In a city known more for their iced tea than their ice hockey, the Nashville Predators are very quietly on their way to their second straight 100-point season in the tough-as-nails Western Conference.
But they aren’t a team the Flyers know much about, due to the fact that they’ve met just 13 times since their franchise was founded in 1998.
They face-off for the 14th time tonight at the Wells Fargo Center when Sergei Bobrovsky will go up against Pekka Rinne on Bob Clarke Banner Night.
Interestingly, the Flyers and Predators have made more trades together (17) than they’ve played against each other. That’s not exactly surprising since Nashville general manager David Poile is the son of former Flyers general manager Bud Poile.
Here’s a list of those trades:
JUNE 27, 1998: Dominic Roussel and Jeff Staples to Nashville for 7th Round in 1998 (Cam Ondrik).
JANUARY 26, 1999: Sergei Klimentiev to Nashville for cash.
SEPTEMBER 27, 1999: Paul Healy to Nashville for Matt Henderson.
NOVEMBER 16, 1999: 7th Round in 2001 to Nashville for Steve Washburn.
FEBRUARY 14, 2000: Future considerations to Nashville for Eric Bertrand.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2000: Mark Eaton to Nashville for Detroit’s 3rd Round in 2001 (Patrick Sharp).
MAY 24, 2001: Mikhail Chernov to Nashville for Mike Watt.
JUNE 24, 2001: New York Islanders’ 4th Round in 2001 (Jordin Tootoo) to Nashville for 4th Round (later transferred to Carolina, Rob Zepp), 5th Round (Jussi Timonen) and 7th Round (Thierry Douville) in 2001
JULY 31, 2001: Andy Delmore to Nashville for 3rd Round in 2002 (later transferred to Phoenix, Joe Callahan).
JANUARY 11, 2002: Petr Hubacek and Jason Beckett to Nashville for Yves Sarault.
AUGUST 2, 2005: Danny Markov to Nashville for a 3rd Round in 2006 (later transferred to Los Angeles, Bud Holloway).
FEBRUARY 15, 2007: Peter Forsberg to Nashville for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent and 1st Round (later transferred back to Nashville, Jonathon Blum) and 3rd Round (later transferred to Washington, Phil Desimone) in 2007.
JUNE 4, 2007: Matt Ellison to Nashville for future considerations.
JUNE 18, 2007: Nashville’s 1st Round in 2007 (Jonathon Blum) returned to Nashville for rights to Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.
JUNE 24, 2008:Triston Grant and 7th Round in 2009 (later transferred to St. Louis, Maxwell Tardy) to Nashville for Janne Niskala.
OCTOBER 30, 2008: Tim Ramholt to Nashville for Josh Gratton.
JUNE 18, 2010: Ryan Parent to Nashville for Dan Hamhuis.
NEED TO KNOW:
-Their leading scorer is defenseman Shea Weber - who picked up 4 assists and a plus-6 rating in Sunday’s All-Star Game - despite not ranking in the top 100 scorers in the NHL.
-Until recently, both Jeff Fisher (Titans) and Barry Trotz (Predators) were the only pro coaches Nashville’s pro sports franchises have ever known. Fisher was fired last week. Trotz was hired by the expansion team in 1997, a full year before the team played their first game. There have been exactly 150 coaching changes in the NHL since. Poile is also the only general manager in team history.
-In net, Rinne has a 2.10 goals against-average and .929 save percentage, second in the NHL in both categories.
-Nashville has been banged up this season, losing 188 man games due to injury. This trip, this are missing Francis Boullion (upper body), Matthew Lombardi (concussion), Cal O’Reilly (broken leg), Steve Sullivan (lower body), Marek Svatos, and Jordin Tootoo (substance abuse).
-The Predators have one of the worst road records (16-13-1) of any Western team in the playoff race. The Flyers are 5-4-3 against the West this season; Nashville is 7-3-4 against the East.
Poile was recently named by Forbes Magazine as the “Best for the Buck,” for doing the most with the least. From CBSSports.com, as the Predators have taken a “Moneyball” like approach in the NHL:
“At times, it does seem like Nashville is doing it with smoke and mirrors given that its leading scorer is defenseman Shea Weber, who isn't among the league's top 100 point getters. But the Predators' style under Trotz has never involved much flash, instead relying on strong goaltending, grinding and most important the strong work ethic the coach has always stressed.
It's part of the organizational DNA, a philosophical approach that starts at the top with Poile, and has by necessity as much as design been about stability and patience. Those qualities are rare in a world where results are generally expected and demanded almost immediately. But Nashville is a unique case, a low-budget and often financially challenged team that is constantly using castoffs and young players drafted and developed in the system to replace all-star types lost for money reasons.”
ALL-STAR SUCCESS: NHL chief operating officer John Collins called last weekend one of the “most successful All-Star games ever.” The league reported a 42 percent increase in sponsorship revenue, 31,000 people attended the Fan Fair in downtown Raleigh, and Versus averaged 1.5 million viewers, making it the most watched ASG in the network’s history. Friday night’s inaugural fantasy draft averaged 624,000 viewers, more than doubling a regular season contest.
SHELLEY AVAILABLE: Forward Jody Shelley returned to practice yesterday after missing Tuesday’s game in Tampa Bay with the flu, despite making the trip and being cooped up in a hotel room near the arena. He is available to return to the lineup tonight, but there’s no guarantee that Peter Laviolette would scratch Dan Carcillo to make room for Shelley.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
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