Wednesday's notes: Predators Progress

Back on December 8, the Nashville Predators sported an unimpressive 12-11-4 record, and as I wrote in the game preview for that day, they were due for a slumpbuster. Sure enough, the Columbus Blue Jackets came to the rescue, as they dominated the Preds that night through 57 minutes, but then yielded to an incredible comeback that saw Nashville score twice in the final minutes of regulation, and again in overtime to pull off a remarkable 4-3 win.

That game launched the Preds into this 18-5-0 streak heading in to the All-Star break, but did it do something more? Has that comeback, and the 6-5 stunner which followed a couple weeks later, given this bunch a jolt of confidence that has led to stronger team play?

Whatever the formula is which has led to this recent run, let's just hope that the coaching staff has it bottled up and ready to go when play resumes in a week's time. Until then, this bunch has earned a few days off...

While reading this morning, listen to the radio highlights of last night's game, and an interview with Patric Hornqvist:

Predators Blackhawks highlights 2012-01-24 (mp3)

Patric Hornqvist on 1025 2012-01-24 (mp3)

Nashville Predators News

Smashville 24/7: Focus turns to Central Division lead
Ryan breaks down the head-to-head-to-head-to-head battle for Central Division supremacy.

Paul McCann - A Good Way to Begin a Break
Paul sets up tonight's SlapShot Radio show.

Rinne Picks Up 10 Wins in Remarkable January |
Not a bad month's work for Peks.

Nashville: The Boys From Beulah Land March to the Playoffs | The Hockey Writers
Comparing the Preds to the "prettiest girl at the cotillion"? I'd like to see Barry Trotz's reaction to that!

Hartnell added to All-Star Game - Predators Insider
Coach Trotz is glad to see his former player get the All-Star nod.

Nashville Predators' Patric Hornqvist uses foot to help Mike Fisher score - The Tennessean
Good stuff here on Hornqvist's kick, and Yip's fight last night.

Bridgestone Arena & Nashville Predators Promote David Kells To Vice President Of Booking - Nashville Predators
The Preds promote from within to fill a key role in the organization.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Thomas' White House snub, All-Star Game + 30 Thoughts | Hockey | CBC Sports
"With Nashville comfortably in the playoff race, a couple of teams indicated they'd heard defenceman Ryan Suter was off the market and the Predators were going for it."

Did Blues’ Barret Jackman prey on Matt Cooke’s reputation for boarding call? (Video) | Puck Daddy
You know, it sure does look like Jackman embellished this "hit". At the very least, Jackman is responsible for turning himself into the boards to go in face-first. He knew Cooke was right there with him and knew there was going to be contact.

Pizzo’s Points: The Art of the Chirp - Backhand Shelf
Sharing some of the NSFW dialogue that takes place on the ice.

Weighing the Options: Toronto Maple Leafs' Mikhail Grabovski - The Hockey Writers
Ooh, if he came available on the trade market, Grabovski might make a fine addition at center.

Appendectomy won't keep Stars' Jamie Benn from playing in All-Star game - The Dallas Morning News
Some guys will do anything to drop a little weight to gain advantage in the Fastest Skater competition.

Changing of the (old) guard at NHL’s all-star game - The Globe and Mail
The age of Lidstrom, Selanne, Pronger, et al is passing swiftly.

Elliott comes full circle with All-Star appearance -
Brian Elliott was cast off by the Senators, but has turned into a bargain beauty for the St. Louis Blues, with some of the best goaltending numbers in the NHL so far.

NHL's Central Division Dominant Again As All-Star Break Arrives -
And just think, the Central's Fantastic Four would still be together under the proposed realignment, too. It would suck to come in 5th behind this bunch and miss the playoffs.

Scott Gomez has a tough life - Backhand Shelf
Meh. I've seen worse.

Amateur hockey violence making referees lose control of games: study - National Post
A referee's job can get downright ridiculous at times, given how players, coaches, and parents can get going.

And Meanwhile, Heaven's Falling - Preds 3, Hawks 1 - Second City Hockey
The Blackhawks didn't expect to sit in 4th place at the All Star break, that's for sure.

Fleury shines as Penguins win seventh straight, beat Blues 3-2 (SO) - PensBurgh
Those pesky Blues managed to earn an OTL point on home ice against the Penguins.

Minnesota Wild @ Colorado Avalanche: Game Recap - Hockey Wilderness
The Wild skipped past the Avalanche for 8th spot in the West.

Oilers At Canucks Recap ; Going Post-al (3-2Ws/o) - Nucks Misconduct
Vancouver its the break with a cushy 9-point lead in the Northwest Division.

Bob, Tails Never Fails - Broad Street Hockey
The Flyers took a shootout decision at Florida.

Recap: Caps 5, Bruins 3 - Japers' Rink
The Washington Capitals went without three big stars last night but still got it done.

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