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Broadcaster Blog: Summertime Thoughts on Hartman, Saros

Willy Daunic Speaks with Ryan Hartman and Rob Vollman on What's to Come

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

The Nashville Predators offseason theme has been simple: few changes. They are confident they have the formula for success in house.

That said, Preds General Manager David Poile was able to cross off some subtle - but important things - from his summer checklist this week, making deals with forward Ryan Hartman and goalie Juuse Saros.

On the Predators Flagship Station 102.5 The Game, we had a great conversation with Hartman, and got excellent insight from analytics specialist Rob Vollman from Hockey Abstract on the underrated value of Saros. They are both worth listening to - and here is your guide:

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Broadcaster Blog: Barry Trotz - A Big Congrats

Willy Daunic Interviews Preds Broadcasters on Their Memories of Barry Trotz

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

I just don't think it's like this for very many former coaches. When the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, the reaction by Predators fans, media and staff, was a universal outpouring of positive emotion. For me, it was heartwarming because of its simplicity: just a sincere appreciation for a special man - Barry Trotz.

It says a lot about the classiness of the Predators' fan base that they can put their own Stanley Cup aspirations aside and sincerely be happy for a competitor's success (believe me - we want it as badly as ever and we will be back!). But somehow Coach Trotz makes it easy.

The words of congrats continued Friday on the Preds Flagship Station 102.5 The Game. The "Darren and Daunic Show" had three interviews from people who go back to the beginning of Barry Trotz's history with the Predators franchise. They spoke not only of how the Capitals broke through for a championship after 44 years of existence, but also what they appreciate about coach Trotz as a person. Here is your guide...

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Broadcaster Blog: Former Preds Coach Trotz Wins Stanley Cup

Pete Weber Writes on Nashville's First Head Coach and His Championship Run in Washington

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

Barry Trotz was an against-the-grain hire as the first head coach of the Nashville Predators by general manager David Poile in 1997. Poile asked for advice from many in the League about what type of coach he should hire. Most of the time, he was told to hire someone with NHL experience.

Instead, Poile brought Trotz to Music City from his regime with the Washington Capitals, where Trotz served as an American Hockey League assistant for two years, then head coach for another five. When he came to Nashville, he was basically an unknown asset.

However, my path had intersected with his previously. I wasn't around when he won the Calder Cup with the Portland Pirates in 1994. But two years later, Trotz's Pirates were in the final against the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the club I then worked for, the Buffalo Sabres.

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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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