POSTED ON Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 3:27 PM
By Tom Callahan - Nashville Predators / Tom Callahan's 2011-12 Season Blog
As part of our season preview, I've reached out to my broadcasting cohorts from our Central Division rivals to get their insight to how things are shaping up in the division. Starting in order of finish from last season, we open with the defending Division Champs, the Detroit Red Wings from their radio voice Ken Kal.

There's a few new faces in the Red Wings organization this season both on and off the ice. Gone are Kris Draper, Bryan Rafalski and Chris Osgood. They retired during the off season.

Ian White and Mike Commodore are new additions on the back end. White is a right handed shooting defenseman and will likely take the place of Brian Rafaski. He will be teamed up with veteran Nicklas Lidstrom and will play the right point on the power play.
Commodore is a big defenseman that gives Detroit some size.

Mike Babcock has two new assistant coaches this season. Bill Peters spent the past three seasons with the Rockfors IceHogs and Jeff Blashill who spent last season as the head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos will join Babcock behind the bench.

One of the goals for the Red Wings this season is to cut down on the goals against and to play tighter "D" infront of Jimmy Howard and Ty Conklin.

Up front the Red Wings have two of the best 2-way players in the NHL in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Both players are used in all situations and are very dangerous.

Johan Franzen (AKA The Mule) can score from anywhere on the ice, Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom are big bodies and make their presence known infront of the net.

Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler can score. Valtteri Filppula is a playmaker who is creative with the puck and Darren Helm continues to impress everyone with his speed and is really improving with his touch around the net. Helm, Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves are grinders and very effective on the penalty kill. Justin Abdelkader is a hard worker who adds muscle to the team with his hard nose play.
Detroit signed Fabian Brunnstrom to a two-way deal on October 3rd. Brunnstrom played for Dallas in the past. He scored a hat trick in his first pro game with the Stars. Cory Emmerton who played most of last season in Grand Rapids will get a chance to show his game to the fans this season.

The Red Wings have depth on the blueline with 7-time Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, Ian White, Nicklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart and Jonathan Eriksson. Jakub Kindl is ready for "the show" after developing his game in the minors. Detroit has not missed the playoffs since Nicklas Lidstrom has been with the team.

The Red Wings have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 20 straight seasons plus they've won 4 Stanley Cups (97-98-02-08) during that span. Winning the Central Division title won't be easy this season. This could be the best division in hockey. Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and Columbus are all improved. It's very possible that 4 teams could qualify for the playoffs from the Central!
Let the games begin!

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.20.2011 / 10:11 AM
By Tom Callahan - Nashville Predators / Tom Callahan's 2011-12 Season Blog

I looked in the mirror before leaving this morning. Something is definitely different. Oh wait, that’s a suit with a shirt and tie. It’s time to fly…

***

Our first broadcast of the year is tonight and we’re going to do the game from Baltimore as Nashville takes on Washington a day after playing a pair of games in Florida against the Panthers. Nashville split those games and pretty much used everyone in camp to play the doubleheader. I like the very effective bit of being able to get two games in and evaluate as many guys as possible early in the proceedings.

Tonight’s game, which airs live on 102.5 The Game starting at 5 pm (click here to listen live) with our new one-hour pre-game show, will be like yesterday’s in that I expect defense and goaltenders to be rusty, young forwards to miss high and wide as they try to pick those corners and impress the brass, and one or two guys will stand out for both teams. I’m also looking forward to seeing more from the Caps, who did make a few big moves in the off-season and collected former Pred Joel Ward in the process. I’m going to have a chat with him on the pre-game if he’s available.

***

Yes, we’re going to one hour this year for our pre-game show. This is yet another wonderful advantage of being on The Game! We can do wall-to-wall Predators this year AND get in a look around the league, filling you in on more than just our team and division. We’ll have more time for guests and really can expand things to give you more hockey with more detail. I’m excited for this! I will host the first half hour, joined at the midway point by Willy Daunic, who will return to the Predators again this year as host. Thanks for listening!

***

It’s looking like the battles are starting already for ice time. Blake Geoffrion had 1-1-2 yesterday in the late game, and Jordin Tootoo (2A), Sergei Kostitsyn (3A) and Colin Wilson (1-2-3) also had strong games in split squad action. This should be one of the more interesting and competitive camps of late.

***

I’m looking forward to bringing an exciting season of hockey to all of you this year – new jerseys, simplified color scheme, and some pretty good team confidence coming off last season’s playoffs. I’m also thinking this could really be the year we start looking at the 2009 draft class almost like we see 2003, only for FORWARDS. That’s right, I said it. Yes, Ryan Ellis was our first pick in that draft but I think it’s the forwards who have the chance to make an impact and over the next several seasons you’ll see guys like Zach Budish, Taylor Beck, Michael Latta and Craig Smith begin to make an impact. I also like Gabriel Bourque as well. It doesn’t hurt that both Ellis and Mattias Ekholm are competing for an opening night spot on defense. Mark my words, two or three years from now this draft will be a major jackpot for Nashville.

Okay, that’s just my random thoughts for now. Until next time, keep your stick on the ice!

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.16.2011 / 2:11 PM
By Tom Callahan - Nashville Predators / Tom Callahan's 2011-12 Season Blog
Today had a familiar feeling to it as I entered Centennial Sportsplex early in the morning. The ice was fresh, the lights weren't quite on yet, and players and personnel alike were slowly filtering into the complex. Today was Day One of training camp. A time of hope and smiles and fresh coffee and fresh gear.

Right now everyone is equal. You play your way in right now. Starting with fitness testing today, the players will sink or swim each on his own merit. And for the rest of us we once again prepare for story lines we didn't anticipate to develop.

It was good to see the smiles on the faces around the room and guys who have genuinely looked forward to coming back to work so to speak. A few jokes and many handshakes were exchanged. And the buzz slowly settles in with the promise of another chance to win it all.

Yes, it is that time. For the next six months or so, life revolves around a little black disc. And it couldn't come at a better time.

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

And to everyone on the twittersphere, feel free to send questions to me through Twitter with hashtag #PredsRadio.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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