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Broadcaster Blog: Remembering Greg Johnson

Voice of the Predators Pete Weber Recalls the Former Captain's Time in Nashville

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

Greg Johnson was an original Predators player, among those individuals General Manager David Poile selected from the 26 established teams to stock Nashville's first NHL roster. The expansion draft was held in Buffalo on June 26, 1998, and a lot would happen before they took the ice for their first regular-season game on Oct. 10.

Goalies Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun were among those selected, along with defensemen Bob Boughner, Joel Bouchard and J.J. Daigneault. Some of the forwards moving to Nashville were Andrew Brunette, Scott Walker and Johnson.

From the very outset, it was clear Poile was going for character on his roster and not necessarily quick fixes. The team's first captain, Tom Fitzgerald, was a free-agent signee, who lived the expansion process earlier in the decade with Florida. Fitzgerald and Johnson were great examples of players who fit into the community and helped establish the new team in the market.

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Broadcaster Blog: One Month to Go

Willy Daunic Examines Final Month of Regular Season, How Things Are Shaping Up for Preds as Playoffs Approach

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

Marathon runners often describe the 26.2-mile race as a "20-mile warmup for a 10k race." The idea is for the athlete to not peak early during the run and blowout (or "bonk" as they say) before the race is over. To do this, the runner must prepare accordingly and leave fuel in the tank for the final portion of the journey, when the best will separate from the pack.

In many ways this hockey season feels like that for the Nashville Predators. Everything is ratcheting up as the regular season winds down. Speaking of marathons, Predator fans are hoping when this year's Country Music Marathon is run on April 27 (which coincides with the 2019 NFL Draft downtown) their team will be in full stride on their drive toward the ultimate prize. What a weekend that could be!

As we approach the final month of the regular season, let's revisit three themes I have discussed in past blogs:

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Broadcaster Blog: The Remaining Schedule - What You Need To Know

Willy Daunic Analyzes the Final 30 Games for the Predators, Talks Potential Playoff Scenarios

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

I hope you enjoyed your break. The Nashville Predators resume play Friday night (at 6 p.m. CT) in Sunrise, Florida, after a well-deserved, nine-day hiatus. The first 52 games of the season included many challenges over four months' time. Through it all, the Predators have endured to put themselves in a solid spot for the stretch run. In many ways, the season is just beginning. Step one is to secure a spot in the postseason in the best position for another run at the Stanley Cup.

Here is what you need to know about the remaining schedule:

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Broadcaster Blog: Laviolette's 600 Wins, Behind the Numbers

Voice of the Predators Pete Weber Takes A Closer Look at Peter Laviolette's Monumental Milestone

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Denver, Predators' Head Coach Peter Laviolette achieved a milestone - his 600th regular-season win behind an NHL bench.

More of them (211) have come while coaching the Predators than any of his other three stops. The New York Islanders won 77 in his two seasons there; the Carolina Hurricanes, 167 (plus the 2006 Stanley Cup) and the Philadelphia Flyers, 145 in addition to a trip to the 2010 Cup Final.

According to Hockey-Reference.com, 371 men have coached at least one National Hockey League game. From Mike Rodden's no wins in two games in 1927, to Scotty Bowman's record total of 1,244 regular-season wins, they are all listed. Just for good measure, no one is within striking distance of Bowman's 223 Stanley Cup Playoff games won either.

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Broadcaster Blog: Preds and Jets On Collision Course Once More

Willy Daunic Explains How Nashville and Winnipeg's Rivalry Will Continue to Grow

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

The thought crossed my mind last spring during the seven-game dogfight in the Western Conference Round Two matchup.

The Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets were in one heck of a battle. They had been No. 1 and No. 2 in the entire NHL in regular-season points, with the Predators edging the Jets out by three points for the Presidents' Trophy. Nashville won the season series three games to two. The playoff series was tied 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3. The Jets won Game 7. So, by the end of it all, the two teams had played 12 times with each team winning six. I'd say that's pretty even.

In the middle of the series, our radio discussion on 102.5 The Game turned to this: Regardless of who won this battle, these two teams would likely be right back again next year in the same spot, if not the next several years. (Of course, we also spent plenty of time talking about the playoff format: Why do the two top teams have to play in Round Two? But I digress.)

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Broadcaster Blog: Family, Hockey Man Poile Set to Enter U.S. Hall of Fame

Voice of the Predators Pete Weber Looks Back at David Poile's Career Thus Far Leading Into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

The United States Hockey Hall of Fame has turned its annual induction ceremonies into a road show - and this year it comes to Nashville. That's right, Music City becomes Hockey City on Dec. 12. And one of the inductees is Predators General Manager David Poile.

He is already established as the GM with the most victories in National Hockey League history. Many things have led to this honor for Poile, but I want to look beyond the numbers and characterize the type of person he is.

Poile is extremely methodical in his approach. He learned from his father, hockey-lifer Bud Poile, and his mentor with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames, Cliff Fletcher. Poile has been running his own teams, beginning with the Washington Capitals in 1982, then moving to start the Predators franchise in 1998.

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Broadcaster Blog: A Closer Look at the Rinne Workload

Willy Daunic Analyzes Pekka Rinne's Game Through the Season's First Two Months

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

Each 82-game season begins with a Plan A. All NHL teams would love for that plan to run smoothly throughout the course of the six-month adventure, but they know better. You must have Plans B, C, and possibly D, ready if needed.

Certainly, the Predators are having to utilize all available resources to try and maintain their high-performance standards without the services of as many as four star players out of the lineup (Viktor Arvidsson, P.K. Subban, Kyle Turris and Filip Forsberg) over the last month. As Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette has stated, when you lose that much of your firepower, you have "less margin for error."

One thing Nashville has done to try and stem the tide until the lineup is bolstered is to lean heavily on the red-hot Pekka Rinne, who appeared in his 11th consecutive game Thursday in Vancouver. All but one of the games were as a starter. There have been recent concerns raised over potentially overtaxing the veteran. The Predators have benefited in recent years by reducing the 36-year-old Rinne's regular-season workload and using the maturing Juuse Saros more.

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Broadcaster Blog: 5-on-5: The Core of Predator Success

Willy Daunic Takes A Look at What Has Helped Keep the Preds at the Top of the League Standings Into November

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

Yes, I'm aware the Predators' power play is currently clicking at 10.8 percent. Perhaps you've heard some discussion about it? And yes, head coach Peter Laviolette and the Predators are aware of it as well. Trust me, they are working on it.

Hardly any discussion of the team's performance goes by without a mention of this issue. And in addition to trying to work on the physical part of the solution, it becomes a mental hurdle as well. The Predators will persevere and continue to search for a breakthrough.

However, this is not the only facet of the game. The power-play issues have overshadowed the statistical strength of the team's success: 5-on-5 play. Special teams can be a difference maker, but the bulk of the game is played 5-on-5. Despite the team's current three-game skid, Nashville has dominated their opponents this season 5-on-5, particularly defensively.

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Broadcaster Blog: Pekka Rinne - Better with Age

Voice of the Predators Pete Weber Takes a Look at Rinne's Career to This Point

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

It's hard to believe that Pekka Rinne made his debut for the Nashville Predators in December of 2005. But it isn't so hard to believe he's still with the team - especially with the way he has performed.

It was Dec. 15 when he made his first start and the beginning was far from auspicious. The first shot he faced - from the Blackhawks' Mark Bell - eluded him for a shorthanded goal.

Demonstrating his resilience - Rinne hung in and the Preds beat Chicago, 5-3.

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Broadcaster Blog: Two Stats of Note Through Nashville's First 10 Games

Willy Daunic Takes A Look at What Has Made the Preds Successful to Start

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

Through the first 10 games of the Predators' season, the most important stat is Nashville's eight wins in 10 contests. After all, as Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette likes to say: "this is a results-oriented business."   

But in today's NHL, there are numbers that can help define why a team or a player is successful. There are also stats that can help project whether a player will continue to be successful. These analytics can be vast and as in-depth as you want them to be, but let's try a couple that hopefully won't fry your brain.

 

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