While I’m scouring the Caribbean for a 2nd-line winger (since David Poile hasn’t found one yet), stay tuned for a number of features highlighting the members of what has become a vibrant and diverse community – your Nashville Predators bloggers. Before heading out on vacation I had the good sense to get others to do my writing for me this week, so I asked them to answer some questions which will not only help you get to know each one of them, but also provide some conversation about where the Preds are headed this season. I hope you’ll enjoy their replies as much as I did.
Get to know a Preds blogger: Paul McCann
Ask anyone about attending a Nashville Predators game at the Sommet Center, and one thing that sticks out is the college-like atmosphere inside the arena. The fans are loud and proud, the entertainment comes at you non-stop, and the Game Operations staff goes further to sell the game of hockey than in just about any city in the NHL. A key part of that team is Paul McCann, the PA Announcer for the Predators, the main voice behind Hockeybuzz Radio, and blogger over at Hockeybuzz as well. Paul's love for the sport comes through during every home game, mixing the legendary "enthusiasm" of Philadelphia fans with a dose of Southern hospitality...
Q: How long have you been a hockey fan, and have you always followed the Preds?
At the risk of severly dating myself... I've been a hockey fan since the late 60's when the Flyers came to Philly, so... no, I haven't "always" followed the Preds... Our family was a charter season ticket holder for the Flyers, my brother still has them after 42 years. I was a Day One season ticket holder with the Preds and it didn't take long for the Flyers to become second in my book, my family still hasn't forgiven me...
Q: What drew you into blogging?
I just took a crack at it and found out I liked it...
Q: Before we dig into the year ahead, what's your favorite hockey memory?
That's easy... May 1975... The Flyers winning their second Stanley Cup, skipping school to go to the parade on Broad Street.
Q: With training camp on the horizon, which new Predator are you most looking forward to seeing?
I'm going to be keeping my eyes on three players... 1) Nick Spaling, due to his great conditioning camp in July, the coaches are very high on him. 2) Peter Olvecky, he could be a real diamond in the rough. 3) Cody Franson, it's time to see if he can make the jump, frankly, it's my belief that he is the key to the Preds going after a vet on the blueline in the late free agent market.
Q: Who would you like to see on the second line with Legwand & Erat?
If the idea is to keep Legwand at center, then Ryan Jones... If Legwand moves to wing then Colin Wilson.
Q: Who's your pick for Most Improved Pred this season?
Hard to call the leading scorer from the team most improved, but I believe it will be JP Dumont. He's fully healthy and has been really training hard in the offseason. I believe that he was dinged up for the majority of the season last year and never fully recovered from the hit he took from Alex Burrows. He's fully recovered now.
Q: Who will lead the team in scoring?
Q: Where do you think the Preds will finish in the Central Division and Western Conference?
This was a lot easier question about 6 weeks ago. The Central has the ability to be the toughest division in hockey, but chaos in Chicago, big questions in Columbus, St. Louis counting on a lot of injured players to return to full strength and talent losses in Detroit it's anybody's guess. I will say this, the Preds will not finish in the basement of the division like they did last season.