The Hockey News recently published its eighth addition of, ‘The Best of Everything in Hockey,’ and the Nashville Predators are well represented throughout the edition. The club is ranked highly in multiple categories, from off the ice (cheerleaders, party atmosphere) to on the ice (best coach, best goaltender). All totaled Nashville picked up 26 recognitions spanning 23 different categories, while earning the top nod in four areas.
The voting is done by The Hockey News’ 30 correspondents. They were only allowed to vote for one person per category.
Here is where the Predators rank…Players and skills categories...
The Preds were represented 16 times in 13 different player skill categories.Best Defenseman: Shea Weber
(No. 3). The Predators captain drew 20% of the vote, behind Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom (45%) and Boston’s Zdeno Chara (35%).Best Goalie: Pekka Rinne
(tie No. 3). Rinne became an international star last season when he became a force in the regular season and in the playoffs. In the publication’s voting, only Boston’s Tim Thomas and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller received more votes.Best Glove Hand: Pekka Rinne
(No. 1). Rinne takes the top spot here with 27% of the vote. The Hockey News writes, “No one’s better at snaring pucks and limiting rebounds.”Best Slapshot: Shea Weber
(No. 2). It was a close battle, but Weber drew 40% of the vote while Boston’s Zdeno Chara took 47.5%. To most followers of the game, it’s a coin flip.Best Stand-Up Goalie: Pekka Rinne
(No. 3). Staying upright is key for goaltenders, and Rinne is one of the best.Best Shootout Goalie: Pekka Rinne
(tie No. 4). Always calm under pressure, Rinne is 17-9 in shootouts the last three seasons, ranking fifth in the league in shootout saves the last two campaigns (27 in '10-11, 34 in '09-10).Best Hidden Gem: Ryan Suter
, Patric Hornqvist
, Kevin Klein
(tie No. 3). Exemplifying Nashville’s talent and depth, these three players all made the list. Best Shooter: Shea Weber
(No. 4). Only two defensemen are listed in the first seven, and Weber is one of them.Best Shot Blocker: Mike Fisher
(No. 5). The Predators acquired the forward last season because of his solid, all-around game, and blocking shots is one of his many strengths.Best One-Timer: Shea Weber
(No. 5). It is another impressive piece of Weber’s arsenal.Best Hitter: Shea Weber
(tie, No. 6). The power and force behind Weber’s hits have caused many opponents to know exactly where Weber is on the ice at all times.Best Pest: Jordin Tootoo
(tie No. 8). No surprise here. Tootoo has been able to get under the skin of opponents for several years.Best Penalty Killer: Shea Weber
(tie No. 10), Pekka Rinner (tie No. 10). The duo help make up one of the NHL’s best PK units.Team Building Categories...
The Preds earned recognition in three team building categories.Best Coach:
Barry Trotz (No. 1). Trotz was the runaway winner in this category, capturing 42.5% of the vote. Second was Detroit’s Mike Babcock (22.5%). The publication states, “the hockey world has come to believe in the wise ways of Barry Trotz.”
Best General Manager:
David Poile (tie No. 3). Poile is the only man to be a finalist for the NHL’s General Manager of the Year Award in each of the two years of its existence (2010, 2011). Best Development Team:
Predators (No. 2). Nashville is respected as developing standout NHL players through its own system.Game Experience Categories...
Smashville earned recognition in seven game experience categories, including top honors for Best Intermission and Best Neighborhood.Best Intermission:
Nashville (No. 1). The combination of big-time musicians performing on the stage and unique entertainment for fans of all ages earned the Predators the top spot here.Best Neighborhood:
Nashville (No. 1). Grabbing an impressive 34.4% of the vote, Downtown Nashville - including Bridgestone Arena’s Plaza Parties - is regarded by voters as having the best party atmosphere before and after games.Best Mascot:
GNASH (No. 3). How can you not love GNASH? Rappelling from the cat walk at Bridgestone Arena, a 4-wheeler on the ice? He does it all. GNASH is also seen at hundreds of community events each year, which makes him not only one of the NHL’s best mascots, but one of the best in all of sports.Best Broadcast Tandem:
Pete Weber/Terry Crisp (tie, No. 4). The duo is informative, conversational, truthful and entertaining. And widely respected around the NHL.Best Cheerleaders:
Nashville (tie No. 5). High-energy performances and positive interaction with fans makes the Predators cheerleaders a fan favorite.Best Jersey:
Nashville (tie, No. 6). The Predators Gold color has received raves throughout the nation, going against the typical basic colors so many other clubs feature.Best PR Department:
Nashville (No. 10). Accommodating the media has always been a strength for the organization.