POSTED ON Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 11:34 PM
By Jimi Russell - Nashville Predators / The Russell Report

I was able to sit in on the scouts meetings this morning for about an hour or so. During my time in the room, the scouts were finishing up with decisions on the last couple of rounds and discussing the prospects they believe will fit the team at each position.

It’s pretty interesting to listen to each scout try to “sell” their guy(s) to Assistant GM Paul Fenton and Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty. Each scout talks about the player’s skill, their attitude, their work ethic and their development ceiling. Fortunately, there weren’t any arguments about players while I was present, but some meetings have been known to get a little heated when scouts don’t agree on a player.

When the scouts broke for lunch, I was able to interview Jeff Kealty to discuss tomorrow’s draft. Watch it here.

After getting the video knocked out, a couple of us headed out on the town to enjoy our day. Our first stop was the NHL offices here in New York. The website producers put out an open invitation for all to visit and we took them up on the offer. The offices take up three floors – four floors if you could the NHL Store – of the building here on the Avenue of the Americas. It’s interesting to see the nerve center of the NHL – even though this is only one of their offices. After our tour, one of the club site producers suggested we head to Brooklyn to grab a slice at Grimaldi's Pizzeria and spend some time along the East River. So after the leaving the NHL office, we paced around the streets trying to find the nearest subway station. If you’ve never had to deal with the NYC subway system before, it can be a little tricky.

It was an adventure finding our way to Brooklyn, but once we found Grimaldi’s (an hour later), the line was wrapped along the block – something we didn’t expect. With temps approaching 95 degrees standing outside didn’t sound like much fun, so we found a sub shop and ate there. When we decided to head back to Manhattan, we jumped on the East River ferry to head back over. It was cool to see the skyline from the ferry, but the ride from Brooklyn to Pier 11 took all of three minutes.

Once we were back on solid ground, we headed towards the 9/11 Memorial – passing Wall Street and a couple of other sites on the way. The memorial site was at the top of my list when I found out we would have some free time in the city. After waiting in line for a little while (get tickets in advance if you plan on visiting the 9/11 site), we made it through security and onto that hallowed ground.

As a veteran who served during the War on Terror, it was pretty sobering seeing the names of the fallen lining the pools – it brought everything full circle for me. There was a lot sacrificed that day and there has been a lot sacrificed since the terror attacks in 2001.

We also made a point to find the names of Garnet Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis while we were at the memorial. For those of you who don’t know, those two gentlemen were scouts for the Kings and they were headed to Los Angeles on United Flight 175 when it crashed into the South Tower.

After that we returned to the hotel to shower and shut it down for the night. I headed out to dinner with some of the hockey operations staff and spent some time hanging out in hotel lobby before getting come back up here to my room.

Well, it’s time to get some sleep – tomorrow is going to be a busy day.


POSTED ON Saturday, 06.29.2013 / 10:54 AM
By Jimi Russell - Nashville Predators / The Russell Report

Good morning from NYC! After a rough night's sleep with all the Times Square noise, a morning jaunt to find a Dunkin Donuts was a must, but I’m back in my hotel room working on some features before heading down to the scouts meetings. It’s overcast and warm today, but the Preds hockey operations staff is already working fast and furious this morning.

Preds GM David Poile headed a couple blocks down Broadway to announce his staff for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including Pittsburgh Penguins' bench boss, Dan Bylsma. There is a lot of excitement surrounding Team USA for the coming Winter Olympics after such a strong showing at the 2010 games.

Back on the Preds side of things, Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton and Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty brought all the scouts together once again this morning for their third day of meetings. They are reviewing all of the prospects and working to plan out as much as they can ahead of tomorrow’s draft. From talking with some of our scouts last night and this morning, they seem confident in the planning process thus far, but they understand it is sure to be an eventful day on the draft floor.

Time to head down to the scout's meeting. We’ll have a video with Jeff Kealty posted on PredsTV later this afternoon.


P.S. Make sure to follow all the social media activity on the Preds Social Hub.

POSTED ON Friday, 06.28.2013 / 2:00 PM
By Jimi Russell - Nashville Predators / The Russell Report

This weekend's blog will be your one-stop-shop behind the scenes info and photos as the Preds approach the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Be sure follow PredsNHL, KWilsonPreds or Jimi_Russ for the most update info on this weekend’s draft.

So I’m sitting at the gate waiting to board our flight to the Empire State – coffee in hand, laptop, well, on my lap and a new book in my bag for the flight up. I’m not a great plane sleeper, so I’ll use my time wisely and actually read about something other than hockey.

Our BNA-LGA flight consists of me, our hockey communications manager Kevin Wilson and our manager of video production Mitch Jordan – we are the last wave of Preds personnel headed to the Big Apple.

Of all the places I’ve traveled during my time on this planet, this is my first time stepping foot in NYC (I’ve flown over or past the city a number of times), so I’m pretty excited about our three days in the Big Apple. Ugh. I just realized I forgot to pack my fedora. I guess singing New York, New York in the streets like Sinatra is out of the question now.

I digress. Back to the main event.

Members of the hockey ops staff have been arriving in NYC over the past couple of days as they prepare for the fourth overall pick and the remaining nine picks in Nashville’s possession. Nashville is tied for the most picks in this year's draft, so it's a good time to stock the cupboard. 

In addition to the draft, there are several League meetings, including the Board of Governors, coaches meetings and hockey operations planning meetings that take place in the days leading up to the draft. The big NHL events (Draft, All-Star Game, Awards, etc.) are the easiest way to get everyone in the business together to touch base on a multitude of issues. As the team’s interactive media editor, I don’t have any meetings, so hopefully that will afford me a little time to explore the city, while keeping the loyal legion entertained and informed about what is happening.

Well, we’re about to board, so that’s all I have for now. I’ll fire off another edition later tonight from the city that never sleeps.

Until then, it’s time to kick the tires and light the fires. Think I can talk Kevin into letting me have the window seat?


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