October was a productive month for the Nashville Predators. but, who specifically has helped the team shine? We take a look back at some of the best & worst moments & give out awards!
Sitting at 9-3-0, it may seem as though the Nashville Predators have faced little struggle so far this season, but, the Preds did not exactly have a cakewalk through this first month of the season.
Aside from Pekka Rinne being sidelined early and missing several games with concussion-like symptoms, the Predators were fazed with seeing there bottom three lines and powerplay struggle immensely. Yet, they are still one of the best teams in the league so far.
Their 18 points lead the Central Division, Western Conference & National Hockey League and ranked second in goal differential across the league. Overall, Nashville has scored the second-most goals & allowed the fifth-fewest
If the Predators can rectify their issues, they may have barely scratched the surface of their potential as a hockey team; something that would mean the rest of the NHL is in serious trouble.
Congruent to last season, we will be once again continuing the practice of giving out unique monthly awards after each page on the calendar year passes. So, as promised, here is the October edition of the Nashville Predators awards.
Silliest Predators Controversy: Banner Raising!
The Nashville Predators spent some time before the start of their home opener celebrating the accomplishments of 2017-18.
We are not really sure who started the whole idea of raising banners to the rafters of arenas, but it’s a thing that is universally done everywhere.
After nearly two decades without acquiring any banners as a team, the Predators finally won the Western Conference Championship in 2016-2017, then followed this up by winning the Presidents trophy last season.
Bridgestone Arena went almost two decades without any banners for team accomplishments, as Predator teams didn’t win any championships until the 2016-17 Western Conference Final. So maybe that explains why the Predators make their banner raisings a big deal.
Overall, Nashville raised three banners at the beginning of the season: One for the Central Division Championship. another for the Presidents’ Trophy, and a final banner to mark the Predators’ status as Regular Season Western Conference Champions. To be honest, the last one was a bit redundant as if you win the Presidents’ Trophy, it is typically assumed that your team also won the most regular season games as well.
In summary, raising banners is taken much more seriously in Nashville then it is most places; people went crazy about it
It doesn’t feel like something getting worked up over. But man, people sure went crazy about it.
Only in Smashville.
Best Predators Interview: Peter Laviolette, October 20 in Edmonton
The Western Canada Wager (WCW for short) has become an annual Nashville Predators tradition. Last season, Peter Laviolette & the coaching staff wore Christmas sweaters for a game after the Predators managed a three-game sweep of Western Canada, beating Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver consecutively.
Although this season’s trip only had two stops, there was still a payoff for the Predators winning both games:
Coach, Peter Laviolette, wearing a bullhead is hilarious, but the poor questioning from the media in the interview posted above did slightly tarnish the greatness of the interview. Clearly, the reporter in Edmonton had no fun for Nashville’s wacky fun to say the least.
Best Predators Newcomer: Deanna Kay
There aren’t a lot of new players in Nashville this season.
Eeli Tolvanen is developing his game in Milwaukee, Zac Rinaldo has played every game, but hasn’t done a whole lot to stand out, and Dan Hamhuis was pretty quiet in the third defensive pairing before getting hurt.
Thankfully though, the Predators have a lot of familiar faces doing pretty familiar things, such as the defense shutting down their opponents scoring attacks and the JoFA line scoring goals left, right, and center.
One pleasant new feature in Smashville however, is our new in-arena host, Deanna Kay.
As anybody who has attended a sporting event knows, a good host is crucial to keep the crowd engaged during times when play has stopped for a faceoff or intermission. If your host is a dud, it puts a noticeable damper on the evening.
Deanna Kay brings a lot of fun & positive energy to her position. Sadly, I haven’t been in Nashville this season, but from what we have seen, she does well at socializing with guests & promoting the Predators organization as a whole.
Nowadays, its tough not to have fun at a game in Bridgestone Arena, and Deanna is another solid addition to the atmosphere.
Best Predator As A WWE Superstar: Roman Josi
Personally, I prefer Fox Sports Tennessee’s coverage to NBCSN’s, but I do have to admit that the NBCSN telecasts do have some fun things going on.
So far, we have got to see Lindsey Vonn & P.K. Subban’s mother eating chicken fingers on Tuesday night’s telecast. however, it was the week before that truly entertained us.
For those who have not seen the clip yet, WWE Superstars Rusev & Lana tried to make Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi into wrestling figures themselves. Who played the part better?
It was no contest. Josi’s charisma and confidence make him a natural choice to become a star in the wrestling industry whenever he decides to hang up his gloves.
Best Predators Game: 4-3 OT win over New Jersey, October 25
This game was perhaps the funnest Predators game up to date this year.
For most of the contest, it seemed like the Devils had the Predators number, constantly one-upping the Predators on the scoreboard everytime they seemed to solve Keith Kinkaid. Because of this, Nashville’s first road loss on the season seemed inevitable, that was until Filip Forsberg tied it up late and sent the game to overtime.
On a sweeter note, not only was Forsberg’s goal a huge powerplay goal, something the Predators were desperate for but, the team also got secondary scoring in the extra-frame as Kyle Turris sent the Nashville Predators out of New Jersey with two points.
Maybe if fans are lucky, this unpredictable game was a preview of a matchup we could see in the Stanley Cup Final at seasons end.
Worst Predators Game: 3-0 loss to Calgary, October 9
This award was a close call between this game and the collapse on the 23rd against San Jose.
At least in the latter game, the Predators showed some effort before the third period before eventually letting the win slip away. In the loss to Calgary however, the game was just a slog to get through.
To make matters worse, it was the home opener for the Predators..not an ideal way to introduce new fans to the team, to say the least.
Most Valuable Predator: Filip Forsberg
There’s no doubt that the JoFA line has carried the Nashville Predators offense through October.
Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson are the top three Predators in points by a pretty wide margin. Certainly, they have been as good as you’d expect them to be, and are reaching yet another level in their play together.
Each member of the line has been great, but, Forsberg has been spectacular to start the season. He leads the team in goals (10) and points (14) while also being the only member of the Predators to get a hat-trick this season; albeit in losing effort.
Furthermore, his Corsi numbers lead the team while his Fenwick percentage is also among the top three on the Preds’.
Lastly, he has accounted for half of the Predators powerplay goals so far…wow
Forsberg has been an overlooked star for the past couple of years. Now he has graduated to being a guy that the media recognizes as a top-level forward, but, if he can continue playing this way, he would unquestionably be viewed as one of the most elite talents in the entire league.
In the most ideal scenario, our second edition of the 2018-2019 Nashville Predators awards next month will again be discussing how the Predators are the best team in the National Hockey League. To do so, they will have to perform well in out-of-conference play, as they are set to play their next two games against Eastern Conference goes.
Check out the page tomorrow for a preview of the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, starting at 7:30/ET!