Tuesday evening, the Predators Flagship Station 102.5 The Game aired a two-hour Season Preview Show.
Hosted by myself an my radio broadcast partner Brent Peterson (@BrentPeterson12), the show featured dynamic insights from numerous Predator perspectives. We certainly covered all the bases.
Here it is served up a la carte for you, with some commentary from me highlighting what to look for in each interview. Enjoy! Also keep in mind: All hockey interviews aired on my show "Sportsnight" or any of our local shows on 102.5 The Game or 94.9 Game 2 can be heard by going to www.thegamenashville.com.
Part 1 - Shea Weber:
I spoke to the Predators captain on several topics. Pay attention to his views on learning the strengths of his new teammates (examples would be chemistry with Mike Ribeiro and James Neal on the power play: where they like the puck, timing, strategy, etc.), Seth Jones taking a step forward, his runaway victory in the team's Fantasy Baseball League, and the new "play going forward" mentality (Don't mistake the new system for "pond hockey"-- there must be accountability on defense). Listen here:
Part 2 - Predators COO Sean Henry:
There are a ton of new features in Smashville waiting for the Loyal Legion. Our radio broadcasts pre- and postgame will originate from the Barrel House, a brand new spot right outside Section 111 near the SoBro Entrance. Plus, get Sean's thoughts on the new Lexus Lounge, why the Predators put a new wrinkle on their goal song, the new level for the Opening Night laser show and more.
Part 3 - GM David Poile:
The Preds GM gave his thoughts on how the pieces are fitting together thus far, in particular the three veteran forwards the team signed to one-year deals during the second wave of free agency (Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy). The theme is giving the staff time to figure out how best to utilize the forwards. Also he discusses the progress of youngsters Kevin Fiala, Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm. Finally, there's an intriguing take on the Ryan Ellis negotiation and why the two sides settled on a five-year deal. According to Poile, it was a difficult process, with some "angst" at times from Ellis' camp.
Part 4 - USA Today NHL Writer Kevin Allen:
Kevin is one of the best at covering the NHL; we could have done a two-hour show with him. The focus of this interview is the tough challenge of moving up in the very competitive Western Conference. Allen believes that 22 of the 30 teams in the NHL look improved on paper, though reality tells you that can't be the case. Is Chicago in any trouble with their salary cap issues? Who is the most catchable in the Central Division - Minnesota? Colorado? Dallas? Great insights here:
Part 5 - Terry Crisp:
Crispy discusses the young players fighting for limited roster spots. Thus far, Filip Forsberg has impressed the most of any of the youngsters. Calle Jarnkrok, despite more success in his brief stint last season, must fight to get to the next level of his game to stick in the league. He has not turned heads in camp to this point. Plus, Crispy's take on Fiala, the newly signed Taylor Beck and more.
Part 6 - Peter Laviolette:
The Predators new head coach discusses the process at this stage of the season. He builds on Shea Weber's point about learning how to mesh the new players together on the power play to lean torward their strengths. He talks about the importance of conditioning in order to play at the speed necessary to be effective in his system "We're not there yet". Also, he is dealing with a few banged up players (Viktor Stalberg, Matt Cullen, Colin Wilson and Paul Gaustad), which creates a challenge in developing the line combinations he will use on opening night. Lots of work to be done.
Part 7 - "The Closer" Stu Grimson:
We wrap things up with Stu Grimson on how Laviolette's system differs from his predecessor's, and what to look for as a fan. Some excellent detail here from both Stu and Brent. Finally, we close it all out with a few keys going forward, including the massive impact Pekka Rinne can make if he is on his game.