Archive for May 2012

Clash of the Titans headlines third round

The dejected Penguins could only watch as the Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup on Wednesday at Mellon Arena.
It was a shocking defeat for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who fell in Round Two to the Buffalo Sabres.
While the fall of the San Jose Sharks in the first round and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round were headline grabbing news, the third round will be likely more prominent for the Western Conference title bout.
The Calgary Flames will take on the Colorado Avalanche in what is sure to be one of the best series of the past few years. Colorado is attempting to repeat as champions while the Flames are trying to overcome two straight poor playoff showings after winning the WCHL Cup in Season 11.
The Eastern Conference showdown isn't as sexy, with the New York Rangers battling the upstart Buffalo Sabres, but it will still be interesting to see if an underdog once again finds a way to the WCHL finals.
Here are my predictions for the WCHL and ACHL conference finals.
Western Conference
(2) Calgary Flames vs. (4) Colorado Avalanche- Someone is going to have their eight game winning streak snapped in this series opener, and it will be interesting to see how each team responds in what is sure to be their first serious test of the post-season.
Calgary is on absolute fire, blowing through the seventh seeded St. Louis Blues and eighth seed Columbus Blue Jackets in a pair of four game sweeps, outscoring them by a 46-16 margin. Outside of a 3-2 overtime win in game three against Columbus, the Flames have barely been challenged, winning every other game by at least three goals.
Colorado Avalanche' goalie Semyon Varlamov (2nd L) makes a save on Calgary Flames' Curtis Glencross (bottom C) with Avalanche Shane O'Brien (L), Erik Johnson and Ryan O'Reilly (R) while Flames' Olli Jokinen (top) looks on during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta March 30, 2012.
Expect there to be plenty of activity around the Colorado Avalanche net this series. 
Colorado is coming in a bit more battle tested having faced the fifth seeded Vancouver Canucks and third seeded Anaheim Ducks. Despite losing their first game against Vancouver 6-3, Colorado has still outscored the opposition by a 39-33 margin. Remarkably, Colorado is 7-0 in one-goal games, including an overtime win to finish off the Canucks.
If Colorado can keep the games close, they will take this series, as they have shown the ability to bend but not break most nights. Calgary on the other hand has far more firepower than any team the Avalanche has faced and in all likelihood; this could be a showdown for the WCHL Cup right here. If Calgary can get their offense clicking, they could prove to be too much for the Avalanche. Prediction: Calgary Flames in six games.
Eastern Conference
(3) New York Rangers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres- Oddly enough; it's the Sabres who have had the better success to this point of the two teams in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Sabres knocked off the second seeded Carolina Hurricanes and the top ranked Pittsburgh Penguins, doing so with surprising ease in the process. Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made himself a Conn Smythe candidate in the Pittsburgh series, stopping 201 of 215 shots in the series for a .935 save percentage, despite being out shot 215-151, or an average of 11 shots per game. If the Rangers don't get to the 'Kipper,' they could easily face the same fate as the high-flying Penguins.
Buffalo Sabres' Derek Roy (9) battles for the puck with New York Rangers' Marc Staal (18) in front of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, of Sweden, during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Photo: David Duprey / AP
This series is likely to be all about defense and goaltending, something both teams are strong in.
For the Rangers, while they surprisingly breezed through the defending Eastern Conference champion, and cross-city rival, New York Islanders in four games, they nearly didn't get out of the first round after having to work a game seven overtime win to get past the Philadelphia Flyers. Seemingly learning their lesson, the Rangers picked it up in round two and will need to carry that moment against the Sabres.
Odds are for this series that the winner of game one will take it all, as it seems like whoever gets ahead early stays ahead for the long haul. If the Rangers have settled in, they should be the better team, but never count out an underdog who has reached this far in the WCHL playoffs. Prediction: New York Rangers in seven games. 
ACHL Playoff Predictions
Western Conference
(1) Abbotsford Heat vs. (4) Milwaukee Admirals- Milwaukee in seven games.
Eastern Conference
(4) Albany Devils vs. (6) Norfolk Admirals- Norfolk in seven games.

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Just one-quarter of the way there

R.J. Umberger of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Blue Jackets celebrate their game seven victory over the heavily-favored San Jose Sharks.
Even though the first round seen the number of teams cut from 16 to eight still in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, there are three more grueling rounds left for the remaining teams to fight through.
One massive upset was recorded in the first round, as the Columbus Blue Jackets, the eighth seed in the West, knocked off the top-seeded San Jose Sharks in seven games. The defeat was so stunning to the Sharks; General Manager Kurt Fulmore said changes could be on the way for a team that has faced huge playoff disappointments in recent years.
Unless the Blue Jackets continue their high level play, the Western Conference will see a team try and win their second WCHL Cup. Of the four remaining teams from the West, only the Blue Jackets have not won the Cup.
In the east, only the Pittsburgh Penguins stand as former cup champions of the remaining four teams, though both the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers have reached the finals. The Buffalo Sabres remain as the lone team with no WCHL Cup finals experience from the east.
Who will advance to the semi-finals? Read on to find out who I predict will move on.
Western Conference
(2) Calgary Flames vs. (8) Columbus Blue Jackets
Talk about unexpected. The Blue Jackets were supposed to just be happy to make the playoffs, but not so fast. Rather, they hit the playoffs running, rolling out to a 2-0 lead and then bounced back from back-to-back home losses to record a 4-3 series win over the San Jose Sharks in a series that seen the road team win every game.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Calgary Flames
The Blue Jackets have been taking evryone by surprise, including this Flames fan.
Calgary meanwhile went the polar opposite of San Jose. While the Sharks struggled in a series in which they were heavily favored, the Flames absolutely destroyed the St. Louis Blues in four straight games, many of which weren't even close. If Calgary's top line of Daniel Briere, Mike Richards and Steven Stamkos combined for 12 goals and 30 points as they destroyed the Blues.
Columbus, as inexperienced as they are, proved they shouldn't be taken lightly. Calgary proved they aren't about to take anyone lightly this year, which means they should escape with a series win. Prediction: Calgary in five games.
(3) Anaheim Ducks vs. (4) Colorado Avalanche
The Anaheim Ducks had an early hiccup against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, losing games one and two at home. Unlike the Sharks however, the Ducks rebounded to roll through the Kings in four straight after that, allowing them to hold bragging rights over their archrival Kings as well as the entire state of California.
Colorado Avalanche move into playoff spots with 3-2 overtime win over Anaheim Ducks - NHL Update
The Avalanche have been on cloud nine since last years' playoffs and look to keep that run going against the Ducks.
The Avalanche meanwhile also won four straight after dropping the first game and appear to be in great shape to repeat as Cup champion this year with the Sharks out of the way. No cup champion has repeated since the Sharks won two straight WCHL Cup's in Seasons 2 and 3 and Colorado would love to buck that trend this year.
As odd as it sounds, the Avalanche enter this series will no pressure to win. After the huge deal that sent Sidney Crosby packing to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Ducks immediately sent the message that this season was win or bust, so a loss in round two would be considered an underachievement. Never let the defending Cup champions go through a series pressure free. Prediction: Colorado in six games.
Eastern Conference
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres
The Penguins faced a David and Goliath situation in round one and came through with flying colors, destroying the Ottawa Senators in four games. Now they face a slightly better team in the Sabres in round two. While Buffalo is a bit better, Pittsburgh should have a major edge in most areas again.
Tim Wallace #63 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is checked by Chris Butler #34 of the Buffalo Sabres on December 22, 2008 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tim Wallace;Chris Butler
The Buffalo Sabres will need to play the Pittsburgh Penguins very hard if they hope to have a chance of victory.
Buffalo is making sure this season is better than last year, where they failed to even make the playoffs. Now, they are into the second round and eyeing up a conference finals appearance. Expect them to try and slow down the high-flying Penguins who certainly have much more firepower than the Sabres.
While Buffalo will fair better than the Senators, its likely Pittsburgh will continue to roll forward. Expect some closer games, but also expect Pittsburgh to be on the better end of most nights. Prediction: Pittsburgh in five games.
(3) New York Rangers vs. (4) New York Islanders
The Rangers looked like they would get through their first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers easily, taking a 3-1 lead. After the Flyers roared back, the Rangers finally put them away in overtime in game seven, narrowly escaping with a series win.

Hate may be to nice of a word to describe the feelings between the Rangers and Islanders.
That close victory could be costly in this series as the Rangers may have wanted the extra time to rest up for the Islanders. This year is looking to familiar for the Islanders, who parlayed a seven game series win in the opening round last year, a series which pitted the fourth and fifth seeds against each other as well, into a dramatic run through the playoffs, losing in the WCHL Cup finals in seven games to the Avalanche.
This is the second time the Islanders and Rangers have met up in as many years. Last year, the Islanders ran out to a 3-0 series lead before winning the series and defeating the Penguins in the third round. Things are shaping up that way again for the Islanders, defeating the Canadiens in seven games in round one. The Rangers are going to try to buck history but it will be tough. Prediction: New York Islanders in six games.
ACHL Cup predictions:
Western Conference
(1) Abbotsford Heat vs. (7) Worchester Sharks: Abbotsford in six games
(3) Oklahoma City Barons vs. (4) Milwaukee Admirals: Milwaukee in seven games
Eastern Conference
(1) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Norfolk Admirals: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in five games
(2) St. John's Icecaps vs. (4) Albany Devils: St. John's in seven games

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Round one features plenty of suspense

The Boston Bruins may not be contending for the Cup this season, but the glory they acheived in Season 4 is the goal of every team still playing.
With the playoffs set to begin, the pressure will be on a few teams to make big runs again this post-season.
Naturally, the Colorado Avalanche will be faced with the task of trying to defend their title, something that has only happened once in WCHL history. Other teams will be tasked as well with trying to put together successful playoff drives, such as the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames and of course, those Sharks.
Who will emerge as Season 14 WCHL champions? We are a long way from finding that out, but this first round will go a long way in separating the pretenders from the contenders.
The following is my predictions for each of the eight-playoff series in the WCHL, as well as brief predictions for the ACHL.
Western Conference
(1) San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Columbus Blue Jackets- The Sharks clinched top seed in the Western Conference on the final day of the season, and for that effort they will face a team who has never made the playoffs before in the WCHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Antti Niemi Ryan Russell #25 of the Columbus Blue Jackest attacks the net, skating between Douglas Murray #3 and Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion at San Jose on January 31, 2012 in San Jose, California.
What the Blue Jackets will bring is a completely unknown entity, given that they've never been in this place before. They could wilt under the pressure, or look at it from the other direction, that of the mindset that they aren't facing any pressure at all given the season is already a success for just having got this far.
San Jose meanwhile needs to get back on track. After several seasons of at least reaching the third round, the Sharks have had some difficulties in recent years. They will be eager to prove they aren't just a great regular season team these days.
The Sharks can either make quick work of the Blue Jackets, or they can allow them to hang around. Given the talent differential, there's no reason the Sharks can't roll over Columbus, but they still have to put in the work. Prediction: San Jose in four games.
(2) Calgary Flames vs. (7) St. Louis Blues- After going out and landing the biggest fish in the off-season in Marian Gaborik, the sniper is now faced with tangling with the team he won a WCHL championship with.
Calgary Flames v St. Louis Blues
While Gaborik came to the Blues from the Boston Bruins, he was with the Flames for several seasons before that, including being part of their Season 11 championship season. Gaborik was one of three 40-goal scorers for the Blues, joining Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth and will need to carry that success forward into this series.
If there's one thing the Flames have, it is firepower. Four players scored at least 40 goals and 100 points, including two 50 goals scorers in Daniel Briere and Steven Stamkos, the latter of which scored 62 goals this season. A total of five players finished with a plus-minus of plus-60 or higher, showing the Flames can make things work at both ends of the ice.
The Flames have struggled in the past two playoffs after winning it all in Season 11. If they can find their groove, they should win it all, but that's not a guarantee against the newly revitalized Blues. Prediction: Calgary in six games.
(3) Anaheim Ducks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings- The battle of California is back, but for the first time it will include the Kings and Ducks, two teams they haven't met in the post-season before.
For the Ducks, this could be the final season of viewing them as a cup favorite. After a mid-season deal that seen Sidney Crosby heading to Pittsburgh, the Ducks struggled, falling well back of the Flames and Sharks. Their reward is facing a Kings team that is trying to redeem themselves after finishing well out of the playoffs last year.
Ducks Kings NetCam
To that extent, the Kings landed Tim Thomas at the trade deadline in what could go down as the best trade of the deadline. Thomas is 15-2 since the deal as a King and could be the catalyst to carry the Kings out of the first round.
If the Ducks don't get production from their big guns and can't settle down Evgeni Malkin from LA, it could prove to be the capper on what was at one time looking like a great season for Anaheim. Los Angeles in six games.
(4) Colorado Avalanche vs. (5) Vancouver Canucks- It's the same story for the Avalanche that dogged past WCHL Cup champions; will they repeat? Outside of the San Jose Sharks- back in Season 3- no WCHL champion has repeated the following year. Pittsburgh came close last year, but lost in the third round. Colorado is just eager to get past round one against what looks to be a very sound opponent.
Daniel Sedin #22 and Alex Burrows #14 of the Vancouver Canucks battle Ryan O'Byrne #3 and Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche.
The fans in Vancouver must still be pinching themselves. After watching their team slump to a 33-point season, the Vancouver Canucks relocated to Winnipeg, only to be replaced by, the Vancouver Canucks. Well, sort of. Rather, it was the Atlanta Thrashers old club coming to Vancouver, immediately stocking Vancouver with a cup caliber roster in the process. Now, instead of looking forward to the draft, like Winnipeg fans are, the Canucks faithful is hoping for a lengthy playoff run.
This will be a good test for the Avalanche, but it won't be easy. Even if they get out of the first round, expect them to have to pay for that right, as Vancouver won't go down quietly. Prediction: Colorado in seven games.
Eastern Conference
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) Ottawa Senators- This would be the David and Goliath series of round one, as the Senators, just happy to be in the playoffs, face the Penguins, who have made the final four the past two seasons, including winning it all in Season 12.

Ottawa will need a big series from Dan Boyle and Cory Schneider in order to make any inroads against the Penguins. Schneider has incredible upside, but it may be a year or two to early to expect a huge upset out of him just yet. Boyle may be the teams leading scorer, but he'll need to more than just put the team on his back to slow down the Penguins juggernaut.
Pittsburgh was once viewed as a playoff underachiever, but no more. With six series wins in the past two years, the best record in the regular season, including a league high 65 wins, and entering the playoffs with 13 straight wins, the Penguins could be unstoppable for Ottawa. With six players with at least 90 points, Pittsburgh's offense is well balanced and deep, and is backed by a mobile blueline.
This series will be a great learning experience for Ottawa, and could very well prove to be the foundation for a playoff run of their own down the road. But right now, this could also be a really fast series, filled with lopsided scores if Schneider isn't up to the task. Prediction: Pittsburgh in four games.
(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres- While the seedings may be far apart, the two teams only finished seven points apart in the regular season. It's a rebound year for both clubs who missed the post-season last year.
Buffalo Sabres eager for playoff spot as they host Carolina Hurricanes - NHL Preview
But these Buffalo Sabres aren't the same ones who played most of the season. A series of deals late in the season seen Buffalo land Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Pavelski and Joffrey Lupul, loading up on offensive depth for the playoffs.
Carolina meanwhile had some very good numbers offensively, but they will fall back on star netminder Roberto Luongo in the playoffs. Luongo already has one WCHL Cup ring, back in Season 9 with the Dallas Stars and he'd love to add another one. A well-balanced offense that lacks a real star will need to eek out a lot of 4-3 and 3-2 wins in the playoffs.
If Buffalo's new star power shines, they could win this series quickly, but slow and steady often wins the race. That said, expect Buffalo to steal a win from Luongo and win a close series. Prediction: Buffalo in seven games.
(3) New York Rangers vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers- Someone will skate away unhappy from this series, more than most. For two teams who have enjoyed a lengthy run as premier teams in the WCHL, one will be guaranteed another season of disappointment by the end of this series.
It could be the biggest post-season to date for the Flyers. After almost missing the playoffs last year and falling to land home-ice advantage this season, it has been openly discussed whether or not the club elects to blow things up if they struggle in these playoffs. A first round failure, especially a quick one, could be the catalyst for a lot of big moves from Philadelphia.
There's a long history of bad blood between these two teams. Here, The Philadelphia Flyers and Arron Asham tussles with New York Rangers' Aaron Voros on Jan. 21.
That's not expected to be the case for the Rangers, but they are just as eager to finally win that WCHL Cup. After reaching the finals in Season 11, the Rangers have taken a step back in the years since, and will be eager to prove they haven't lost a step in the East.
In what should be a very spirited battle, the team with the best balance of scoring and goaltending should win out. That figures to be the Rangers. Prediction: New York Rangers in six games.
(4) Montreal Canadiens vs. (5) New York Islanders- This could easily be the best series of the first round. Separated by just one point this season, the Islanders will be panting at the chance to get back to the WCHL Cup finals, while the Habs will want to show that their efforts to load up this season were not in vain.
Montreal made a huge splash early in the season, landing Kevin Bieska from the Nashville Predators and has gone on to post 112 points and earn home ice advantage in the first round. With three 100-point scorers, a very mobile defense and an emerging great netminder in Jonathan Quick, Montréal has all the right pieces to go for a lengthy run.
To do so, they'll need to get through the Islanders, who have posted another good series despite leaving great players like Phil Kessel and Erik Karlsson in the minors all year. Corey Perry and Jarome Iginla posted 50-plusgoal seasons and were joined by Brad Richards in netting over 100 points, so from a firepower perspective the teams are at least evenly matched. Carey Price figures to have the task of shutting down his former team.
Habs vs. Islanders
In what should be an exciting series, the games should be both close and exciting. Despite some world-class talent in net, expect a few high scores and a close series. Prediction: New York Islanders in seven games.
ACHL Predictions:

Western Conference

(1) Abbotsford Heat vs. (8) Lake Erie Monsters: Abbotsford in five games.
(2) Chicago Wolves vs. (7) Worchester Sharks: Worchester in six games.
(3) Oklahoma City Barons vs. (6) Springfield Falcons: Springfield in seven games.
(4) Milwaukee Admirals vs. (5) Peoria Rivermen: Milwaukee in five games.
Eastern Conference
(1) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. (8) Adirondack Phantoms: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in four games.
(2) St. John's Icecaps vs. (7) Toronto Marlies: St. John's in six games.
(3) Conneticut Whale vs. (6) Norfolk Admirals: Conneticut in five games.
(4) Albany Devils vs. (5) Bridgeport Sound Tigers: Bridgeport in six games.

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Playoff seeding set

Teams ready for post-season

Can Colorado repeat as WCHL champions, or will a new leader emerge?
With another season almost complete, the final 16 teams left to battle for the WCHL Cup have been set. All of the matchups are in place as well, minus two in the Western Conference, where the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames are still vying for first place. A point by San Jose in it's final game, or a loss of any kind by Calgary, will leave San Jose as the top seed for at least the first three rounds.
But the story this year won't be about teams like San Jose and Calgary, who have both won it all before. Rather, the recent trend of the WCHL seems to be which long overdue team will finally get their first title.
Perrenial powerhouses in Pittsburgh and Colorado finally overcame the last hurdle and claimed their first trophy in the past two years. Colorado did it in seven games over the New York Islanders, another team which has struggled mightily in the playoffs before finally going on their own run last year. Will we see another push this year?
"I damn well hope so," said Philadelphia Flyers GM Doug Van Strephen, who has seen his team post great regular seasons for several years, only to fall short in the playoffs. "It's frustrating watching your team struggle in the post-season, especially year after year. Hopefully this is the year."
If it is, it will have to start against another team who is also suffering from failed regular season expectations. The New York Rangers, who have constantly put up 100-plus point seasons in recent years, have also never claimed the WCHL's holy calice. The closest they came was in Season 12, losing in four straight to the Flames in the finals.
"That one stung worse than a june bug bite on your nipples," said New York Rangers GM Andrew Don, oddly rubbing his pectorals in a circular motion at the same time. "I view going through the playoffs like holding a winning lottery ticket and everyone knows about it. There's a huge payoff if you can cash it, but everyone wants to kill you on the way."

The Rangers-Flyers series figures to leave one team very disappointed following a season of high expectations.
Penguins GM Patrick Matthews recalls the relief he felt after winning it all in Season 13, eeking out a 4-3 series win in the finals over the surprising Detroit Red Wings.
"It was like being locked up in prison for 10 years with your window looking out on a Victoria Secrets photo shoot and then one day being let out and told 'Do what you want,' recalled Matthews. "I wrecked a lot of chicks that day. I mean wrecked them. They walk like are straddling barrels still. There is no rehab for that. I feel bad now, but I felt damn good then."
There is also the story of the after thoughts. The darkhorses. The Cinderella teams that most years find their way through the mess to pull off a few upset and go the distance. This year one of those teams hoping to pull it off is the Ottawa Senators.
"We aren't just happy to be here," said Senators GM Noel Harrison. "We want to boot(expletitive deleted) someone and (expletitive deleted) down their throats. We have a common goal to hate everyone on the opposing team, bang their wives and sisters and use their pets for target practice. I have (Patrick) Matthews' (Penguins GM) photo laminated to the inside of my toilet bowl so I can (expletetive deleted) on him daily. It's great motivation.

Ottawa has even gone as far as to hire Samuel L Jackson as a motivational speaker for their series against Pittsburgh.
Ottawa is hoping to best the Penguins in round one of the playoffs, the first time they have made the post-season.
In the West, the Columbus Blue Jackets are also in the post-season for the first time ever and will face either San Jose or Calgary.
"We don't care who we face. We want to play the best. You get good that way," explained Serge Niles, Blue Jackets GM. "Besides, they can't be that good. Calgary got upset easily the last two years and the last time San Jose won anything, Taylor Hall didn't have pubes."
Hall is expected to be the top pick in the 2010 WCHL Entry Draft, to which San Jose currently holds the top pick, pending the outcome of the lottery draft.
In just a few days the games will get going on what should be a great showdown of the upper crust of the WCHL. Will we see a repeat winner of the WCHL CUp for the first time since Season 7, or will a new champion be crowned? Soon, all will start to be revealed.

Who will capture the holy grail of hockey? Within one month, we should know.

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Deadline Dealings

Preds; Leafs; Blues pull off major trades
Drew Doughty was whispering sweet nothings in buddy Jonathan Quick's ear after hearing he'd been dealt to the Predators. Ondrej Pavalec meanwhile is expected to bring his 'win-at-all-costs' attitude to Toronto.
It might have appeared like it was going to be a boring trade deadline, and until the final ten minutes, it was.
But out of nowhere, things heated up in a big fashion, especially for the Nashville Predators.
It wasn't a surprise the Predators would be actively looking to make a deal, having suffered through yet another long, hard season. But the moves that came were not expected.
The first deal seen the Predators finally land Drew Doughty from the Maple Leafs. We say finally, because this was a deal rumoured to have been all but done months ago, only to see the two clubs fall off and eventually go their own seperate ways.
The ground work that came from those earlier talks paid off huge yesterday though, as a call from Leafs General Manager Tony Bezdeck saying that Doughty might be in play fueled the discussions once more.
"When a guy of this caliber is available, you have to be willing to make the move and go for it," said Predators General manager Trent Allen. "We did and we are pleased to have Drew in the fold. It's tough to pay the price we did, but these guys don't come up very often."
Pay the price the Predators did. Going the other way is netminder Ondrej Pavalec, defenseman Dennis Wideman, forwards Rich Peverley and Nick Spaling, along with a 4th round pick. The Predators also received a 3rd in the trade.
Toronto could also receive a 2nd round draft pick, if they are unable to resign Wideman after next season.

Dennis Wideman was a major piece of the deal for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who wish to keep the blueliner around long-term.
But the Predators weren't done there. A second deal came through the pipes quickly, with the St. Louis Blues being on the other side of the deal.
Heading to St. Louis is forward Mikkel Boedker and defenseman Alexei Yemelin, with the Predators receiving Viktor Stalberg, Martin Jones, Gabriel Bourque and a 3rd and a 6th in return.
Mikkel Boedker (above) and Viktor Stalberg figure to be the two key pieces of a five player swap between Nashville and St. Louis.
While the Predators did receive a solid return, it could be the Blues who walk away with the two best players in the deal if Boedker and Yemelin continue their recent progress.
The deals were two of six completed within 24 hours of the trade deadline, with the Predators being involved in four of the six swaps.
Now focus will switch to the WCHL Entry Draft, with the first pick expected to take place by the middle of the month. The San Jose Sharks, who own the Winnipeg Jets draft pick, currently stand to have the first overall pick, barring a last minute change in the standing and the outcome of the waiver draft.

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