Friday, March 4, 2011

Predators Take a Roller-Coaster Ride in the Standings and Friday Findings

So how volatile are the Western Conference standings? The Nashville Predators were in four distinct slots in the standings throughout the evening last night.

The Preds started the night in tenth place with 73 points. After Minnesota beat the Rangers, the Preds fell to eleventh. After they clinched the 3-0 shutout win over Vancouver, they vaulted into sixth place with 75 points. Then, the Kings finished off the Coyotes and moved ahead of Nashville, dropping them to seventh.

By the time the final horn sounded in San Jose, the Western Conference had eight teams between 73 and 76 points with only Anaheim at 73 leaving the other seven teams within two points of each other. With Columbus losing to Edmonton, they fell four points back from the pack.

As far as last night's game was concerned, The Predators played their best two way game in three weeks, going back to their 3-1 victory over Vancouver in Nashville on February 17.

Pekka Rinne picked up his fifth shutout and has clearly established himself as the team MVP as he has kept the Preds in so many games where they were out played and had no reason to be in a close game.

While Tim Thomas may have the Vezina locked up, Rinne clearly should be a Hart contender for being as important an MVP for his team as any other player for their team in the whole league.

Blake Geoffrion and Jon Blum again showed why they may have been as good of a deadline pickup as the Preds could have found. Geoffrion had the game winning goal and Blum had another solid two-way game. Both should be playoff ready in a month.

It should also be noted that Jordin Tootoo appears to be back on his game as he had the best effort that he has had since his return from rehab with an assist, three shots, and strong play at both ends of the ice.

In summary, after only getting a point on Tuesday in Edmonton, this win more than made up for the missed point and should allow the Preds to play with house money in the last two games of this road trip in Calgary and San Jose.

When the Preds return home, they will play 12 of their next 14 games at Bridgestone Arena before finishing the season in St, Louis.

Preds-Canucks Round Up...

Here is our game story from last night.

Josh Cooper had his game story, notes column, and postgame ponderings.

From the blog world reports come from Mark Willoughby (who was at the game), Amanda DiPaolo, Sam Page, Jeremy Gover, Predatorial, Fang Finger Fever, and Hockey Night in Nashville.

The Globe and Mail has a story about the "mind numbing" game. I had a couple of inquiries about the Preds' boring style game. Guess what, it works until we fall behind by two goals.

Game stories from Vancouver can be found at The Province, Vancouver Sun, Nucks Misconduct, Kurtenblog, The Canucks Way, and Canucks Hockey Blog.

In Pred Nation....

In spited of getting schooled by Patric Hornqvist last night, Dan Hamhuis is still looking forward to a trip to Nashville (where he will be booed).

How tough is Shea Weber? He played with a broken ankle in order to play for Canada in the Olympics last year.

Garrett Suter, Ryan's little brother, has signed a pro contract with Pred's affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones. Section 303 has the story. They also ask the question, will Patrick Hornqvist get to 25 goals.

Here's a new Art of Dave creation for Anders Lindback.

Who knew that the Bridgestone Arena was full of knitters in last Sunday's game against Columbus.

Around the NHL...

The parade route in Toronto is getting revived after the Leafs beat the Flyers 3-2 to pull with in three points of the Rangers in eighth place who fell to the Wild 3-1. has a playoff match-up page going that is updated daily.

Trevor Gillis has an in-person meeting today in Toronto to discuss his latest hit on Cal Clutterbuck.

Adrian Dater ranks the five best NHL fan bases. I'm sure the Preds were #6.

Here is a rarity... a penalty shot by Bobby Ryan in overtime for Anaheim to beat Detroit on Wednesday night. RLD has the video.

It's amazing in this world that is run by ligation that anything ever gets done. The sale of the Coyotes continues to be threatened by the Goldwater Institute. Here is the video of the press conference from the City of Glendale where they took on the Goldwater folks.

Anthony Perez questions the motives of the Goldwater group. The fact that Goldwater is communicating with the Winnipeg press lends credence to Anthony's questions.

There are plenty of experienced NHL coaches looking for work in the off season.

Sean Conboy has a long discussion of Sidney Crosby and concussions in pro sports. In the last year, I finally bought in to Crosby being the best player in the world and now he is gone. There is still no timetable for a return.

Rich Hammond looks at players adjustments to mid season trades.

Odds and Ends...

Our friend James "Tapeleg" Gralien has started a new site called Pod Geek to promote excellence in Podcasting.

Folks in other markets may not be familiar with local news anchor Christine Maddela who has taken her Twitter use to the next level in reporting the news. Check this out from the Nashville Scene.

Here's a great surf video. Matt Meola won $100k for it.

Here are 54 vintage cereals that are no more.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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