November 28 2013 12:43PM
When Pekka Rinne went downwith a hip injury on October 22nd, many expected the Predators to stumble down the standings. Rinne started nine of their first ten games compiling a 4-4-1 record. Carter Hutton started one game prior to Rinne's injury and he won. When Rinne went down the Predators expected Hutton to be their starter, however, he has struggled in seven starts, going 3-3-1 and allowing at least three goals in every game except one.
Twenty-two year old, Marek Mazanec has taken the job from Hutton. Mazanec was drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 draft, and after playing five games in the AHL he was recalled to Nashville when Rinne was injured. He's played exceptionally well going 5-3 with a solid 2.01 GAA and 0.935 SV% and two shutouts.
The Predators always find a way to stay competitive. Over the past 73 games they've lost their 2nd best D-man, Ryan Suter, and their starting goalie and had to replace them from within. Most teams would be crippled losing key pieces like that, but the Predators are only six points out of the playoffs with a game in hand.
They don't use injuries or free agent losses as an excuse. They just keep finding ways to stay competitive. Head coach Barry Trotz rarely ices a lineup that has as much skill as the opposition, but he and GM David Poile find players who buy in and work hard every night.
The Predators don't complain they just find ways to stay competitive.
Tonight is a good challenge for the Oilers to see if they can match the work ethic, competitiveness and discipline of the Predators. The Oilers have more offensive skill than the Predators, but they haven't learned how to beat teams when their skill isn't effective.
They could learn how to be competitive from the Predators tonight, and hopefully match their intensity as well.
Wil Acton, Luke Gazdic and Corey Potter are out while Ryan Jones, Marc Arcobello and Denis Grebeshkov draw in. I'm curious to see if Dallas Eakins gives him 4th line more minutes, and how Arcobello plays with only 9-11 minutes. It is very difficult for most guys to stay in the game, when they play limited minutes, and if Arcobello can excel in that role I doubt he comes out of the lineup very soon.
- The only way Shea Weber gets traded is if he asks for a trade. He is the face of the Predators and after losing Suter, and paying Weber $26 million dollars to play 130 games by the end of the season; the Preds have no interest in moving their star D-man.
- If Mazanec continues to play this well, he might be someone the Preds could shop to acquire some offence. They have been great at developing young D-men, but for some reason they can't develop any young forwards.
- The Oilers are 5-9-1 in their last 14 visits to Nashville. If they don't work hard tonight, they will get beat.
- Joensuu needs to play with more intensity. He has done nothing since scoring on opening night. He's had flashes, but since returning from injury he hasn't had the same jump in his game.
- The RNH line has to rebound after a dreadful performance at home. They didn't generate many chances, and seemed frustrated early on. They have to find ways to produce when their tic-tac-toe plays aren't working.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Preds work hard, and defeat the Oilers 4-3 in OT.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Arcobello scores and those who were irate he was a healthy scratch for four games, feel some vindication. Oilers fans need something to feel good about.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ryan Jones has been frustrated sitting in the pressbox, and he tries to make a statement to the coach by having a spirited tilt with Nick Spaling in the first period. It is a pretty even tilt, until the end when Jones lands an off-balance right hand that hits Spaling on the button. Jones who rarely says much on the ice, will sit in the sin bin with a huge grin on his face while he and the timekeepers talk about his time with the Predators.
MONTH OF GIVING RETURNS....
My third annual Month of Giving begins today on my show. In the past two years we've raised over $106,000 for Christmas charities to help those in need. I'm starting a bit early because I will miss a few days with the birth of our first child in the next few weeks, but I wanted to ensure we come close, or surpass, $53,000 again.
This year I've gathered some excellent auction items:
- Michelle Derk from Remax Elite has donated her “seller’s commission” on a house.
- A high efficiency furnace or Central air conditioning system including permits and installation and removal of old furnace from G&H Heating and Cooling.
- I have some dinner packages with Eskimos and Oilers…
- Rush VIP package…MFC VIP package…
- Signed Messier jersey, and other signed jerseys…
- Golf packages, jewellery, Oil King Suites…Gold seats to Oiler games
- $1,500 GC for Dinette and Patio Showcase..
- $1,000 GC from United Cycle…
- Shopping spree at Derks clothing and dinner….
- And more...
- A one year lease on a brand new 2014 GMC Sierra SLE courtesy of Petersen Buick GMC.
It is a 1500 4x4 Double Cab...
Heated front bucket seats...
Back up camera...
You can get in Black, Stealth Grey or Silver.
You need to start your one year lease by the end of January, 2014.
You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1-800-243-1945 between 2-6 p.m. today during the Jason Gregor Show.
Thanks in advance to all who will bid on these packages over the next few weeks. 100% of the money raised goes directly to the charities, and know that you will be making some people's lives much more enjoyable during the holidy season.
I'm hoping we can reach $60,000 this year.