It's a rare treat to have the Broad Street Bullies come to Nashville tonight, and of course for Predators fans this represents a chance to play "what if" the Great Fire Sale of 2007 never had to take place.
But why look back? This 2009-10 Predators team is one of the more interesting squads in franchise history, defying the stereotype most outsiders hold of Nashville as a no-name, defensively-oriented team that struggles to win 2-1, 1-0 games.
- While they lack a big-name offensive star (and might not have a single player reach 50 points), the Preds are 12th in Goals Per Game. They perhaps embody the "scoring by committee" tag better than any NHL team in recent memory.
- While they enjoy a wealth of talented defensemen, the Predators are not a very good defensive team, 20th in Goals Against Per Game. Despite employing the characteristic work ethic that Barry Trotz is famous for instilling in his players, defensive coverage breakdowns are worryingly common.
- The goaltending this year has been decent, but certainly not outstanding, as has usually been the case in Nashville, and the penalty killing has been downright dreadful.
- The power play, typically the Achilles heel of Predators teams, has sparked to life in recent weeks and has climbed to 17th in the latest team statistics.
The bottom line? This is a team that excites and infuriates its fans on a nightly basis, but is also capable of doing some great things this spring.
Just make sure to open your eyes and appreciate this team on its own terms, instead of carrying forward characterizations of its predecessors,
And now, on to the morning news and notes...
Preds On The Glass: Tuesday Tidbits, POTG Podcast with Brian Metzer, and Game Preview
Buddy has a recap of last night's podcast, and a look ahead to tonight's game.
Predators face key part of their past - The Tennessean
Some like to call Philadelphia "Nashville East" given all the players who have headed to the Flyers over the years, most prominently Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen.
Preds 101: This I Used to Believe, Part 2: Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Hamilton Predators!
It's time to quite ruminating on the past, writes Preds 101, and look ahead to what should be an exciting run to the playoffs.
Talkin' 'bout practice - Predators Insider
John Glennon notes that at this time of year, practice time becomes ever more scarce.
Around the NHL
Frequent Flyers: All Flyers GM Holmgren can do is watch as playoffs approach - Philadelphia Daily News
The Flyers surprised everyone at the trade deadline by standing pat, but GM Paul Holmgren likes what he's got (hat tip to Kukla's Korner).
Colorado Avalanche: Worried Yet? - Behind The Net
Hawerchuk, like myself, keeps waiting for the Avalanche to tumble down the Western Conference standings, but they stubbornly refuse to realize that they shouldn't be a playoff team.
3.5 Years In: Garth Snow's team taking shape - Lighthouse Hockey
Islanders GM Garth Snow has taken the long view, loading up on draft picks over the years, and that strategy might finally start paying off, writes Dominik.
Managers urge NHL to fast-track head shot regulations - The Globe and Mail
Might the NHL actually enable the new head shot rule before the end of this season? That's what some GM's are pushing for.
Cold Cases: The NHL's other missing items - Down Goes Brown
The Mighty DGB updates us on other NHL-related investigations besides Sidney Crosby's missing Olympic gear. My favorite? "Daniel Alfredsson's Stanley Cup ring".
Hall Vs. Seguin: Situational Scoring - Hockey or Die
Jonathan Willis attempts to split hairs by assessing the top two prospects for this summer's NHL Draft.
Alexander Ovechkin and Bill Muckalt - mc79hockey.com
Tyler has no problem with the Ovechkin suspension, and neither do I. Because some players escape suspension for dangerous plays doesn't mean Ovechkin should be excused.
Modano has surgery for appendectomy - Andrew's Dallas Stars Blog
The veteran Stars center is going to be "out of action indefinitely".