Kukla's Korner

Category: Nashville-Predators

A pivotal Predators prospect: Colin Wilson

While Nashville Predators fans are focused on the chase for the playoffs and the question of whether or not the team will act as buyers or sellers at next week’s trading deadline, I thought it would be a good time to take a look into the Preds’ future, with a detailed profile of Colin Wilson, the team’s 1st-round pick (7th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  He should help the team and should also helps my online sports betting picks in the future

Now, just as with the profile of Chet Pickard that ran earlier in this space, I thought it would be best to get the scoop straight from someone who sees Wilson play all the time, so our guest today is Kat, better known as “Sportsgirlkat”, a prolific Boston sports writer and member of HLOG (Hockey’s Ladies of Greatness). So, without further ado, here’s Kat…

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The collective mass of Boston University hockey fans have a love-hate relationship with Colin Wilson. We love him for his talent. We hate him for the fact that he’s so immensely talented that we probably won’t have him around next year.

Wilson, the seventh overall pick in last June’s NHL Draft by the Preds, is the front runner for the Hobey Baker Award (for those unfamiliar with college hockey, it’s the game’s version of the Heisman) and is easily one of the most talented forwards in recent BU hockey history. As of February 25, he leads the team in points with 41 (14 goals, 27 assists.) He possesses the sheer power and pure hockey skill to single-handily win a game, as he did against UMass Lowell in November. Despite all of his positives, however, he has two weaknesses that Predators fans should be mindful of.

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I like it, I love it…

Once Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd period tonight in Nashville, Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk sounded confident of victory on the Chicago broadcast, especially given the Predators’ offensive woes of late.  But just when it seemed that Nashville’s slim playoff hopes were going to get snuffed out, they racked up 5 goals for the first time since January 28 to notch a gigantic comeback win over the Blackhawks. One thing I’ve always given this team credit for is putting forth a solid effort win or lose, and once they faced that two-goal deficit heading into the 3rd period, it would have been easy to either pack it in, or take shortcuts offensively that inevitably lead to harmful turnovers.  But Barry Trotz still has the ear of his charges, and most of the key plays down the stretch were more due to hard work and determination than just talent.

Some will say this was the biggest comeback win of the season, but I’ll say it’s a tossup between this and the January 8 win over Pittsburgh, when the Preds came back from a 3-0 hole to top the Penguins.  Within the context of the playoff chase, however, this win over Chicago is particularly sweet.

Next up, the Phoenix Coyotes come to town Thursday night. Until then, enjoy the highlights…

 

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Canadian hockey team on the road to Nashville

Besides having the Blackhawks, Coyotes and Red Wings coming to Nashville this week, a truly special hockey team is on the road to Music City, and they’re getting ready for a major showdown.  This from the Timmins Daily Press of Timmins, Ontario:

The Northern Allied Steelers atom ‘A’ team of the Timmins Minor Hockey Association are on the road trip of a lifetime.

The team’s 14 players are headed by bus to Nashville, Tenn., to watch Steve Sullivan and the Nashville Predators in not one, but two NHL games.

The Steelers will not only be specatators, but they will also put on their own show in three games against other atom teams from the Nashville area.

Steelers coach Gary Sullivan, brother of Predators player Steve Sullivan, said it was always a goal to give local kids the opportunity to see the southern team in action.

So Mirtle, are you carrying their bags or something?  The timing here is awfully coincidental…

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Calgary investor Brett Wilson to buy stake in the Nashville Predators

As was anticipated a few months ago, Canadian investor Brett Wilson appears to be close to finalizing the purchase of a “nominal” share in the Nashville Predators. This morning’s report in the Edmonton Sun (hat tip to the Nashville Post) indicates that a handshake agreement is in place, so final details still need to be sorted out.

It should be noted that this transaction is unrelated to the minority position formerly owned by Boots Del Biaggio, which is still tied up in bankruptcy proceedings. Wilson already has sports business ties with Preds chairman David Freeman, including the ownership of a soccer team in Britain, and the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in minor-league baseball.

There’s no word yet as to whether this purchase involves buying out any of the current minority owners, or whether it’s simply an injection of capital to relieve some of the team’s debt load.  Of course, if he wanted to write a quick check so David Poile could go trade for Alex Kovalev and Martin St. Louis, I’m sure Nashville fans would welcome him with open arms!

UPDATE: Per John Glennon at the Tennessean, the stake involved here “would likely be less than 5 percent of the team”.

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Preds enjoy a command performance

From this morning’s Tennessean, a pleasant treat for an NHL team fighting their way down the difficult road to the playoffs:

Garth Brooks (remember him? Hat? Belt buckle? Sold more albums than Elvis or the Rolling Stones?) showed up at the Tin Roof in Brentwood Sunday afternoon, only to find a “Closed” sign in the window. Thwarted on the nachos front, then, right?

Uh, no. Garth was not there for salty treats nor for cold brews, but rather to play a “thank you” concert for the Nashville Predators. And Tin Roof management was more than happy to open the place up on a Sunday.

Why thank the Preds? Every member of the team made a donation to Garth’s Teammates For Kids charity. That organization works to provide health services and education for kids who need it. After the Preds delivered for his kids, Garth decided to deliver for the Preds. And since many of the Predators enjoy hanging at the Tin Roof, the club seemed like a natural fit.

 

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To buy or not to buy? That is the question…

The NHL Trading Deadline is just over a week away, so here’s your Nashville Predators Question of the Week: Should David Poile starting buying, selling, or should he stand pat with his current roster?

I’ll admit to being somewhat conflicted on this one, but let’s take each option one at a time…

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You better not pout, you better not cry…

The Nashville Predators open up a 5-game homestand tomorrow night against Chicago that will serve as the pivotal section of this 2008-9 season. Not only will the Preds need their fans to be at their loudest and most energetic as they seek much-needed victories and a fifth consecutive playoff berth, but there’s another reason for fans to bring the noise particularly on Thursday vs. Phoenix and Saturday vs. Detroit.

Why?

‘Cause James Mirtle’s coming to town, that’s why. For those of us who complain that scribes from the Great White North misrepresent our city and team, this is a welcome opportunity for Preds fans to show what the Sommet Center experience is like, especially for a Red Wings game.

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Preds beat the Blues and remain in the hunt

The team that everyone loves to hate just refuses to go away quietly; showing the gritty determination that has been a hallmark of Barry Trotz’s teams over the years, the Nashville Predators earned a 1-0 victory in St. Louis tonight.  Despite a pair of back-to-back losses in the last couple weeks, the Preds have now earned 17 points in 14 games since the All-Star break, and sit three points behind 8th-place Anaheim in the Western Conference with over 20 games to go for all teams involved.

The OT winner came off the stick of Shea Weber, his first goal since January 17 and a welcome return to the scoresheet…

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The Commish Goes Honky-Tonkin’

Prior to tonight’s Blues/Predators game here in Nashville, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman took questions from the local media, and your humble scribe got to sit in on the proceedings…

David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper did a better job writing it up than I ever would, though, so check out his summary.  The AP writeup featured over at USA Today also gets into Bettman’s comments debunking the talk in the Canadian press about the Predators “papering the house” in order to hit the key figure of 14,000 average paid attendance.

I’ll add that I did ask a couple questions, although my most hard-hitting moment came before the session even started, when I almost wiped out the Commish as he walked up behind me towards the podium:

1.  On whether the NHL would consider holding openers in North American non-NHL cities like Winnipeg, Kansas City, or Las Vegas.  The answer there was that since fans in those markets have access to the NHL in nearby cities or on TV, it doesn’t hold the same appeal to do that as it does to reach out to European fans who are interested in the league, but can’t follow it so easily.

2.  I asked whether Jim Balsillie’s recent sanctioning by the Ontario Securities Commission and the US SEC might inhibit his chances for NHL ownership, but he refused to bite the bait there, saying he had no reason to get into specifics about Balsillie at this time.

Filed in: Nashville Predators, | On the Forecheck | Permalink
 

First, find the problem

Back-to-back losses while pursuing a playoff berth are enough to try the patience of most any hockey fan, and in Nashville, folks are calling for all sorts of solutions.  Whether it’s benching underperforming stars, sending goal-starved rookies back to Milwaukee, or paying whatever it takes to land a proven, top-six forward, the natives are restless in Music City.

To set the stage for that discussion, I first wanted to delve into the issue of which players are or aren’t helping this team win; outside of Shea Weber & Ryan Suter, nobody is outperforming offensively, but given the decent defensive performance, it’s likely that some are contributing on that end more than others.  For the purpose of this discussion I’m ignoring the goaltending, which, regardless of performance, isn’t a candidate for change via trade or promotion/demotion.

So who’s getting it done for the Preds so far?

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Filed in: Nashville Predators, NHL Statistical Analysis, | On the Forecheck | Permalink
 

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