Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Eye On The Enemy: Predlines (Nashville Predators)

By Gail Kauchak
Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) fight for the puck during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) fight for the puck during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 2, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) takes a breather during the warmup period before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) takes a breather during the warmup period before the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

Q & A with Preds fan Glenn Spinner

There was big controversy last off-season when the Nashville Predators swapped defenseman Shea Weber for Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.  In your mind, how did this trade work out? Are you happy with Subban?  Do you miss Weber?

GS:  This has been one of the most polarizing situations surrounding Nashville. In my mind, the trade has been an even swap so far but lately we’ve been seeing the P.K. Subban we were all expecting. When he came back from his back injury he was tentative and didn’t seem right.

The five day break Subban spent quite a bit of time working on his skating and you could see it in his game. He has been dynamic lately and appears to be gearing up for the playoff run. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with Subban. He sees the ice well, has been clicking with Ryan Ellis on the power play as of late and I love the excitement and enthusiasm he brings to the game.

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As far as missing Weber, of course I do. Who wouldn’t? He was the captain of our team with a 100+ mph slap shot and could lay people out physically. I had a chance to meet him years ago when he was a wide eyed rookie and to see him grow and mature in to the player he has become was amazing but at the end of the day, the game is changing and I feel Subban fits the needs of today’s NHL and the Predators than Weber does at this point.

If the playoffs started today, the Predators would finish third in the Central Division.   Who would you rather meet in the first round of the playoffs, the Minnesota Wild or the Chicago Blackhawks?  And why?

GS:  Talk about a loaded question. First off, I can’t stand the Mild, I mean the Wild because of Ryan Suter. He’s a fantastic player but I feel he left the Predators hanging a few years back and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for that. To face the Mild in the playoffs and defeat them would bring me great satisfaction. I’m also not a fan of their chippy play that often crosses the line.

On the flip side of the equation I’d love to defeat the Hawks in the playoffs. I liken it to having to exorcise your demons. We outplayed them a few years back in the playoffs yet lost the series. Winning the stats on paper is nice but you have to do it on the scoreboard.

Much like when we finally beat the Red Wings in the playoffs, I would get great satisfaction in beating the Hawks and sending them to the golf links earlier than they’d like.

All that said, I’d love to meet both in the playoffs and send them packing.

Who are you most excited about on this team?  In other words, who do you think can help to make a playoff push?

GS:  I think over the last 10 to 15 games we’ve seen who is driving this team right now, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, P.K. Subban and to some extent James Neal. Your best players have to be your best players when it counts and while I hate that cliche, it’s absolutely true. When these guys are firing on all cylinders, they’re a joy to watch.

Viktor Arvidsson has been stirring the pot for most of the season as well. The guy’s motor doesn’t stop. Colin Wilson has also brought his level of play up recently. He is going in to playoff Wilson mode which is fun to watch.

There is also Ryan Ellis who has transformed in to one of the most unheralded defensemen in the NHL today. He is a leader and is always in the right place at the right time. His game has grown by leaps and bounds this year. He has been consistent and is one heck of a hockey player.

On the other side of the coin, who have you been the most disappointed with this season?

GS:  Craig Smith is the first to come to mind. He has been hustling all year but just can’t find the back of the net. It’s a shame because he’s busting his tail. If he could pot some goals with the other guys going right now, this Preds team could do a lot of damage.

Pekka Rinne has been up and down as well. When he’s been on, he’s been stellar but when he’s off, he has been pretty bad. There are some periods he just isn’t seeing the puck well and then the rest of the game he is stealing the show. Quite frustrating to say the least but if he can find some consistency, once again, this team could make a huge push.

Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) fight for the puck during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) fight for the puck during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

The Nashville Predators organization has pushed a campaign called “Keep the Red Out”, to deter Chicago Blackhawks fans from making a road trip to Nashville for a Preds/Hawks game.  Essentially, fans can gain entry with a season ticket ID, or by purchasing tickets with a credit card that has an address in the Predators TV viewing area.  Anyone outside that area will have their tickets canceled and refunded.  As a Predators fan, how do you feel about this policy?

GS:  Having seen the Hawks be our red headed step child for many years before the drafting of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews it’s been an interesting transformation. Our barn was primarily our fans until the Hawks started winning and their fan base realized they could come to Nashville for the weekend and spend less money for their entire trip then for one game in Chicago.

While I’m all for fans supporting the team they love, when you come in to someone else’s barn, there should be a level of respect. The Predators franchise has tried to make the games a family friendly atmosphere and when the Hawks fans would come in in droves and then get plastered and belligerent, it went against the values of the franchise.

Many Preds fans stopped going to games because it wasn’t fun to be around people that disrespected them and their team. Come to a game, have fun but at the same time, show some respect to the home fanbase.

One other thing that rubbed Preds fans the wrong way was the yelling during the National Anthem. While that’s a tradition in Chicago, it isn’t in Nashville. Once again, it comes down to respect and that to me was going over the line. I think there could be a happy medium though that makes everyone happy.

Come to our town, spend your money, just do it in a way that would make your mom and dad proud. Heck, I even invited you to the game this weekend so I’m always up for hanging with people from other fan bases. A little ribbing is good, belligerence isn’t.

Let’s move on to tonight’s game.  What do the Nashville Predators need to do to win tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks?

GS:  The Preds need to play 60 minutes of hockey. They need to stay focused. They need to play their aggressive forecheck and control the play deep in Chicago’s zone. If they can cycle and wear Chicago down, I know they can beat Corey Crawford or Scott Darling.

The old adage of staying out of the penalty box is a key as well. We can’t give up any soft goals or take any shifts off, soon as you do, Chicago will take advantage. I think taking the game to them is important. Take advantage of your opportunities and don’t back down.

The number one and two stars of the month will be facing off against each other and I think star number two will have a chip on his shoulder not being named star number one, especially after the last week and a half he’s had. I haven’t seen what Toews did this month but this last stretch of hockey Forsberg has played has been as dominant as anyone I’ve seen in a long time. Just hope he keeps it up for the next few months.

Next: Blackhawks Prospects Update

Thanks so much to Glenn Spinner for giving us some perspective from his point of view!   I’m going to be keeping an eye out for some of the names he mentioned.  I also found his take on “Keep the Red Out” very interesting.   I never thought of it that way.  Perhaps I will have to check out a game in Nashville (for the first round of the playoffs?!)  I promise not to get too belligerent.

Our friend in Nashville certainly has one thing right; February’s No. 1 Star (the Preds’ Filip Forsberg) and No. 2 Star (the Hawks’ Jonathan Toews) will square off against each other tonight!  It should be a good one.

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