Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
Another young face has been called up to the big league and this time it is 18-year-old Kevin Fiala. Here’s an excerpt from the official Predators Presser:
Fiala, 18 (7/22/96), has amassed 17 points (9g-8a) in 26 American Hockey League games since making his North American professional debut with the Admirals on Jan. 21. The native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, started the 2014-15 season with HV-71 of the Swedish Hockey League, posting 14 points (5g-9a) in 20 games – tied for the fourth-most goals and assists, and sixth-most points among SHL junior players – before being assigned to Nashville’s AHL affiliate on Jan. 15. Fiala also represented Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, being named one of the nation’s three best players for the tournament while tying for fifth among all skaters in goals (4g-1a-5pts, 6gp).
The 5-10, 180-pound winger was a finalist for the 2014 SHL Rookie of the Year Award after tying for the lead in points among all under-18 SHL players with 11 (3g-8a) in 17 games for HV-71. He also represented his homeland at the World Junior Championship, Under-18 World Championship and World Championship in 2014, becoming just the third player ever to participate in all three tournaments in the same year (Andrei Kostitsyn and Vadim Karagan, Belarus in 2003). Fiala led the Swiss in points at both the under-18 tournament (4g-5a-9pts, 5gp), was named one of the nation’s three best players in the process, and World Juniors (1g-4a-5pts, 5gp) as the team’s youngest member. At 17, he was the youngest member of Switzerland’s entry at the World Championship by three years, posting three assists and a team-best +3 rating playing alongside Predators defenseman Roman Josi.
Fiala is poised to become the sixth member of the 2014 Draft to appear in the NHL, joining teammate Viktor Arvidsson (112th overall); Aaron Ekblad (FLA, first overall), Sam Reinhart (BUF, second overall), Leon Draisaitl (EDM, third overall) and David Pastrnak (BOS, 25th overall).
He speaks five languages – Czech, English, French, German and Swedish – and is on Twitter @KevinFiala22.
So, I am digging that last sentence – five languages? A man after my own linguistic heart. The young winger will wear No. 56 and there’s a good chance he’ll see have his NHL debut tonight. Like Viktor Arvidsson, Fiala is being recalled due to “emergency conditions”, but as to who he is being recalled still up in the air. I am, however, almost 100% it’s due to an injured Viktor Stalberg.
Source: John Russell/NHLI
Call this just as much a morale victory as it was a shutout because the Predators needed a win like this desperately. Nashville, who has been in a deep, inescapable rut, last won a home game back on February 24th against the Colorado Avalanche. Actually, that was the last game the Predators played well before completely dismantling. Although the Sabres are 20-44-7 (before the game), that did give many fans much encouragement as the Predators continue digging out (or deeper) of their rut.
- Viktor Arvidsson was recalled by the Predators under emergency conditions to replace Colin Wilson, who is now day-to-day with a lower-body injury. This would be Arvidsson’s NHL debut.
- Anton Volchenkov, Colin Wilson, James Neal, Eric Nystrom, Victor Bartley
- The Predators gave Matt Hackett, the Sabres goaltender, a run for his money with seventeen shots-on-goal. However, for a net-minder who has only played in a handful of NHL games, he played rather well. The Sabres were only able to notch six shots-on-goal during this period.
- The lamp would finally be lit at 14:52, just four seconds into Nashville’s powerplay, by Taylor Beck, his 7th goal of the season. Shea Weber (30) and Matt Cullen (16) would tally an assist.
- Craig Smith would put Nashville up 2-0 at 5:49 for his 23rd goal of the season. Ryan Ellis (16) and Matt Cullen (17) would notch the assists on Smith’s goal.
- Mike Fisher would collect the game winner at 15:01, his 17th of the season. Viktor Stalberg (6) and Ryan Ellis (17) would tally the assists.
POST GAME NOTES:
- Paul Gaustad did what he does best by winning all 13 face-offs in last night’s game.
- Craig Smith was fined $5,000 by the league due to his high stick on Jerry D’Amigo; a penalty in which he served a double-minor.
- The Predators are now just one point behind St. Louis from retaking the Central Division, whilst Chicago sits an uncomfortable four points behind Nashville.
Again, this could be chalked up as a morale victory more than anything for Nashville. I, for one, am hoping this win will boost the team out of their rut and onward into playoff contention. Ah, but the next opponents isn’t so easy… Montreal is on pass to be one of the first teams to surpass 100 points this season (the other team being Anaheim), a feat we once though Nashville would do. The Canadiens not only lead the Atlantic Division, they also dominate the Eastern Conference at 46-20-7. With Carey Price in net, who has now surpassed Pekka Rinne for wins at 40 (Rinne – 38), this will not be a walk in the park. But I bet you already knew that.
Source: Google Images
Hello again! Yes, I have been uber slacking on updating the site. But I am back just in time to let you know that right winger, Viktor Arvidsson has been recalled by the Predators from the Milwaukee Admirals! Here’s an excerpt from the official Preds presser:
Arvidsson, 21 (4/8/93), currently leads the Admirals, is tied for the AHL rookie lead, and tied for 10th among all AHL skaters in points (20g-31a-51pts) while playing in all 63 of the team’s games this season. The Kusmark, Sweden, native is also second among all rookies in goals and fourth among first-year players in assists, as well as ranking second among rookies in power-play goals (7), and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (4). He also leads the entire AHL in shots by 28 (237).
A 5-11, 176-pound right wing, Arvidsson – selected 112th (fourth round) by Nashville in the 2014 Draft – ranked ninth in the Swedish Hockey League in points (16g-24a-40pts) during the 2013-14 season, then helped Skelleftea win its second consecutive SHL title by tying for second in assists (12) and ranking third in points (16) during the postseason. During the title-winning season of 2012-13 he tied for fourth in playoff goals (6) and was named Swedish junior player of the year and a finalist for the SHL rookie of the year award.
Arvidsson tied for eighth in goals (4) at the 2013 World Junior Championship, helping Sweden to a silver medal, and also earned silver at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship, playing alongside Predators forward Filip Forsberg on both squads.
Per reports, he is being recalled for “emergency conditions”… wait, what? Per Kris Martel, his call up could be related to Colin Wilson’s early dismissal from practice yesterday.
The Predators have been enjoying a much needed break since Tuesday disappointing overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild, welcome in the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Source: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images
Call it what you will: ugly, gritty, rough, etc., but the Predators pulled out the two-points over the Arizona Coyotes to end their six-game losing streak last night.
SCRATCHED: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok, Eric Nystrom, Anton Volchenkov
- The Predators came out with a little more fire under their belts, but goaltender Louis Domingue interrupted all 13 SOG that Nashville mustered. For someone who has only tended NHL ice once previously to this match, Domingue brought his A-game; a testament to his solid abilities.
- Pekka was on point, too, last night, blocking all nine shots-on-goal from the Coyotes in the first period.
- At 3:26 into the second period, Paul Gaustad collected his third goal of the season with assistance from Taylor Beck (7).
- Both Arizona and Nashville were given two power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize on the advantage.
- The Coyotes out-shot the Predators eleven to eight.
- At 7:27 into the third, the Coyotes set the game with a tip-in from Kyle Chipchura, his 4th goal of the season.
- Nashville was awarded three power play chances in the third, including one that would follow up to the end of regulation, but they were unable to connect.
- The Predators out-shot the Coyotes twelve to eight in the third period.
- James Neal came to the rescue, scoring his 22nd goal of the season just 2:45 in overtime. Seth Jones (17) and Cody Franson (29) tallied the assists on Neal’s game-winning-goal.
POST GAME NOTES:
- The Predators are now 8-0-1 when Paul Gaustad notches a point during the span of a game.
- Nashville is also 9-1-2 when Viktor Stalberg is in the lineup.
- Gaustad’s goal ends another poignant streak; the eleven-straight games without tallying the first goal. Reminder: six of those eleven resulted in losses.
- Cody Franson tallied his first point with the Predators since being traded to the team back in February (and, if we want to get really technical, his first points with the Preds since the 2010-11 season).
- With two points, the Predators jump the Anaheim Ducks to reclaim first in the Western Conference and league. That’s an amazing stat in its own, that Nashville was able to lose six-straight and still bounce back into the lead with one win.
- Pekka Rinne now has 199 career wins and the Predators franchise now has their 599th win.
The Predators aren’t out of hot water just yet; oh no. Nashville heads further west, taking on all three teams in California before making it back home on Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild. The Sharks, who Nashville plays Thursday night at 9:30PM, will be desperately looking for a win as they are sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division and just one point behind the Kings.
Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Oh, hey guys! Yes, I am still alive, even through this six-game losing streak. Not only does that have me down, midterms have me locked down for the time being as well. I mean, who honestly makes a midterm 6 ½ hours long? UofM professors, that’s who.
Anyways, let’s get back on subject, shall we? What’s the subject? Oh yes, Viktor Stalberg has popped back into the Predators roster again! Honestly, the man should just buy a personal jet and sleep in it as opposed to a condo/apartment/whatever. Stalberg received the recall after it was announced Eric Nystrom would miss the next few weeks due to a lower-body injury. Also, Anton Volchenkov has been released from the IR.
Stalberg has been quite the hero within the Admirals, scoring 17 points (11 goals, 6 assists) in 20 games with the Preds’ farm team. However, he just hasn’t had that same momentum on the NHL level, but we are hoping – due to this slump – he might just be what Nashville needs to power back.
Glad you had a good breakfast; now’s your time to shine, Viktor.
The Predators look to end their six-game losing streak tonight against the 21-38-7 Arizona Coyotes.
Note: Not actual photo of baby Fisher
The wait is officially over for all of you who have been on #babywatch for Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher’s little bundle of joy… he has made his official arrival.
Isaiah Michael Fisher was born on February 27th, so kudos to both Team Carrie and Team Mike for keeping it secret for this long. Although, I must give credit to Justin Bradford, as he did call it the day of…
So take a deep breath — Baby Fisher has arrived and both mom & baby are doing great. Oh, it’s good to know that Mike Fisher scored a goal on his son’s birthday.
Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images
After a not-so stellar performance on the road, the Predators headed back home to welcome in the divisional rival Colorado Avalanche, who might be sitting at the bottom of the Central Division, but certainly not out. Last Friday night, the Avalanche whipped fellow Central Division mate, the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1 and then went on to defeat the 7th team in the League (the Tampa Bay Lightning) 5-4. Again, Colorado might be down, but they aren’t out. However, Nashville is the Top Dog in the League for a reason and tonight was a night to shush the naysayers.
SCRATCHES: Taylor Beck
- Nathan MacKinnon (13) got the puck moving at 3:57, a lucky break as the puck deflected off of Roman Josi’s skate into the net. Ryan O’Reilly (25) and Brad Stuart (8) notched the assists.
- Not fifteen seconds later, Mister “I was healthy scratched on Sunday” Calle Jarnkrok answered the call to action and netted one alone for his sixth of the season.
- Around the 13-minute mark of the game, Avalanche Captain, Gabriel Landeskog took aim at Roman Josi along the boards.
- As you can see, Landeskog absolutely levels Josi with the hit, prompting both Paul Gaustad and Shea Weber to come to the rescue. Though I wouldn’t want to go up against Gaustad or Weber, I think if I had to choose, I’d go with duking it out with Gaustad. Unfortunately for Landeskog, #AngryShea got to him before Gaustad did.
- Both players would be given majors (5 minutes) for fighting, but somehow, Weber also received a 10-minute misconduct AND an instigator penalty, totaling his time in the box at 17 minutes.
- Nashville would finish out the remainder of the first period without their Captain and notch nine SOG to Colorado’s three.
- Craig Smith would open the second period with his 19th goal of the season, giving Nashville the 2-1 lead at 4:32. Mike Fisher (17) collected the lone assist.
- Roman Josi would punch his 11th goal of the season at 11:06 with assistance from Matt Cullen (10).
- Colorado would only manage five SOG during the second compared to Nashville’s sixteen.
- To remind everyone he’s still here (like we’ve forgotten), Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-1 lead just 52 seconds into the third period for his 21st goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro picked up the assist, his 39th of the season.
- Patrick Roy, who is known for pulling his goaltenders early in the games, did just that, giving Colorado a two-man advantage (Craig Smith called for hi-sticking & Shea still in the box). Eric Nystrom (7) slapped a wrister down the length of the ice, nailing the empty net for a short-handed goal at 8:28. Roman Josi (33) grabbed the assist.
- With under two minutes to go, Colorado slipped on passed Pekka Rinne for a powerplay goal by John Mitchell (7), but it was too late for the Avalanche to make a comeback run.
It is pretty evident why Shea Weber risked a lifetime in the penalty box to protect his fellow linesman. First off, he’s the leader and that’s what a great leader does; second, the memory of Steve Downie’s hit on Roman Josi, just two games into last year’s season. That hit was not investigated like it should have been and Josi was concussed for a few months. Though Downie no longer is a member of the Colorado Avalanche, that wound was reopened by Gabriel Landeskog last night.
Now 41-13-7, the Predators now sit six points ahead of the team second in the league, the Montreal Canadiens. The closest divisional rival, the St. Louis Blues, sit nine points back. Chicago? Twelve points back.
The Predators welcome in the Minnesota Wild for a special 7:30PM start time on Thursday night (airing on NBC Sports).
Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images
Well, this isn’t the road trip the Predators expected to have, now is it? After taking a loss Thursday 5-2 from the New York Islanders, then limping away with a point yesterday afternoon against the Flyers, the Predators were hoping to shake off this excruciating road trip with a win against the 17-38-4 (ouch) Buffalo Sabres before returning home on Tuesday.
SCRATCHES: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok
- A rather uneventful period, Nashville managed to out-shoot Buffalo eleven to three, but Michal Neuvirth was there to block the Preds.
- What looked like another quiet period, Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis (15) was able to sink a wrister on Carter Hutton at 19:46, giving the Sabres a late second period 1-0 lead. Zemgus Girgensons (14) and Matt Moulson (17) tallied the assists.
- Nashville once again out-shot Buffalo, this time fifteen to four, but it was Ennis who found the sweet spot.
- Relief for the Predators came at 15:43 on the powerplay as Mike Ribeiro (12) deflected a shot to tie the game at one. Cody Franson (27) and Seth Jones (16) notch the assists.
- The Predators only managed ten shots-on-goal during the third, but again, out-shot the Sabres by four.
- The Predators were given a late overtime powerplay chance, but nothing could be accomplished by either team in OT, so onward to the shootout…
- BUF – Matt Moulson – MISS
- NSH – Mike Santorelli – GOAL
- BUF – Tyler Ennis – GOAL
- NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
- BUF – Zemgus Girgensons – MISS
- NSH – Matt Cullen – MISS
- BUF – Brian Gionta – MISS
- NSH – Filip Forsberg – GOAL
POST GAME NOTES:
- The Predators are the first team in the NHL to reach 40 wins with this shootout victory and set a franchise record.
- Both Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli help secure this win tonight, with Franson collecting an assist and Santorelli sinking a goal in the shootout.
Inhale slowly through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth; the Predators walk away with the two points. Okay, but let’s discuss how outrageous Michal Neuvirth was in net tonight. Nashville was doing everything right; you can see that from the amount of shots-on-goal. Unfortunately, Neuvirth was doing everything right, too. The kid blocked 37 of the 38 SOG; that’s Pekka-esque and pretty darn good.
Take a deep breath, my friends. The Predators are back home Tuesday to take on the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the Central Division. Then it’s a bout with Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
How’s everyone doing during the #ICESTORM2015? What was supposed to be ideal, beautiful snow turned into hazardous, just-plain-evil ice across the entire state. In fact, it has been so bad, Tennessee officials declared a State of Emergency. Needless to say, the attendance for tonight’s game against the 29-21-8 San Jose Sharks wasn’t expected to be a sellout. However, the fear of being stranded somewhere along one of the deserted interstates tonight didn’t stop the Loyal Legion from turning out.
- As mentioned in the previous post, Anthony Bitetto was recalled last minute by Nashville to fill a void in the defense (Anton Volchenkov was placed on IR).
- However, where Bitetto made the flight to Nashville, his equipment bad did not. This left Nashville with a ton more forwards than defensemen.
- Nashville’s solution? During warmups, Viktor Stalberg – who just cleared waivers not even 24-hours ago – was paired on the defense with Seth Jones…
- Just before puck drop, Viktor Stalberg was declared the healthy scratch and Anthony Bitetto was given the green light.
- But… the team was down to just five d-men for a few minutes, as Bitetto’s bag arrived a little after game start.
- Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli did not make their return tonight due to issues with their work visas. So… they don’t already have those?
- Viktor Stalberg, Cody Franson, and Mike Santorelli
- San Jose’s Matt Irwin (5) drew the first blood at 5:26, sending a wrister past Pekka Rinne.
- Shea Weber quickly tied it up at 13:42 with his signature slapshot, his 14th goal of the season. Mike Fisher (15) picked up the assist.
- Craig Smith took a chunk of Alex Stalock at 16:02, collecting his 17th goal of the season with a wrister. Mattias Ekholm (9) and Mike Ribeiro (36) tally the assists.
- Preds end the first period up 2-1 on the Sharks, though San Jose out-shoots Nashville 17 to 15.
- Just 52 seconds into the period, Craig Smith notched his second goal of the season (18) on the powerplay. Colin Wilson (20) and Seth Jones (15) punch the assists.
- Paul Gaustad wanted a piece of the pie and got his at 1:43, his second goal of the season. Gabriel Bourque (6) and Shea Weber (28) pick up the assists on Gaustad’s wrister.
- James Neal would finish off the second period with his 20th goal of the season at 10:31. Mike Ribeiro (37) collects the lone assist.
- San Jose out-shot Nashville 15 to 13.
- No goals in the third.
- San Jose out-shot Nashville in each period, this time 11 to 9.
NOTEWORTHY (POST GAME):
- Pekka Rinne is a beast indeed (not that you needed any convincing). You know he’s doing big things when NHL takes notice:
- James Neal is the first on the roster to reach 20 goals and he now has 7-straight 20-goal seasons.
- Both Shea Weber and Mike Fisher are now on three-game point streaks.
- Another reminder of how great Rinne is:
- Pekka stopped 42 of 43 shots-on-goal tonight. Tell me he isn’t Vezina worthy.
- The Predators now hold a six-point lead over the entire NHL.
With this win, the Predators are just seven wins away from clinching a playoff spot (and it isn’t even March yet) and are now 39-12-6. Wowza. The Preds take off for a three-game road trip to the East, starting with the New York Islanders on Thursday.
Source: The Tennessean
In a last minute decision, the Predators recalled Anthony Bitetto to Nashville and placed Anton Volchenkov on the Injured Reserve. Due to the ice storm that hit yesterday, it was questionable if Bitetto’s flight from Milwaukee would make it (as many flights have been cancelled to and from the Music City). Bitetto’s recall was the answer to the fact that Cody Franson would not be playing tonight and that Ryan Ellis is not ready to return, either. Also, because Viktor Stalberg (who cleared waivers yesterday) has not been sent down to the Admirals as planned, Mike Santorelli is not playing in tonight’s lineup, either.
There’s a good chance it’ll be a ghost town in the Bridgestone Arena tonight due to the dangerous ice surrounding Nashville. The Predators have offered a ticket exchange for tonight’s game for Season Ticket Holders and, for those who are braving the ice, special discounts will be available at the game.
For me, I’ll be watching from the couch. If you do go out tonight, please be cautious and have a plan when traveling home tonight. Nobody wants to get stranded in the cold after dark.