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The Weekender: Failing to Make a Statement

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The views and opinions expressed in this piece may not reflect those of the rest of the staff at OnTheForecheck.

Let’s briefly go back to 2012. The Predators were active at the trade deadline and brought in Andrei Kostitsyn, Hal Gill, and Paul Gaustad. Then in March, the Preds did the unthinkable. They brought back the enigma himself, Alex Radulov, right after his KHL season ended. The move allowed Nashville to add another piece after the deadline, and allowed Radulov to complete his entry-level contract.

Radulov’s first game with Nashville was in Pittsburgh in front of a national TV audience. It was a great chance to build some momentum and get some national exposure.

The game didn’t go well. The Predators were humiliated, and the mannerisms on the bench weren’t great by the staff and the players. The moment Pittsburgh scored first, the attitude looked to be “let’s get through this as fast as possible”.

Pair that moment with Nashville’s failure in 2010, and it wouldn’t be hard to assign the label of “untrustworthy” to the Preds under Barry Trotz. Older fans can relate to the feeling of dread that players like Rinne will never win an individual award, or having the creeping doubt when the Blues score first in Game 6. The most recent incarnation haven’t enough to warrant that level of doubt.

Thursday night was bad, and for folks who don’t normally see the Predators... it could look like that night in Pittsburgh in 2012 to them. Chances are that you’ll hear a bit more “can they trust Rinne” chatter this week from the national folks. Some of it will be deserved, sure.

It’s the first regulation loss since... well, it’s been a while. No need to panic. But with the weekend containing a pair of key divisional games on the road, a better performance is warranted. For what it’s worth, Ryan Ellis was saying all the right things.

That stupid Toronto game was... stupid. The team played like a bunch of overconfident high school/college players that won some big games, and hung around campus listening to people telling them how good they were. They got smoked by a team that wanted it more, and Nashville backed down. This may be one loss, but because it’s Toronto, they’ll hear about it.

They deserve it. It was a big chance to keep the distance from the Jets, and solidify their standing as the top team in the league. It was a lackluster game, and the Preds were due for one... but you wish they didn’t look as lethargic against a quality team at home with Rinne in net.

They beat Buffalo.

The one bright spot against Toronto? Viktor Arvidsson’s goal and the pass to find him.

He now has 27 goals with 9 games remaining.

1) What GMs get fired this offseason

2) Have you put your name in for the Carolina job?



1. Let’s see what happens in D.C., but Garth Snow should be shown the door if Tavares walks out. In a very tense time with that franchise, Snow has failed to surround a very talented center with the pieces needed to make a run. Snow did make some decent trades getting Boychuk and Leddy, but that roster was never deep enough to get further into the playoffs. At some point Snow has to pay for that, why not give the fanbase that’s been mistreated over the years a new face to blame.

2. I got bored with Franchise Hockey Manager 2 a few years back after winning the cup with Nashville so many times and fighting against the salary cap... I took over Carolina and won a few with them before the game glitched so hard that it wouldn’t load.

Best athlete/Favorite Athlete to Watch you’ve seen 1) in-person or 2) any forum?

Concert you walked away from saying “I’m thankful I got to see that”?


Favorite athlete I’ve seen live: Tim Tebow. He wasn’t the greatest football player, but was the battleship everyone knew was coming... and still hard to stop.

Very few athletes were appointment viewing more than Michael Jordan. When Cam Newton was at Auburn, I didn’t miss a game on TV. I maintain that Florida was a stolen laptop away from having another national title. The 1990’s Braves pitching staff had me hooked hard on baseball, and World Series games were appointment viewing.

My dad tells a great story of me getting upset at the 1989 World Series Game 1 being ruined by the earthquake. I was 4 and lived in a small town outside of Nashville. I had no concept of earthquakes. I was hard to reason with, especially paired with the fact that Conseco and McGwire wouldn’t be playing. I hope my replica of the Dave Stewart stare was decent back then.

I’m not a huge concert person, but I’m thankful for seeing Tom Petty. He didn’t play “Melinda” at that show, but if you can find a live version of it on YouTube or Apple Music/Spotify... try it.

Tolvanen Time

I have a three-part question: 1. How do you see the Preds using Tolvanen during his first few weeks in North America? Just practicing and healthy scratching him during games? I can see them doing this to allow him to get acclimated to the Preds’ style of play and their systems. 2. Do you think Tolvanen could be a weapon for the Predators in the playoffs? 3. What number will Tolvanen wear with Nashville? His standard #20 is already taken by Mikka Salomaki.

Rachel K

I’m for whatever keeps him out of the expansion draft, and having to use another protection slot. I watched him against CSKA this week, and he had a bit more trouble creating his own shot during even strength play. That will get easier next to Bonino and Hartman/Hartnell, with the Preds’ defense.

I absolutely hope he makes an impact, but in the “break in case of emergency” type. As in, he’s the weapon you don’t want to have to fire.

I like your idea of wearing #30, as in... the 30th pick.

Don’t know if you saw the ESPN most dominant players of past 20 years… but if you had to pick 3 who would be your top 3 most dominant players from any sport


I’ll do you better. How about ten? I have trouble putting football and hockey players on this list, largely because of their impact on the game isn’t as large compared to that of a basketball player or a singles athlete. I also refrained from putting Sebastian Vettel on the list, largely because Lewis Hamilton has been just as impressive with the recent results, but their engines are superior to the field at the moment.

I put Shaq at #5, because I’ve long held the belief that no one could handle him at his prime. That was my benchmark.

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Serena Williams
  3. Michael Phelps
  4. Lionel Messi
  5. Shaquille O’Neal
  6. Roger Federer
  7. Tiger Woods
  8. LeBron James
  9. Tom Brady
  10. Lennox Lewis

I put Lewis above the Klitschko brothers based on quality of competition.

Best sporting experience and if it’s not last summer as a whole for me I’m not sure. 1997 AZ cats winning it all beating 3 #1 seeds is close


January/April 2007.

(This is an actual painting)

Not a question...

But please tell me I’ll never have to go through what the Red Wings and Blackhawks fans are going through right now.

I didn’t have a problem with hanging with a struggling team, breaking into the league, and sometimes not being very good. But now that we’ve reached this point… I never want to see it completely crumble into dust.


Toews and Kane signed their deals right after winning big, where the Preds’ key players signed before any hardware was won. I don’t think it will get as bad as Detroit’s current situation, but I’ve been wrong before.

Will Rick Pitino be WKU’s next coach?


Close your eyes and imagine the perfect school for Rick Pitino. It will probably be off the beaten path, and a reputation for giving folks second chances.

Take a deep breath, and who do you see walking beside Pitino? Yes... who is that person?

It’s... Lane Kiffin.

Rick Pitino is destined to lead the Owls to mid-major glory. And if you do a bit of research on Boca Raton... it’s a perfect fit.

David Padgett would work good in Murfreesboro.

  • Jokerit’s Kari Ramo gave his team one of the best goaltender performances I can remember on Thursday.
  • CSKA is the better team, but Jokerit isn’t afraid of them.
  • After reading last week’s Weekender, the Orioles brought in Alex Cobb on a four-year deal. There may be life after Machado in Baltimore, but this year looks like their Leeroy Jenkins charge into the cave.
  • The Jets are still pushing hard for the division, and we can respect that, but Patrik Laine doesn’t need to be blocking shots.
  • Between Predneck Nation and the Neutral Zone... there’s some very good hockey exclusive content outside of the flagship station.
  • The Sharks may be the quietest “good” team in the Pacific. The Ducks and Kings aren’t slouches either. I could be convinced that the Golden Knights may win the division and still be the least feared team in the conference.
  • **reminds self that Fleury is out for a while**
  • It’s not likely this year, but Alex Ovechkin will win a cup before he leaves the NHL. For Jon Garcia’s sake, I hope it’s in Washington.
  • Jim Nill has done a good job bringing in two key centers to Dallas, but failing to build a defense corps and finding the right coach have wasted some of Seguin’s best years. Nill isn’t on the hot seat, but he deserves some questioning.
  • Not sure if there’s a more confusing sight in the NHL than the Detroit Red Wings, with their expensive roster and brand new arena, showing empty seats and empty play on the ice. Detroit was the model franchise, but overvalued their secondary players and expected them to take the spots of generational players.
  • That said, that new arena in Detroit is awesome. It makes the new building in Edmonton look like a soulless airport.
  • I want to see a great performance out of Juuse Saros this weekend. He needs to give something for this coaching staff to trust going into the final furlong of the regular season.

On to the next one.