Brentwood, Tennessee native, and Predator prospect, Blake Geoffrion was named as one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the top college hockey player each year, in an announcement last night.
The list of ten players will be narrowed to the three finalist on March 31, with the winner being announced on April 9 during the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Michigan.
Geoffrion is in his senior year at the University of Wisconsin where he is a team leader and tri-captain this year. He has had 23 goals and 18 assists this season as Wisconsin continues to pursue a national championship.
In spite of growing up in Tennessee, he comes from a hockey family. His father, Danny, granddad Bernie “Boom Boom”, and great grandpa Howie Morenz all played for Montreal. Bernie and Howie were placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame and played for the Canadians during their glory days. The two have hoisted the Stanley Cup nine times between them.
Barry Trotz talked at length about Geoffrion after Thursday's game, "He's really a solid two-way guy. He can kill penalties, he can win draws late in the game and in important situations. He will commit his body to danger when needed and just has an all round game, probably very similar to (Nick) Spaling, in the minors for us, and he's shown some offensive upside."
Trotz continued, "The great thing for us is that not only has he done it, but he's done it from a non traditional market here in Nashville, playing youth hockey and then going on to be a Hobey Baker finalist. That's a feather in Nashville's youth hockey and all the people who have coached him along the way."
In closing, Trotz said, "We are really happy. He sounds like he is a Predator type of guy. He has a little bit of blood and guts, a two way hockey player that has that real good drive so we are really excited about that and wish him the best."
When Geoffrion suits up for the Predators, he will become the first native Tennessean to play in the NHL.
Here is our story and interviews from last night.
John Glennon has the game story, Notes and Postgame Ponderings from Last night.
Jim Diamond has his view of things at the Examiner.
David Boclair reports at the City Paper.
In the Pred Blog world stories come from Brandon Felder, The View From 111, Forechecker, What the Puck, Fan Huddle, and See Puck City.
The other side of the story comes from Mike Russo at the Minnesota Star Tribune, Twin Cities, and Hockey Wilderness.
In Pred Nation...
From @NHLPredsInsider: Pekka Rinne on NHL Live today at 12:45p.m. Central.
Jim Diamond also reports on Blake Geoffrion making the top ten in the Hobey Baker award.
Dirk, the Forechecker, discusses free parking for Saturday's game with Columbus. Is parking really that big an issue? He also has an interesting story about traffic generation to his web sire as an example for others.
Wednesday's Hockey Buzz Radio podcast is now up at their site.
Tom Callahan has the winners from the Pred's newbie contest. This are interesting to read. Congrats to the winners for being good ambassadors for the game.
Around the NHL...
I'm not sure how this fits into the other suspensions and non-suspensions but James Wisniewski received an eight game suspension for his hit on Brent Seabrook on Tuesday.
Elliotte Friedman calls for the league to act ASAP on all the unneeded roughness lately that has lead to a rash of injuries. I personally think that players need to return to the "code" which could be done if the league would drop the instigator penalty.
Last February (2009), I specifically asked Gary Bettman about the instigator rule and fighting and he danced around the issue and never addressed it as you see in this video.
The long awaited showdown between Pittsburgh and Boston in what was deemed the "Matt Cooke retaliation night" was no more eventful than expected with Cooke answereing the call in a fight with Shawn Thornton in his first shift. Puck Daddy has the complete round-up and video of the fight.
The situation in Boston last night was not helped with wanted posters for opposing players. This is what happens when marketing meets bad taste. Funny on the surface, but not what the game of hockey needs right now. Too stereotypical.
Bob McKenzie has a well reasoned article on the Wisniewski-Seabrook hit. Wisniewski saw nothing wrong with the hit and Ducks coach Randy Carlyle called him the "first star."
The Goal Crease has a Q and A with Mike Russo who was in town last night. I love hearing people's stories of how they ended up where they are.
Matt Reitz has expanded his View From My Seats empire to include several excellent writers from around the country. Amanda Fortier calls for peace between the pro and con puck bunny crowd for the sake of female hockey fans everywhere.
For those in the New York City/New Jersey area, there is still time to make plans to attend a great worthwhile event tomorrow that is raising funds for cancer research. Check out the WhatsBrewingStock page for details.
In Arizona, nothing came of the big meeting on the Coyote's sale this week.
Sadly for Flyer fans, Michael Leighton will be out 8-10 weeks.
Odds and Ends...
While most people locally know how to get to the Bridgestone Center, here is a little app called Schmap.it that you can use to direct folks on Twitter top a more obscure place.
What would you do if you had 20 weeks left in Music City? This is an interesting blog. Send some suggestions to a guy who got shunned by the Preds for a job and is heading home in 20 weeks, absconding with a homegrown Southern Belle.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass