It sure feels like a Sunday, doesn't it? Again, due to holiday silliness, what normally runs Sunday is getting posted this evening. - Dirk
The Nashville Predators got this week off to a rousing start thanks to a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames yesterday, but still have plenty of coming up on the rest of the schedule. There are home games against teams from both the Western & Eastern Conferences, as well as a great chance for kids who are still on Winter Break to see the team practice, and even get an autograph or two!
Just follow after the jump for all the details...
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Tuesday - Open Practice @ A-Game
If you want to get an up-close look at this year's team, head over at A-Game Sportsplex in Cool Spring Tuesday afternoon as the Preds take over the place. From 1-3 p.m. there's a Public Skate ($7 fee, proceeds going to Children's Hospital), then an open practice by the team at 3:30, and player autograph signings from 5:00-6:00. For more details, check out the team's website.
Thursday vs. Dallas Stars
After jumping out to an early lead in the Pacific Division, the Dallas Stars have come back to the pack, and look like a team that may fight alongside the Preds for a Western Conference playoff spot. They recently got #1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen back in the lineup, but lost defenseman Sheldon Souray to Injured Reserve, so (assuming Shea Weber is still out) we'll miss that matchup of two of the hardest slap shots in all of hockey.
The guy to watch out for on the Stars will be Jamie Benn, who continues to develop into an offensive force:
|2011 - Jamie Benn||37||9||25||34||7||41||2||1||3||106||8.4|
Saturday vs. Carolina Hurricanes
When we talk about trade possibilities for the Preds, the concern is always about the number of trading partners on the NHL market, considering the fact that so many teams still consider themselves part of the playoff hunt, even right up to the Trade Deadline (which falls this year on February 27). Carolina, however, is in dead-last place in the Eastern Conference, and will certainly be sellers this winter. They boast five veterans who are eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, including three defensemen, such as Tim Gleason, who played for Team USA in the 2010 Olympics:
|2011 - Tim Gleason||40||1||10||11||0||37||0||0||0||39||2.5|
So what do you see as a reasonable expectation for the Predators this week? They already earned a 5-3 win over Calgary on Sunday, and have the luxury of spending the rest of the week on home ice, where they've won 7 of their last 8 games. Dallas is certainly battling for every point they can earn in the Western Conference playoff hunt, but what about the Hurricanes? They've won 3 out of their last 5, but you have to wonder about their competitive spirit given the way their season has gone.