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As We Turn the Calendar from 2017...

Pete Weber Looks Back at the Year That Was

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

It's retrospective time; the calendar tells us so. I have no difficulty reflecting on the high points of 2017. How could it be anything but "the run?"

The Nashville Predators' run to the Stanley Cup Final was without question one of the highlights of my professional life. I've covered four Super Bowls (remember the ESPN 30-for-30, "The Four Falls of Buffalo?"), was on hand for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo and when a rookie guard-forward-post-man named Magic Johnson helped the Lakers win the 1980 NBA title. So, I have been around for some high-level sporting events. The emotion of that run to the 2017 Cup Final sits at the top of my list.

Remember the summer of 2007 and how close the Predators were to being moved out of the city? Hard for those of us working for the team at the time to forget. We were preparing our homes for sale. The copiers were pumping out resumes at a record rate. Those who could were at least seriously seeking other jobs.

Who would have thought, at that time, that 10 years later things could be so different?

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Preds Provided Christmas Magic During Inaugural Season

Pete Weber Recalls Pair of Holiday Victories to Make Christmas Happy for Preds Fans

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

As we get closer to the holidays, with all the extra activities that accompany them, memories begin streaming back.

In the history of the Nashville Predators, that is very true, especially during their first season. The schedule provided some real challenges to the expansion Preds. The opponent for the last game before Christmas was the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings - and it was their first trip to Music City. The first game after Christmas, the Predators hosted the Stanley Cup finalist Washington Capitals.

The Predators had just returned home from a West Coast trip to Anaheim, San Jose and Vancouver. Tomas Vokoun took over in net for Mike Dunham in the Vancouver game after Dunham exited due to injury. The Predators picked up their first win of the trip in that game, thanks to two-goal nights by Sergei Krivokrasov and Sebastien Bordeleau. Vokoun would get the next two starts.

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Patience with Aberg Beginning to Pay Off for Preds

Willy Daunic Explains Why Preds Are Wise to Give Pontus Aberg Plenty of Chances

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

Not long ago, Predators General Manager David Poile joined Darren McFarland and I on the Preds flagship radio station, 102.5 The Game, for an assessment of the first quarter of the season.

A question came up about Pontus Aberg, who had struggled out of the gate and looked nothing like the skilled player that had made significant contributions late in Nashville's postseason run in the spring. He had amassed just two assists in his first 15 games played, and was often a healthy scratch.

Poile, while making no excuses for Aberg's play, stressed the importance of patience. He told the story of Rich Peverley, a player who once was at a similar crossroads in his career.

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Before Preds Face Newest NHL Franchise, Rewind to First Nashville Season

Pete Weber Looks Back at Memorable Moments of Nashville's First NHL Season

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports /

With the Nashville Predators' first meeting with the National Hockey League's newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, coming up, my thoughts naturally go back to the Predators' beginnings.

I had always wanted to be in on the creation of a team, and the Predators were nice enough to give me that opportunity. The Predators were part of a wave of four teams (along with Atlanta, Columbus and Minnesota) that came into being from 1998 through 2000. Last season, the Predators became the first member of that group to make the Stanley Cup Final.

So it was 17 years between that wave of expansion and the debut this fall of the Golden Knights. Never has an expansion team had as generous a pool of players from which to choose than the Knights did.

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November Numbers: Preds Capable of Dominance

Statistics Behind 10-1-1 Stretch for Nashville Show Preds Power Versus Top Opponents

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

The Predators started and finished the month of November with regulation losses. In between, Nashville enjoyed an extremely successful 10-1-1 run.

The dozen games not only represents the tangible - such as a bit of separation from the pack in the Western Conference standings - but more.  

When you look a bit closer at the numbers, the Predators reached a dominant level. They didn't just win. They often won big - and against good teams. In a salary cap system, it isn't easy to achieve this. Everyone has talented players, and relatively little separates the top teams to the bottom.

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The History of the Preds Fathers Trip

Pete Weber Looks Back at Some Memorable Moments of the Predators Annual Fathers Trip

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

Hockey is a game that involves the whole family, particularly the parents. Youngsters may want to play the game, but without the support and guidance of their parents, they have little hope.

Today, many NHL teams hold an annual Fathers Trip, perhaps inspired by the Predators, who began the tradition their very first season.

Predators General Manager David Poile explained how it all got started - as a result of a conversation with former coach Barry Trotz.

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Broadcaster Blog: Interview with Preds Assistant GM Paul Fenton

Willy Daunic and 3D Chat with Assistant GM About Turris Trade, Preds Prospects

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

The perspective of any NHL assistant general manager is unique. Paul Fenton of the Predators must not only know everything about his NHL team, but also be tuned into each prospect in the system, the next wave of amateurs and the beat of what is going on around the League. He may be in Nashville watching the Predators one day, taking in a Milwaukee Admirals game the next, then scouting two college games a few nights later.

I caught up with Fenton on "3D" on the Preds flagship station, 102.5 The Game, prior to Tuesday's game at Bridgestone Arena, a 6-3 Predators victory over Washington. He provided detailed insight on some familiar subjects, but also some important Predator news that is under the radar. I hope you will listen to it - here is your roadmap on just a few of the subjects discussed in the interview.

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Kariya, Preds' First Big Free Agent Signing, Enters Hall of Fame

Pete Weber Reflects on Paul Kariya's Impact in Nashville as Forward Enters Hall of Fame

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Radio Play-by-Play

It's that time again. It's the weekend the festivities begin for this year's Hockey Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies. This time around, the Nashville Predators' schedule doesn't put them in Toronto, but one of the inductees will have many of us there in spirit. Paul Kariya is that man.

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A Comparison of Two Octobers for the Predators

After Improvement From 2-5-1 Start to Last Season, Daunic Writes on the Good and Bad for the Preds

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

The Nashville Predators' first month of play is in the books at 5-4-2. With the team getting a three-day break between the back-to-back split of Friday at Chicago and against the New York Islanders on Saturday, and the California swing that begins Wednesday in San Jose, this is a natural time for the organization to assess the progress of the group.

Rarely, if ever, do things go completely as planned. Take last season, as Nashville started 2-5-1. There were issues to say the least. At the time, I made my own assessment of what was happening, and predicted (fortunately) that things would get better over time.

This year, the challenges are different, but they are present nonetheless. Thanks in particular to stellar play from goaltender Pekka Rinne and winger Filip Forsberg, the Predators had a steady October despite missing two key cogs: Associate Captain Ryan Ellis, and (just as he was getting comfortable after four games) Nick Bonino.

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3 Things: Preds Gelling as Young Season Progresses

Pekka Rinne, Viktor Arvidsson and Defensive Pairings Highlight Nashville's Early Success

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

After six games of this young season, the Predators are showing signs of gelling.

Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette preached throughout training camp that despite last year's experience gained from the memorable playoff run, every group is unique. Roles have to be defined. New stripes have to be earned.

To a person, the team was disappointed in their first outing in Boston. A 4-0 loss in Pittsburgh certainly wasn't the desired result in the second contest, but Laviolette saw signs of life. In each game since then, Laviolette has expressed in his postgame comments that the Predators have shown game-by-game improvement. Not coincidentally, the team is on a 3-0-1 stretch as they head out for the next short-term goal: road wins.

Here are a few nuggets contributing to the improvement...

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