POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 7:59 PM
The Preds lines to open the game were:
  Fisher centering Erat and S. Kostitsyn
  Legwand centering Radulov and A. Kostitsyn
  Spaling centering Bourque and Hornqvist
  Gaustad centering Halischuk and Yip

   Suter and Weber
   Josi and Klein
   Bouillon and Hillen

Nashville took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to claim a 1-0 lead, Paul Gaustad's first goal as a member of the Preds. But the Preds were victimized by some unlucky bounces later in the period -- Martin Erat rang one off the post later in the period and Mike Fisher had the puck hop over his stick twice when he was open back-door on the power-play. All-in-all a good first period of action for the home team, heading into the first intermission with a lead.

Three Musings
1) Heading To The Box -- For two of the lowest penalized teams in the league, Period 1 had a lot of penalties --- all totaled, six power-plays for the two teams. Neither PP unit was able to generate many high-quality scoring chances, but Nashville's second power-play of the period did generate momentum for the Preds. The team responded with three very solid five-on-five shifts right after that PP with solid scoring chances on each shift.

2) Depth Pays Dividends -- During the morning skate coaches press conferences, Coach Babcock said he liked his third and fourth line match-ups against Nashville's third and fourth lines, but in the first period Nashville's Spaling and Gaustad lines were the team's most consistently effective units. The Spaling unit created the game's first good scoring chance when Hornqvist snuck behind the Detroit defense and had a partial break 1:40 into the game from the red line in. The Gaustad line backed that with a scoring chance off the ensuing faceoff. Later in the period Gaustad netted the lone goal of the period, fending off two Detroit defenders curling around the Wings net and throwing the puck out to the top of the goal crease where it banked off a Wings defender and inside the far post.

3) Injury? -- Detroit forward Darren Helm appeared to be injured in a battle along the boards during Nashville's second power-play. Helm, a key to Detroit's third line as well as top PK contributor, dropped his glove and stick and went directly to the bench. He did not see action in the final 6:18 of the period. Helm was making his first appearance back in the lineup since March 17; his return was viewed as a major boost to Detroit's depth, forechecking, and penalty kill. If he can't go, it could be an early turning point in the series. (Note: Detroit issued an injury report on Helm --- Upper Body Injury/Will Not Return)

POSTED ON Monday, 10.17.2011 / 9:57 AM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / Preds Guest Bloggers
Nashville is home to some of the most active and read hockey blogs in the NHL, so is introducing a new guest blogger program, showcasing the work from members of our bloggers row -- a group of dedicated independent bloggers who follow the team year-round. Nashville’s hockey bloggers cover the team regularly and provide coverage from different perspectives, in our guest blog we will share these various perspectives with visitors to the site by showcasing one blogger each week (and increasing the contributions during busier times of the season).

These committed bloggers have shown a strong dedication to growing the sport of hockey in the area and spreading the word about Smashville and the Nashville Predators.

POSTED ON Saturday, 07.02.2011 / 5:06 PM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / Tom Callahan's Summer 2011 Blog
Tom's out of town for the Fourth of July Holiday Weekend, so I figured I'd make a "guest post" in his absence with some updates on the action from Rookie Development Camp --- Tom's still blogging from the road, so you'll likely see more posts from him later in the weekend.

The physical play is stepping up day-by-day as the camp moves deeper into the week. There are a lot of big forwards at camp and most of them are throwing their weight around in the corners. Give a lot of credit to the defensemen for giving it right back to the forwards. Preds fourth round pick Garrett Noonan has been particularly physical on the back end. Should be some interesting battles during tomorrow's scrimmage games (2-4 pm at Centennial Sportsplex, if anyone is interested in heading over to watch)

Taylor Beck, Gabriel Bourque, and Michael Latta have been a line combination for many of the five-on-five drills this week, with some impressive results. Could be a preview for the top line in Milwaukee this season --- and a potential line in Nashville in the not-so-distant future. Beck and Latta were linemates in Guelph the past few years and Bourque was one of Milwaukee's most productive forwards through the AHL stretch run and playoffs.

Craig Smith looks good on the ice; he's consistently been one of the better forwards each day -- regardless of who he's skated with during the drills. The confidence he gained from the World Championships performances have paid dividends during camp. If he continues this level of play, he has a strong chance to become the second Preds prospect to take home the Hobey Baker Award (given to the top NCAA hockey player).

Swedish forward Patrick Cehlin has shown flashes of impressive skill. It’s hard to fully translate drills --- even half-ice five-on-five battles --- to in-game performance, but Cehlin is definitely a name to file away for the future. He has impressive creativity and has shown good vision during the drills. He’s expected to play in the Swedish Elite League this coming season, but don’t be surprised to see him in North America during the 2012-13 season.

German forward David Elsner is expected to come to North America this year to play in the OHL. The Soo Greyhounds selected Elsner in this year’s CHL Import Draft. Playing in the OHL will give the Preds a good chance to see how Elsner responds to playing on the smaller North American ice. It also means Elsner will likely be at Preds Training Camp in September (European leagues start before the NHL, so prospects playing in European pro leagues tied up with regular season games during NHL Training Camp).

Chet Pickard looks to be more fit this year. Pickard struggled at times during his second pro season, spending much of the year in the ECHL; there were whispers about his fitness level during the season, but he appears to be making a concerted effort to eliminate those whispers heading in to 2011-12. With Mark Dekanich having signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, there's an opening at the top of the Milwaukee depth chart in net --- Pickard, Jeremy Smith, and Atte Engren are all expected to compete for time in the Ads crease.

Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi are standouts --- as expected --- but Mattias Ekholm is looking every bit as skilled as the other two. He's big, comfortable with the puck on his stick, a smooth skater. Don't be surprised if Ekholm makes a very serious run at a spot on the Opening Night roster during September's Training Camp.

Kirk Muller and Martin Gelinas are coaching this camp with the same competitiveness that they displayed throughout their NHL careers. Muller's passing has been crisp during drills --- and he's stopped drills on occasions to implore the prospects to run the drills with that same level of execution and attention to detail. Gelinas has challenged the young prospects during skating drills, joining in several of the races. Their success as NHL players has not been lost on the prospects; in post-camp media sessions the prospects routinely have commented about how much respect they have for what Muller and Gelinas accomplished throughout their careers.

POSTED ON Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 1:15 PM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

The Preds wrapped up their 2011 draft with three picks -- one defenseman and two forwards -- and a trade during the final three rounds of the draft.

In the fifth round the Preds selected Swedish defenseman Simon Karlsson. The Preds European scouts have a knack for unearthing hidden gems in the later rounds. Karlsson went through a major growth spurt over the last 12 months, growing from around 5-11 to 6-3. Swedish scout Lucas Bergman compares his game to current Preds defenseman Cody Franson and as he grows into his now 6-3 frame, Bergman thinks Karlsson can become a special player.

In the sixth round the Preds tabbed U.S. forward Chasen Balisy from Western Michigan University. Balisy's Jeff Blashill said, "Chase has an elite mind for the game. I think his hockey smarts and his hockey IQ are outstanding. I thought that he had gotten stronger and quicker over the course of the season. That added strength and quickness allowed Chase to be a real elite freshman. And I think as he continues to add that strength and quickness, it will allow him to be an elite player in college and have a great chance at becoming an NHL player."

The Preds traded their second sixth round pick to the NY Rangers for a 2012 sixth rounder. And then in the seventh round, Nashville selected 6-2, 200-pound forward Brent Andrews of the QMJHL. Regarded as one of the QMJHL's best faceoff aces and toughest defensive centers, Andrews turned heads with his solid two-way performances for Team Canada at the World Under-18 Championships. He was on a below average Halifax team, so his stats are not indicative of the on-ice level he provided for the Mooseheads.

Check back later today for more recap and reaction from the draft floor.

POSTED ON Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 12:23 PM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

OK, here's the scoop on the Preds two picks in the fourth round.

Josh Shalla is a big time offensive player --- natural scorer with good size. He went undrafted last year, his first draft-eligible year, and exploded this season for 47 goals, good for fifth in the OHL during the '10-11 regular season. He then added eight goals and 15 points in 12 playoff games for Saginaw. It's rare to see a player with those credentials would slid to the fourth round, but sometimes late-blooming kids in their second/third turn through the draft slide further than expected. But he gives the Preds a pure goal scorer in the system, something that could be a good element with the depth of solid two-way forwards already working through the ranks.

Garrett Noonan is in a similar situation to Shalla. Noonan was in his third trip through the draft. His a more mature player and still has three more college seasons to develop before the Preds would need to sign him. With Nashville's organizational depth at defense, the Preds can afford to be patient and wait for him to play out his college career.
POSTED ON Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 11:17 AM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

The Preds elected to trade back from the No. 82 pick, stricking a deal with the LA Kings to add a sixth round pick this year (No. 170) as well as a 2012 third round pick (orginially belonging to Toronto). This move still gives the Preds eight selections in this year's draft, but also adds a key piece for next year's draft.

The scouts really like some of the depth later in the draft, but many of the players they had targeted with this third round selection were picked earlier in the round. David Poile doesn't like to reach for players, so instead of grabbing a player the scouts don't rate as a third round value, he's comfortable swapping back to future drafts ... at the worst case, future picks give him more trade bait to work with during the season.

Now Nashville will turn its sights to pick No. 94.
POSTED ON Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 10:54 AM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

Round 2 went pretty close to plan for the Preds --- in scouting meetings earlier in the week the scouts had targeted Magnus Hellberg at No. 38 and were hoping that Miikka Salomaki would fall to the No. 52 pick. 

Hellberg was the first goaltender selected in this year's draft. The Preds scouts compare him favorably to Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback at the same time in their development. Physically he looks similar to Lindback and has the same laid-back demeanor as Rinne and Lindback.

Salomaki is the other end of the spectrum; a physical high-engery skilled forward who plays much bigger than his 5-11 size. The European scouts compare his physicality to a Tuomo Ruutu, with the potential to post better offensive numbers. He can play on any line --- in an offensive role higher in the lineup or as a physical momentum-changer lower in the lineup --- and in both power-play and penalty kill situations. With experience playing against men in the Finnish Elite League, Salomaki has the potential to contribte to the Preds lineup in the next couple of seasons.
POSTED ON Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 9:54 AM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

Back here at the Xcel Center set up for Day 2. The Preds open the day with eight selections, including two in the second round. We're around 10 minutes away from getting started here.

Quick note, ran in to original Preds captain Tom Fitzgerald --- now working with Pittsburgh. He reflected fondly on his time in Nashville and wanted us to give a big shout out to all the fans back in Smashville.
POSTED ON Friday, 06.24.2011 / 11:52 PM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

Day 1 of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft came to a close. The Preds were the subject of trade rumors a couple of times on Friday --- just prior to the start of the draft there were rumors of inquiries from teams in the top-10 (but the Preds felt the asking price was too high) and then late in Round 1 the Preds were actively pursuing trade options, but were unable to find a willing taker. David Poile talked about trade talks and more in his Day 1 Recap interview (click here). As a point of reference the 22nd overall pick was traded for the 30th and 39th slots ... Nashville's earliest pick is No. 38. And then the No. 24 pick was moved for the 35th and 48th selections ... No. 35 is close to Nashville's first pick (No. 38) and No. 48 is close to Nashville's second pick (No. 52), but close wasn't enough. And once the price tag was set, other teams were looking for similar payoffs; the Preds just didn't own two picks that were quite attractive enough to get into the late first round.

There's a chance options could become available to move up earlier in the second round --- the Preds scouts have shown that in the past sliding up in a trade after Day 1 in 2001 to get Jordin Tootoo early on Day 2 and sliding up after Day 1 in 2008 to nab Roman Josi early in Round 2 --- so don't be shocked if Nashville slides up closer to the top of the second round tomorrow morning. The Preds scouts are meeting this evening back in the team hotel and those options are surely to be among the first topics discussed. But in chats with the Preds scouting staff, they are very encouraged by the way Day 1 played out and are high on the options they feel should be available to them at both the No. 38 and No. 52 slots. The No. 82 pick (Nashville's third-round selection) is a little further away, so projections take a little more guess work, but with the depth of this year's draft, the scouts are still pretty confident that they will have impressive options at 82.

POSTED ON Friday, 06.24.2011 / 9:43 PM
By Jay Levin - Nashville Predators / 2011 NHL Draft Blog

Trade talks heated up there during the picks in the mid-20's ... several calls came in to the Preds draft table. The scouts huddled up to disect the offers a few times, but in the end declined. It looks like the Preds will probably stand pat tonight with the eight Day 2 picks on the horizon tomorrow.

We'll talk to David Poile for an evening recap after Round 1 wraps to find out more about today's action.

We're almost done with the first round -- two more picks remaining -- and still no goaltenders selected. Many scouting services called this a down year for goalies, but still surprising to see the draft go this far without one tabbed.

The count so far 17 forwards, 11 defensemen.
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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


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
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43 is the official Web site of the Nashville Predators and are trademarks of the Nashville Predators.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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