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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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Broadcaster Blog: Remembering the First Win in Preds History

Voice of the Predators Pete Weber Recalls the Franchise's First Victory

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

One of the greatest opportunities of my career was to be named the Voice of the Nashville Predators in August of 1998, a few weeks before training camp opened. That set up all sorts of firsts for me.

Going through training camp, we played all nine games on the road. The team played in Huntsville, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida; Little Rock, Arkansas; Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio, and at the home of the team's farm club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; among others. The team went 2-4-3 in those games, so there still was no real idea how the group would do.

I was thinking about how long the first season might turn out to be. Would the team threaten or approach the marks of the 1974-75 Washington Capitals (8-67-5) or would they be closer to the 1993-94 Florida Panthers (33-34-17)? That's a wide range there. On top of that, with no home games in the preseason, how would the crowd be?

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Broadcaster Blog: Laviolette, Poile and the Predators' Mindset

Preds Broadcaster Willy Daunic Highlights Three Things as Nashville Begins Their Season

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

Another season of Predators hockey is about to begin. The summer, which included very little turnover in last year's roster, has been a buildup of anticipation to start the journey to earn another shot at a Stanley Cup run.

With that in mind, here are some insights into the mindset of the Predators through Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette and General Manager David Poile. Each of them joined Preds flagship station, 102.5 The Game, this week on the Darren & Daunic Show as training camp came to a close. These two conversations will get you ready for the opening week in New York City, which begins Thursday at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.

Here are some key topics covered:

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Broadcaster Blog: Scott Hartnell Retires

Voice of the Preds Pete Weber Recalls Scott Hartnell's Time Spent in Nashville

by Pete Weber @PeteWeberSports / Voice of the Predators

It came out Tuesday on Twitter - Scott Hartnell announcing his retirement.

I was immediately shaken by it. I saw him open up his NHL career in Japan at the Saitama Super Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins in his draft year of 2000. Not many players make their teams to start the season in their draft years, and certainly the opening series in Japan made that all the more special. An 18-year-old Scott Hartnell, whom Terry Crisp oftentimes referred to as "Bull Hartnell," implying the old adage about a bull in a China shop, made Barry Trotz's team.

So far, only two players have started the season with the Predators in their draft year: Hartnell in 2000 and Seth Jones in 2013. Hartnell was the Predators' third first-round selection, taken sixth overall in 2000. He has played more games (1,249) than anyone else in that draft, though Carolina's Justin Williams (with 1,162) could possibly catch him. Marian Gaborik (407) and Dany Heatley (372) both have scored more than Scott's 327 NHL goals, but Williams' all-around contributions are the only ones similar to Hartnell's output.

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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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