As the Nashville Predators step away from play for the 2014 Olympics, let's take a look back at some historical moments in Preds history that occured in mid-February.
Feb. 23, 2010 – The arena on Broadway becomes Bridgestone Arena
The Predators and Bridgestone Americas, Inc., announced a multi-year naming rights and marketing partnership for team’s venue, naming it Bridgestone Arena. The Bridgestone Arena name made its debut on March 2, 2010 against the Edmonton Oilers.
“Bridgestone Americas and its subsidiary company, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO) have been long term supporters of the Predators and it is fantastic to have them on board at this new level,” then Nashville Predators President of Business Operations Ed Lang said. “We are excited to have a locally based partner with the global brand equity and recognition of Bridgestone. They have a strong presence in sports marketing across the country which made this opportunity very attractive. On behalf of the entire organization this is a very exciting day.”
With its corporate headquarters in Nashville, Bridgestone Americas putting the Bridgestone name on the arena seemed like a natural fit. The Bridgestone brand has been deeply entrenched in hockey as the title sponsor of the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day Winter Classic outdoor games, and their logo is prevalent on the boards and in the ice at many NHL arenas.
“We’re excited to be in a position to support the city, the Predators and the entire Nashville community through this naming rights partnership,” said Christine Karbowiak, Executive Vice President of Bridgestone Americas, Inc.
Feb. 25, 2013 – Josi’s coming out party
Despite being selected 38th overall in the 2008 Entry Draft and playing internationally as a teenager, Roman Josi entered the 2012-13 season under the radar having come from the quiet country of Switzerland. But in front of a nationally televised audience on the NBC Sports Network on Feb. 25, Josi not-so-quietly informed the rest of the hockey world he was one of the top young defensemen in the game, posting the fifth four-point performance by a defenseman in franchise history in a 5-4 overtime victory over Dallas.
"The last couple of games, he's played with a lot of jump," Head Coach Barry Trotz said after the game. "I think he's finding himself as a player in this League. He's very comfortable and he's playing in all situations and he's becoming a very important part of our team."
After falling behind 2-1 early, Josi scored his first goal of the game at 3:20 of the second period. Dallas would extend its lead to 4-2 by the game’s midpoint, which is when Josi got down to business. He set up a late second-frame tally by Patric Hornqvist, then the equalizer by Mike Fisher at 9:22 of the third. His second goal, and fourth point of the night, was also his first career game-winning goal and overtime tally. It came on a slap shot from the left point just 28 seconds into the extra frame.
Since that late February night, Josi has become much more of a household name, putting down roots on the top defensive pairing with captain Shea Weber and earning a seven-year contract during the summer of 2013. He also garnered headlines in May 2013 when he became the first Swiss player to be named Most Valuable Player, Best Defenseman and a tournament All-Star at the 2013 World Championships, while helping the country to a silver medal, the nation’s first medal in 60 years. He also competed in his first Olympic Games in Sochi earlier this month.
Feb. 28, 2010 – Weber and Suter clash in the Gold Medal Game
In what has been tabbed as a “game for the ages,” Nashville defenseman Shea Weber (Canada) took on Team USA Associate General Manager and Predators GM David Poile’s United States squad in the Gold Medal Game of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The game is widely considered as one of the greatest Olympic hockey games ever played. Weber’s Canadian squad claimed Gold with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory.
Weber and his renowned slap shot turned out to be a viable weapon for Team Canada, and showed the world just how he can be. In a relatively easy win over Germany in the preliminary round, Weber fired a shot from the top of the offensive zone that literally went through the net. The Sicamous, B.C., native posted a point in Canada's first six games of the tournament, and was one of just four d-men to register multiple goals in the tournament.
In addition to the gold medal, Weber was named to the Olympic All-Star Team after tying for second among all defensemen in points (2g-4a) and ranking second on the team in average ice time (20:37).
February 28, 2009 – Preds set franchise margin of victory record against Detroit
Just 10 days removed from a disheartening 6-2 loss to Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, the Predators avenged the loss in a big way with an 8-0 rout of the defending Stanley Cup champions at Bridgestone Arena. The victory was Nashville’s fourth straight win and set a franchise record for margin of victory which still stands today. The Predators came out of the gate strong by scoring five first-period goals in a six-minute span including two goals within 29 seconds of each other. Each goal was scored by a different player and it marked the first time in franchise history that the Predators notched five first-period goals.
Steve Sullivan and J-P Dumont teamed up to deliver assists on each of the final three goals to cap the blowout. Arnott was on the receiving end of two of those assists as he buried his second and third goals of the game at 14:13 in the second period and 13:16 in the third. With his second of three goals, Arnott became the only player in franchise history to score 25 or more goals in a season three times. Thre third goal capped Arnott’s eighth career hat trick. Shea Weber scored on a slap shot from just a few feet inside the blue line at 8:45 in the third period to finish the scoring.
The victory and capped a month that saw the Predators post 10 wins, the third 10-win month in franchise history to that point.
March 1, 2003: Trotz coaches game No. 392, most-ever by the first coach of an expansion team; Murray scores with .2 seconds remaining
In a game where it became evident the giant strides that the franchise had made in its five-year history, Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz attained a milestone of his own by spending his 392nd career game behind the Preds bench. It set a new mark for games by the original coach of an expansion franchise, breaking the previous record held by color commentator Terry Crisp when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“My record is a tribute to all of the players here now and those who have been here in the past,” Trotz said. “This is a team record, not my record.”
The team made the night memorable, downing the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime to make it the first time the franchise (26-25-9-4) had been above .500 that late in the season.
Rem Murray’s game-tying goal came about as late as it could in the second period – with two-tenths of a second remaining. Scott Walker provided the heroics with the game-winning tally 2:49 into the extra frame.
The victory kept a hot streak alive for the Preds, with it they had won four straight and were 8-1-0 in their last nine outings.
Trotz has nearly tripled that record as he remains the only coach in Predators history. His tenure has lasted 1,173 and counting, the second-most games coached by a single team in NHL history.