The news of Toronto signing Phil Kessel put a bit of a damper on the Predators 4-2 road victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. The good news is that with the Kessel signing by Toronto, that there is one less distraction for the hockey world so that the focus can return to the ice and the games being played.
Several individual players had big games in Friday's win over Carolina including David Legwand with a goal and two assists, Mike Santorelli and Dan Hamhuis with a goal and an assist, and Marty Erat with two assists. That would equate to seven points out of a potential second line for the Preds. Nights like that would put Phil Kessel in the rear-view mirror very quickly.
In goal, Pekka was still Pekka and Mark Dekanich again had a strong showing as he continues to try to lock down the number three goalie spot in the organization.
Here is the News and Observer's take on the game. Canes Now quoted from Paul Maurice "It was a sloppy, sloppy affair."
Jay Levin of the Preds staff, reports another good outing for Patric Hornqvist. He also reports that Andreas Thuressen may have been the most overlooked guy in camp during the first week. The depth situation that many have been concerned about may be found in a strong crop of youngsters who should give the Milwaukee Admirals one of the best teams in the AHL this year.
On the Kessel Front...
The last couple of weeks has been an interesting ride for Preds fans following the Kessel deal. The media and rumor sites have kept the pot stirred and Preds officials confirmed that they had made offers.
I never really fully drank the kool-aid that we would be the eventual winner in the Kessel sweepstakes. Brian Burke was dead set on getting Kessel and I think we may have been the pawn that drove up the price to the benefit of the Boston Bruins.
The initial rumored offer of Blum, Rads and a first would have been a good deal for the Preds, especially if Kessel could have been signed for $4.5 million a year or so. The deal breaker for the Preds, as reported by Brandon Felder, was that the Bruins wanted Colin Wilson.
Many folks may criticize David Poile for not closing the deal, but this is one that needs a year or two to get a true perspective of the the players that were in the mix. If Blum and Wilson develop and contribute as expected and Rads were to make a successful return, which I think is unlikely, then nothing Kessel would bring to the table would be worth the price we would have paid.
Additionally, with a shrinking salary cap next year, the high per year cost of Kessel's eventual contract would have placed the Predators in a precarious situation in being able to resign Pekka Rinne, Dan Hamhuis and others and still come in below the cap midpoint that has become such a cornerstone of our small market operation.
One thing that we have learned from the whole Kessel chase is that David Poile still has a few pesos to spend if the right D-man and/or second line winger becomes available as the September 30th deadline approaches for teams to get under the salary cap.
The Predators have never been about a big name or star player. It's always been about role players and putting a 23 man puzzle together to play as a "Band of Brothers". I think with Kessel out of the picture, Poile and Trotz can return to what they do best, getting the most out of each player on the ice, and they have the money left to add a couple of pieces to this years puzzle.
There is another way to look at the Kessel deal from the Predators viewpoint. What if we were to trade an asset that we couldn't sign (Rads for example) for Jon Blum, Colin Wilson, and a first round pick? Who would be the winner in that trade. Be happy those guys are still with us.
TSN's Darren Dreger took the lead in reporting the Kessel deal in the closing hours. Here is his story. Mirtle talks about the high cost Brian Burke was willing to pay for Kessel. Puck Daddy has an interesting take on the Kessel signing. ESPN's Scott Burnside offers defense of Burke in the Kessel deal.
Tim Rosenthal has the Boston side of the story at Inside Hockey. The Bruins were by far the big winners in this deal with the Preds a close second.
Talk Like a Pirate Day...
For those who think I am Kidding, it really is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This has been one of my favorite "holidays" for a while. The boys and I actually were at Disney world one year on September 19th and had a big time at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Others thought we were psychotic. My wife Cathy can confirm that.
In Pred Nation...
Our friend Eric Smith at BlueJacketBuzz won't be down for the game tonight but he gave me this tidbit "Watch for Mirasty & Sestito from CBJ to earn some fighting majors tonight, they will go straight after Tootoo for sure". Unlike last preseason, without competition for the enforcer position this year we haven't seen that many big fights. Sounds like that could change tonight. Tootoo and Tristin Grant better be ready to go.
Here's another story to throw gas on the fire of tonight's Predators Columbus match at the Sommet Center. It claims that the Preds refused to send a roster to Columbus. I would think that since this was on Friday, with the game last night to be played, Trotz didn't know exactly who would play tonight. At least this adds to the "Evil Empire" legend that we have in Columbus.
John Glennon has the Preds lineup for tonight at Inside Predators. Pekka and Ellis will play in goal. He also has thoughts on the Kessel trade and a comment from Barry Trotz on improved leadership for the Preds this year. He also has today's notes column at the Tennessean.
Mark at The View from 111 is back with his Friday tradition, My View. Thanks to Mark for continued prayers for my wife Cathy.
Forechecker brings up a name we haven't heard in a while this morning, Greg DeVris. He also has the schedule for the final day of PredsFest09.
Jeremy at Section303 has thoughts on the Kessel trade and notes from Friday's practice for the players who didn't go to Carolina.
Ryan at the RLD agrees that Colin Wilson is the real deal.
In case you missed it, here is an audio clip of Pete Weber on XM204's Hockey This Morning earlier this week.
Around the NHL...
Our buddy Ryan from the RedLightDistrict who sat with us at Thursday's game has put together an incredible pre-season publication in PDF form that is 91 pages long. It features previews of each team and is heavy on pictures and graphics. Best thing is that it is FREE for the asking. Send a tweet to Ryan at @RLDhockey or email him at RLDhockey@gmail.com for a copy. It is much better than a lot of the stuff on the magazine racks.
The RLD also got a big bump yesterday with a mention at Puck Daddy. The RLD is truly one of the most under recognized sites on the net. That should change soon with their addition to the Fan Huddle Network on October 1.
One of our Monday Night POTG Radio guests, the Psycho Puck Lady, has an interesting season preview. Her writing has a certain, Hunter S Thompson (without the drugs) style to it. This is one to read as a primer for this week's show.
In Phoenix, Jim Ballsillie is now desperate and throwing money around like a drunken sailor in a house of prostitution. His latest offer is $25 million to the City of Glendale for their support whether he gets the team or not. Can you say desperate?
Paul Kelly's days with the NHLPA may not be over with yet. One of the key guys, Chris Chelios, is now taking a second look at the firing and others are starting to question it too. If Kelly could return to the position, it would be a good sign for hockey fans everywhere that a deal would get done in two years.
Puck Daddy reports that DirectTV and Versus are talking again. This has all be a big sham as to who could out deek who right from the beginning. It's just a matter of time before they settle this.
A tweet from agent Alan Walsh is good news for the NHL in a bad economy. @walsha: According to reports coming from the NHL, NHL teams are at 85% renewal on season tickets as of this week. That seems like a high percentage even in good times.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass