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January 28, 2011, 12:37 PM ET [ Comments]

Hello, my name is Brandon Felder and I once was a relevant blogger that covered the Nashville Predators.

So… it’s been awhile. Well, a long time to be quite honest. I have my reasons for the absence, but won’t quite go into full details at this time. I’ll leave it at this: I’m no longer able to cover the team the way I used to due to certain stipulations by the Predators themselves. I’ve accepted that and taken a personal stance by my own choice to no longer attend games. At this point it’s not worth getting into the details but I may at some point.

Moving on from that, let’s quickly get something else across. I’m taking this column into a different direction. It’s going to be more like I talked about way back before the season began. I’m going to try and stick to the bi-weekly commitment I made but more importantly I’m going to bring more of my personality and honest opinion across. Some may not be a fan of that and that’s ok, I accept that. Either way, it’s no longer necessary for me to pull my punches so I won’t. That will be fun and refreshing and give me a reason to put in the work and write.

With that said, I do apologize to those who truly are fans of my work. I stopped suddenly and without notice. That wasn’t a very professional way to approach it and I apologize to those of you who routinely and for years read and appreciated my work.

Now, let’s talk some hockey:

As we sit at the All-Star Break it’s been quite the up and down season for the Predators. The up side is that they sit tied for 4th in the Western Conference with the Anaheim Ducks. The down side is this has been an injury-plagued season for Nashville. I’m sure at this point the fans are tired of having to review and re-review the injury report each night.

The fact that the Preds do sit in 4th today is once again a testament to the regular-season coaching ability of Nashville’s head coach Barry Trotz. I can honestly state that when it comes to the regular season, I wouldn’t want any other coach for my team. He finds a way to get his teams in the right position no matter the setbacks.

It’s also a day in which the Nashville pro sports news deals with the fact that Jeff Fisher has been let go as head coach of the Tennessee Titans. I have to admit, I thought it would be Trotz that was let go before Fisher when it came to the two long tenured pro head coaches. The end of the 2006-2007 Preds season should have been it if we’re being honest. The sale of the team however took precedence (as it should have) and Barry pressed on.

Back to hockey thoughts, it would be a shame if the All-Star skills contest didn’t include Chara and Weber for the Hardest Shot contest once again. That re-match should be very entertaining.

The All-Star draft should be very interesting this evening. I’ve seen a few “mock drafts” on the web the last couple of days. While that’s fun and all, something tells me things won’t quite go as most expect. I just think the players are going to have fun with it and not treat it as seriously as the rest of us.

I have to say that it’s really unfortunate the Sidney Crosby is injured at this point in the season. His back and forth battle with Steven Stamkos for the goal and points lead was pretty fun to keep track of. Stamkos has now played 10 games more than Sid the Kid (51 v 41). Stamkos also now leads both categories with 38 goals compared to Crosby’s 32, and 67 points versus Crosby’s 66.

Finally, some quick thoughts on the Preds themselves:

The defense and goaltending is once again making this team a playoff team. The Preds are the 4th best team in the league when it comes to goals against per game. They only allow 2.34 goals per game on average. Boston (2.14), Pittsburgh (2.24), and Vancouver (2.32) are the only teams that average better. That’s a pretty impressive stat. On the other side of the coin, the Preds rank 25th in goals per game average with 2.56. Considering the injuries to the forwards this year, I’d have to say that number isn’t alarming. Just goes to prove that the Preds are getting it done in close games like they have done so in the past.

13.8% and 28th in the league. I’ll let you take a guess what that stat refers to. Yet again, on the opposite side of the coin, the defensive aspect boasts an impressive 85.2% PK which ranks 3rd in the league only behind PIT (88.5%) and WSH (86.0%). So that special teams unit deserves no criticism at all thus far.

Individually, the Beast known as Shea Weber leads the team with 30 points. That’s a Captain leading by example. Hornqvist leads the team in goals with 15 while Weber and Ryan Suter share the assists lead with 21 each. Martin Erat’s 6 goals should be a bit of a disappointment, however on the other side of the coin Colin Wilson is pretty much doing what everyone wanted this year. He has 12 goals, 13 assists, and I remember plenty of people saying that a 50-point season for him would be quite the success. He’s got a chance at that. Of course, the best story on this team right now is Sergei Kostitsyn with his 12 goals and 14 assists in 46 games thus far. A hidden stat for him is he owns the best shooting percentage not only on the team but in the entire NHL with a 22.6% marker. In 2nd and 3rd for the league are Stamkos (21.0%) and Crosby (19.9%). That’s some pretty good company eh?

That’s all I have for now. In a couple of weeks I plan to focus a bit more on the Preds needs as the Feb. 28th NHL trade deadline approaches. Also, expect a bit more opinion on specifics within the 2 weeks.

Thank you so much for reading my work yet again. I’m hoping that you’ll accept the new style and enjoy it as much as I do.

Take care friends.

Questions, comments, and criticisms can be sent to [email protected] if you wish to contact me personally.

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