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: Brandon Felder
Brandon Felder covers the Predators for Hockeybuzz.com, working the locker room for post-game quotes and providing recaps of each and every Preds game over the last few seasons, and joins Paul McCann on the Hockeybuzz Radio broadcasts. Having recently graduated from MTSU with a degree in sports journalism, it’s only a matter of time before we lose
For more on Brandon, just follow the jump...
Q: How long have you been a hockey fan, and have you always followed the Preds?
I've been a hockey fan since I first started covering games in the 05-06 season just after the lockout. Having grown up in the south, I was never really exposed to much hockey as a kid. Once I attended my first game and really watched, I was hooked.
Q: What drew you into blogging?
Having an outlet to express my thoughts on what was happening each gamhe. Also, being able to bring fans quotes that don't make it into the newspapers was a challenge I wanted to tackle. Blogging was an
avenue I decided to try because I was already attending games with a media pass and wanted to give fans my unique perspective of what was going on.
Q: Before we dig into the year ahead, what's your favorite hockey memory?
At this point in my short career working with hockey, my favorite memory is still the first time the Nashville fans stood and cheered through a TV timeout. That very first time still brings chills and it was one of tose moments that everyone in the press box looked around and just watched in awe.
Q: With training camp on the horizon, which new Predator are you most looking forward to seeing?
Well, I would say Colin Wilson, but technically he is not a new addition to the Preds. So, with just free agent acquisitions in mind (the few that there are), I would have to go with Marcel Goc. I'm pretty sure he is going to be on this team so I just want to see if he can play that Scott Nichol role the way it should be played. I think
Goc will be effective and really just want to see if he has more offensive pop than he showed in San Jose.
Q: Who would you like to see on the second line with Legwand & Erat?
Petr Sykora. Oh, you mean on the team already? Well, then right now I say Ryan Jones. I still feel his game is most effective on a top 2 scoring line and as long as Leggy or Marty shoot the puck, then Jones would fit well on this line.
Q: Who's your pick for Most Improved Pred this season?
I'm going to go with Dan Ellis. I don't think he had a bad year last season, rather, he was the unfortunate victim of the early season's "no defense" mode. That said, I think Dan will be really solid in net, challenging Pekka, and making himself a very valuable commodity in his contract year.
Q: Who will lead the team in scoring?
I think J.P. Dumont will again lead the team in points, and Steve Sullivan will lead the team in goals.
Q: Where do you think the Preds will finish in the Central Divisionand Western Conference?
At this point, with the current roster, I would have to say 11th or 12th in the Conference. There is still a depth issue at forward, a reliance on young players to fill scoring voids, and just not enough pop in the offense to convince me the playoffs are coming to Nashville this year. I think the goaltending is solid, which will win quite a few games, but overall, I don't think the Preds have enough depth to get to the post-season. Just one injury could cripple the team, and let's be honest, what season has not seen at least one of the Preds top 6 forwards miss some time?
This view is not what the fans want to hear, but I have to call it like I see it, and right now, I'm not convinced the Preds are a playoff team. I hope they prove me wrong though.