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Showing posts from June, 2008

Dumb De Dumb Dumb

Thanks to Red & Black Hockey and Puck Daddy over at Yahoo, we have word that the American Hockey League, at the behest of the NHL, is going to experiment with cutting minor penalties in half during regular season overtime sessions. Earlier this year Brian Burke floated the idea in the press, and now it appears that will actually see the light of day. Clearly, the free agency market is so unappealing this summer that GM's have too much time on their hands, and are dreaming up unnecessary rules changes to keep themselves occupied. Quoth the The Star : "This season, 39 per cent of the penalties in OT that have resulted in a 4-on-3 power play have produced the winning goal in NHL games. It stands to reason, [Colin] Campbell said, that one-minute penalties will produce fewer goals, and therefore more games will go to shootouts." Frankly, I'm dumbfounded here. What exactly is the problem that the league is trying to solve? The whole point of going to 4-on-4

Predators Prospects On The Ice

I took the chance to head down to Centennial Sportsplex and catch Day One of the on-ice portion of the Nashville Predators Prospects Camp, and while you can't glean much from one hour of a moderately paced practice, it was fun to take two of my kids along and let them see the young guns who hope one day to achieve NHL stardom. What follows are a few snapshots I took during the session. Keep in mind that I'm officially a middle-aged father of 3, the kind of guy who one day you'll catch wearing black socks with sandals, so please forgive the quality... 2008 1st-round pick Colin Wilson (#50) tucks a rebound past fellow 2008 1st-round pick Chet Pickard in goal. A closer look at Colin Wilson , the #7 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. Some of the defensemen got special attention at our end of the ice. Here, Nashville's 2008 2nd-round pick, Roman Josi (#59) and 6th-round pick Jeff Foss are towered over by the 6'5" Cody Franson . There were many others of n

A GM's work is never done

Nashville Predators GM David Poile has gotten right back to work after the NHL Draft last weekend, as attention turns toward the raft of younger players working their way up through the system: First, qualifying offers were made to Ville Koistinen and Kevin Klein, the 7th and 8th defensemen on the roster last season. Those two will not be subject to RFA offer sheets, and, if the situation remains as it appears right now, would return all eight defensemen from last season to Nashville this fall. UPDATE : Sorry for the brain cramp there; the fact that qualifying offers were made means that Nashville has the right to match offer sheets from other teams. If no such qualifying offer is made, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. Second, qualifying offers were also made to Rich Peverley and Matt Ellison . Ellison didn't play at all with the Predators last year after a stint in the preseason, but Peverley made an impact when he was called up from Milwaukee after David Le

Weber Signs , Filling Out a Crowded Nashville Blue Line

John Glennon reports today that Shea Weber has signed a 3-year, $13.5 million deal, avoiding the trials and tribulations of restricted free agency. At $4.5 million per year, he leapfrogs Ryan Suter and Marek Zidlicky in terms of yearly salary among Predators defensemen , fairly close to the figures I guessed at a few months ago by comparing him not with Dion Phaneuf , but rather other young NHL defensemen entering their second contracts with similar levels of performance. Watch those #6 jerseys fly off the shelves now... By opting for a 3-year deal, Weber leaves plenty of opportunity to earn major dollars relatively soon. If he can maximize the potential that Preds fans and coaches see day in, day out, he'll earn that big-time payday in the summer of 2011. So now that Nashville's top six defensemen from last year (Weber, Suter, Hamhuis, Zidlicky, de Vries & Zanon) are all under contract, what will become of restricted free agents Kevin Klein and Ville Koistinen, and

Uncle Gary Wants You, Preds Fans

For any of you who fret that the NHL has totally forgotten about the interests of the common fan, here's your chance to have your voice heard. For a while now the NHL has had a "Fan Face Off" team, which sends out surveys via email to interested fans. They usually don't take too long and are relative to topics the league is currently dealing with. Today, I got a message from them stating that they'd like to get a greater representation of Nashville Predators fans within their Fan Panel , so by all means, click on over and sign up. Just as the saying goes regarding the Presidential election, if you don't at least try to make your opinion count, you really can't complain about the results you end up with.

David Poile, Dealmaker Extraordinaire

Nashville Predators GM David Poile must have been inspired by my " Let's Make a Deal " post yesterday, because in just over 24 hours since then he's made some strong moves to help alleviate roster imbalances that threatened to impede the team's progress, and positioned the team to start the 2008-9 NHL season much stronger than the year before. First, he sent enforcer Darcy Hordichuk to Carolina for a 5th-round pick, opening a forward slot that may be available to one of Nashville's prospects. Next, he signed pending free agent goalie Dan Ellis to a 2-year, $3.5 million contract. As a consequence, Chris Mason was then sent to St. Louis for a 4th-round pick. With those moves, Poile resolved a bottleneck in goaltending, and by presumably starting next fall with Ellis as the #1 and Pekka Rinne as backup, the Predators will only be spending $2.3 million on that position, which allows for some of that money that's been going to core players with new contra

Dan's The Man

UPDATE BELOW Word comes this morning that the Nashville Predators have traded goalie Chris Mason to the St. Louis Blues for a 4th-round draft pick. This clears the way for handing the #1 job to Dan Ellis, who in yesterday's Tennessean discussed the three-way situation between himself, Mason and Pekka Rinne as an obstacle to re-signing with Nashville. This morning the Predators have also announced a multi-year deal with the one-time University of Nebraska-Omaha standout . You've come a long way, baby! The question of course is how much it will cost the Preds to lock up Ellis (terms weren't disclosed immediately), who came out of nowhere to have a successful, if at times inconsistent, season. Mason is entering the first year of a two-season contract worth $3 million per, which was earned at the time based on 82 games of NHL action, mostly as Tomas Vokoun's backup. In 2006-7, Mason had one of the top performances in the league as he played 40 games due to injur

Hordi out the door

Thanks to the heads-up from Kukla's Korner , word comes that the Predators have made their first swap of the off-season, trading enforcer Darcy Hordichuk to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 5th-round pick. This smacks of a classic "something for nothing" deal similar to last summer when David Poile shipped Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell to Philadelphia, since he knew he wouldn't be able to sign them to new contracts anyway. Even when he was in the lineup, Hordi didn't get more than a few minutes of ice time, and it doesn't appear like that would change in 2008-9. If he sticks with Carolina, Hordichuk will serve as a relatively useful enforcer, in that he's actually pretty disciplined (no minor penalties in 45 games last year), and appears to be a positive, team-first player despite not getting regular ice time. The fans in Carolina will enjoy his personality as well; he hosted a weekly radio show here in Nashville that's made him a fan

Let's Make a Deal

John Glennon's piece this morning discussing the Nashville Predators and their willingness to draft defensemen with either (or both!) of their first-round picks tomorrow night surely has some fans scratching their heads. With 8 blueliners on the active roster for most of last year, and a number of prospects either ready or close to being ready for NHL duty, surely GM David Poile is looking for more talent up front or in goal to balance out his resources? Apparently not, as Mr. Poile has other means at his disposal to address the problem: "All I tell our scouts is to put the list in order and to give me the best player. The best player will be the best asset. If we have an imbalance in our depth chart, that will be my problem or situation to deal with.'' Make no mistake, there most certainly is an imbalance on the Predators depth chart right now, and unless it is addressed soon it could hurt the team in both the short- and long-term. While Ville Koistinen enjoye

Back in the saddle again

Yes, I've been away from the keyboard* for quite a while, so there's certainly some catching up to do: The Boots Del Biaggio saga is now entering the Long Slog , a period of time in which both a bankruptcy and a criminal investigation will take place. I suspect it will take months before the whole tangled web gets unwound, but as John Glennon points out in his Tennessean blog today, the signing of Ryan Suter shows that the Predators aren't standing still. It does appear that operationally they should be able to proceed as planned. Speaking of Suter, 4 years at $3.5 million per might seem on the high side, but take a look at this list of NHL defensemen making between $3 million and $4 million next year, courtesy of . While Suter certainly still has rough parts of his game that need to be filled out (as in, quit hanging onto the puck for so long in your own end!), he fits quite comfortably in that group. He's a legit Top-4 NHL defenseman, and contribute