me in the last row of the upper bowl, and I thought at first maybe it was because the exhibition game was a throw-in with the package I bought, but when I got home and checked the rest of my Nashville Predators tickets, they're all up there. Get me customer service on the phone...

All in all, it was a great night on the town. Of course, Little Guy was still jacked up as he rode on my shoulders out of the arena ("Daddy, can we go somewhere else in Nashville?"), I think he was prepared to go honky-tonkin' til the wee hours, but we need to save that stuff for the regular season...

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