NASHVILLE -- ARE THEY GOOD ENOUGH?
The next team on my NHL tour is the Nashville Predators, a team that started out slow and has recently picked up. Why have they picked it up? Well I like their speed. They have a terrific coach, and a terrific young defense. The preds also have some very talented vets, and you get a very good mix of vets with young players.
This Nashville team has a very good blend, and it was very hard to pick out the players that are making the biggest difference on the team right now. They work as a team with everyone doing their job. So I thought I would break the team down into four different categories: Leader, Pure Talent, Defensive Stud, and Fan Favorite.
Jason is pure example of a quiet leader who does his leading through his playing. He just does his job and gets the big goal when you need it. Jason has the experience to win with the Stanley Cup ring he won with the Devils; he know what it takes to win. He is capable of teaching the kids how to stay calm. He thrives under pressure; he is the classic leader, getting the job done when the team most needs it.
Alexander has not yet showed his true potential, but I truly feel that he has all the talent to become a pure scorer. I expect I will get flamed for this, but I love his speed. He can go with the best of them. I also like his stick handling; he is very good with the puck. I have seen good stick handling through-out the whole team. He also has great hands, with a soft touch, pin-pointing shots with great accuracy.
This was one of the hardest decision: I feel that the preds have a few of these. But I think that Shea is the best of the crop here. Shea has been injured this season, but give him some time and he will become the power play quarterback once again this season. He has a terrific shot from the blue line. He is a great hitter, and isbecoming better and better each season. Shea had 17 goals and 23 assists in 79 games when he was healthy. If Shea can stay healthy, he can remain a defensive stud for many years to come.
This was an easy decision for me. Jordin makes a living getting in the opponents faces. Jordin will make the big hit to get the fans back into the game. He will get into a fight to give his teammates a lift. Jordin will do that energy shift, running around finding a body to hit to change the momentum of a game . If you are a fan of Nashville, you love him, but if you are not, you hate him. He is the perfect pest.
The preds are a great young team with some very talented veterans. They will, in my opinion, challenge for the playoffs. But I see them trying to land a top six forward to add depth to the forwards lines. They have the defensive depth to make a trade for one. The west is so competitive that one of twelve teams could make the playoffs. They have enough defense to do; the goal tending has to hold up, but if it does, they will be alright.
Well Flamestr, thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately, the last six or so games have ended rather poorly for us, to say the least, so we are not living up to your compliments. I'm thinking that will change soon, as we are skating well and winning a good portion of the stats game. However, we are not achieving the stat that counts in the end: goals scored. We have lost the ability to find the back of the net. Oh well, streaks are what most teams must deal with. Good observations on Radulov. He is much faster than he first appears and has skills that in time are going to make a big impact in the NHL.
Very nice Flame. I really like the Preds. That may sound crazy coming from a Sharks fan, but this team is great. I have always been a fan of Trotz and Jason Arnott is the perfect leader for that team. Rads will be awesome for years to come, and I feel the same goes for Weber. Very nice right up Flame, good job buddy!
Preds play their best when they break out the lunch pails and go to work. This is no longer a dazzling skill team - they are growing into their identity still. Radek Bonk is perhaps their most under rated asset. Shea Weber is an absolute horse whom, I have previously predicted, will have a Norris Trophy in his future. Nashville is a division rival so it's my job to hate them. But I'm glad their ownership situation is getting resolved and hope that market continues to grow.
You hit all the nails on their respective heads! The Preds have some great young talent and if we keep them all we will be a pretty exciting team to watch in a couple years.
Any word on Sullivan? A healthy Sullivan could certainly help the Preds in the goal scoring department.
No definite word on Sullivan. Only a few rumors that the back spasms are still unresolved. A return before March, if at all this season, is growing more doubtful.