OTF in 2014: The Year in Review
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...but not necessarily in that order. We wrote a ton of stuff about all of it, and here is a sampling of some of our favorites. Let's take a stroll down memory lane...
Tennessee Titans Fans: Welcome to Hockey Season!
The more things change, the more they stay the same. We should probably do another one to these this year, but until then, Welcome Titans Fans! Enjoy your #2 pick! Oh, check out this more recent piece by our very own George Scoville breaking down how the Titans are screwing over season ticket holders. Good times!
Barry Trotz is saying strange things
Coach filled us in on the fact that the team was playing the best they've played in 10 years. Oh, and #PredatorHard was born.
Is Mike Fisher considering retirement in 2015?
Hey, that's almost now! The reason for Mike thinking about hanging up his skates was his desire to start a family...well, mission accomplished! Mike and his wife Carrie Underwood would announce they were expecting their first child a couple months later.
Why the NHL Needs Richard Sherman
"For dedicated hockey fans, this 'don't make waves' style is part of what we love about these guys - they don't stir up trouble or draw attention to themselves, deflecting credit to their teammates and coaches at every opportunity. But's it's also what holds the league back from breaking new ground. Simply put, the public persona which most of these guys put out there is boring." I agree with this. However, if I were a professional athlete ( a huuuuuuuge stretch, I know), I'd go Shea Weber Style. There's just no upside to saying what you really think...even if it would be more entertaining.
Kevin Klein's Greatest Hits: Saying goodbye to a longtime Nashville Predator
Some folks here were pretty bent when this trade happened, but can we admit now that it didn't really matter? He did just get "Fight of the Year", though. That's pretty special.
Secondary Ticket Market Slump: Are Falling Prices an Indictment of "Predator Hockey?"
Maybe so. Personally, I purchased MORE tickets last year than I did the year before, but I definitely didn't enjoy going most nights. And the tickets were basically impossible to unload at times, especially with similar seats on StubHub for $6. A quick check on secondary prices reveals a slight uptick...1/8/15 vs. Dallas has a lowest price of around $10, with an average (for upper goal zone) of around $15. But the Friday game against the Caps has a get-in price of $47 (I know, The Great Trotz returns, bobblehead night). I would expect the Preds to be a tougher ticket to get -cheap, anyway- as the playoff run continues.
Nashville Predators Analysis: Pekka Rinne and Nashville's Cult of Puck Luck
Shooters, scorers, AND an elite Pekka Rinne? Now I think we're on to something.
Carter Hutton is no Chris Mason
Is Carter Hutton unfairly attacked by "haters", or is he just not very good? The debate rages on. This season, he's 0-3-1 in his 4 (!!!) starts, with a 2.74 GAA and an .895 SV% . For those who say he just needs to play more to get a rhythm, you may get your wish...the Preds have 3 back-to-backs in January alone.
A tough day for the Nashville Predators: Pete Weber & David Poile hospitalized in separate incidents
Poile was hit in the face with a puck, and when he regained consciousness, his first words were "you mean to tell me I've had the same coach for FIFTEEN YEARS? That's crazy!". Pete Weber had a heart attack, but thankfully made a full recovery and is back in business this season.
2014 NHL Trade Deadline: The OTF Roundtable discusses the Nashville Predators
Lots of predictions here...how'd we do?
The David Legwand Trade: What the Nashville Predators got in return
I sat right in front of a guy last year who yelled "Legwand, you're a bum!" every time the Original Predator touched the puck. It takes real dedication to keep that kind of focus for an entire season, you know? This trade was a total ripoff, IMO...Legwand didn't do a whole lot for Detroit and would depart for Ottawa in the offseason. The Preds pulled down Calle Jarnkrok, the dear departed Patrick Eaves, AND a 3rd round pick. Not too shabby.
Last year, the Preds were 29th out of 30 for the surveyed period. For December of this year, it looks like they're enjoying a slight uptick...winning is good all around, I guess.
Nashville Predators News: Barry Trotz is Out as Head Coach
Some of you were happy with this decision, and some of you weren't. But can you argue with the results? The team is much more exciting this year, and while some of that is due to personnel, a good portion of it is a direct result of the change in philosophy. And as electric as #PrinceFilip has been this year, would he have gotten top-line minutes under Trotz? Or would he suffer the fate of Andre Burakovsky in Washington? I think we all know the answer. Trotz fans will get a chance to cheer the great man in person when the Caps come to town January 16th.
5 challenges facing the next head coach of the Nashville Predators
I think we can call "mission accomplished" on 3.8 out of 5. Austin Watson hasn't gotten his shot (yet), and RIP Viktor Stalberg. Not too bad.
2014 NHL Draft Profile: Kevin Fiala
Hey, that's who the Preds drafted! Fiala was very impressive in camp, and will probably find himself in the NHL before too long.
The Dating Game: Three Possible Suitors for Nashville's Head Coaching Job
Aaaaand the winner is...suitor #3!!! Peter Laviolette was hired a little while later.
Site Update: Regime Change for On The Forecheck
Thanks again to Dirk for turning over the keys to the Ferrari, and thanks to all of you for sticking around. *Making a Heart With My Hands Like Bieber Does*
Extracting player's offensive potential will be the biggest challenge for Peter Laviolette
How's he doing so far? Well, the Preds are 11th in the league in goals and 3rd in shots per game. Oh, and most importantly, they lead the league in win % at .818.
Ranking NHL Teams: Game of Thrones Edition
Our biggest "story" of the year, and I don't think it was close. We should probably do lists for The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Disney characters, etc. Just a good business model.
CCM's New Resistance Helmet Hopes to Curb "Rotational Impact," Risk of Head Injuries
Concussions are real, folks. There's some very cool research happening on this topic right in our backyard...check it out.
Despite character questions, James Neal immediately makes the Predators better
The second part is certainly true. This move was the first indication of what the new-look Predators would be. The players going back in exchange are good...but they're not James Neal. I'me very happy to have him.
Terry Crisp will pass the torch to Stu Grimson this coming season
Plus, Willy Daunic is named the official radio play-by-play dude after finishing out the season for Tom Callahan. Side note...Vince Gill was supposedly going to be involved with "select broadcasts". Have you seen (or heard) him yet?
Milwaukee Admirals end of the season awards
Just a little update from Down on the Farm.
The Case For Signing Mike Ribeiro
Most days, I'm an idiot. But this wasn't most days. As you know, the Preds did sign Mike Ribeiro, and he's been nothing short of awesome, posting 30 points (9 goals, 21 assists), good for 2nd on the team. I'll start working on my "Why Mike Ribeiro Deserves 2 More Years" piece shortly.
Even with the Mike Fisher news, the Preds are better off without Lecavalier
Just another piece of sound analysis here. Vinny has a whopping 9 points for the Flyers this year, oh and he makes a TON of money. Through 2018.
The Hater's Guide to the 2014 Offseason: Central Division [Part 1]
The Hater's Guide to the 2014 NHL Offseason: Central Division [Part 2]
It took two parts. And we've never needed it more.
Rich Clune calls out Twitter chirper... literally
Say what you want about Rich Clune the player, but few will question the entertainment level he brings. Probably the most outwardly interesting player on the team. When he was here, anyway. Rich was waived and sent to Milwaukee pretty early, where he has a goal and 4 assists, along with 53 penalty minutes in 22 games.
On Ryan Ellis: Deploying the Rocketship
Ryan has played pretty well, but his offensive production has tapered off a bit with only 3 points in December.
The Ford Ice Center Is Open, and It's Spectacular
A fantastic facility. If you haven't been yet, carve out some time and go skate.
Gnash goes on injured reserve, gets mocked by Ken Campbell
Gnash brings a lot to the table, so this was a pretty rough time for all of us. Glad he's recovered in full.
Great Moments in Game Operations: Mascots and Rebranding
Piling on the Islanders in their last season before moving to Hipster Heaven? Not cool.
Gallery: Nashville, Tampa, Boston and Florida in the first day of the rookie tournament
Jon took some really fantastic pictures at the rookie tournament. Check 'em out if you haven't already.
NHL season preview: Three big questions facing the Nashville Predators
Answer Key: yes, yes, and yes.
Nashville to host 2016 NHL All-Star Game
Woohoo!!! I actually kind of hate the All-Star Game, but I love parties, and this will be one heck of a party. If anybody can get their hands on the "Weekend" #6 jersey that Bettman held at the announcement...
Frame by Frame Analysis: The Ease and Talent of Derek Roy
Oh, this is just hurtful. Fair thee well, Derek.
'Boy on Ice' will challenge your stance on fighting in hockey
A great book review from OTF: Longform. The Preds have 6 fights this year, good for 29th in the league. For reference, they finished with 37 fights last year. Interesting.
Nashville Predators Analysis: Change Comes in More Forms than One
CSI: Lunch Edition. I probably like Sub Stop more than Firehouse, but I support Coach Laviolette in his efforts to change the organization in every conceivable way.
Do you remember where you were when James Neal scored 3 at home against the stupid Blackhawks? We'll be telling our grandkids about this one.
The Coronation: Prince Filip has Arrived
And a #hashtag was born. #Scoresberg has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) in 36 games, which is pretty much awesome. That's my professional opinion.
Our first road trip! The first of many, hopefully. I think my doctor will clear me to take another one pretty soon.
Frame by Frame Analysis: We're Probably Not Worthy of Prince Filip (But Who Is, Really?)
The Curious Case of Colin Wilson
I think we're leaving the *might be playing the best hockey of his career* portion of the program, and entering the *is definitely playing the best hockey of his career* portion of the program. NHL's 2nd Star of the Week last week, too.
Peter Laviolette takes puck to the head, puck expected to recover
NOBODY MAKES HIM BLEED HIS OWN BLOOD! Seriously, though...literally everyone who works for this team was hit in the head with a puck in 2014. It's the world's most dangerous workplace.
Mike Ribeiro is a master of slap shot deception
Yes, yes he is. Have we mentioned signing Ribs to an extension yet? It can technically happen 1/1/15...
Frame by Frame Analysis: Playing Defense Is Hard (Seriously)
Caroline, if you're reading this...we'd like more of these, please. Thanks in advance.
Vote your Nashville Predators into the All-Star Game
Have you voted for the Preds for the All-Star Game? Why not? You're at the end of the article, so go ahead and do it now...look, I gave you the LINK and everything.