Skip to main content

Thrashers Bring the Cure for What Ails You

Last night's 3-0 win over the Atlanta Thrashers certainly was the tonic for many depressed Predators fans; it brought an end to the 6-game losing streak, backup goaltender Dan Ellis recorded his 1st shutout in only his 2nd NHL start, a variety of grinders contributed to the scoring, and perhaps most importantly, Nashville put together three solid periods of hockey, something that had been missing over the last two weeks.  Barry Trotz made a couple noteworthy adjustments in this game.  First, he jumbled up the lines extensively, putting Martin Erat up alongside Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont for example.  Secondly, Marek Zidlicky was a health scratch, reportedly for only the second time in his four-year tenure with the team.
Zidlicky has incredible puckhandling talent, to be sure, but for a defenseman that's often as much a curse as a blessing; if he's the last man back and loses the puck, it's a breakaway for the other team.  Was this benching a shot across the bow from Trotz to let the veteran know that he's got to be more disciplined in his approach, or is something more interesting in the works?  Some fans got all excited about a post by Eklund that said the New York Rangers "may be talking to Nashville regarding a young offensive minded defenseman."  Was Zidlicky scratched because a deal is in the works?  I doubt it, as Trotz had some comments after the game that Zidlicky needed to step up his game, and that's not something you typically say about a guy you're trying to pawn off on another team.  Plus, there are additional factors such as a no-trade clause that ZIdlicky has, and the salary implications (mostly involving keeping Nashville above the league-mandated minimum), which make such a deal with the Rangers highly unlikely, I would think. 
Overall, the game last night held plenty of encouraging signs for Predators fans.  Ellis played a strong game, the entire team worked hard to finish their checks and keep Atlanta hemmed in their own zone for extended periods, and there were occasional flashes of individual brilliance, for example by Kevin Klein on his setup of Jordin Tootoo's goal in the 2nd period.  That said, there is still room for improvement, particularly on the power play.  Entry passes were getting away from their intended recipients, wingers were going offside, etc.  It still looks very disjointed, to the point that even moving the puck around the perimeter is an adventure.  All the preseason focus on reengineering the Nashville power play has apparently gone for naught so far.
The paid attendance for last night's Predators game is likely to be awful, but one has to keep in mind that this was one of two games (the Calgary game a couple weekends ago was the other) for which partial Preds season ticket holders were granted complimentary tickets, so that represents thousands of freebies handed out..  We should see a positive trend start Saturday night when Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers come to town.
And Falconer, where were you buddy?  I showed up in front of the pro shop during the 2nd intermission, but you weren't there.  I know things aren't going well for the Thrashers, but losing yourself in the Jim Beam won't do any good (except for benefitting the Tennessee economy, of course, for which we're entirely grateful).

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site,!

The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…