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The Weekender: He’s Here

NHL: NHL Draft David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

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

I’m leaving town for the weekend; gotta get some travel in before the regular season ends.

With Winnipeg dropping Thursday’s game against Chicago, the Preds have their magic number down to four before Saturday’s game with Buffalo. Barring a collapse worthy of Bobby Thompson’s home run call, the Preds will win their first division crown in their history.

The Nashville Predators are approaching uncharted territory, aside from a brief spell in 2012 and the desperate heave of the Peter Forsberg trade, where they are a favorite to win the big prize.

As fans of this team, it’s still a foreign concept. Enjoying it is foreign as well. You can tell that by our comment section.

Injuries happen. Depth gets tested. Players have to adjust to new roles. It’s hockey.

We’ve seen only glimpses of the intensity this team showed during the postseason of last year, which makes the optimist smile and the pessimist snarl. The optimist will say that this team has experience true playoff hockey, and they’ve learned how to pace themselves. The pessimist will worry that the team doesn’t “have that gear” this year. The truth may be somewhere between the two, but most of us can agree that the team has been bored for a little while.

In a matter of days, we begin the journey to find out how this team will be remembered. And not a moment too soon.

He now has 29 goals.

Ryan Johansen makes a very confident play, and he’s rewarded by Forsberg being in the right place.

What is your take on back and forth on whether the Hart Trophy can only go to a player whose team makes the playoffs?

Subjectively, the team shouldn’t have to make the playoffs but at least be in contention inside 10 games remaining. For example, if Colorado didn’t make it McKinnon would still have to be near the top as he dragged that team from the basement to contention.

On the flip side… McDavid is having a tremendous personal season but his team is garbage and almost nobody else is playing well. The Art Ross and Richard trophies exist for statistical success.


Value is much more subjective, and I fail to see how a player like McDavid “failed to carry his team” when he has more goals and was a better player than the other forwards up for the award. I prefer a value above replacement measurement, and even then I’m still somewhat convinced it may be McDavid.

Pilgrimage or Bonnaroo?


Pilgrimage, and that’s assuming I would ever go to another non-Hangout Fest music festival.

How do you think...

the fact ET isn’t going thru Milwaukee will come across to some of the guys who DID go through Milwaukee to get to the big club? Bad/meh/good? Why?


Eeli Tolvanen played in the second best league in the world against the best players not currently in the NHL. With all due respect to the AHL, the KHL is a superior league. He flourished in the KHL.

What area of officiating would be improved by explicitly telling the refs to be more subjective in their judgment than they are now?

That is, the opposite of the NFL’s ongoing attempts to turn the catch rule into congressional legislation. Where would fewer rulebook words and more “in the judgment of the official” make a better on-ice product?


The NFL and NBA have changed rules to enable more scoring. The NHL doesn’t have to do much more during the play, but the stuff that happens after the whistle isn’t needed, warranted, or good for the game. Start calling that stuff, start calling more penalties, and let’s see what happens. A safer game with more goals sounds like a great idea.

Best bottle of Bourbon/Whisky under 25 bucks

Further stipulation bottle must be 1.75 liter and under or approximate at 25.00.


Evan Williams. You’re stretching yourself thin, but Evan is a safe bet. It’s usually $25 or so. But you can do better. That’s a good well bourbon, You’re better off with Buffalo Trace or Bulleit, and drinking it straight as opposed to something to add in your soda.

Would you burn a year of Eeli’s ELC before calling up Freddy or Harry Z?

Laura C

If the top six needs a shot in the arm? Yes. But even without that, the power play needs some help. If teams are content trading penalties with Nashville, the Preds need to make them pay. Another strong left-handed shot would help balance the attack.

You’re overseeing The Athletic Nashville’s launch.

Who do you pull in and why do you choose them?

Christopher Brooks

I start with John Glennon, Teresa Walker, Jim Diamond, and Paul Kuharsky. Glennon and Walker are a pair of fabulous humans that have treated plenty of folks with less clout than them with a tremendous amount of respect. Plus, both are strong on both pro teams in Nashville. Jim Diamond is a personal favorite, and he’s as strong on hockey as anyone in this market. Paul Kuharsky may not be the absolute favorite of every Titans fan, but he knows his sport and has a spot on the powerhouse radio station.

Predictions for the upcoming baseball season?


I’m an Orioles fan.

But if you want some hot baseball takes, I’ll open up shop.

  • The Reds will push for the wild card.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers will be a blast to watch, but will need to make a move or two to compete with the Cubs.
  • The Nationals have my favorite rotation in the league, and if they don’t get it done this year... uh oh.
  • The Astros are going to be great again. But the National League may be better at the top end. You can trust the Cubs, Nats, and Dodgers all to be good.
  • Too many teams are trying to tank this year. Expect this season to play out like a modern NBA season, with a great postseason awaiting us.

As someone who played baseball for so long I’ve always had a hard time watching it. I usually check in about the trade deadline but this year I’m gonna try to pick a team and actually be a fan. Any suggestions?


I know you live in Birmingham and the White Sox do have a farm team there, so that’s the low-hanging fruit. But for the average person in the Nashville Metro? The Reds and Braves are nearing the end of their rebuilds, and there’s room on their bandwagons.

My best advice? Baseball dates are great dates. Just throwing that out there. Go to a ballpark or two this summer. Have some fun.

With the NHL ostensibly expanding to 32 teams

And the NFL already there…

Do you see MLB or NBA expansion on the horizon?

Old Kentucky Shark

The NBA more than the MLB. The last four expansion teams have had some mixed fates, and one of them needs a stadium. I don’t think Nashville will be in line for the next expansion team. Charlotte has us beat by population and market position. Nashville is a secondary market for the the Reds and Braves, so that will be fought by them and maybe the Cardinals.

I ask this because im from germany not because i hate joey or sth its just curiosity

Would you trade Joey for Draisaitl straight up… since their cap hits are virtually identical…like we did with Weber and P.K… ? And why or why not would you do that ? Where do you see the differences / ceilings ?


Nein. Johansen is a more mature passer, and he allows a smaller player like Arvidsson to have success due to Johansen’s size and patience.

  • Jokerit showed some serious class regarding Eeli Tolvanen, and they deserve our gratitude for that.
  • That Sharks game was a blast. Good officiating, lots of chances, and two professional teams going at it. That’s the playoff hockey I want to see.
  • The Wild are a bizarre team. I trust Eric Staal enough to win a game or two in the playoffs, but they’ll need to get back to guarding Devan Dubnyk and playing for the breakaway against the Jets.
  • Tampa Bay looks like they’re bored with the regular season, wearing down, or trying to get the Leafs in the first round. Either way, they could stand to rest Andrei Vasilevskiy some.
  • I’m hoping the Panthers make it in. Whether they do or not, the wild card teams in the east look much more dangerous than those in the west.
  • If you’re the Dallas Stars, how much of this do you pin on Ben Bishop’s injury?
  • I miss Calle Jarnkrok almost as much as Colton Sissons misses Austin Watson on the penalty kill.
  • Eeli Tolvanen has a chance to have one of the most storied years in the history of hockey this year, and I believe he’ll be given the chance to make an impact. Tolvanen has played in the KHL, World Juniors, Olympics, and now will play for an NHL team bound for the playoffs. If Nashville can find a way to get him on a line where he can get his shot off, he’ll be just fine over here.

On to the next one.