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Preds Hope Past Championship Experience Leads to Success in '08 Playoffs

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators may just be in their 10th season in the NHL, but the current Preds roster is loaded with players accustomed to winning in the playoffs. Seventeen players with the big club have won a past championship, be it Stanley Cup title, European league championship, minor-pro championship, or Major Junior league championship.

Predators President of Hockey Operations and General Manager David Poile admitted that championship pedigree is something the team takes into consideration in personnel move.

"It's not the overriding factor, but it is something we track," Poile said. "It helps this time of year, definitely. When you're battling to get into the playoffs, guys who have had success before are used to winning, which helps. Even Barry Trotz won as a coach (in the American Hockey League). It's important behind the bench to have that experience, too."

Three Preds have experience winning the Stanley Cup, including captain Jason Arnott, who scored the Cup-Clinching Goal for the New Jersey Devils in 2000. Arnott also played in the Cup Finals the next year, losing out to Greg de Vries and the Colorado Avalanche.

Forward Martin Gelinas has played in four Stanley Cup Finals series, winning the Cup in 1990 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Even though he is out with an injury, Gelinas is traveling with the team during the playoffs and is still able to provide leadership and experience within the locker room.

Barry Trotz won the AHL's Calder Cup championship as a head coach in 1995. Vernon Fiddler and Greg Zanon won the Calder Cup with Milwaukee in 2004. Scott Nichol won a Calder Cup title in 1996 and Steve Sullivan won one in 1995. Darcy Hordichuk won a title in the old International Hockey League (when it was the competitor to the AHL) during the 2001 post-season. J.P. Dumont scored an IHL title in 1999, not to mention a QMJHL championship in 1998. Dan Ellis backstopped his team to the 2004 Kelly Cup, which goes to the champion of the East Coast Hockey League, picking up MVP honors along the way.

In Major Juniors, Shea Weber won two Western Hockey League championships, walking away with playoff MVP honors in 2005, and also captured a Memorial Cup title in 2004. Alexader Radulov also has a Memorial Cup title to his credit, winning the championship in 2006 with Quebec while earning tournament MVP. Martin Erat won both the WHL and Memorial Cup titles in 2001. Kevin Klein won an Ontario Hockey League title in 2004 and was a part of the 2006 Milwaukee Admirals squad that made it to AHL Finals. Jerred Smithson won the WHL title in 1999.

In Europe, Jan Hlavac won the Czech League championship last season, while David Legwand captured a title in Switzerland in 2005.
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