Afternoon notes: It ain't easy, it's The Predator Way

So often you'll hear Barry Trotz or David Poile talk about "The Predator Way", the organization-wide vision that emphasizes maintaining focus on the task at hand, not what has gone before or what might come down the road, and doing so with complete dedication to the team concept. That mindset has allowed the team to push aside distraction during the ownership turmoil of 2007, and maintain their performance despite a host of serious injuries which gutted their lineup this season. One such example of that dedication came in their Game 5 victory at Vancouver.

We have good reason to believe that the ability to block shots is indeed a skill that varies from team to team (as opposed to some stats which simply vary to the extent predicted by random causes) and what we're seeing with the Nashville Predators right now demonstrates an extra level of commitment on that front. During the regular season, the Preds blocked the 3rd-fewest shots in the league, but Saturday night in Vancouver they blocked an astounding 30 shots. Going back through the last 3 seasons of play, only twice have they even stopped 25 from getting through to the net, let alone 30. Yes, yes, small size and all, but it's an impressive achievement, driven in part by Mike Fisher's 6 shot blocks (he led all forwards during the regular season with 89).

Desperate times call for desperate measures, as the saying goes, and there's nothing more desperate for a hockey club than a playoff elimination game.

Since you guys have been so good, I'll share some additional news & notes after the jump...

Nashville Predators News

Twitter / @Nirva Milord: Country music legend Charl ...
According to the NHL's Director of Entertainment Publicity, Charlie Daniels will be performing the Star Spangled Banner tonight.

New territory for ice conditions | Predators Insider
With near-record high temperatures today, the Preds have an extra challenge when it comes to providing an NHL-quality ice surface tonight.

Just One - The View from 111
Mark really needs to be let inside to give the pre-game speech tonight.

Dierks Bentley 'Toots' Nashville Predators in Stanley Cup Race - The Boot
Dierks Bentley is just one of many celebrity Predators fans who don't just show up at the occasional game, but knows what he's talking about.

WCSF – Canucks @ Predators, Game 6 – Win or go home: Take 2 | The Predatorial
Is tonight the night when Kostitsyn and Hornqvist finally get rolling?

Devoted fans brave the heat to welcome their team home - Lady Preds
One fan has a host of photos from yesterday's welcome rally at the airport.

It Can Help To Be in Nashville - The Spin
Damien Cox points out how the lack of media pressure in Nashville can help the team develop prospects without some of the distractions you see in places like Toronto or Montreal.

Around the NHL

2011 Eastern Conference Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning (5) vs. Boston Bruins (3) - Raw Charge
The Bruins have Zdeno Chara and outstanding goaltending, while the Lightning boast superstar scoring and an unusual style of play. This should be a fascinating Eastern Conference Final.

It Wasn't Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor - Pension Plan Puppets
Encouraging words from Maple Leafs Land: "As any true non-terrorist should be doing, I'm cheering for the Preds as should you."

Jay Mohr Returns to the NHL Awards " Puck The Media
"Dislike"

Roenick calls Marleau ‘gutless’: Constructive critic or crossed line? - Puck Daddy
Did JR go too far, or not far enough last night on Versus? 

2011 playoffs becoming the Year of the Dive - The Globe and Mail
Greg Louganis for the Conn Smythe?

Blue Jackets bailout: Arena purchase on ice for now | BlueJacketsXtra
It's been two years since the Blue Jackets complained about financial losses and floated the idea of the city of Columbus buying Nationwide Arena from them, but little progress has been made on that front.

Who’s Doing It Right? How SBNation Marries Talent and Technology in Sports - Forbes
Cool stuff here about the SB Nation business model and the future of online media.

MLX Skates review, a new approach to high-end hockey skates | Hockey Gear HQ
As a middle-aged beer leaguer whose best playing days were 15 years and 40 pounds ago, I wondered how much impact a pair of high-performance hockey skates could have. The answer? Plenty...

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