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Broadcaster Blog: The Playoff Century Mark

Sunday's Game 2 Against Winnipeg Marks Playoff Game No. 100 in Predators History

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

The Predators had to wait until their sixth season to make the playoffs, and all who were around remember the excitement - after all, it was the Detroit Red Wings the Predators who would be playing - remember it well.

In the years since that first round series in 2004, which the Preds tied 2-2 before falling in six games, the playoff games have piled up for the Predators. When they host the Winnipeg Jets in the second game of their Round Two series today, it will mark 100 playoff games in the team's history.

Maybe that number isn't so staggering in comparison to the 1,524 regular-season games the club has played, beginning on Oct. 10, 1998. But consider this: the team played 50 playoff games under their first coach, Barry Trotz, who went 19-31 in the postseason for Nashville, winning series against Anaheim in 2011 and Detroit in 2012. In that span, the team lost to the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings in Round One and the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks in Round One as well. The team that beat them in Round Two in 2011, the Vancouver Canucks, were the Presidents' Trophy winners who then lost in the Cup Final to the Boston Bruins.

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Broadcaster Blog: Setting the Table for Preds vs. Jets

Willy Daunic Discusses Interviews with Pierre Lebrun, Andrew Berkshire on Nashville and Winnipeg

by Willy Daunic @WillyD1025 / Television Play-By-Play

The hockey world has been looking forward to this for months: Nashville Predators versus Winnipeg Jets. Not only are they the top two point-getters in the NHL, but the clubs played perhaps the most entertaining regular-season series of anyone. 

On Tuesday on the Preds flagship station, 102.5 The Game, the "Darren and Daunic" show had two insightful interviews to set the table for the series:

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Broadcaster Blog: 2013 NHL Draft Helped Shape Preds and Avs Series

Nashville and Colorado Picked in Top Four of 2013 Draft, Moves Helped Lead to Postseason Meeting

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

As we went through Round One, it struck me how much the 2013 NHL Draft had impacted the Predators and Avalanche series. That draft was full of surprises because there was so much mystery heading into it.

Days before the choices began, we spoke to TSN Draft Analyst Craig Button on Slapshot Radio. There was so much pre-draft intrigue as the draft order was set with Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay just ahead of Nashville.

Coming off the 48-game season, Colorado had allowed the fourth-most goals in the League (Nashville was 11th). The Avs did have 25-year-old Erik Johnson and 21-year-old Tyson Barrie on defense, but that was about it. So clearly, the Avalanche's priority should have been defense:

With all of that in mind, it seemed Colorado was set on Nathan MacKinnon. At the time, Draftniks also had centers Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin (MacKinnon's teammate with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL) as the other most desirable forwards. Shane Malloy of NHL Network Radio's Hockey Prospects Radio, commented on another scenario:

As it turned out, the Avalanche were not posturing. As expected, they got an excellent player in MacKinnon. Only one other player from that draft has scored more goals (Calgary's Sean Monahan with 138) than MacKinnon's 114.

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Broadcaster Blog: Perspective as Preds Enter Round One

Willy Daunic Discusses Interviews with Poile, Laviolette, Smith Prior to Postseason

by Willy Daunic @WillyD1025 / Television Play-By-Play

It seems like it has taken forever to get from Saturday's regular-season finale to the playoff opener tonight. You can feel the anticipation from all angles. When 8:30 p.m. (CT) finally rolls around, the talk will stop. Then the real fun begins.

To prepare you over the final hours prior to puck drop, here are three interviews conducted over the past few days on our flagship station 102.5 The Game on "Darren and Daunic." They are three separate perspectives. All are fabulous and loaded with insight. Here is your guide to each one and I invite you to listen to them in full!

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Broadcaster Blog: A Look Back at Nashville's First Postseason

As the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Loom, Pete Weber Recalls How We Got Here

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

How did the calendar turn to the first week of April and the last week of the NHL's regular season so quickly? We must have been having too much fun (is that even possible?)!

It's at points like this where you truly begin to appreciate the things that have preceded this season.

There were those early days of the team, the times still fresh in my mind that bring forth that sense of appreciation.

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Broadcaster Blog: The Impact of Ryan Ellis

Willy Daunic Writes on the Difference Ryan Ellis Makes in the Predators Lineup

by Willy Daunic @WillyD1025 / Television Play-By-Play

The Predators were already a very good team when the calendar turned to 2018. After a 5-5-2 start, Nashville won 16 of the next 20 to move up the ladder in the NHL standings. But since defenseman Ryan Ellis returned to the lineup on Jan. 2, there has been a marked improvement.

It would have been easy to predict that Ellis would eventually make his usual impact. What is notable, however, is that he might be on his way to his best prorated season. And now that Nashville has their full complement of "four aces" available on the blueline (with fellow star defensemen Roman Josi, P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm), the difference in the team stats is noticeable.

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Broadcaster Blog: The Winningest GM in NHL History

The Voice of the Predators Writes on the GM he's Worked with for 20 Years in Nashville

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

If you are a hockey fan, there's a good chance you remember Herb Brooks's (played by Kurt Russell) speech from the movie "Miracle." He told the members of his 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team: "you were born to be hockey players, everyone of you!"

I can't help feeling that David Poile was born to be a general manager. David's father was Norman "Bud" Poile, who played for five NHL teams, including the 1947 Stanley Cup Champion Toronto Maple Leafs. Bud was playing his last NHL season when David was born, splitting the 1949-50 season between the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins.

David grew up in hockey's minor leagues with his family. Bud played a few more years in the minor leagues, but more importantly, began his move into coaching and management. Bud coached the Edmonton Flyers for nine seasons, winning three Western Hockey League championships. He then moved onto San Francisco, where he won two more titles in four seasons with that Western League franchise.

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Broadcaster Blog: The Preds and Red Wings, Nashville's First Rivalry

As Nashville Prepares for Two Meetings Against Detroit, Pete Weber Looks Back at the Old Rivalry Between the Clubs

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

I am putting myself on the record here. I really miss the frequent meetings between the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings that we had over the course of the Preds' first 14 seasons.

Nashville and Detroit were members of the same division for a decade and a half, so they played as many as eight regular-season (not to mention preseason and playoff) games during a single campaign. At the start, the Predators were decided underdogs. The Red Wings were two-time defending Stanley Cup champions when the Predators first took the ice. In other words, there were quite a few teams that didn't fare well against them.

The powerful Red Wings, with a $75 million payroll (in those days there wasn't a salary cap or floor) versus the $12 million for the Predators. The Red Wings power-play unit alone surpassed the Nashville payroll!

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Broadcaster Blog: Analyzing Fisher's Return

Willy Daunic Poses Key Questions on the Return of Mike Fisher and What it Means for the Preds

by Willy Daunic @WillyD1025 / Television Play-By-Play

What a lightning bolt. As big as the news was back in 2011 when Mike Fisher was traded to the Nashville Predators, Wednesday's announcement that he would come out of retirement and join the team for the stretch run was even bigger. That is a tribute both to his impact on the franchise and to the evolution of Smashville to new heights since that day.

In 2011, the infamous headline was "Carrie Underwood's Husband Traded to Preds." At the time, only the seasoned hockey fans knew that he was an impact player. But even those of us who knew about the solid career numbers he had posted in Ottawa had no idea the full effect he would have on the franchise and the community. Back then, Nashville knew about Underwood (who has been a fantastic catalyst for the team in her own way). Now, they know about Fisher. He is flat out special.

General manager David Poile and head coach Peter Laviolette know that as well. Which is why it was fascinating to hear them (along with Fisher himself) articulate the process of the former captain's decision to return at the press conference. Poile joined Flagship Station 102.5 The Game afterward for more insight.

I invite you to listen to the segment in its entirety. But while you do, here are some key things to ponder:

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Broadcaster Blog: Fisher Joins Elite Club with Comeback

Pete Weber Looks Back at Other Sports Stars to Come Out of Retirement

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

I had quite the surprise walking into Bridgestone Arena Wednesday morning: a press conference was scheduled to announce the return of Mike Fisher as an active player with the Predators! That pleasant surprise made many of us think of other retirements that were cut short by athletes in several sports.

There have been a variety of boxing comebacks, most notably by Muhammed Ali, but also including George Foreman (not just his grills), Floyd Mayweather, and others.

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