Nashville Predators: January Awards For Predators

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Most Emotional Predators Goodbye: Cody McLeod

5:27 was the amount of ice time Cody McLeod saw in the month of January. The first game of the month was the last time McLeod donned a Nashville Predators uniform for game action. He was a healthy scratch for the rest of Nashville’s games until he was waived on January 24.

McLeod will return to Nashville soon enough. He’ll be in Bridgestone Arena Saturday night alongside his new teammates on the New York Rangers. Rangers fans should appreciate McLeod’s lunch-bucket mentality & his tendency to get in fights whenever he’s on the ice.

I was a McLeod fan. That put me in a distinct minority among Internet writers. Enforcers have been an important part of the game for generations. It’s tough to ignore the trends, though. The days of guys only being on the ice to get in fights & protect their teammates are waning. Offensive players have to bring more to the table than ever.

McLeod was fairly active in October & November, but December & January saw his icetime dwindle to nothing. Miikka Salomaki took his spot on the fourth line & has shown enough to stay in the lineup. He’s nine years younger than McLeod, more productive on offense & also unafraid to lay a hit on somebody. It’s an easy choice for Peter Laviolette to make.

The Nashville Predators will miss Cody McLeod’s locker room presence. His departure is a sign that they’ve learned well from him.

Best Predators GIF: P.K. Subban’s Lookin’ For Love

There are a lot of things going on here.

For one thing, you get the Subban pregame dancing that makes Mike Milbury and the rest of the Old Man Hockey crowd all hot & bothered. I love it.

Then there’s the Fox Sports Tennessee graphic. Chris Mason had some kind of point he was trying to make, but it was overshadowed by the idea of P.K. looking for love. Roman Josi’s getting married. One of the Nashville defensemen needs to play to the female audience.

Best Predators Game: January 16 vs. Vegas Golden Knights (1-0 win)

The Golden Knights have been a fly in the ointment of most NHL teams this season. The Nashville Predators have been no different. The Knights shut the Predators out two weeks before this game & held a 2-0 series lead heading into their meeting at Bridgestone Arena.

I wrote about it. Juuse Saros getting the start was a bit of a surprise, but his forty-three save shutout proved that Peter Laviolette was right to have faith in his goalie of the future. Kevin Fiala scored the only goal of the evening & was the most impressive skater on the ice. Vegas put forth a good effort, but the Predators were better on this night.

Odds are that if the Nashville Predators are going to return to the Stanley Cup Final, they will need to beat the Golden Knights. Hopefully this game is an indicator of future events.