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Showing posts from November, 2007

Tis the Season to Open Your Wallet

The Encyclopedist of Hockey, Joe Pelletier , has issued a challenge to us hockey bloggers, one that's particularly appropriate during this holiday season.  From Joe's email:   " I wrote about eye injuries in hockey, and tied it in with the degenerative disease glaucoma, which unfortunately I'm becoming an expert on. I also introduced my readers to my charity of choice: the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I also posted a public challenge to other hockey bloggers to adopt a charity of their choosing. It can be hockey related, or it can be something bigger. It can be simply a logo on a side column, or a full feature piece. Whatever you choose do, or whether you choose to do anything at all, I hope you fully realize how important your hockey blog is to many people, and that you can use your platform for even more important things."   Joe's charity of choice is the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, but today I want to intro

Friday Morning Flash

No hockey news for you (at least for the moment); but I did go deer hunting this morning, and bagged my first ever.  My weapon of choice, you ask?     Sorry Bambi, but you should really use the pedestrian crosswalk   What a way to start the day.

Two Huge Victories in One Night

It's been a pretty fun evening for Nashville Predators fans; during the 2nd period of tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators, word came that the NHL Board of Governors had given their unanimous approval to the sale of the franchise to the group of investors led by David Freeman. Then to boot, the Preds held off the slumping-yet-still-terrifyingly-good Senators, who kept coming to tie the game each time Nashville took the lead. The gloomiest moment came in the final minute of regulation, when Daniel Alfredsson walked out of the corner and roofed a shot over Dan Ellis' shoulder, but mere seconds later J.P. Dumont stole the puck in the Ottawa end and fed Martin Erat in the slot for the game winner, with the final 6-5 in favor of Nashville . The offensive charge was led by the top line and the defense, as three Predators blueliners scored and Dumont racked up a goal and three assists. In terms of the ownership situation, the only step left there is to formally close the

Nashville Predators First Quarter Review

We recently went through a round of parent-teacher conferences for the Little Forecheckers (two in Kindergarten, one in preschool), so it's high time to provide an interim report on these 2007-8 Nashville Predators. Sorry guys, no credit here for tying your own skates or strapping your own gear on ... As a team, the season so far has been a story of streaks; first, there was the six-game losing stretch that left them with a 2-6 record. The final game in that walk of shame was a nauseating 6-0 defeat in Los Angeles that provided fodder for all the doomsayers who based their preseason predictions on the talent that left Nashville over the summer, not the talent that remained. What followed immediately, however, was an 8-1-2 run that brought the team right back into the thick of the newly-competitive Central Division. At this point, the Predators boast the top inter-divisional winning percentage in the Central at .667 (5-2-2), so appear able to compete for those coveted playoff

A Hart-Breaking Issue

It's been a couple weeks, so the Penalty Plus/Minus numbers have been refreshed to capture the NHL games up through Sunday night, November 25. Alexander Ovechkin has taken the lead over Sidney Crosby, with a +18 to Sid's +15. We still see this list overwhelmingly dominated by big-name talent, as opposed to energetic grinders. Perhaps one way to use this new metric is to provide another factor for the Hart Trophy debate; after all, if you're focusing on the top players in the league in order to figure out who should be the MVP, you might start with the current scoring leaders: NHL Scoring leaders as of Nov. 26, 200 POS Player TM GP G A PTS +/- C Vincent Lecavalier TAM 23 16 22 38 10 C Sidney Crosby PIT 23 12 21 33 3 LW Ilya Kovalchuk ATL 23 19 14 33 4 LW Henrik Zetterberg DET 23 16 16 32 10 Convincing arguments could go in any number of directions from here. Lecavalier is our leading scorer, but Sid's close behind and the reigning MVP. Kovalchuk is leading a resur

Is the thrill gone, Earl?

So I checked the Fantasy Hockey standings in Mirtle's Blogger Invitational this morning, and it appears the romance is over... Recent Transactions Player Type From To By Samuel Pahlsson (Anh - C) Drop Earl Strikes Back Waivers Earl Sleek That's all I've got for today. I'm up in Indiana for the weekend, and it sounds like I'll miss a doozy tonight in Nashville. The Wild are coming to town, and they've picked up another goon off the waiver wire to cruise alongside Derek Boogaard. Will Barry Trotz counter by dressing Darcy Hordichuk? Personally, I'd rather see them not, and focus on winning the game, but you certainly don't want to see someone come in and rough up your talent.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Nashville Predators fans have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day; A team on the ice that has rebounded convincingly from early season woes to go 8-2-2 over their last 12 games; A group of local investors who worked out a deal with city government and stand ready to take over the franchise in just a few weeks; An outgoing owner in Craig Leipold who patiently waited for the locals to get their deal, rather than taking the quick money that would have sent this team packing; A coach in Barry Trotz who, even after all these years, has this team playing hard every night; A GM who, despite having to slash payroll, made sure that the players brought in were able to fill specific roles; Players like Radek Bonk, David Legwand, and Alexander Radulov, who, among others, are providing offense through a genuine team effort. This team doesn't rely on a single star; A defense corps that has buckled down in the face of injury; A fan base that is rallying behind their team and their cit

Win Tickets to Preds vs. Red Wings Dec. 10

The good folks over at Save The Predators are running a promotion that could net you a four-pack of cheap Nashville Predators tickets to see them host the Detroit Red Wings on December 10. Interested? I thought so... For those unaware, Save The Predators has been raising funds which are used to purchase tickets to Nashville Predators games , then those tickets are donated to local charities, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters. They sell t-shirts and other gear at their eBay storefront , and the contest is pretty straightforward: "Whichever single buyer buys the most total dollar value in Save The Predators merchandise between now and midnight on December 8 will win ALL FOUR tickets to see The Predators play The Red Wings at Sommet Center on December 10. Game time is 7:00 PM. These tickets have a face value of $55.00 Each and are in Section 308, Row M, Seats 1 thru 4! " All the details can be found in this post over at the Predators message boards. So head over to

The NHL Quarter Pole, PythagenPuck Style

It's time once again to take a look at how teams are performing around the NHL relative to what one would expect based on Goals For/Against ratios, and it's PythagenPuck to the rescue. For newbies, the basic idea here is that at this point in the season, perhaps a better description of team performance is to be found in their Goals For/Against ratios than in their Win/Loss totals. Last season, a similar analysis I performed at this point sagely predicted that Ottawa was still a beast despite their sub-.500 record, and that the Boston Bruins , who at that time were in line for a playoff berth, were ready for a steep fall into NHL oblivion. What I do here is look at Goals For and Against during regulation play (i.e. excluding shootouts and overtime), and look at how teams are earning points in the standings, compared to how many points the PythagenPuck formula would predict. For most teams, these numbers are quite close, but for the few outliers on each end of the spectru

It's All Coming Together in Nashville

So I took my lunch hour today down at the Sommet Center, to witness a press conference/rally to celebrate the new lease agreement struck between the local investors and the mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean.  It was a feel-good, backslapping affair that was, frankly, well deserved.  If you look at how the ownership situation has evolved since that day in May when Craig Leipold had announced his intention to sell the Predators to Jim Balsillie, you'd have to say that it's been a remarkable achievement to have a predominantly local group preparing to take the helm at this time.  Just think of all the things that have come together to make this possible;   Col. John "Hannibal" Smith heartily approves   1.  A strong effort by Our Team Nashville , a hastily assembled group of volunteers who worked hard to build local support throughout the summer.  During today's proceedings chairman Ron Samuels upped his organization's goal to achieving 15,000 avera

Freeman At Last, Freeman At Last

After several weeks of false leads, retractions, revisions and amendments, the local investment group led by David Freeman has finally struck a deal with Mayor Karl Dean on adjustments to the Sommet Center lease, removing a large obstacle in the way of completing the sale of the team and preserving its future in Nashville. Approval by the Metro Sports Authority and Metro Council is expected in the coming weeks, but should be a relative formality at this point. I think that’s worthy of a repeat visit by the On the Forecheck Dancers… Rather than pontificate, I’ll simply provide this statement that was released by Joe Hall on behalf of David Freeman this afternoon: “We are excited to reach an agreement with the Mayor’s Office on lease changes to keep the Predators in Nashville under local ownership. We are very appreciative of Mayor Dean for getting this done amid the many priorities he has as the new mayor of our city. He obviously has a strong desire for this ho

Predators Take Blackhawks Down (in OT)

Since tonight's tilt with Chicago wasn't carried on local cable (thank you, DirecTV Center Ice for the Chicago feed), here's the condensed recap: 1st Period: Once against Barry Trotz sent out the Ortmeyer/Bonk/Smithson line to start a game, and they dominated the first minute of play by keeping the puck in the Blackhawk end, eventually drawing a penalty and giving Nashville and early power play. The Chicago penalty kill has been top-notch on the road, and the Predators barely mounted any threat. For most of the period, however, Nashville kept the pressure on during 5-on-5 action, and a rather odd setup gave the Predators a 1-0 lead. Marek Zidlicky carried down the right side but fell down under pressure, and from his belly, sent a centering pass that deflected right to Jason Arnott who was coasting into the slot where he time to pick his spot on a nice wrister and beat Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. Even though the period ended with 8 shots for each team, t

A Deal is Done in Nashville

EDIT: Apparently the Tennessean (along with other local media outlets) got out ahead of this story. Shame on me for not waiting for word to come from Richard Lawson (previously with the Nashville Post, now with the Nashville City Paper ). His article includes an important clarification: "An announcement of a deal between the local investors group trying to buy the Nashville Predators and Metro is expected at 3 p.m. today at the Sommet Center but only if the “term sheet” is signed by noon or 1 p.m. " (emphasis mine) So no deal today, I'm sorry to say. The local group has agreed to the main elements of the Dean proposal, but is still working through the minor details. ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS: At long last, it appears that the local investment group seeking to buy the Nashville Predators has struck a deal with the mayor of Nashville on amendments to the Sommet Center lease , which will allow the rest of the sale process to complete sometime in the coming weeks. The

The Monday Morning Specials

After a wild and wooly NHL weekend, there's much to cover, so I'll provide a number of items for you this morning. 1. I've updated the Penalty information over at the Google Spreadsheet , and in an effort to find the most useful and practical presentation, I've put the following columns out there: Player, Penalties Drawn, Penalties Committed, Penalty +/-, Position, and Team. This allows you to zero in on your favorite team, and also draw comparisons based on player position. My hunch is that defensemen will fare poorly here relative to forwards, due to the nature of their work; they're trying to prevent goals, and have to hook, hold or trip more often than the zoomers up front. For those not able to access the spreadsheet, I've included the best and worst players in this measure at the bottom of this post. 2. I took my oldest son (5) to his first NHL game on Saturday, as we watched the Predators defeat the Blue Jackets in a shootout.

The Ups and Downs of NHL Penalties

Welcome to all the visitors stopping by today via the Hockey News , and thanks to Rand Simon for his kind words. His note that some of the stuff I'm doing this season related to his arbitration work for Sean Avery over the summer is just the sort of thing I was hoping would be picked up on, the fact that statistical analysis can help answer some interesting questions related to team and individual performance in the NHL. From Simon's blog at the Hockey News today: Through analyzing shift charts and box scores we were able to determine that Avery was a "plus" in the penalty department last season as he drew more power plays than his penalties caused shorthanded situations. The statistic helped counteract the Rangers' argument that Avery was an undisciplined player who was hurting his team by taking too many penalties. I've been tracking Penalties Drawn so far this year, and while Sean Avery has missed most of the early action he's a player that I pla