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Saturday's Dump & Chase: SOTU Schedule & Notes

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It's going to be a great day for Predators fans!

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Skate of the Union is today and Predators fans everywhere are rejoicing. I would imagine Poile keeps the hype train rolling for this team in his address. That won't be too hard considering the preseason game tonight got sold out yesterday.

Via the Nashville Predators website, the Skate of the Union schedule:

Scott Hamilton Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer 1 pm
Skate of the Union Address on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza 3 pm
SOTU: Executive Panel (Cigarran, Henry, Poile, Laviolette) 3 pm
SOTU: GNASH Special Announcement 3:45 pm
SOTU: Player Panel (Ekholm, Fisher, Neal, Subban) 3:50 pm
Plaza Party begins 4:30 pm
Predators vs. Lightning 7 pm

If you can, get out and skate at Scott Hamilton's cancer awareness event. It's obviously a great cause and they were supposedly going to give away preseason game tickets to all attendees, though I don't know how they'll do that with the game sold out.

As far as the game goes, there will be a few interesting things to watch.

Kevin Fiala will likely play alongside Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg and has impressed everyone. General Manager David Poile called him the most improved player this summer. Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy said Fiala was the player that has most impressed the Predators coaching staff. Johansen talked about how he loved Fiala's hockey sense and speed when he played with him last season. Like Predators inside reporter Tom Willis said, there is a chance Fiala is a victim of the numbers game. But, if he keeps doing what he is doing he could very well earn a spot over his competitors Viktor Arvidsson and Pontus Aberg.

Pontus Aberg is another forward battling for a spot and he is also very close.

PK Subban and Matthias Ekholm will likely be paired together tonight. The Predators are going to try PK out with both Ekholm and Josi. It will be a matter of which pairing can get that instant chemistry and which pairings make the most sense going into the future. That all starts tonight with both Subban's and Ekholm's preseason debuts.

I would keep an eye on Samuel Girard, as well. He was mentioned by McCarty above as a player who has really stood out to the coaching staff because of his fantastic skating ability, but he also said he will obviously eventually have to be sent down. Girard just signed his first ELC with the Predators and he is coming off a season where he led all CHL defensemen in points and was named the QMJHL defenseman of the year. He undoubtably has a bright future in the world of hockey. Look for him in the U20 tournament for team Canada this winter.

Last, but not least, the Predators will be rotating Mazanec and Saros in net. Those two have been really pushing each other in training camp just as they did last season in Milwaukee. Mazanec and Saros have played very well this preseason and they will continue to try to out-do one another tonight, though they would probably assure you it's a friendly competition.

Overall, good times all around!

Nashville Predators News & Notes

P.K. Subban practices, will make Predators debut Saturday | The Tennessean
All of you going to the preseason game are in for a treat.

Training Camp Day Nine: How Swede It Is | Nashville Predators
It's great to see all of the Swedes back in Nashville. Forsberg's flow, though!

Predators Sign Allard to Entry-Level Contract | Nashville Predators
Frederic Allard earned his contract. He has the desire and willingness to get to the NHL level and he definitely has the skills. If he can put it all together he could be a great defenseman for the Predators in the future.

News from Around the NHL

11-Year-Old Japanese Hockey Prodigy Could Be the NHL's Next Superstar | Next Shark
If you haven't seen videos of this kid, watch and be blown away. He became an internet phenomenon a couple years back and it looks like he's coming over to Canada. Hockey is truly becoming a world wide sport.

5 things learned from Sept. 29 preseason games | NHL.com
The future is so bright for American hockey. Zach Werenski and Kyle Connor are two great examples mentioned here.

Will Connor McDavid soon become the youngest captain in NHL history? | CBC News
It's not a done deal yet, but if I were a betting man I'd say the 'C' for Connor McDavid's jersey is tucked away somewhere in the Oilers equipment room, just waiting to be revealed any day now.

NHL, NHLPA expect World Cup of Hockey to return in 2020

"[Don] Fehr, who represents players who have made it clear they want to be in the Olympics, said he's more optimistic than pessimistic a deal will get done." I'm definitely pro Olympics. Some of the greatest moments in hockey are from the Olympics and I don't think the magic of The Games has worn off.

World Cup of Hockey in review: Breaking down the good and the bad | CBSSports.com
Pretty fair breakdown.

Ticket upgrade puts real Canadian hockey fans in fancy seats, creates magic | ESPN
A nice little story from the World Cup of Hockey.

College Hockey: Road trips are part of the NCHC and college hockey's charm | NCAA.com
It was just club hockey but some of my best memories from my time playing for Auburn (and at Auburn in general) were the road trips. They were a great bonding experience and something I wouldn't trade for anything.

Fantasy Hockey - news, rumors and more on all 30 NHL teams | ESPN
A lot of love for Josi and Subban.

NHL Sees the World Cup of Hockey as a Coup | The New York Times
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that more editions of the event would follow but that the format might change.

Season Preview: New Jersey Devils | NHL.com
All I saw was "Taylor Hall expected to bolster offense in bid to return to Stanley Cup..." and I just about fell over laughing. But then I saw "...playoffs" at the end and still got a nice little chuckle.

Roundtable: Picking breakout players for the 2016-2017 season | SI.com
I like all of the picks here. Morgan Reilly really impressed at the World Cup of Hockey.