As I mentioned in last night's Game Thread, thanks to those of you who have bought Nashville Predators tickets using the OTF Discount, I recently hit a milestone within the team's Ambassadors Club, and as a reward, they gave me two seats on the glass (known as the Lexus Inner Circle Front Row) to last night's game. Unfortunately, the seats didn't come with a Lexus.
Sure, there are some times when you can't see the action so well (I did miss Luongo's amazing save on Colin Wilson in the 2nd period), but if you ever have the chance to sit down close to the ice, I highly recommend giving it a shot (one way to try and get them cheap is with our partner, TiqIQ). You get a whole new appreciation for just how vicious these bastards can be to each other, late in a tied game where every possession counts (the amount of stickwork was just brutal). There were a few things I noticed:
- Kevin Bieksa has the nastiest facial hair I've ever seen.
- All of these guys are incredibly powerful skaters, but one who always impresses me in that regard is Kevin Klein.
- I love the way Alexander Edler comes to the bench at the end of a shift. He just leans back, raises his front leg and steps over the boards like they're nothing. As a vertically-challenged rec-league player, I'd be better off with a doggy door installed in there.
- The margin of error is so small, given how fast the NHL has become. I worry that perhaps Jerred Smithson is falling behind there, as even though he won key faceoffs, when forced to pursue the play he was too often left to whack a guy on the hands rather than skate alongside and check his opponent off the puck.
- Hopefully this season can put to bed the tired notion some hold around the league that the Preds are a boring "trap" style of team. They get two guys working the forecheck aggressively most of the time, and actively try to make life difficult for opposing defensemen. When it pays off, it's awfully fun to watch.
- My wife had the best line of the night, saying that I finally had something in common with an NHL player, as Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome had a hole in the back of his hockey pants all night long. When we were first dating, the old hockey pants I used at the time had a huge hole in the back with allowed the pad to come flopping out. I tried stitching it up myself, but that only made things worse...
And now, on to your morning hockey notes!
Nashville Predators News
As always after a game, I recommend surfing through the "Other Predators Sites" box on the left-hand side of the front page here at OTF, pretty much every blog in town has a recap from last night.
Ads Get Away With One; Defeat Stars 4-3 In OT | Admirals Roundtable
The Admirals overcame a lot of obstacles (some self-made) but still came out on top.
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Dangnabbit, the Blue Jackets did something decent:
I am pleased to announce that we have signed Vinny Prospal to a 1 year contract extension.— Scott Howson (@GMScottHowson) February 8, 2012
KuklasKorner : The Malik Report : St. James: Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard might return ‘early,’ Cleary may have knee issues addressed
The Red Wings might not have to go so long without their #1 goalie after all.
Hradek: A look at the NHL's most impactful rookies - NHL.com
There's the Honey Badger...
Blueshirt Banter Discussion: Do You Mess With This Team's Chemistry At The NHL Trade Deadline? - Blueshirt Banter
Here's a tricky question which could apply to the Preds, too.
What is Mikhail Grabovski worth? - The Globe and Mail
Quite a lot. This guy has really taken a big step forward over the last few seasons.
Diagnosing sports injuries never an exact science - The Globe and Mail
The bit in here about potential conflicts of interest with regards to medical staff is worth a think or two.
Carolina Hurricanes notes: Kirk Muller's team still has a lot to play for | The Hockey Writers
For Koach Kirk, it's all about laying a foundation for next season.
Danish Extension of Merriment: Frans Nielsen Agrees to 4-Years, $11 Million - Lighthouse Hockey
I trust this won't serve as a distraction to the Islanders. Seriously, though, this is a great deal for them.
It's sounding more and more likely that the Edmonton Oilers are going to give GM Steve Tambellini an extension. Has he really done much to deserve one?
Kontinental Hockey League - Official Website - Piece of the action
Get your KHL trading cards!
Canucks Bitzkrieg Predators: Recap and Chance Data | CanucksArmy
A Canucks blogger counted the scoring chances from last night's game, for your review.
Canucks At Predators Recap ; AV's Moves Work ( 4-3Ws/o) - Nucks Misconduct
Canucks fans are left with lots to chew on over this one. And we thought Barry was a line juggler...
Blues beat who they're supposed to beat: get two points off Ottawa - St. Louis Game Time
The St. Louis Blues passed the Preds for 4th in the West, as they've played two fewer games than Nashville.
Hawks at Avs Recap, Avs win 5-2 - Mile High Hockey
The Blackhawks are in a bit of a spiral, having lost three straight now.
The Afterburners: Jets Prevail 2-1 Over Tired Leafs - Arctic Ice Hockey
The Winnipeg Jets are hanging around that Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Islanders 1*, Flyers 0 (*SO): Evgeni Nabokov Provides the Salvation, $11M Man Nielsen Delivers the Judgment - Lighthouse Hockey
Nielsen started paying dividends on that new deal by scoring in the shootout for the Islanders.