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Game Day In Nashville

by Steve Goldstein / Florida Panthers

It's game day here in Nashville as the Panthers play the Predators tonight at 8pm on Fox Sports Florida. Jacob Markstrom starts in goal again, as Tim Thomas appears ready to play Thursday at home against his former team, the Boston Bruins.

Big center Nick Bjugstad looks like he will make his season debut tonight. He suffered a concussion during training camp. Now healthy, he brings size and a right handed presence to the lineup. Bjugstad played in 11 games last season after spending three years at the University of Minnesota. He should play with Krys Barch and Tomas Kopecky tonight.

The Panthers would love to grab a win here as they head home for a 6-game home stand against some of the NHL's top teams like Boston and defending Stanley Cup Champs Chicago. Nashville plays a defensive style of hockey so this may be a low scoring grind-it-out type of game. It also features and intriguing teenage matchup between Florida's Aleksander Barkov and the Predators' Seth Jones. They were both drafted in June and Nashville thought they'd end up with Barkov at No. 4 but the Panthers surprised many and selected the big center 2nd overall. Jones, the top rated defenseman in the draft went 4th.

Tonight, it's the first ever matchup between these two talents who are years ahead of their age as players. I have a 1-on-1 interview with Nashville's GM David Poile about the two players and also discuss the Olympics with him.

Poile is GM of Team USA and is in charge of selecting the team that will play in the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in February. I have a vested interest in the team as I will be going to the Games to do radio play-by-play for Westwood One radio network. My on-air partner will be former Panthers defenseman Bret Hedican.

That's the latest today from Music City.

Steve Goldstein

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