Last night's Skate of the Union was another big hit, a great way to keep the fans engaged long after the Preds' season was complete, and get some buzz going heading into the fall. While you'll be able to watch the video for yourself to get all the details, I just wanted to touch on a few of the noteworthy bits:
- Tom Ciggaran mentioned that the team is looking to bring in more investors, to the tune of $20-25 million, and that it may take up to 18 months to do this. The intent is to use that money to pay down debt and improve the financial stability of the team. Brett Wilson is still "inching toward the goal line" of joining the ownership group, and they hope to have that completed in September.
- There was a lot of talk about the continuing development of the arena, including word that there will be more features coming to the upper bowl, something "dynamic" in sections 316, 317 & 318 that was teased, and word that once the Music City Center is completed, "the back door will become the front door". It sounds like Bridgestone Arena will look quite different in 2014 than it does today.
- From a competitive standpoint, I get nervous when I hear so much hype about the kids who stepped in when others got hurt last season, and the projection that Niclas Bergfors will be the next Sergei Kostitsyn. As I mentioned yesterday, there is still plenty of time to fill out the roster, but what if the Preds face injury issues like in 2010-11? Who steps in then?
- For a guy who typically manages expectations, David Poile seemed to raise the bar by saying that the "window of opportunity is open" and that the Preds are positioned to compete for several years. While I can't recall the exact wording, he seemed to think the forwards get a bit of a bad rap for the offensive woes. I'm sorry, but I don't think a full season of Mike Fisher is going to make that much of a difference, and if they want to be a real Cup contender, this team needs an offensive force up front.
- Of course, there was the expected Radulov question, followed by Poile's assertion that he will probably come back next summer. Can you imagine if he were to make an appearance at Skate of the Union 2012?
- Two favorite moments - when the crowd gave a rousing standing O to a hockey fan from Atlanta and Barry Trotz gave him a very direct hard-sell on being a Preds fan, and when Jeff Cogen was asked about bringing the Milwaukee Admirals down for a game. He admitted that the idea wasn't even on his radar, but given the huge fan reaction to the idea, he'd look into it. While they're at it, they should really consider a Preds-Blackhawks pre-season game in Milwaukee...
- Lost in all the hubub last night was the signing of Shane O`Brien with the Colorado Avalanche. SOB really won me over during the course of the season, and besides being a solid physical presence and excellent penalty killer, there's an element that will be missing in the locker room going forward. I think I can best sum it up with an old beer-league anecdote I shared over at Pension Plan Puppets recently - SOB reminds me of my old teammate Steve.
- Huge thanks go out to the Predators organization, which brought in five of us bloggers for a closed-door session with the team's top executives before the public panel discussion to check out the new uniformsin their entirety and hear straight from them about the impetus and the process that brought the new look about. I like the fact that they wanted to create something bold & distinctive, while still remaining consistent with the classic elements of the team, like the Pred-head. If you haven't seen the new jerseys in person yet, withhold your judgment; many photos (particularly with a flash) don't do them justice.
And now, follow after the jump for your morning hockey news...
It's the final week of balloting, and we'd be honored to receive your daily vote for OTF as Best Blog in Nashville. Just click the banner below, sign in, then OTF can be found in "People & Places" ->"Best Blog". Be sure to check out our Hockey Fan's Guide to Toast of Music City Voting.
Nashville Predators News
Preds On The Glass: Nashville Predators "Skate of the Union" Address in Its Entirety (Exclusive Video)
Buddy is pretty much the unofficial videographer of Smashville, and has complete footage of last night's panel discussion.
Preds On The Glass: The Dramatic Unveiling of the Predators New Home Jersey on the Batman Building
Buddy also shot video as the big reveal occurred...
The View from 111: Predators Unveil Bold New Sweater
How does Mark spell relief? P-r-e-d-a-t-o-r-s-G-o-l-d.
Fang Finger Fever: Thoughts on the Skate of the Union
Josh touches the bases from last night, too.
Where you can buy the new Nashville Predators jerseys | Hockey Gear HQ - news, reviews & deals
With last night's big reveal of the new Nashville Predators home jersey last night at Bridgestone Arena, the natural question people are asking is, when can they get their hands on some?
Original Predator takes pride in franchise's consistency | Nashville City Paper
Scott Walker was a welcome guest at yesterday's festivities, and fondly recalls his days as a Predator.
Predators officials hit many high notes in 'Skate of the Union' | Nashville City Paper
David Boclair touches on many of the highlights from the Q&A, which is largely a chance for the team's leadership to get their message out in an unfiltered manner.
Nashville Predators split on realignment - The Tennessean
There are ups and downs associated with the various realignment options, so it's hardly a clear-cut decision for the Preds.
Around the NHL
New, Serious Injury For Huselius (Puck-Rakers Blog)
Ouch! Kristian Huselius suffered a nasty injury while lifting weights in Sweden, and is out until at least November, possibly January.
Torn pectoral? Gross, dude. " Puck, that hurts!
This is a wonderful blog which goes through the medical details of various injuries, and Huselius' sounds really nasty.
Rangers' Gaborik excited to team with Richards - NYPOST.com
New York's high-priced duo had better deliver...
Wait, Kevin Bieksa is still going to be Canucks’ target of scorn? - Puck Daddy
Wow, what does a guy have to do?
The Re-Invention of the Russian Junior Hockey System - Puck Worlds
There has been a great deal of concern in Eastern Europe about their junior programs lagging behind Canada and the US, and now they're doing something about it.