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The Weekender: Burning Bright

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NHL: Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

One of the things Nashville Predators fans love to tout is their cap situation. We love to point out that the core is signed for a while, and most of the key players are on reasonable deals. A raise will be due for Ryan Ellis in 2019, but Pekka Rinne’s current deal will be finished by then. Aside from that, it’s a pretty smooth picture.

If you haven’t yet, take a look at this upcoming crop of free agents.

Let’s remove the older guys like Joe Thornton, the Sedin brothers, and players that aren’t likely to maximize their earnings. What’s left? A wealth of options. Just among unrestricted free agent forwards, there are some expensive pieces available. John Tavares, Paul Stastny, James Neal, Evander Kane, James van Riemsdyk, Rick Nash, Josh Bailey, David Perron, Patric Hornqvist, and Jonathan Marchessault are all on expiring deals and are set to become UFAs at the end of the year. Sure, some of them will be re-signed... but none will be cheap. That’s a list of forwards that still have prime years left (yes, even Rick Nash... maybe) and will take an over-payment to lure in.

For the Preds fan who is used to having a quiet free agency period, that’s okay. This raises the salary cap, and makes your own assets signed to better deals even more valuable. The contract Ryan Johansen signed may have been a slight over-payment at the time, but Kyle Turris fetches more that $6m a year on the open market. Paul Stastny fetched north of $7m with his deal he signed a few years ago, and he didn’t have the postseason heroics Turris does in his highlight reel. That Turris contract is looking better and better.

In short, free agency is going to be a real blast this year. Nashville might not be as involved as some would like, but the end result will stand to benefit this team in the long term.

Let’s just hope the next expansion draft occurs later than sooner.

Just like you, I’m the person who wants this team to put their foot on the pedal and power through games rather than hiding behind their human wall. What’s more dangerous: blocking shots or carrying the puck and forcing the play? On Wednesday night, Nashville tried the plan we’ve been wanting to see.

It worked. Vancouver may be missing Bo Horvat, but the Canucks aren’t a bad team. Putting up 48 shots on anyone is a good recipe, especially on the road with a lead.

If you want a great time capsule of this game, check this out. This may be my favorite game recap structure I’ve ever seen.

The Predators had their way with the Canucks.

They beat them on the scoreboard.

They beat them on the ice.

They basically did whatever they wanted with the Canucks, with very little in the way of any sort of push-back.

Daniel Sedin must have been flattened four times in the first period alone, and the Canucks had no answer.

I don’t agree with Vancouver channeling the methods of LaPierre and Burrows. Just because your team was very good with a few players that have the character and self-worth of a human colostomy bag doesn’t mean Jake Virtanen needs to assume that role.

It should be acceptable to just lose, and not have to act like a petulant child about it... especially when the team you’re playing against is doing this:

That’s the exact style of play I love to see, and something that every team should take note of. It creates plenty of chaos on the ice, and forces a team to mind their positioning at all times.

You know a team put on an ass-whooping when it makes Deadspin.

Also, Filip Forsberg made a pass for the ages.

TSN’s Ian Mendes thinks the Sens should give up on this season.

Eugene Melnyk is denying any report that says he’s selling the team.

Kyle Turris spoke regarding Ottawa, saying he didn’t think Melnyk wanted him back in Ottawa.

The Senators are a big ol’ mess... but Guy Boucher is safe, right? Right.

I won’t understand why Ottawa is in such a mess, but it’s a perfect storm of ownership and player strife, underachievement, and contracts expiring. Ottawa is becoming the team other Canadian cities are looking at as a social experiment.

I want Ottawa to succeed, more than any other Canadian market. With the bloom still on the rose in Winnipeg, Ottawa may be the weakest Canadian market. It’s never going to be easy for them, but reckless management may steer this team into the rocks. The Senators are pushing for a new building, and a winning team usually helps sway the vote on these issues. For their sake, Ottawa needs to make the best of their situation with their talented roster.

On a different note, the Predators are allowing too many shots against Juuse Saros. Expecting him to stop 40+ shots every night is a fool’s wish. But hey, he’s winning.

Indeed, the actual board game can become a drawn-out affair—not unlike, say, Monopoly—which is why Thornton prefers the app, where initial setups are randomized, dice rolls are automated and matches rarely last longer than an hour. He’s hardly alone too. On an early-December afternoon following practice at the Washington Capitals’ facility, forward Jay Beagle sips a protein shake and stretches on the locker room carpet. “I’m really good at conquering the world,” he explains, with all the nonchalance of a seasoned general. “It’s a gift.” has finally exposed the seedy underworld of the NHL’s band of Risk players.

This was taken from the Rick McConnell’s recap of the Oilers/Preds game.

His team is now nine points out of a wild-card spot and getting closer and closer to some kind of algebraic purgatory where the playoffs will become all-but impossible to make.

Can we add “algebraic purgatory” to our glossary? That’s amazing.

We haven't won anything yet

but most of our defensive core and major offensive producers are locked up to favorable contracts for several years. There are boilerplate sports stories of dominate teams that are great for years and then fall from grace and eventually have to do a burn down and rebuild. Colts Football, Miami Football in the 80’s, Dallas Cowboys in the 90’s, and Chicago Bulls in the 90’s. What, in your opinion, are the steps needed to take or pitfalls to avoid for the Predators, and any team in any sport on the come up, to avoid that fate after several years of dominate performance? The several years of dominate performance are in our future or so says my conformation bias crystal ball(patent pending).


/cracks knuckles

When it comes to building a team long-term, here are the differences with the NHL vs the other leagues: depth can overcome top-end talent in the NHL, and scouting can overcome draft positioning. The best skaters in the NHL still only play about a third of the game. Being able to develop players patiently allows for some more seasoned depth players to fill out roster spots as opposed to kids on the ELC’s. In the NFL, you can get a starter/quality player in the 5th round. In the NHL, you’re more likely to get a career AHL player in the 5th round.

Side note: Miami football fell off after Dennis Erickson left, amid sanctions. Even with bad facilities and a stadium not even close to campus, the only things that have been proven to take Miami football down when it’s rolling are their coach being poached by the NFL (Johnson, Erickson, Davis... even though they won with Coker) and NCAA sanctions. And that’s coming from a Gator fan.

As much love as the Patriots get for being the only real elite team in the NFL, a few other teams can claim to be competitive over the last decade. Pittsburgh has been competitive, largely because they know who their franchise guys are, built around them with interchangeable parts, and they always have a plan. Green Bay has shown a model that’s similar to the Manning Era model in Indianapolis with steady offense and a defense that’s built to play from ahead. It’s about consistency, and knowing what to look for in the drafts.

Knowing what to look for is key in any sport. A fine example is Romelu Lukaku moving to Manchester United. Lukaku’s transfer fee was around £100m, and his talent was on display on a counter-attacking team, which thrives on speed and attacking in numbers. United play a defense and possession first style, which doesn’t allow for much space for the striker to create his own shot. Lukaku is still very talented, but he’s not playing the style that worked for him, and United aren’t getting the goals needed from him. It’s about the fitting the right piece into the puzzle, no matter the sport.

The Preds are built like a neighborhood developed by savvy investors. The bulk of the key pieces are signed on team-friendly deals. There’s a designed window for 6 to 7 years with this core. This proactive strategy gives Nashville a chance to keep building on to what they have rather than reshuffling every year.

The designed window is key. That gives David Poile and company plenty of time to restock the system for the next generation.

is Maple smoked bacon indeed better than applewood smoked bacon?


Yes. Maple wood has stronger sugars in the wood, which will give off a more robust flavor to pork. Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar and black pepper on it, and you’ll be a hero.

What's the best "suburb" in the Preds' primary market

And why is the answer obviously Bowling Green?

George Woodard

It depends on what your definition of “best” is. Franklin is pretty great. Mount Juliet is very good. There’s a reason why Franklin is high on everyone’s radar. It’s beautiful, and it’s aging gracefully. The problem with some of suburbs around here is commuting, which is the only demerit to Mount Juliet. Franklin has everything you need, and unlike Clarksville... it’s not Clarksville.

Bowling Green is missing a few things, but it’s up there. BG is like a product of a science experiment involving Murfreesboro, Lebanon, and Dickson. It’s easy to get around and has a Liquor Barn. While it doesn’t have the food options that most of the Nashville area has, I am partial to Mariah’s new location by the ballpark and Chaney’s Dairy Barn. Chaney’s is worth the drive. The schools are good, the roads are good, and the development looks promising.

What's better on a sandwich?

Maple syrup or guacamole?


This could work both ways. Maple syrup works well with spicy pulled pork that has the right amount of salt content. Guacamole can depend on the oil content. If you’re making guacamole with the knowledge that it could end up on a sandwich, PLEASE limit the amount of olive oil you use. Guacamole is a bit more versatile, but let’s not discount the wonderful addition that maple brings to everything.

What are ethical forms of trash talk for opposing fans that enter Bridgestone in your mind? Do the rules change if you go somewhere else?

Mocking their fan base for its size?

Mocking their fan base for lack of passion?

Mocking (or doing fake versions of) their chants?

Mocking their city’s history?

Mocking their fan bases history?

Mocking their region’s most popular food staples?

You don’t have to do all of them or you can just answer the first question without the list for all I care. I just want Dan D Bradley’s trash talk thoughts.


I’m a total libertarian as long as no one gets physically hurt. The general rule I have is “Ask yourself: do you have room to talk?”. For the sake of good ol’ content, we can bullet point the hell out of this.

  • What are ethical forms of trash talk for opposing fans that enter Bridgestone in your mind? Do the rules change if you go somewhere else?
    Don’t try to do Bridgestone Chants outside of Bridgestone, unless there are more Nashville fans in the entire arena. “Play dumb games, win dumb prizes.”
  • Mocking their fan base for its size?
    Eh, not our style. Our fanbase was tiny at one point. National outlets still can’t get our logo right consistently. And now the fanbase is going to swell, so we don’t want to be “those guys”.
  • Mocking their fan base for lack of passion?
    OH HELL YES. All the excuses we were told about Joe Louis Arena’s lower seats being empty “because they’re all owned by auto executives and there aren’t enough luxury suites” is being completely invalidated by their shiny new arena’s empty seats. Let’s say we buy the “all the cool stuff in the arena” excuse. If your concourse is giving all of your fans A.D.H.D., don’t call yourself “Hockeytown”.
  • Mocking (or doing fake versions of) their chants?
    It depends on how hateful it sounds. If folks wanted to sing a troll version of the Fratellis’ goal anthem after a shutout favoring the home team over Chicago, the escalator may be the best option.
  • Mocking their city’s history?
    Controversial, but yes... I’m good with this. Some of our rivals love to tie their city’s toughness to its own crime history. That should be fair game, but there’s plenty of other fruit to pick. Titans never truly existed (as far as we know), but the steel industry left Pittsburgh willingly.
  • Mocking their fan bases history?
    I follow @montrealcopcar on Twitter. I also speak in broken French about Chris Kreider, always ending in “Le BOOOOOOOOO”. That’s more of something I do around the house. Poking fun of the Vancouver riots is okay in my book. Sure, those actions don’t represent all of British Columbia, blah blah. BUT... the city said it was the NHL’s fault. We had tens of thousands of people downtown to watch game six... and we handled it quite well by comparison.
  • Mocking their region’s most popular food staples?
    You masterfully saved this one for last. Yes, absolutely. When your city’s best contributions to America’s culinary culture are the products of drunk mistakes (toasted ravioli, which some cook dropped in the deep fryer) or food that’s misidentified (loaded tomato casserole in a bread bowl) or just bad (click here), we have room to talk. A lot of room.

Do you have tattoos?

Would you get a Preds tattoo?


No, and no. I don’t have any tattoos. I like the ideas of them, but I can’t justify spending that much money on myself (and I’d want something that looks swell... bad tattoos don’t age well). I’d rather spend money on traveling. That’s a double standard, but it’s easier for me to spend money on entertainment and memories than decorations on my body. I guess it’s because I wouldn’t have to look down and see the hotel bill on my arm/chest for the rest of my days. Every time I’ve wanted to get a tattoo, I’d ask myself “Would you rather spend $350 on some ink on your arm, or a hotel near the beach and a bar tab?”. I usually choose the latter.

I don’t have any sports decor in my place either. My reasoning on that is it would stick out too much. I do my best to have a very peaceful place, and it’s mostly nature art and barnwood on the walls aside from the hallway. The hallway has plenty of old concert posters; including a Fleetwood Mac that faces my bathroom. The first thing I see when I open my bathroom door is the original lineup of Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey Buckingham is wearing that dangerous jacket-with-no-shirt combo.

Which Stapleton album is best/your favorite and why? (God, he’s so good.)

Murphy MacManus

It’s tough to separate the two From A Room albums, but Traveler stands alone. The Steeldrivers’ self-titled album is superb. “If it hadn’t been for love” should be taught in universities.

What is your opinion of the new Chorus editor overall?

(Because wow, I hate that thing.)

Kate R

I don’t mind it. They do keep tinkering with it, and it’s responsive. The preview function is pretty cool, and it’s easier to embed a few things. I was on the call with Vox HQ when this was in beta, and there are some things I’m still waiting on from that beta release feedback session.

I’ve always believed in “training the audience”, and putting out consistent content at the same place at the same time. That’s why the D&C is out every morning when it is, and why this is on Friday or Saturday depending on the schedule. When people know when and where to look, you don’t have to shamelessly self-promote as much. I’m not one for self-promotion, mostly because I don’t enjoy it when others do it and I’m worried I’ll look irritating to someone else. We’re pretty spoiled with the tools Vox gives us, and their SEO is very strong. I can’t complain about the editor too much. I worked in FanSided’s WordPress portal back in the day, and that perspective hasn’t left me.

  • I nearly had the lyrics to Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” dedicated to Jim Diamond and the Vegas twitter fiasco. I didn’t run with it, but Jim was right. Cheering in the press box is against Rule #1. A good portion of Nashville media are folks that worked their way into the box from the stands by way of trust and professionalism. Diamond stood up for the other folks when he didn’t have to. As usual, Jim Diamond was right. You don’t post inaccurate takes, and you don’t lie when you press ‘send’. You don’t go and say that the press was clapping, and you don’t mess around with Jim.
  • It was fun to see Scott Hartnell back in the fold for the roadtrip. He’s something different compared to the speedy wingers that love their own shot. Hartnell is a great complementary player, and his effort has been noticeable this year.
  • Did anyone expect Kyle Turris to be the assist machine since he came aboard? He’s thriving on his line with Fiala and Smith. He’s playing like someone who is having more fun than anyone else on the ice.
  • The Blues have caught the injury bug. Jaden Schwartz is out for a while, Alex Pietrangelo is on IR, and Jay Bouwmeester is out with an “undisclosed injury”. This comes at a rough time for the Blues, with a pair of games against the Jets looming.
  • We spent time on Ottawa earlier with their struggles, but at what point do the Sabres do something? We’re hearing rumblings regarding Evander Kane, and he could be the first domino to fall.
  • I’m sure Nashville wanted to play safe in front of Saros, but that extra space allowed Edmonton to pepper Saros with a high volume of shots. Looking back, that was a bit risky... but it feels good seeing the young Finnish netminder finding his groove.
  • Kyle Turris is on a point per game pace since joining Nashville. It’s worth mentioning.
  • If you were to think of one word to describe Nashville’s play as of late (other than dominant), how about “unselfish”. We’re seeing this team make that extra pass and convert their quality chances. If you grew up watching Barry Trotz hockey and seeing teams frantically try to check pucks into the net, this is a welcome change.
  • That being said, the team played two games this week. One game saw the Preds at their best, the other game saw the Preds converting their chances while their goalie bailed them out. They won both with a combined score of 11-1.

On to the next one.