After a somewhat surprising win in Dallas last Saturday, the Nashville Predators return to the Sommet Center for their home opener tonight against the Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m.
The Predators have had only four wins in Dallas in the franchise’s eleven year history so coming home with a 3-2 shoot-out victory was a great way to open the season.
Saturday’s win was costly to the Predators as first line winger J.P. Dumont was knocked to the ice on a hit by Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas early in the game. Dumont has yet to return to the ice and is listed as day-to-day.
Second year winger, Patric Hornqvist filled in admirably for Dumont against the Stars and is slated to skate on the top line with Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan.
Saturday night’s hero was rookie Mike Santorelli who scored the game winning shoot-out goal. He will skate with David Legwand and Marty Erat on the Pred’s second line.
Dan Ellis, who started in goal in the first game, will again get the call for the home opener. Barry Trotz announced that last year’s rookie sensation, Pekka Rinne will start on Saturday against Buffalo.
Groin injuries have hampered several Predators ability to take to the ice in the last couple of weeks. Jordin Tootoo and rookie Colin Wilson are not expected to play this weekend.
Coach Barry Trotz is hopeful that Joel Ward will return from his groin injury to play tonight. If he is unable to go, the Predators will have to recall a player from their Milwaukee AHL team in order to fill out the 20-man roster for the game. Triston Grant, Nick Spalling, or Andreas Thuresson have been mentioned as possible replacements.
The Colorado Avalanche are off to a surprising star with wins over Western Conference powers San Jose and Vancouver. Goalie Craig Anderson, who was in net during the two wins, is questionable for tonight’s game as he is also suffering from a groin injury. Peter Budaj will start in goal if Anderson is unable to go.
Colorado is a young team being guided by first year coach Joe Sacco. In rebuilding mode, the Avs feature two rookies from June’s draft of 18 year-olds. Matt Duchene was taken third in the draft was coveted by many. Ryan O’Reilly, brother of Pred prospect Cal O’Reilly, also made the Avalanche roster.
After Thursday’s opener, the Predators will play Buffalo on Saturday and Edmonton on Monday as they continue the opening weekend festivities.
Scatchard Signing… On Wednesday, the Nashville Predators announced the signing of former NHL center Dave Scatchard to a one-year, two-way contract. After passing through waivers, Scatchard reported to Milwaukee of the AHL. The 33 year-old Scatchard is a veteran of 635 NHL games but did not play last season. It is not clear what plans the Predators have for the 6’3” 210 pounder who last played in the NHL for Phoenix in 2007.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass and the Columbia Daily Herald
Social Media Club Nashville Panel...
The panel discussion on Hockey and Social Media was really a cool event about hockey, blogging, podcasting and marketing. Panelists were Derek Perez from the Preds, Codey Holland from Section 303, Paul Nicholson, founder of the @Predfans group and Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck.
It was interesting to see how each person used social media to market their product and draw readership to their domains. They all did an excellent job as the event was sent across the nation via Ustream. Several folks were on Twitter including @dani3boyz and other friends from the Island commenting along with the discussion.
Derek Perez, who left the high tech world as top marketing guru at Nvidia to join the Preds, shared his experience in his prior field and how it would apply to building the fan base with the Predators. Expect to see some interesting things coming down the pike as the season progresses. I wouldn't rule out a few between period tweets from the locker room either.
In Pred Nation...
Late word from Ad's Short Shifts is that Tristen Grant will be the call-up today if Joel Ward is unable to go. Eric Kent at Ad's Short Shifts also verifies that Dave Scatchard was skating with the Admirals at Wednesday's practice.
Jim Diamond previews tonight's game and has news that Craig Anderson probably will play.
John Glennon has an extensive look at the Predators economic situation as it stands on opening day. He also reveals the probable lines from Wednesday's practice. John also chronicles the Preds #1 goalie saga.
Dirk Hoag takes a look at a hole in the Twitter "verified" accounts program. He also confirms that Razor Reaugh has somehow worked out a way to make good on his promise of a free ticket to all who attended last Saturday's game against the Preds if Dallas lost. Here is Razor's blog with all the fine print.
Mark Willoughby is now providing content to Bleacher Report. His Grim Reaper article is the first posted there. Congrats to Mark for getting his quality content exposed to a wider readership. Mark also has a few pictures from Tuesday night's Meet the Team Event.
Big Kev also previews tonight's game.
From VUcommodores.com comes news that Nashville is the 12th best sports city according to The Sporting News. As much bad press as we get in the national media, that is hard to believe. Even more questions arise when you look at the full list.
Friday Night the Predator's Calender Release Party with the Ladies of Smashville event will be held at the Sommet Center.
Around the NHL...
There was a lot of discussion on XM204 on Wednesday about the Team Marketing Report that came out comparing ticket and food prices across the NHL. The Preds are slightly below the league average in ticket prices again this year.
We didn't get to see the Flyers-Caps game on Tuesday night but listened to the end on the radio and watched the highlights. Ben Seal has the story on the first on many 'heavyweight" match-ups that the Flyers will see this year.
Michelle Kenneth has the first of a two-parter from an interview with David Clarkson over at Inside Hockey.
Al Cimaglia takes a look at all the empty seats in Finland in last weekend's games over there.
Chris Morgan has a review of the ESPN documentary on the Gretzky trade that first aired Tuesday night. If you missed it, I'm sure it replay a few hundred times.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass