With the Conference Finals getting underway this weekend, fans of the Nashville Predators will recognize some familiar faces battling for the Clarence Campbell Bowl and the Prince of Wales Trophy, along of course with the chance to compete for the Stanley Cup in two weeks' time. In fact, each of the remaining teams boasts a former Predator in the lineup, offering a bit of an interesting question for Preds fans - which former member of the team are you rooting for to hoist the Cup in June?
Let's take a look at the candidates...
|2010 - Adam Hall||82||7||11||18||-12||32||0||0||1||167||4.2|
He's been a long time gone, having left Nashville in a trade almost five years ago, but Hall remains a popular figure with some Preds fans (notably, after scoring 16, 13, and 14 goals for the Preds from 2002-6, he hasn't hit double-digits since). Now on his 5th NHL team in Tampa Bay, he's got a 2nd chance at the Stanley Cup after his run with the Pittsburgh Penguins fell just short in 2008, when they lost to Detroit in 7 games.
|2010 - Dan Hamhuis||64||6||17||23||29||34||2||0||1||109||5.5|
A certified graduate of Nashville's NHL Defenseman Factory, Hammer went home to B.C. as an unrestricted free agent and delivered the goods, with a steady performance that landed atop one list as the league's top defensive blueliner. During the playoffs, his pairing with Kevin Bieksa was outstanding against the Predators, effectively retrieving dump-ins and getting the Canucks rolling back through the neutral zone.
|2010 - Scott Nichol||56||4||3||7||-3||50||0||0||0||61||6.6|
As big a "heart and soul" character as you'll find in the National Hockey League, Scotty Nichol's popularity far exceeds his diminutive stature. I'll never forget the time after the Preds were done with the regular season in 2009 (just missing the playoffs), he was out on the ice just a couple days later at the youth hockey clinic in Cool Springs that my son was attending. There was no "official appearance by Scott Nichol" or anything associated with it, he was just getting out there helping kids learn the game. The smile that put on my son's face, to take passes and score a goal from a real NHL player, was simply priceless.
|2010 - Rich Peverley||82||18||23||41||-17||37||6||2||3||201||9.0|
When Rich Peverley was lost to through waivers in January 2009, it was like watching somebody else pick up a $20 bill that you dropped on the sidewalk. After failing to produce offensively with the Preds (often, it could be said, due to the linemates he was placed with), Pevs lit up the scoreboard with the Atlanta Thrashers, popping along at nearly a point-per-game pace through the rest of that season.
He was traded from Atlanta to Boston earlier this year as part of a salary shuffle to help the Bruins land defenseman Tomas Kaberle, but only put up four goals and three assists in 23 games to finish the regular season. During the playoffs, he's chipped in a goal and six assists through 12 games.