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Granlund Settling Into New Team, City as Playoffs Approach

Nashville Forward Speaks of Experiences Over Past Month on Predators Official Podcast

by Zach Gilchriest @PredsNHL /

Mikael Granlund wasn't thinking much about hockey when he heard the news.

On the day of the NHL Trade Deadline, the former Minnesota Wild forward received a call that he'd been traded to the Nashville Predators.

For many players, the news of being traded comes as a shock. And at first, the news was jarring to Granlund. After all, he'd be leaving behind a seven-year career with the Wild, in which he had earned the sixth highest all-time franchise point total and fifth highest playoff point total. He'd be leaving close friends and teammates.

But on Monday, Feb. 25, Granlund had other things on his mind - that same day, his fiancée went into labor. And on Tuesday, he got to see the birth of his first son.

"To be honest the last thing I was thinking about was hockey at that point, you know, there's bigger things in life and that was something really special," Granlund said on the Predators Official Podcast. "It was kind of weird, everything happened at the same time but everything went really good. We went into labor and the next day our baby boy came out, and it was a pretty sweet 24 hours."

While it's nearly impossible to prepare for being traded to a new team at the tailend of the regular season, Granlund found himself faced with the challenge of fatherhood at the same time. On Wednesday, he packed his things and flew to Tennessee. By Thursday, Granlund was on the ice for practice with his new team.

Then just a few days later, it was back to St. Paul to face his former team in his second game as a Predator. Before the game, the Wild paid tribute to Granlund with a highlight reel and a salute over the PA.

"It was awesome obviously, to see the way the fans reacted to that, so it felt good," Granlund said. "It's a little weird feeling to come to the other locker room and everything having been here so long. It's nice I got this over with quickly, so now I don't need to worry about the first game here anymore."

Now in his fifth week with the Preds, Granlund has begun to hit his groove. The forward has collected four points in 12 games, after three assists and his first goal as a Predator - scored at home against the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this month.

Video: CAR@NSH: Granlund nets first goal with Predators

And after making the move to Nashville alone, Granlund says his family - including his French Bulldog, Rafa - finally made the move down to Nashville as well. Granlund's son even got to see his dad play.

"That was the first game for them, and it was awesome to see them behind the glass," Granlund said. "It's been awesome to get them here and get everything settled down and get into the rhythm again."

For the Finnish Olympic Bronze Medalist, part of getting back into that rhythm was helped considerably by the presence of three fellow countrymen - Pekka Rinne, Juuse Saros and Miikka Salomaki.

"It's a pretty small country in Finland, so it feels like all the hockey players know each other," Granlund said. "I knew Pekka pretty good so it was easy and nice to get in here and felt pretty comfortable right away."

With just three games now remaining before the postseason, Granlund is ready for yet another challenge to begin.

"When it gets to the playoff time, that's just a go-time. Everything is all done, you just play. Play and do the right things and you try to get the ultimate goal, to win the Stanley Cup," he said. "When you're a hockey player, there's nothing better than the playoffs."

To hear Mikael Granlund's full interview and the latest episode of the Predators Official Podcast, click here.

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