Have the Nashville Predators struck gold with another Russian prospect?
Vladislav Kamenev, a 2014 second round pick of the Predators, showed great promise in his first official taste of the NHL.
Early in the first period of the first half of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Florida Panthers, the 19-year-old forward put the Predators up 2-0 when he took a Ryan Ellis pass and scored from the crease.
“He had a good shot off the wing there,” Ellis said of. “Overall, I thought he was making plays as well and that’s good to see.
“He showed flashes of brilliance out there. He’s kind of your prototypical Russian – great hands, great vision, skates well for a bigger guy and I thought he did great.”
Kamenev spent two seasons in the KHL with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk but terminated his KHL contract in April in order to make the jump to North America.
Thanks in part to the Alexander Radulov debacle, the Predators did not draft a single Russian player from 2005 through 2013.
Radulov, Nashville’s first-round pick (15th overall) in 2004, spent two seasons with the Predators before he signed a contract in the KHL despite the fact that he still had a year left on his entry-level deal with Nashville. He finally satisfied his contract with the team when he played nine games at the end of the 2011-12 season (he also appeared in eight playoff games) but has played exclusively in the KHL since.
Kamenev was their second-round choice (42nd overall) in 2014. They followed with another Russian forward, Yakov Trenin, in the second round this year (55th overall).
Both plan to play in North America this season.
(Photo: Getty Images)
After a return to the playoffs last season the Nashville Predators hope they will be something to see in the coming one.
Franchise officials, in fact, are banking on it.
For the first time in team history all of Nashville’s 82 regular-season games will be on television, the team announced Tuesday.
Fox Sports Tennessee will carry 78 of them, including 40 of the 41 home games. The remaining four contests will be carried nationally on NBC Sports Network, half of which will be against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
FOR ALL TO SEE
The rundown of 2015-16 Nashville Predators games that will be televised nationally by NBC Sports Network:
Oct. 28 at San Jose
Dec. 29 at St. Louis
Jan. 19 vs. Chicago
Feb. 25 at Chicago
“Each year the Nashville Predators relationship with Fox Sports Tennessee strengthens,” chief operating officer Sean Henry said in a release. “With that growing partnership, fans are able to continue enjoying unprecedented access to watch their team both on the ice and behind-the-scenes. … It’s going to be an exciting season in Smashville, and Fox Sports Tennessee is the premier place for fans to follow along with the Nashville Predators.”
The Nashville Predators have included goalies in their television broadcasts for years.
Now they’re adding one of their former netminders to their radio broadcasts.
Chris Mason will serve as analyst alongside play-by-play man Pete Weber for select games this season, the franchise announced Monday. He will share that role with former coach Brent Peterson, who has been the radio analyst for the past two seasons.
Mason, when he was backup to Tomas Vokoun, was one of the first to do live in-game interviews from the bench. That has become a staple of the television broadcasts as he and others such as Dan Ellis and Carter Hutton have offered lively and insightful comments on the proceedings.
“I love hockey, I love the fans of hockey and this opportunity gives me a chance to stay involved in the sport I have dedicated so much of my life to,” Mason said in a release from the team. “I look forward to this new challenge of broadcasting and being part of the team that gave me my first opportunity to play in the NHL.”
Mason played 135 games for Nashville in three different stints with the club. The Predators traded for him in 1998, claimed him in the 2003 waiver draft and signed him as a free agent.
He concluded his playing career last season in Germany but already had planned to return to Nashville as part of the broadcast crew.
The Nashville Predators talked about it. Ultimately they decided not too think too much about it.
Pekka Rinne’s workload consistently has been a hot topic at the start of recent seasons. Thursday, when players reported for the start of training camp, the veteran goalie said no one had broached the subject with him and general manager David Poile said factors other than speculation ultimately would determine how much the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist plays.
“He’s a horse,” Poile said. “He loves to play. … You have to go by how well you’re playing as a team, how he is, how his health is, all those types of things.
“… There’s some periods in the schedule where you’re getting a grind of three games in four nights and some travel situations. That, to me, is when you have to be more logical in terms of when you use both your goalies and, specifically, take Pekka out of the lineup.”
Rinne was not as good in the second part of last season as he was at the start. Then, he was not as good in the playoffs as he was during the latter stages of the regular season.
Fatigue was not the issue, Poile said. Pain was.
“The factor was he got hurt a little bit,” the veteran general manager said. “We were in first place when he got hurt. He came back and there were some other factors in terms of our overall play. But I did not think fatigue was a factor.”
Rinne missed three weeks in late January and early February with a lower body injury. He returned to the lineup against Anaheim in what was a matchup of the teams tied for the NHL’s most points at that time. The Predators lost 5-2 but won their next six (Rinne was the winning goalie in five) before a late-season slide cost them a chance to win the Central Division.
His statistics certainly support Poile’s interpretation.
Before the injury, Rinne was 29-6-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. When he returned to the lineup he went 12-11-1 and goals-against climbed to 2.18 and his save percentage rose dipped to .923. In the six-game playoff loss to Chicago he was 2-4 with a 2.68 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
“You go into the season, you want to be in the best shape possible and try to stay healthy and take care of your body and get off to a good start,” Rinne said. “Hopefully you stay healthy and be able to play a lot of games.”
He set the franchise record for games played in 2011-12, when he appeared in 73 contests. That same season the Predators reached the second round of the playoffs for the second time and his playoff numbers (2.07 GAA, .929 save percentage) were better than his regular season stats.
“I’m not too worried about the number [of games],” Rinne said. “Obviously, going deeper this season, you want to feel fresh and be able to give everything you have and help this team. But in the past I’ve played a lot of games and I feel like that helps me, having that experience.
“… You want to be a part of it every single night, but we’ll see how it goes.”
In the meantime, no one feels the need to discuss it.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Not every member of the Chicago Blackhawks was thrilled with goalie Scott Darling’s unexpected star turn against the Nashville Predators in this year’s NHL playoffs.
Antti Raanta, the third string goalie during Chicago’s run to a third Stanley Cup in six years, actually rooted against him and his team.
“I was really hoping Nashville would beat us in four games and I could get back to Finland. I was [so pissed off] about how Chicago was treating me.”
According to Raanta, Blackhawks were suffering of weak team spirit and head coach Joel Quenneville didn't seem to like him.
“I noticed that coach didn't like me, in that position it is pretty difficult to fight the windmills,” Raanta said.
Darling replaced starter Corey Crawford in each of the first two playoff contests against Nashville and started each of the next four. He was the winning goalie in three of the first four games of the series, which the Blackhawks won in six games.
Raanta, who appeared in 14 games during the regular season (the same number as Darling), did not see any action in the playoffs. The Blackhawks traded him in June to the New York Rangers.
Beginning this season Nashville Predators’ ticket holders won’t have to hold an actual ticket to get into games.
The NHL franchise announced Wednesday a digital ticket option for fans, regardless of whether they purchase seats as part of a season-ticket package or on a single-game basis. The entire process from purchase to arena entrance now can be done with an app.
From the Predators:
With the option to keep the entire ticketing process in a digital format, season-ticket holders and single-game buyers alike can now instantly receive their tickets, post them for resale and enter Bridgestone Arena all by using their smartphone.
“Fans are able to pull up the barcode for their tickets on their phone, and then they can also manage their tickets from it, too,” Predators Director of Business Strategy Jordan Kolosey said in a release from the team. “They can forward their tickets to a friend via email or they can actually post their ticket for sale if it’s a game they can’t attend. So it really makes being a season-ticket holder that much easier, but we will continue to do paper tickets if they prefer.”
Those who wish to receive physical tickets still will have the opportunity to do so.
More information is available at predators.nhl.com.
Mike Santorelli has rare speed.
Nonetheless, another NHL team was slow to sign the 29-year-old forward following his second stint with the Nashville Predators.
It finally happened. Santorelli signed a one-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, more than six weeks since the start of the free agency signing period.
The Ducks will become his sixth NHL team in an NHL career that currently consists of seven seasons. He broke in with the Predators in 2008-09 and then spent time with Florida, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto before Nashville reacquired him in a trade late last season.
Santorelli had just four points (one goal, three assists) in 22 appearances for the Predators last season. It was not the sort of impact franchise officials expected after he had 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) for Vancouver in 2013-14 and 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) for Toronto last season prior to the trade.
General manager David Poile was quick to admit after the season that the deal with the Maple Leafs, which also brought defenseman Cody Franson, was a mistake and that the team and neither player would be re-signed.
It took a while for Santorelli to find a new team. Franson continues to look for one.
(Photo: Getty Images)
For the most part, the Nashville Predators already know who their forwards will be.
The issue, an unusual one for a franchise with a defense-rich tradition, is who will play which spots, and how much they’ll play.
The top six are established with Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro, James Neal, Craig Smith, Mike Fisher, and Colin Wilson. There are options for the bottom with at least seven players competing for those spots.
Newcomer Cody Hodgson is expected to take over as the team’s third line center. With that, Paul Gaustad is the fourth center so it is presumed Calle Jarnkrok moves from center to the wing.
That leaves Gabriel Bourque, Eric Nystrom, as well as rookies Kevin Fiala, Steve Moses, Viktor Arvidsson, Austin Watson and Colton Sissons competing for three roster spots.
Bourque and Nystrom have experience on their side. Fiala (pictured) is the Predators’ top draft pick from a year ago and has expressed confidence he will be playing in Nashville next year. Moses has a reputation as a goal scorer. However, that was in the KHL and there is no telling how he will fare in the NHL or if he can adjust his game.
Then throw in wild cards such as Arvidsson who saw playing time in Nashville last year and Watson who hasn't quite broken through like the Predators have hoped and the competition looks fierce.
“The third and fourth lines would be more defensive but we are looking for a little bit more offense from that third line,” general manager David Poile said recently during an interview with 102.5 The Game. “So (we signed) Hodgson in hopes of giving coach [Peter] Laviolette some different options that he can come up with. Also we’re going to give a player like Kevin Fiala a chance to make the team on a regular basis since he’s a top offensive player.”
Poile feels that Fiala opens doors for the Predators offensively – and opens up even more possibilities for the offensive line combinations.
“So what if he makes it and you have a Wilson or a Smith out on the third line if you will? Poile said. “It could be a great spot to do some things offensively from a matchup standpoint.”
(Photo: Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators decided to employ the ripple effect to sell single-game tickets for 2015-16 at Bridgestone Arena. Most of the games, that is.
As the sale progresses its reach will extend.
Franchise officials announced Thursday that single-game sales for 34 of this season’s 41 home games will commence Sept. 5 at the Bridgestone Arena box office and Middle Tennessee Kroger stores only. Two days later the sale will expand to ticketmaster.com for fans in the team’s television viewing area. Finally, on Sept. 8, Predators single-game seats will be available worldwide on ticketmaster.com.
Availability to the remaining seven games (Nov. 7 vs. St. Louis, Nov. 28 vs. Buffalo, Dec. 10 vs. Chicago, Dec. 26 vs. Detroit, Dec. 28 vs. the New York Rangers, Jan. 19 vs. Chicago and Feb. 27 vs. St. Louis) is limited to full, half and 13-game flex season ticket packages.
“There is a great deal of anticipation by our fans for the start of the season and season-ticket sales are at a franchise-record high, reinforcing the growth of hockey in Nashville and the passion of the Nashville Predators fan base,” senior vice president of ticket sales Nat Harden said in a release from the team. “As a result, season-ticket holders will have exclusive access to pick from all 41 regular-season home games.”
Nashville opens the 2015-16 season with home games Oct. 8 vs. Carolina and Oct. 10 vs. Edmonton.
Phil Housley built his career around a six-ounce piece of vulcanized rubber.
The Minnesota Twins celebrated that career when they invited the Nashville Predators assistant coach to step to the rubber and throw out the first pitch prior their game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
"I threw fire right over the plate," Housley, told NHL.com. "It was really pretty special. It was really nice of the Twins to do that for me and my family; it's a night I'll never forget."
The Twins recognized Housley, a St. Paul, Minn. native, for his pending induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He and six others were chosen as the 2015 class in June.
The sixth overall pick in the 1982 draft, he played 1,495 games in a 21-year career that included time spent with eight different franchises. He retired as the highest scoring American-born player with 1,232 points (338 goals, 894 assists).
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