The NHL has come up with an interesting/unique scenario for the bye week… split the teams in half with the first half of the teams going on their bye week before the All-Star break… the other half after the break. I kinda like it… the only Nashville player that won’t get a full eight day break is Roman Josi, the only Nashville player to be selected for the Central Division All-Star team.
This break in the middle of the season doesn’t hurt and now that the league has figured out that having teams coming off the break not play teams that were not on break is a lot better, the complaining about it has almost stopped completely.
The impact for Nashville could be listed in a couple of different scenarios.
- Pressing the reset button – This break could be the reset the Predators need to clear their minds of old behaviors and thoughts… to allow the new systems and attitudes to take hold. This will need to happen if the Preds have any realistic shot of making the playoffs… old patterns have to go away.
- Games in hand – When Nashville returns to the ice on Monday, they will have games in hand over everyone they are chasing for a playoff spot. They will have 5 games in hand over Vegas, 4 games in hand over Arizona, Chicago and Winnipeg, 2 games in hand over St. Louis and Colorado and a single game in hand over Dallas. That’s a lot of points that the Predators hold in their control. It also means a packed schedule when they get back.
Ahhh… the schedule… the Predators start the second half with Toronto at home then travel for a back-to-back in Washington and New Jersey before finishing the week (and starting February) with a home game versus Vegas. Not the easiest start, but this team has seemed to rise up against better competition. February will feature 14 games, 8 at home and 6 on the road, including a western Canada trip that could determine if the Preds will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
That is the next milestone in this crazy mixed-up season for Nashville. What moves get made for this team and what is the strategy behind them?
Just speculating here, but if the Preds are in playoff position by the time they get back from Western Canada, they are buyers… but what do they add? At the risk of sounding old school, they need to add some size… maybe add an asset that Preds TV Analyst Terry Crisp would call a miserable SOB. It is a missing piece for this team, but it has to be someone that can play the game as well as stir the pot.
I also think the Preds could add from Milwaukee, Yakov Trenin has impressed in his stint with Nashville and I would like to see him get a little more time with the big club. He has size, is not afraid to use it and seems to be fearless in front of the net. On last night’s SlapShot Radio, Ad’s GM Scott Nichol was fairly effusive in his praise of Trenin.
Bye weeks are fun to have these kinds of discussions… I frankly can’t wait to see what happens on this soap opera known as the 2019-2020 Nashville Predators.
ICYMI – Last night’s SlapShot Radio featuring Milwaukee Admiral’s GM Scott Nichol will be posted today… I will update with the link when it is.
Random Notes – Presented by
- Interesting feedback on Eeli Tolvanen and Rem Pitlick from Scott Nichol last night on SSR, very positive in referring to the development of both players, however… no indication of NHL readiness yet… but you can tell through Nichol’s comments, they are developing well. Hopefully our patience will be rewarded.
- Nathan MacKinnon scored twice yesterday to push him over 30 goals for the season so far.
- The USA Hockey BioSteel All-American Game took place last night at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI last night and it was carried on NHL Network. The game featured top prospects from the US NTDP and the USHL… a nice preview for the upcoming NHL draft. Jake Sanderson was named MVP and is a prime defensive prospect who is expected to be selected in the first round come June.
- Tonight’s games – 6pm – VGK @ BOS, WPG @ CAR, NYI @ NYR. 6:30pm – PIT @ PHI. 7:30pm – FLA @ CHI.
SlapShot Radio is back for our 12th season as Zack, Brent and I are now on Monday night’s this season. The best hour of hockey talk on the longest running hockey show in the southeast … 7pm Mondays on 102.5 the Game. Our next show is Sunday ay 11am as part of pregame for the Winnipeg game.
Our sponsor list continues to grow. Not only are we welcoming back Drs. Jane Bacon and Aileen Kruger at Hermitage Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
… make your appointment at (615) 872-7762 and our good friend Carter Church, Your Murfreesboro real estate expert with Weichert – The Andrews Group. And our newest sponsors… Cool Springs Wines and Spirits
! The largest spirit store in all of middle Tennessee! And La-Z-Boy Nashville! Three locations, locally owned and operated, check out La-Z-Boy in Murfreesboro, Hendersonville and Cool Springs!
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