Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts on the Skate of the Union

For the first time in more than two months, Bridgestone Arena was abuzz with hockey. Granted, no game was being played, but the 3rd annual Skate of the Union provided fans with their much needed hockey fix before the commencement of a long, two month wait leading up to training camp. While no one is looking forward to nothing but baseball for the next two months (yikes), today left many fans with a sense of anticipation with the upcoming season on the horizon.

Outside of the equipment sale, autograph session, and festivities that occurred throughout the day, a town hall meeting culminating with the unveiling of the new home jersey proved to be the main attraction, and it didn't disappoint.


During his opening remarks, Poile referred to the Arnott trade last summer as "handing over the keys" to younger players on the roster, and referred to that phrase again when explaining the departures of Sully, Ward, and Dumont. With the leadership in the locker room potentially set for the next several seasons and numerous prospects in Milwaukee ready to make the jump to the big club, the Preds could be poised to be a very solid team for the foreseeable future.

Many fans have shown disappointment in Poile for not acquiring a top six forward to help fix the offensive woes. Poile defended his forwards in his remarks, especially the younger ones, naming off players such as Wilson, Kostitsyn, Hornqvist, and Bergfors, citing their ages, and stating that none of them had reached their full potential. Nashville's roster during the playoff run last season was young, and will be even moreso once October rolls around. If one or two of these young players can hit their stride and/or consistently contribute on the scoresheet next season, perhaps the talks of obtaining a top six forward will die down a little. With youth comes growing pains, and Poile is asking the fanbase for some patience.

Barry Trotz was outstanding when he spoke, heaping loads of praise on the fanbase whenever possible, and mixing in a little humor for good measure. His little rant on lame mascots sent a roar of laughter through the audience.

Tom Ciggaren, Jeff Cogen and Sean Henry touched on topics that either don't understand or can't expand on, but the one topic that was brought up was the need to continue developing Bridgestone Arena into one of the best venues in the world. They stated that renovations and upgrades to the arena were in the works, as believed the fans deserve no less than the best when they attend a game or concert. With the expected completion of the convention center expected in 2013, the potential to host an All-Star game would increase, which was well received by those in attendance.

One fan asked if there was a chance that Milwaukee could play a game in Nashville. The question surprised Cogen, who said it wasn't on any list, but after hearing the crowd's response, it would make it to a list. I wonder if more college hockey games are in the works...

I love how our organization and fanbase is embracing Atlanta and their fans who suddenly are without a team, leading to the coolest moment of the meeting came during the Q&A segment. As members of the audience were asking questions to the panel, one guy, a former Thrashers fan in Nashville on vacation, took a microphone and proclaimed himself a free agent fan, essentially asking the panel to give him reasons to become a Preds fan instead of hopping over to Carolina. Trotz stepped in and gave an accurate description of both cities level of "fun", Gnash strolled over and placed a gold hat on the prospective fan's head, and the crowd gave him a rousing standing O. Beat that, Carolina.

At long last, the revealing of the new home jersey had arrived. The audience was directed outside onto the plaza. On the side of the AT&T "Batman" building hung a banner placed only days before. Underneath was another banner, revealing the much-anticipated gold jersey. When photos of the potential home jersey were leaked three weeks ago, a small part of me cringed at how bright the jersey looked, but that feeling was offset by the understanding that Nashville was trying to step outside the norm and begin forming an identity. Upon seeing the gold sweaters in person, I'm thrilled with how they look. They look sharp with the new logos, adding a little more anticipation to the upcoming season.

Yesterday's SOTU was a great success. The Preds are in great hands with the ownership group, have a GM and coach who have been here since Day 1, and have a tremendous fanbase that is only getting bigger. The future is very bright in Smashville.

If you'd like to watch the town hall meeting for yourself, Buddy Oakes of PredsOnTheGlass recorded the entire session and uploaded it to his blog. You can find it here

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Catching Up

Thanks to my time-consuming job, I've been forced to put off blogging since the Preds were eliminated back in early May. I just want to touch on a few things that have occurred since the last time I wrote...

New Logos

New jerseys had been rumored since last season, but new logos came as a surprise to me. All of the logos get a pass, although, while I like that the primary logo was simplified, I'm still trying to wrap my head around how a yellow/gold streak through the middle of the logo gives the Predhead a more aggressive look. It's not terrible; just odd.

RFA Drama/Free Agency

While I'm certain that David Poile is happy that he was able to keep all of his RFA's in the fold after an alleged gaffe, I'm also certain that he's thanking his lucky stars that the team filed for arbitration with Shea Weber, as pointed out by Puck Scene. Only sheer luck kept Poile from having to hastily put together a contract that could have seen Shea vastly overpaid (see: Kris Versteeg, 2009), or worse, Shea walking free with ZERO compensation. Had Shea become a UFA and signed with another team, a critical blow would have been dealt to the Preds, as virtually all of the momentum they had gained over the past year-plus would have vanished. All in all, Shea is still in negotiations, and all of the RFA's have brand-new, reasonable priced contracts. Bullet dodged.

As for UFA's now on other teams, the only departures that I think will hurt will be Goc and O'Brien. Goc was the jack-of-all-trades player that fit Barry Trotz's system like a glove. Letting him go to Florida at 1.7 million per season for the next three hurts a little (I thought that him earning that kind of money here would be worth it), but Trotz will find another player to fill his role.

As for O'Brien, his toughness will be sorely missed, as the two defensive pairings outside of Weber-Suter lack the toughness that Shane brought. Cube is the toughest defenseman of the bottom two pairings, but coming off of a concussion that cut his season short, I'm not sure if he will be able to maintain it. With Klein, Blum, and one or two rookies rounding out the core, Nashville won't lose all of its defensive smarts, but it won't pack the same punch with O'Brien in the lineup.

I do like the Niclas Bergfors signing, as it has been repeatedly compared to the Kostitsyn trade/signing last summer. Bergfors is pretty similar to Kostitsyn as he has not lived up to his potential, being a former first round pick of New Jersey. He also seems to have an attitude history, but not nearly as full of drama as Kostitsyn was. Bottom line: if Trotz can turn Kostitsyn around, he can absolutely do the same with Bergfors. He has tons of potential offensive upside, and it's no secret the Preds need offense.

As for the rest, Ward was too expensive, Sully was too old (it still sucked to see him go), and Mark Dekanich got caught in a numbers game. Pretty self-explanatory.

So there you have it: my thoughts on news that's a few weeks old. Next up: my thoughts on the Skate of the Union and the new jerseys.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What if hockey didn't exist in Nashville?


For most fans of a professional sports team, the word lends little to no reaction. For the few fans who have had the unfortunate experience of their favorite team moving or potentially moving, the word can oftentimes be unnerving. For many people, myself included, sports is a distraction, a way to escape the down times in life.

The relocation of a professional sports team in any of North America's major sports is a rarity. Arena/stadium issues led the Houston Oilers and Seattle Supersonics to relocate to Nashville (1997) and Oklahoma City (2008), respectively, while a disinterested ownership group led to the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington D.C. (2004) and now, Atlanta to Winnipeg.

I've always wondered how I would react to the relocation of an NHL team. I've been a Preds fan since 1999, and other than Columbus and Minnesota joining the league as expansion teams in 2000, the teams and structure of the NHL has pretty much stayed the same for as long as I've been a fan. There were talks of Nashville relocating in 2007, and there have been ongoing discussions for the past couple years about possibly moving Phoenix, with whispers of moving Atlanta popping up every now and then. Now that the thought has become a reality, and I've given myself some time to digest what the heck is going on, I want to offer up a few thoughts.

Being a Tennessean for my entire life has led me to love everything about the South. Hockey is no different, and I've always carried optimism that hockey could one day take off in this region. With Atlanta being Nashville's closest opponent geographically, I have friends who, for whatever reason, ditched the Preds to become fans of a team three hours south. I spoke with a few of them shortly after the announcement, and they were extremely disappointed and shocked, as they were not prepared for something of this magnitude to occur so quickly. I was also fortunate to be in attendance when the Preds visited Atlanta back in December, and the fans that I met seemed very knowledgeable and passionate about their team, despite the unstable ownership and small fanbase.

I feel so sorry for the fans in Atlanta, and wouldn't wish a circumstance such as this on any fan of any team. This event only makes me more thankful for the ownership group and loyal fans that stepped up to keep the Preds in Nashville. Still, a question crossed my mind that led to the writing of this post...

What if the Nashville Predators had not existed after the 2007 season?

For me, as much into hockey as I was at the time, I'm not sure I would've handled losing the Preds well enough to continue being a fan. As I mentioned in my very first post, I didn't consider myself a diehard until late in the 2008 season thanks to the Washington Capitals, and had Nashville not existed in 2008, I'm not so sure I would've ended up going to the game that escalated my love for hockey. Still, time heals all wounds, so I may have at one point down the road hopped on the bandwagon of another Southern-based team. Thank goodness I'll never have to go through that experience.

To those reading, I'm wondering what your reaction is to the question I posed above. Would you have become a fan of another team, and if so, where? Would you have become a fan in the first place had the Preds relocated? Would you have ditched hockey altogether? Feel free to sound off in the comments below (I've had a grand total of TWO in the time this blog has existed, so getting at least to that number would be nice), or ponder the question throughout the day as we begin another long summer day, one step closer to the start of another season.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Look Back

After Nashville's forgettable first-round exit last April, ownership, management, coaches, players, and fans alike knew what this season's goal was: get past the first round (yes, I know the ultimate goal every season is to win the Cup; baby steps, people). A little over a year later, a historic season came to a close at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, but not before Nashville had taken the hockey world by storm, finally punching through the first round while grabbing the attention of local and national media.

Now that the disappointment of the end of the season has worn off, it's time to look back at what was a memorable season.

A Changing of the Guard
In the middle of a Saturday in mid-June, I was sitting at home enamored in the World Cup. Nashville’s season had come to an abrupt end in late April, and Chicago had claimed the Cup only 10 days before. Knowing that David Poile never pulled the trigger on many trades, I wasn’t expecting any hockey-related news for at least another two weeks with the start of free agency.
How wrong I was, on both fronts.
Poile had not just made a trade; he made two, on the same day, announced hours apart. And he wasn’t just trading prospects or picks; he traded a home-grown defenseman and the team captain. Poile trading Dan Hamhuis’ rights for didn’t surprise me in the least, as his chances of staying in Nashville were getting slimmer as July 1st neared. The trade of Jason Arnott, on the other hand, took me completely by surprise. Many people presumed his time in Music City was drawing to a close as he began the last year of his contract, but I didn’t expect him to be moved so soon.
Two days before free agency opened, Poile surprised everyone again by making yet another trade, this time trading the rights of Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd to Montreal for the rights of one Sergei Kostitsyn, a young winger from Belarus who had well-document off the ice troubles, but a ridiculous untapped amount of potential on the ice. The move was certainly a strange one, but once Kostitsyn signed a one-year, $550K contract, it became evident that was a low-risk, high-reward scenario. Two days into free agency, Poile again made an aggressive move, signing speedy center Matthew Lombardi to a three-year deal.
On July 8th, while LeBron James’ “Decision” was captivating much of the nation, a few thousand fans gathered inside Bridgestone Arena for the Skate of the Union. In a move that was expected by most fans, Shea Weber was named captain. The Preds were going younger, starting with their leadership.
Training Camp
Out went Hamhuis, Ellis, Boyd, and Denis Grebeshkov. In came Ryan Parent, Kostitsyn, Lombardi, and Jonas Andersson, among others. Training camp was much more intense than most previous camps, as many positions on the roster were not solidified. One of the more interesting position battles was for back-up goalie. Earlier in the summer, Buddy Oakes of PredsOnTheGlass proposed that Poile go after Kevin Weekes, a player turned television analyst for HNIC and NHL on the Fly. The idea took off and gained some steam for a time, but Poile never bit, and eventually Mark Dekanich, Chet Pickard, Jeremy Smith, and wildcard Anders Lindback battled for the right to sit on the bench behind workhorse Pekka Rinne, with Lindback eventually winning the job.
In the end, most of the youngsters gunning for roster spots were sent back to Milwaukee. Poile made yet another trade, acquiring undisciplined Shane O’Brien and Dan Gendur for Parent and Andersson.
Dropping Like Flies
Injuries are not common during the course of a season, but the rate at which Nashville was losing players at the beginning of the season was staggering. In the first five games, Rinne went down with a knee injury, Lombardi went down with an eventual season-ending concussion, Marcel Goc went down with a separated shoulder after a controversial hit by Washington’s Niklas Backstrom, and Ryan Suter went down with a knee injury after colliding with Calgary’s Cory Sarich. Amidst all of the chaos, Nashville held together, getting at least a point in their first 8 games, before hitting one of several losing streaks that they experienced during the season. By season's end, the Preds would lose Cal O'Reilly, Francis Bouillon, and Goc (again) to season ending injuries.
Low Risk/High Reward
One of the biggest surprises was the emergence of Sergei Kostitsyn. Kostitsyn had a very quiet October due to a foot injury, but an early November road game in Phoenix showcased the talent the young winger had. As he got more comfortable in the new environment and in a new system, Kostitsyn took off, eventually leading the team in goals and tied for the team lead in points at season's end.
The Turning Point
With the trade of Arnott back in June, Nashville lacked a veteran with significant playoff experience. On February 12th, Poile traded draft picks to Ottawa for Mike Fisher, who had experience in the form of a Stanley Cup final appearance. It took him some time to get going, but once everything started clicking, he was a thrill to watch. In the series with Anaheim, that playoff experience came in handy, as he led Nashville in points on their way to their first ever series win.
A Matter of Trust
With the injuries, many fans expected Poile to get some offensive help for the final push to the playoffs. With the asking price too high and being unwilling to part with more prospects or draft picks, Poile instead entrusted that responsibility on younger players. At the time, it seemed like his decision was questionable, but if there's one person you should never question, it's David Poile. Enter Blake Geoffrion, Matt Halischuk, Jonathan Blum, and Nick Spaling, who not only played significant minutes in the final month of the season and playoffs, they contributed in every aspect of the game, not showing their youth all that often.
The Sixth Time Is A Charm
So this is what success feels like. After five failed attempts to get out of the first round, Nashville finally broke through, holding off Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks to finally catapult the Preds into unchartered territory. The ending wasn't happy, but with fewer teams to focus on and the Preds next opponent from Canada, Nashville gained a ton of exposure from national media outlets. Most came away floored by what they saw. Nashville knew what we had, and now, so does the rest of the hockey world.
Looking Back
Once again, David Poile proves he is a genius. He signed his eventual leading scorer to a cheap contract, and relied on youth to get over the large obstacle that was the first round, while giving them valuable experience in the meantime. My expectations of this year's team was met, and then some, considering all of the injuries and youth that was utilized. It's safe to say that most of the team will remain intact, and, if healthy, will be even more dangerous when October rolls around.
Thank God for Twitter. I've had an account since March 2009, and there was a time where I thought that it was a complete joke. There were several points where I considering deleted my account altogether; thank goodness I didn't.
Shortly after the floods last May, a tweetup was organized for flood relief, headed up by Mark Willoughby of The View from 111. I randomly showed up, not knowing a single person in attendance. Since that day and over the past year, I've had the opportunity to interact and get to know so many great people in the Nashville Predators family, whether via Twitter, blogs, or actually attending games. Without Twitter, I would've never discovered blogs (no joke). I never would've attending both roadtrips that were organized by the guys of Cellblock 303. I never would've become friends with people who had been complete strangers at one point. There are still many people who I've met on Twitter and haven't met in person, and hopefully that will change over the next year.
For those who have read my blog, thank you. I know it's mostly game recaps that might put you to sleep, and I intend on writing more interesting material, starting in the offseason. Hopefully the next 4+ months speed by, because who knows what next season will bring. Until then, take care, and go Preds.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Preds 4, Canucks 3: Not Tonight

With their backs up against the wall and nothing to lose, Nashville responded well in their first elimination game, beating Vancouver by a 4-3 score. David Legwand and Joel Ward led the way offensively with a pair off goals each, and elimination was held off until at least Monday night.

1st Period
  • Playing in front of their home fans with a chance to advance to the conference finals, Vancouver game out flying, and look poised to take the lead after a Sergei Kostitsyn holding-the-stick penalty. Instead, Nashville turned the tables, and at 3:42, after knocking the puck off of Daniel Sedin's stick, Joel Ward fed a breaking David Legwand, who beat Roberto Luongo stick-side on a breakaway. The SHG was Legwand's second in as many games.
  • Vancouver wasted no time in responding, and at 5:59, a hustling Jannik Hansen stole the puck off of Jon Blum's stick and centered to Raffi Torres, who had a wide open net to shoot into with Pekka Rinne out of position.
  • The Pred Killer strikes again. With Shea Weber pinching in, J.P. Dumont whiffed on a pass at the Vancouver blue-line, resulting in a 2-on-1. Mason Raymond fed a pass over to Ryan Kesler, and even though Weber got back in time, Kesler still managed to get his stick on the pass and knock it pass Rinne. A good effort by Weber, but an even better one by Kesler.
2nd Period
  • 51 seconds into the period, David Legwand tied the game with one of the flukiest goals you'll ever see. After receiving a pass from Joel Ward while behind the net, Legwand tried to return a pass back to his linemate. Instead, his stick connected with Christian Ehrhoff's, went over the net, off the hand of Alex Edler, and past Luongo. It was a goal where you had to see it to believe it.
3rd Period
  •  Nashville regained the lead at 1:14, getting yet another goal early in the period. After the forechecking of Ward kept Kevin Bieksa's clearing attempt from getting out of the zone, Mike Fisher gained possession of the puck and sent a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Ward, who sent a rocket past Luongo.
  • When you're hot, you're hot. In Ward's case, he's scorching hot. At 5:45, a scrum off to Luongo's right had the puck deflect off the stick of Jordin Tootoo and right to Ward, who sniped a wrister over Luongo's glove shoulder. If Kesler is the Pred Killer, I deem Joel Ward the Canuck Killer... or Whale Killer. Whatever works.
  • Vancouver made it interesting at 16:14, via yet another Kesler goal. With Bieksa driving to the net, Kesler replaced him at the point, and after receiving a pass from Edler, fired a shot through traffic that beat Rinne.
Other Thoughts
  • Nashville has struggled in the faceoff dot all series long, and with Jerred Smithson out of the lineup tonight, those struggles continued, as Vancouver won 62% of the draws.
  • Mike Fisher came up big again, although it won't show up on the scoresheet. Yes, he got his first point in the series tonight, but Fisher won two defensive-zone faceoffs in the final minute of play.
  • Pekka Rinne has carried this team on his back at times, and tonight, the players in front of him tried to make his life a little easier, blocking an impressive 30 shots.
  • As the season progressed, I had my doubts that Joel Ward would be in a Preds sweater next season. Now, I'm not sure that will be the case. Ward has been HUGE in every aspect of every game in this series. Without him and Rinne, the Preds would be on the links on Monday.
  • Nashville needs to find a way to slow down Ryan Kesler. He has nine points in the five games played (5G, 4A), and has compensated for the lack of offensive from the Sedin twins. 
  • For the first time in the series, the Preds managed to get more than two goals past Luongo. Will Luongo's confidence be shaky in Game 6? If so, Nashville will have a golden opportunity to push this series to seven games.
For now, the Preds live to play another day. This season has been a memorable one, and I'm sure there's not a player on that team who wants to see it end on Monday night. Nashville has shown it's resilience time and time again this season, and hopefully they show it again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Canucks 4, Preds 2: On The Ropes

In Round 1, it was Teemu Selanne who obtained the title of Pred Killer. In Round 2, that title belongs to Ryan Kesler, who registered the GWG for the second consecutive game as Vancouver held off Nashville by a 4-2 score, taking a decisive 3-1 series lead.

1st Period
  • All season long, Pekka Rinne has scared many fans with his numerous trips outside of his crease. His aggressiveness proved to be his undoing in Game 3, and came back to bite him again at 15:04. Pekka came out of his crease just a little too far, and witb Alex Burrows providing a screen, Christian Ehrhoff blasted a shot from the point past Rinne to give Vancouver the lead.
  • With Sami Salo in the box for delay of game, Nashville was able to knot the score at 19:18, as a rebound of a Cody Franson shot found its way to an unmarked Joel Ward, who slid the puck under Roberto Luongo's pads.
2nd Period
  • Vancouver regained the lead at 9:43, as Ryan Kesler found Alex Edler open at the point, and his ensuing shot through traffic beat Rinne.
  • Nashville had a golden opportunity to draw even again just minutes later, but was able to only get one shot from two power plays, at one time having a two-man advantage for 47 seconds. Unacceptable.
3rd Period
  • Cody Franson was one of the few bright spots tonight. He was putting pucks on net whenever possible, played solid defense, and contributed on the scoresheet. He tied the game again at 3:27 on a somewhat strange goal, as his shot beat Luongo but was enveloped in the net, momentarily confusing players, refs, and fans alike until the puck was found in the net.
  • Even the best screw up. Ryan Suter picked the worst time to screw up, however, taking a stupid penalty as he inexplicably lost his cool and threw Kesler down on the ice in front of the Nashville net. Kesler made sure to make him pay, as he scored on the ensuing power play at 7:28, gaining a head of steam in the neutral zone, splitting Shea Weber and Shane O'Brien with an incredible finess move, and beating Rinne with a beautiful low shot.
  • Nashville had very few opportunities to get an equalizer, as Vancouver did an incredible job on defense and with fantastic puck possession. Henrik Sedin's empty-netter at 19:39 iced the game.
Other Thoughts
  • Love him or hate him, Kesler had another big game for Vancouver. He had a hand in 3 of their 4 goals, drew penalties, and continued to be a force that Nashville is yet to figure out.
  • Patric Hornqvist had 5 shots, followed by Ward with 4, and Franson with 3. Weber, Legwand, and Erat laid goose eggs, while Shane Freakin' O'Brien managed to register a shot. You can't score goals without shooting the puck, and if the Preds have any intentions of surviving past Saturday night, that needs to change.
  • Remember when Barry Trotz said at the Skate of the Union that he was having a hand on the power play? Granted, we did score tonight, but that was due to a missed assignment from Vancouver's defense. Having a power play means shooting the puck, and the Preds were once again getting too cute and looking for that perfect shot.
  • With Jerred Smithson doubtful for Game 5, would Trotz consider inserting Cal O'Reilly into the lineup? At this point, the Preds have nothing to lose. Perhaps Cal could pull a Dave Bolland and be a key component in getting them back in the series.

So here we are. Down 3-1, and back on the road. This team has what it takes to take Game 5, but do they have the will? It's entirely possible that this series can still go to 7.

Just ask Chicago...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Canucks 1, Preds 0: No-shows

Coming off of their big Game 7 OT victory over Chicago just two nights ago, one would've expected Vancouver to be a little slow out of the gate.

Not so much.

The Canucks dominated Nashville in pretty much every facet of Game 1, taking the a 1-0 series lead by the same count. Pekka Rinne easily outplayed Roberto Luongo throughout the game, but was unable to get any offensive support to back up his effort.

1st Period
  • Pekka continued his strong play from Games 5 and 6 of the Anaheim series, looking razor sharp in the 1st, stopping all 16 shots he faced. His teammates, in the meantime, gave him no help, only putting five shots on Roberto Luongo, and losing 22 of 25 face-offs in the period. Yikes.

2nd Period
  • Vancouver continued to put pressure on Rinne in the 2nd, and finally broke through at 12:14, taking advantage of very sloppy defense by the Preds as they left Chris Higgins unmarked in the slot. Rinne made a valiant effort to deny Higgins, but he buried a shot just under the crossbar.
3rd Period
  • Unlike the previous 40 minutes, Nashville finally figured out that they were playing, and showed signs of life and a decent sense of urgency as they tried to even the score. Their best scoring chance came short-handed via a Mike Fisher breakaway, but Luongo denied the tying goal.
Other Thoughts
  • Outside of Pekka, this game was U-G-L-Y. The Preds looked like the ones who were coming off a Game 7 win instead of 4 days rest, as the Canucks beat them to a bunch of loose pucks and really took the body to them. 
  • The Preds didn't score fewer than 3 goals in any of the games against Anaheim. Granted, Vancouver is a much better team defensively than the Ducks, but you never would've guessed that Nashville had a great offensive series against the Ducks after last night.
  • Vancouver won 40 of 66 face-offs. That needs to be fixed, stat.
  • An uncharacteristically undisciplined Patric Hornqvist showed up, taking three penalties during the game. Fortunately, the PK was able to kill off all five penalties that were taken throughout the game, but how long can that last? You can only keep the Sedins at bay for so long...
  • Luongo played great in Game 7 against Chicago, as well as here in Game 1, even though he never was really challenged. For someone that is notorious for choking in big games, he stepped up to the challenge on Tuesday, but how long will that momentum carry him?  Nashville needs to get in his head starting in Game 2; a goal would be a nice start.
It was certainly a night to forget, but it's only one game in a best-of-seven. Adjustments will be made, yelling will commence, and the Preds will come out re-focused in Game 2.