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Five-Hole Friday: The Mattias Ekholm Fan Club

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In which we discuss The Prince, coaching wins, P.K. Subban, and hockey in the south.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Return of the Prince

Filip Forsberg’s OT goal on Wednesday against Chicago was everything we’ve been waiting for since he was activated from IR last week.

There’s not much to say about this goal that hasn’t already been said. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews did his best to prevent Forsberg from driving to the net but ultimately fell short.

While Forsberg has looked good in his return, don't forget...it’s almost Fil-bruary.

Joe Pendenza

The Admirals signed Joe Pendenza to a contract a few weeks ago. Pendenza previously spent some time with the Admirals from 2013-2016. The UMass-Lowell graduate was never drafted. He returns to the Admirals after spending the last few seasons playing with the AHL Cleveland Monsters, the ECHL Manchester Monarchs, and the ECHL Idaho Steelheads.

Pendenza scored 26 points over 3 seasons (98 games) with the Admirals (12 goals, 14 assists). He’s already put up 4 assists in 7 games in his second tour with the Admirals. Pendenza is 28 years old and can provide some veteran presence. He’s a playmaker.

The Admirals have signed 5 players to PTOs or AHL-level deals over the last month. It’s safe to say there’s been some changes in the organization lately, and there might be more.

The boys in Milwaukee host the San Diego Gulls on Saturday at Panther Arena at 7:00 Central.

Hockey in the South

ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski recently published two articles about hockey in the South. He highlighted two Alabama SPHL teams, the Birmingham Bulls and the Huntsville Havoc. It’s evident that hockey in the south has grown significantly because of the Predators, but how can you expand hockey into states like Mississippi and Alabama?

One of my favorite suggestions was to hold an outdoor game in Tuscaloosa and have Alabama head coach Nick Saban drop the puck. Who should Nashville face in such a game? Can we get football fans interested in some hockey action for 60 minutes?

We know Nashville hockey is a success. How cool would it be to eventually have a NWHL team in Music City? What if Nashville had a closer AHL affiliate?

There’s three SPHL teams within driving distance of Nashville—the Knoxville Ice Bears, the Hunstville Havoc, and the Birmingham Bulls.

As a side note, my husband and I plan on seeing a Huntsville Havoc game over the All-Star Break. I’ll have a full report!

Pernell Karl Subban

NBC Sports showed a clip of P.K. Subban handing Pekka Rinne and Roman Josi their All-Star Game jerseys on Wednesday evening before the Blackhawks game. The jerseys appear to be black with white and grey trim.

The video itself was somewhat awkward and forced and it made me giggle a bit.

What’s even cooler about the jerseys is that they’re made from marine plastic waste material interwoven with jersey material. For this year’s ASG, Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans. Per the NHL statement, the jerseys are a “symbol of change in the movement to protect the oceans.” The sweaters are pretty cool.

NBC Sports also previewed a clip from Subban’s upcoming show, “The P.K. Project.” It showed Subban at various local Nashville eateries, including the Loveless Cafe. I’m pretty excited to see how Subban is able to celebrate his city in this show. I’m all about folks coming to Nashville for vacations, but the traffic in this city should discourage anyone from moving here.

Finally, Subban made hockey headlines early in the week after he sent a video message to a young hockey player who has been subjected to racist taunts. Subban joins the ranks of the leaders, mentors, and role models in the Nashville locker room.

Coach Laviolette Shooting for 600 Wins

Going into the game against Columbus, head coach Peter Laviolette had 598 career wins. Columbus head coach John Tortorella had 599. Many congratulations are due to Tortorella for his 600th win in Columbus’s OT win last night.

Both are incredible achievements for incredible coaches. The Predators could give Laviolette his 600th win next week!

All stats from eliteprospects.com and NHL.com.