Keys to the Game
• Nashville needs Mike Fisher to hit the ice skating fast, win the puck battles and put pucks on net for the Nashville playmakers. If Fisher is tentative coming off his shoulder injury, it's going to affect his ability to win puck battles the most. Trotz is giving Fisher a lot of help in his first game back by pairing him with Craig Smith and Sergei Kostitsyn (at least from practice).
• If the lines from practice are any indication, Patric Hornqvist is being moved up to the line of David Legwand and Colin Wilson. It's time for Hornqvist to make his presence known. He and Wilson will be expected to win those puck battles for this line. This line should be able to effectively play a puck possession game and put pucks on net.
Trotz's favorite saying when a player returns from injury is "it's like catching a moving train." Well, this train hasn't been moving all that fast, so I think Fisher and Bouillon are able to catch up pretty easily. I think their return is a positive to the team, though I'm not sure it's a big enough immediate impact to make us look like the team these guys ought to look like. A tough opponent against which to try to build on the last win. However, their defense hasn't seemed to really click yet, Niemi is Niemi, and their PK has been terrible so far this year.
I don't care how, or by how much. Just. Freakin'. Win.
We get Fisher back for another top 6 vet presence ... something we've been lacking with Erat out. (Really SK and Hornqvist were the 2nd and 3rd most senior guys on the top lines?) Bouillon might not be a top 4 d-man, but, we need a steadying presence on that 3rd pair and hopefully he's still got that capability.
Keep it simple tonight ... get into the zone, when there's a shooting lane -- TAKE IT, let the youngsters work some magic down low with redirects and rebounds. Sounds so simple, but, I'm not the one who has to execute it.
Who do you think gets healthy scratched for the Predators tonight (with Cube & Fish coming back) ?
O'Reilly (groin issue, but not on IR yet I believe)
Hillen (EDIT: thanks Seth, forgot Bouillon was also returning)
That bumps Halischuk down to the Bergfors-Geoffrion line, which could be pretty decent fourth line.
It'll get more interesting when Erat returns.
Of the 4 wingers at the moment, I'd rank their current play this way: Wilson, Smith, Kostitsyn and Hornqvist.
As for O'Reilly, unless Smith is kept on the wing and/or injuries mount, I think he's lost his spot. The only way he makes a healthy squad is if Geoffrion is sent back to the AHL, and I'm not sure that happens.
Last edited by David Singleton: 10-25-2011 at 11:58 AM.
This is a hate filled game. I hate the Sharks. I hate DirecTV and Fox for threatening to drop FSN at the end of the month, and I hate that this is the last game I'll get to watch on TV before the channels disappear.
Feed off my hatred, boys. Use it. That's what it's there for.