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Nashville Predators 2014: Year in Review

by Nashville Predators / Nashville Predators

From monumental personnel moves to brand new ice rinks, changes were aplenty in Smashville over the past 12 months. As 2014 comes to conclusion, here's a look back at the calendar year for the Predators.

January:




January 5 -
Preds Prospects Shine at World Junior Championship:

Juuse Saros, a Nashville fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, was the difference for Finland in their Gold medal win against Sweden. Saros, who turned away 37-of-39 shots in the Gold Medal game, was named to the Media All-Star Team. Filip Forsberg captained Team Sweden to a silver medal finish, tallying the second-most points in the tournament (4g-8a-12pts), was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and was the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Directorate’s Top Forward.

January 9 - Bridgestone Arena Opens the Nissan SoBro Entrance and Tavern ‘96:

The Nissan SoBro entrance, located at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Demonbreun, unites Bridgestone Arena with the Music City Center and the new businesses south of Broadway. Tavern ’96, located at the SoBro entrance, is Bridgestone Arena’s first full time restaurant and features 16 draft and more than 45 bottled beer options, drinks, food and more.

January 22 - Kevin Klein Dealt for Michael Del Zotto:

Several weeks before the NHL Trade Deadline, Predators General Manager David Poile made a splash by dealing defenseman Kevin Klein to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Michael Del Zotto. In 25 games to finish out the 2013-14 season, Del Zotto posted one goal and five points in 25 contests with the Preds before signing with Philadelphia in August. Klein went to the Stanley Cup Final with the Rangers and continues to skate on the blue line in the Big Apple this season.

February




February 10 -
Five Represent Nashville Predators at 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia:

Defensemen Shea Weber (Canada) and Roman Josi (Switzerland), forward Simon Moser (Switzerland), Head Equipment Manager Pete Rogers (United States) and General Manager David Poile (United States) all represented their home nations at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Weber, who was named Alternate Captain with Team Canada, was the lone representative to return from the Games with a medal, as Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 in the Gold Medal game.

February 13 - Bridgestone Arena hosts Winter Wonderland and Olympic Hockey Viewing Parties:

For six nights during the two-week Olympic break, Bridgestone Arena’s Rehearsal Hall was transformed into a Winter Wonderland presented by Brand Imaging Group. The event, which was free to the public, included indoor curling, games, Olympic viewing areas and giveaways.

Tavern ’96 hosted several Olympic hockey viewing parties during the break, becoming a hot spot for fans to come watch and cheer for their favorite players.

March




March 1 -
Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne Partner to Form 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund:

Spearheaded by the generosity of Preds Captain Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Nashville Predators Foundation announced the renaming of the Nashville Predators Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund.

As part of the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, Weber and Rinne purchased two Bridgestone Arena suites that will host patients and families from the Children’s Hospital at Preds home games.

March 3 - Pekka Rinne Returns from Injury:

After missing 51 games due to a hip injury, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne returned to the Nashville net on March 4 against Pittsburgh, eventually becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in wins, recording his 162nd career victory on April 10 against the Coyotes.

March 5 - David Legwand Traded:

An original Predator, as the franchise’s first draft pick in June of 1998, David Legwand was dealt on the 2014 Trade Deadline day to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Calle Jarnkrok, Patrick Eaves and a conditional pick in the 2014 Draft. Legwand finished with 566 points over 956 games in 15 seasons with Nashville. Legwand concluded the season in Detroit before signing as a free agent in Ottawa over the summer.

Jarnkrok saw time with the Preds to conclude the 2013-14 campaign and continues to skate in Nashville this season. Eaves is currently a member of the Dallas Stars.

March 21 - Bridgestone Arena Named Large Capacity Venue of the Year by the Academy of Country Music:

The ACM named Bridgestone Arena its Large Capacity Venue of the Year for the third time, winning previously in 2009 and 2011. Bridgestone Arena sold 448,148 tickets during 2013, a year highlighted by top performers such as Michael Buble, One Direction, Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and more.

April:




April 10 -
Preds Announce the Formation of the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy:

The Nashville Predators and Olympic figure skating Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton announced the formation of the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy at Ford Ice Center. Hamilton serves as the active principal at the Academy, helping develop curriculum for learn-to-skate and figure skating classes and recruit skating competitions, instructors and guests to the facility.

April 14 - The Search for a New Coach Begins:

One day after the conclusion of the regular season, the Predators announced that they would remove Barry Trotz from his position behind the bench and begin to search for a new head coach. Trotz was later hired as the head coach of the Washington Capitals on May 26.

April 15 - Preds Foundation and DEX Imaging and Mailing Present $29,000 to Area Charities through Ninth Annual DEX Score & Win Program:

For the ninth season in 2013-14, the Nashville Predators Foundation and DEX Imaging and Mailing joined forces to reward every goal scored and every win recorded by a Predators goaltender with a donation to a designated Nashville-area charity. With the season total of $29,000, the program has now donated more than $249,000 to area charitable and community service organizations since it began.

April 28 - Weber Announced as Norris Trophy Finalist:

Predators Captain Shea Weber was one of three finalists for the 2013-14 James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded annually “to the defense player who demonstrates through the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” This marked Weber’s third nomination for the award after finishing a runner-up in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.

During the 2013-14 season, Weber ranked first among League defensemen in goals scored (23) and set a franchise record for points by a blueliner with 56. He also paced all defensemen in power-play goals (12), ranked fourth in the League in average time on ice (26:54) and set a career high in shooting percentage (11.8 percent).

May:




May 6 -
Peter Laviolette Named Head Coach:

Less than one month after the search began, the Predators named Peter Laviolette the second head coach in franchise history. Laviolette also brought his longtime assistant, Kevin McCarthy, into the fold.

May 7 - Nashville Predators Foundation Distributes a Record $410,652 in Grants to Area Charities:

The Nashville Predators Foundation distributed 117 grants, totaling $410,652 to Nashville and Middle Tennessee-based community service and charitable organizations on May 7, the largest grant distribution in franchise history. Including the more than $400,000 in grant money that was distributed, Jack Diller scholarships, the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund and other initiatives, the Predators Foundation donated nearly $900,000 in cash to Nashville and Middle Tennessee charitable organizations during the 2013-14 season.

May 9 - Preds Represented at IIHF World Championships:

The Preds were well represented at the 2014 IIHF World Championship that ran May 9-15 in Minsk, Belarus, not just on the ice, but behind the bench and in the video room. Defenseman Seth Jones and forward Craig Smith, in addition to Assistant Coach Phil Housley and Video Coach Lawrence Feloney, represented Team USA. In addition, defenseman Ryan Ellis (Canada), defenseman Roman Josi (Switzerland), Pekka Rinne (Finland), Mattias Ekholm (Sweden), Calle Jarnkrok (Sweden), Miikka Salomaki (Finland) and Juuse Saros (Finland) all represented their home nations in the tournament.

June:




June 2 -
Goaltender Carter Hutton Signs Two-Year Deal:

After performing admirably in the absence of Pekka Rinne, goaltender Carter Hutton received a new two-year contract on June 2. Hutton went 20-11-4 with a 2.62 goals-against average in 2013-14.

June 12 - Ben Vanderklok Named Goaltending Coach:

With the departure of Mitch Korn to Washington along with Barry Trotz, Korn’s assistant Ben Vanderklok was named the Preds goaltending coach on June 12. Vanderklok had served as the organization’s assistant goaltending coach for the past five seasons.

June 16 - Preds Renew Affiliation with the Cincinnati Cyclones:

President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced that the Nashville Predators renewed its affiliation with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. The Cyclones, who appeared in the 2014 Kelly Cup Final, have served as Nashville’s secondary development affiliate since the 2007-08 season and function as a development affiliate for both Nashville and its primary affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

June 27 - 2014 NHL Draft: Neal Acquired from Pittsburgh:

Before making their first-round selection at the 2014 NHL Draft, the Preds made a trade, acquiring James Neal from the Penguins and sending forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to Pittsburgh. A one-time 40-goal scorer, and having potted at least 21 goals in each of his first six NHL seasons, the acquisition of Neal made for arguably one of the most substantial trades in club history.

June 27 - 2014 NHL Draft: Preds Draft Kevin Fiala:

Shortly after the Neal trade was completed, the Preds added a future goal-scorer by selecting Swiss forward Kevin Fiala with the 11th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft. Fiala attended Predators Rookie Camp in July and training camp in September before returning to his junior club in Sweden for the 2014-15 season.

June 28 - 2014 NHL Draft: Rounds 2-7:

The Preds selected six more players, three forwards and three defenseman, in rounds 2-7 of the 2014 NHL Draft, including Russian forward Vladislav Kamenev at No. 42 overall and American defenseman Jack Dougherty with the 51st pick.

July:




July 2-15 Preds Make Moves in Free Agency:

The first of Nashville’s four free agent signings, veteran forward Olli Jokinen inked a one-year deal with the Preds on July 2. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov followed suit on July 7, and both Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy signed one-year deals on July 15.

July 9 - Preds Sign Mattias Ekholm to Two-Year Deal:

The Preds locked up a young defenseman in Mattias Ekholm to a two-year deal on July 9, signing the Swedish blueliner through the 2015-16 season.

July 16 - Preds announce Ford Ice Center pro shop to be operated by Perani’s Hockey World:

Perani’s Hockey World, one of the premier hockey shops in the U.S., was announced as the operator of the pro shop inside the Preds’ Ford Ice Center. Based in Flint, Michigan, the Nashville location is the company’s 24th retail store and their first in Middle Tennessee. In their retail of hockey and skating equipment, Perani’s focuses on bringing unparalleled service, price and selection to beginners and elite athletes alike.

September:




September 9 -
Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne Present First Check from 365 Fund to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt:

Preds Captain Shea Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne presented the first check from the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund, totaling $318,242.90 in cash and in-kind donations, to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The check, the largest the Preds have ever given to the hospital, elevates the Preds total donation to Children’s Hospital to more than $800,000 in the last five years.

September 12 - Preds Cut Ribbon on Ford Ice Center:

Less than a year after breaking ground on the facility, the Nashville Predators opened Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee. The facility, which is home to the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy, Preds youth and adult hockey initiatives and various local teams, is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified and includes a yoga studio, party rooms, locker rooms and more in addition to two NHL-size sheets of ice.

September 13-16 - Predators Host NHL Rookie Camp:

In conjunction with a weekend full of grand opening festivities at Ford Ice Center, the Preds hosted a four-team rookie tournament at the facility. In addition to the Nashville Predators rookies, teams of prospects from the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins traveled to Nashville to play in the three-day event. Fans were invited, free of charge, to watch the games and get a first glimpse at the future stars of the NHL.

September 18 - 2014-15 Training Camp Begins:

Training Camp began with 61 players on Sept. 18, including rookies such as Filip Forsberg & Kevin Fiala, as well as the new crop of veterans set to make their Nashville debuts. It was also the first camp for Coach Laviolette at the helm, quickly establishing his up-tempo style of play.

September 25 - Preds Agree to Terms with Ryan Ellis:

The Predators came to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Ryan Ellis one week into camp, locking the 23-year-old up to a five-year, $12.5 million contract. Slotting into a pairing with Mattias Ekholm, Ellis and his partner have solidified themselves as the Preds second D-pair, seeing their ice time increase throughout the season.

September 29 - Gold on the Ceiling Announced as New Goal Song:

After making its debut at the Preds Development Camp scrimmage in July, the Black Keys’ Gold on the Ceiling officially was announced as the Preds new goal song for the 2014-15 season. Choosing a song by a group that calls Music City home continues to build on the Preds’ tradition of “bringing the outside in,” by incorporating musicians and artists that make Nashville a great city, into Nashville’s hockey atmosphere.

October:




October 1 -
David Kells Named Venue Executive of the Year by IEBA:

David Kells, Bridgestone Arena’s Senior Vice President of Booking, was honored by the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) as its Venue Executive of the Year. The leading trade organization for live entertainment industry professionals, IEBA helps members improve relationships and increase revenue through offering its members networking and education opportunities.

October 9 - Preds Opening Night Capped by Win Over Ottawa:

After settling on an Opening Night roster two days earlier, the Predators began the 2014-15 season on Oct. 9 by naming new forward James Neal an assistant captain in the morning, then prevailing against David Legwand and the Ottawa Senators that evening with a 3-2 victory.

October 9 - New Spaces Make Debuts on Opening Night:

Lexus Lounge: Bringing luxurious amenities to Bridgestone Arena unlike anything else in the entire market, the Lexus Lounge offers patrons a personal concierge service, plush seating, special-themed buffets and a full bar. In addition, fans in the Lexus Lounge are able to see the Preds team enter the ice through a special tunnel built right through the space.

Team Store: The Preds opened a brand-new 8,000 square foot team store on the Fifth Avenue side of Bridgestone Arena. The new store offers an unprecedented selection of merchandise in a facility that is more than five times the size of the original atrium location.

American Born Moonshine Bar: A new concourse bar, the American Born Moonshine bar features drinks centered around American Born Moonshine, a Nashville-based company.

The Barrel House: The new home to 102.5 The Game’s pre- and postgame radio shows, Barrel House offers fans the opportunity to grab a drink, take a seat and watch the Preds Radio Network crew talk hockey before and after home contests.

October 17 - NHL Names Nashville Host of 2016 NHL All-Star Game:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made a visit to Nashville and announced the city would serve as host of the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, to be held Jan. 31, 2016. In addition to Bettman, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, CEO and President of Bridgestone Americas Gary Garfield, Predators Chairman and Governor Tom Cigarran and Predators CEO Jeff Cogen all spoke during the announcement press conference about Nashville’s positive reputation and the city and team’s excitement to host the League’s premier event.

October 24 - Preds Debut New Web Series, “Beneath the Ice, presented by NISSAN”

The first episode of “Beneath the Ice, presented by NISSAN,” debuted on NashvillePredators.com and took an inside look at new forward James Neal’s transition to Nashville and his first few weeks with his new team. The 12-episode series, which is produced by the Nashville-based Gamma Blast, will follow the Preds throughout the 2014-15 season and give fans and behind-the-scenes look at their favorite team and their favorite players.

November:




November 10 -
Bridgestone Arena Nominated for Pollstar 2014 Arena of the Year Award:

Bridgestone Arena received its eighth-consecutive nomination, and 11th overall, for Pollstar’s Arena of the Year Award. In addition to the Arena’s recognition, Senior Vice President of Booking David Kells was nominated for Pollstar’s Facility Executive of the Year Award. The winner of the prestigious award is determined by the international readership of Pollstar and will be awarded at the 26th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards Ceremony on Feb. 21, 2015, at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

November 17 - Peter Forsberg Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame:

With the 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction ceremony came the first former Predator to be enshrined among hockey’s elite. Peter Forsberg, who played a 22-game stint in Nashville at the end of the 2006-07 season, was among the newest group to enter the Hall on Nov. 17.

November 18 - Preds Tie Franchise Record, Score Nine Goals Against Toronto:

It was an offensive outburst for the record books on Nov. 18 in Toronto, as the Predators tallied nine goals against the Maple Leafs to tie a franchise record for the most goals scored in one game. Fifteen players registered at least one point and nine skaters recorded multi-point outings in the rout of the Leafs.

December:




December 1 -
Filip Forsberg, Pekka Rinne Receive Monthly NHL Honors:

After an impressive November, the NHL took notice of the individual performances of two Preds, naming goaltender Pekka Rinne the Third Star of the Month, while Filip Forsberg received Rookie of the Month honors.

December 15 - All-Star Game Local Organizing Committee Board of Directors Announced:

In conjunction with the Nashville Sports Council, the Nashville Predators announced the names of the members of the 2016 Nashville All-Star Game Local Organizing Committee Board of Directors. The Board is led by Chair Chris Karbowiak, Chief Administration Officer for the Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. and Vice Chair Jim Murphy, a local attorney and partner at Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings LLP. Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill was named “Mayor of Smashville” and longtime Preds broadcast team member Terry Crisp was named “Vice Mayor of Smashville.” The Board includes representation from many Nashville organizations and will be responsible for event planning and will oversee fundraising, marketing communications, lodging, downtown engagement and event, administration and operations functions.

December 16 - David Poile Becomes Second in All-Time Wins by a GM:

With a 3-2 shootout victory over the Bruins, Predators General Manager David Poile hit a significant milestone, recording his 1,171st career victory as a GM, slotting into second place in NHL history. Poile has been at the helm of an NHL franchise for 32-consecutive seasons and is the only GM the Predators have ever had.

December 29 - Preds Acquire Mark Arcobello from Edmonton:

In Nashville’s first trade of the 2014-15 season, the Preds acquired forward Mark Arcobello from the Oilers in exchange for Derek Roy.

December 30 - Predators Set Single-Game Attendance Record:

More fans were in attendance at Bridgestone Arena for the final game of the 2014 calendar year than ever before. The Predators hosted a record 17,401 spectators in Nashville on Dec. 30 against St. Louis, adding to their 14-2-1 record this season in Music City with a 3-2 victory over the Blues.

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