The Nashville Predators finally hit the ice at 7 p.m. tonight at the Bridgestone Arena when a bruised and beaten Anaheim Ducks team will be their foe.
After a long summer of personnel changes , both on and off the ice, the Predators take the ice with expectations of a long run at the Stanley Cup. Last season's loss to the Blackhawks in the first round has galvanized everyone in the organization to not let it happen again.
The Preds will face a Ducks team that has a game under it's belt (if you can call it that). The Ducks looked horrible in a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings last night. Pavel Datsyuk laid a Gordie Howe hat trick on the Ducks with a goal, assist, and a very rare fight.
Datsyuk, the four time Lady Byng Trophy winner which is given for gentlemanly play, received a fighting major after getting involved in a five on five skirmish as things deteriorated in the third period.
The Duck's biggest loss of the evening may have been to losing defenseman, Andy Sutton, who broke his thumb in a fight with Ruslan Salei. The Ducks defense was suspect before losing the newly acquired veteran.
In all, the Ducks received 46 minutes in penalties, including two misconducts to Corry Perry and George Parros, and two fighting majors to Perry and Sheldon Brookbank.
It is likely that the Preds will see more of the same tonight and will counter by inserting Wade Belak into the line-up on the fourth line. The newly acquired Sane O'Brien will also add muscle to the the Preds line-up.
All that being said, Barry Trotz would prefer to roll out his finely tuned skilled players onto the ice and try to skate toe to toe with another skilled team as we saw in Washington last Sunday. Unfortunately, the Preds may get drawn out of their game by the Ducks who cannot match the Preds in skating and defense.
The best outcome would be for the Preds to skate past them early, get a lead, and then not get injured in the aftermath.
It should be a great game to watch, so if you don't have tickets, get some quickly or grab a seat on the couch for what promises to be an entertaining game.
For those attending the game there is a wide variety of activities before the game starting with a Red Carpet Entrance for players, coaches and personnel at 4:00. Here is the schedule of events.
4 pm - Red Carpet Player Entrance courtesy of Ford
5 - 7 pm - Plaza Party at Bridgestone Arena courtesy of Purity Dairy, Pepsi, and Anheuser Busch
5:15 pm - A special entrance by GNASH
5:30 pm - Bridgestone Arena doors open
7:00 pm - Preds vs. Anaheim Ducks
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper looks at the Predators building the team for a playoff run and also has a notes column that discusses the welcome that Shane O'Brien received. Bryan Mullen has a story about Patric Hornqvist bringing fire to ice.
Jim Diamond talks equipment with Anders Lindback. However, his best protection comes from the Preds' D-Men. He also has an update on three Preds prospects who started their college seasons on Friday night.
Paul McCann looks at tonight's opener and all the pre-game festivities.
Amanda at Predlines discusses the opener and what the theme "Together" means to the team.
The Cellblock gang has their picks for the coming season. They also have a new edition of the 303:30 with John Buccigross and J. P. Hoornstra.
Robby at Hockey Night in Nashville wants a full house for the opening skate tonight.
Jerry Helper was on the Thom Abraham show on Friday and discusses the season opening for the Predators. Forechecker has the audio.
Jas Faulkner writes about the Eve of Destruction and the fact that this year's team is not your father's Nashville Predators.
The Milwaukee Admirals open their season tonight at home against Abbottsford and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a feature on Blake Geoffrion.
Aaron Sims has a new feature at Ads.com where he writes in the first person from a players point of view. The first one is Scott Ford.
Around the NHL...
The highlight of night two in the NHL season was the odd spectacle of Ondrej Pavelec collapsing on the ice. It appears that he is OK but no long term prognosis has been given.The Thrashers did go on to beat Washington.
Michelle Kenneth has a whole series of posts from her travels to Prague for the Yote-Bruins series. She has som ereally interesting stuff.
Adam Proteau discusses the importance of a good start to the season. Last year, 14 of 16 playoff teams won at least five of the first ten. The exceptions were Nashville and Detroit.
From @JeffMarek: The AHL + Professional Hockey Players Association announce an agreement on a 4-year CBA extension. At least there will be some hockey if the next NHL-NHLPA CBA negotiations fall apart.
Steve Lapore has the number of local TV games for all 30 teams and their network affiliation. If your team has an "FS" beside it and you have Dish Network, you may want to consider some alternative arrangements.
Steve also has a story that the Islanders may be moving to a college radio station.
It is a good thing that the Flyers found a rookie sensation in Sergei Bobrovsky because Michael Leighton will have back surgery and be out at least two months.
Odds and Ends...
The Nashville RollerGirls has a tremendous day on Friday and beat the number four ranked Dallas 118-84 team to advance to the second round in the South Central Regional tournament. Here is the CoverItLive Textcast of the bout.
I have gotten several warning about the new Facebook Groups feature where "friends" can add you to other groups. I'm sure Facebook will do an about face on this sooner than later.
Captain Jack Sparrow lives for another day. I had forgotten that there was a Pirates 4 set for next spring. Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz will team up for the first time since the great movie Blow.
Just when NBC does a TV show (Outsourced) on outsourcing in India, China now wants to cut in on a chunk of their business.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass