Tonight's Nashville Predator and Phoenix Coyote match promises to be a sixty minute battle for positioning in the NHL Western Conference.
The Predators fell to seventh place on Wednesday when Colorado beat Los Angeles in a shootout. The Preds have 89 points but have played one less game than the sixth place Avs who also at at 89. The Preds are also a point behind the fifth place Kings and two points in front of Detroit, who the Preds play Saturday.
The Coyotes are in fourth place, one point behind second, and the Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks. They have a seven point cushion over fifth place so it appears that the top four are set and it will be a battle for position from here on out.
The Predators will be without Joel Ward tonight and the word on Jason Arnott does not sound promising.
Predator's Keys to the Game
Who will Start a New Streak?...
The Preds ended their six game win streak on Tuesday and Phoenix's nine game streak was also stopped by Chicago. One team will win, and plant a seed for a new streak and the other will leave in the midst of a two game late season slide.
Time to Close Ranks...
After a poor effort on Tuesday night, it is time for the Preds to turn up the heat and play like they were playing before that game. They don't need to worry about who is out, but need to find a way to win with those is on the ice.
Full Effort for Sixty Minutes...
I wish Barry Trotz would replay the player's post game interviews to the team right before they hit the ice tonight to remind them of what they don't want to be saying about 9:30 after the game. To a man, each player was disappointed with the effort. Instead of being disappointed, they need to give all they have for the full sixty minutes and let the hockey gods sort it out.
The other side of the story comes from the Arizona Republic and Five for Howling.
In Pred Nation...
Bryan Mullen compares the Preds and Coyotes and says Arnott is day to day in the notes column. There is also the game at a glance.
David Boclair talks about the Predator's short memory at the City Paper.
Mark Willoughby takes on The Hockey News over Ken Campbell's wreckless reporting. This is one of Mark's best. Mark also previews the Pred's Wine Tasting Benefit set for next Wednesday.
Barry Trotz speaks to Slam Sports on the head shot rule and wants the NHLPA to cut out the posturing and get something done now.
Puck Daddy has Joined up with Golden Puck/Northland in the NCAA Hockey Bracket Contest. Locally, Section 303 has a group for friends and Nashvillians. The Group name is Cellblock 303 and the password is their favorite taunt yousuck. All are invited to join the group.
Patric Hornqvist gets some props in Ryan Porth's top five breakout players of the year.
Chris Burton speculates on a rumor that the Predator's third jerseys may become their home jersey next season with a new design for the road jerseys too. Several other teams are changing things up too. Chris also has the game day preview.
Paul McCann has a nice piece about University of Alabama-Huntsville and their NCAA tourney appearance.
Mike Heika writes good things about the Preds at Versus.
Around the NHL...
Darren Dreger has the story of the NHL considering bypassing the NHLPA on their new blindside rule. Without a true leader in place, the NHLPA has left itself open for the league to attempt to circumvent the players. The NHLPA really needs to get on the stick and get someone in charge.The tide could turn if they hire Donald Fehr.
The NHL Lock Out Hat Trick, Intent to Blow has the formula.
Bill Daly was on XM 204 on Wednesday discussing the proposed head shot rule and the stance by the NHLPA.
Forechecker has a frame by frame look at the Volchenkov hit on Simone Gagne from Tuesday with a poll as to whether it was a dirty hit or not.
Brian Metzer has a story of the Penguins releasing a free application for Android phones that Pens fans will enjoy.
From @NHL: Like classic @NHL games? 2day we launched NHL Vault w/growing list of 150+ games dating back to the 60s. Available w/NHL GameCenter Live.
Also from @NHLschuylerb 3/22 Pitt/Det is VERSUS' highest-rated,most watched reg-season game ever,most watched NHL reg-season cable game since '04. 2004 eh? Now what cable network was that on?
Things looked good with the NBC playoff schedule in their initial listings, but now they are skipping the second weekend in May for golf.
The Hockey Zen continues with their fan series with Everett Duke form Atlanta.
Can computers blog better than hacks like us? Read this to see if that is the future of blogging.
Odds and Ends...
With Easter just around the corner, here comes a new study of "Last Supper" artwork that indicates portions sizes have increased over the last 1000 years.
This is really odd. Go to this page and you can see the salary of any Tennessee state employee by putting their name in the blank. Seems like this is some tpoe of privacy violation.
Also in Tennessee, some of you out of staters may find this odd but Tennessee again failed to pass an open container law for passengers in a vehicle. As long as the driver is sober, other folks in the car can get as toasted as they want to be. Historically, this has never passed because too many lawmakers like to party on the way to University of Tennessee football games where they get free tickets.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass