Marek Svatos' return to the NHL has been a whirlwind since last Tuesday when he was signed by the Blues and traveled to St. Louis. He then headed to Nashville on Wednesday where he was thrown into the fire with little preparation.
Svatos actually practiced with the Blues for one day while he was waiting to clear waivers. The Blues were surprised that the Predators made a waiver claim on him since no other team had attempted to sign him after his December 23 release from Omsk Avangard of the KHL.
He did not arrive in Nashville until late Wednesday night when he was picked up at the airport by Coach Barry Trotz.
He only practiced a few minutes with the Predators on Thursday and then headed out with the team for Friday's game in Minnesota. In his first game, he skated 18 shifts for 9:59 in ice time including one shift on the power play. He had three shots and took a hooking penalty.
On Sunday, he played his first game at the Bridgestone Arena against Columbus and skated shifts for a total of 11:12 minutes and skated two man advantage shifts. He contributed two shots and was a minus 1.
These are not big minutes but they will grow in the next few games with the loss of Cal O'Reilly. David Poile had no idea that he would be down another forward but the claim was made at just the right time.
Svatos is thrilled to be in Nashville, "It's very nice to be back. When I went overseas, in the back of my mind, I always wanted to come back. Now I got the opportunity, so it feels good to be back.
The Predators have won both games that Svatos has played, "We won two games in a row so it makes it even better. Hopefully we can get on a little winning streak. I'm trying to contribute as much as I can to help the team win the games."
When asked about the transition back to the NHL, Svatos replied, "The ice is a huge difference. Here everything happens much quicker and there the players have a little more time. I've been here in North America ten years and I think I like this style a little better."
Predator fans hope that he continues to like playing here and returns to the form of his best season in 2005-06 when he had 32 goals and 18 assists in 61 games with Colorado.
Even if he doesn't play to that level but can log some of the minutes that O'Reilly was playing and continue to shoot the puck, he will be well worth the minimal investment that was made.
The following video of Svatos and several others getting attacked in a pre-planned massacre after the opening face off in December may give you an idea of why Marek (#41 in black) is happy to be back in the NHL.
In Pred Nation...
Jim Diamond expects Nick Spaling to pick up additional ice time with the loss of Cal O'Reilly.
Bryan Mullen examines the rotating injury problems up the middle for the Predators.
David Boclair looks at the Preds streaky season as the team looks for more consistency.
Blake Geoffrion is enjoying his time in Milwaukee as he explains in his weekly blog.
Puck and Punk has an interesting theory as to why the Preds have been cursed with injuries this year.
Patten Fuqua at Section 303 has his own version of The Guardian Project. I'm not sure that I "get" the NHL version. People seem to like it, but it does nothing for me.
Robby at Hockey Night in Nashville looks at Colin Wilson's surge and the injury situation.
World Junior Championships...
Team Canada got revenge on last year's loss to Team USA with a 4-1 win where the US team was never in the game. Jeremy Gover has more on the game.
Russia defeated Sweden 4-3 in a shootout to take the other spot in the gold medal game. Patrick Cehlin had a goal to put Sweden ahead late but Russia tied it soon there after.
Team USA will now play Sweden on Wednesday after noon for the bronze medal at 2:30 Central on Wednesday. Canada will then play Russia for the gold at 6:30 p.m.
Around the NHL...
As if it really matters the NHL will name the top six vote getters today at 11 Central on NHL live. It really has no bearing on who starts or the team draft, so what is the point.
Matt Reitz has thirty things he looks forward to in 2011, one for each team.
Chris Botta throws out his two cents on next year's Winter Classic match-up.
Jeff Z. Klein has a different suggestion.
Michael Leighton was placed on waivers by the Flyers on Monday. It's been a rough year for Stanley Cup Finals goalies from last year.
In another move on Monday, Michael Del Zotto, who led Rangers defensemen in scoring last season, was sent to the AHL.
In the first game after Dwayne Roloson was traded to Tampa, Rick DiPietro went down with an injury.
Justin Bourne discusses organizational depth and why it is so important at this point in the season. The Preds are a good example of having to fill in due to injuries. Justin also gives his take on the Winter Classic at his other site.
Patric Hoffman takes a whack at explaining Marty Brodeur's season.
It was supposed to be the Ovi-Sidney show but Eric Fehr broke the script and has been suspended for the remainder of the season. Intent to Blow has more.
Odds and Ends...
It is rare that a person has the opportunity to write their own eulogy and thank friends and family for all they have done. Tony Proudfoot was able to do so.
The real Rosie the Riveter, Geraldine Doyle, has passed away. Her image was an inspiration to the women's movement for almost seventy years
Here is a movie to check out at Netflix in the roller derby off season.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass