Paul McCann: It’s Opening Night Eve!

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SlapShot Radio is on tonight at 7 on the SlapShot Radio Network, if you aren’t in a market that carries the show, you can listen online at www.1025thegame.com or on podcast after the broadcast.

Tonight, Pete Weber and I welcome Stuntman Stu Schwartz. Stu in the Ottawa Senators PA Announcer and morning man on Majic 100 in Canada’s capital city, he’s helping us preview the Preds and Sens.

Then, a good friend of the show, the Voice of the Dallas stars, Ralph Strangis joins us for a look at Saturday night’s early season Central Division clash with the Stars.

It’s our seventh season, dedicated to the seventh man and we continue the #7for7 contest tonight as we have pairs of tickets to giveaway for Opening Night in Smashville tomorrow night. Simply call in to win when we ask for the seventh caller. So join Pete and I tonight @ 7 for SlapShot Radio on 102.5 the Game in Music City and the SlapShot Radio Network region wide.

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Opening Night in Smashville is almost here and the Predators released their opening night roster yesterday. From Preds Communications…

Nashville, Tenn. (October 7, 2014) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has placed forwards Matt Cullen and Viktor Stalberg on Injured Reserve, while forward Mike Fisher was designated a non-roster player due to an offseason injury. The move sets Nashville’s active roster at 22 to start the 2014-15 season.

Forwards (13): Taylor Beck, Gabriel Bourque, Rich Clune, Filip Forsberg, Paul Gaustad, Calle Jarnkrok, Olli Jokinen, James Neal, Eric Nystrom, Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson.

Defensemen (7): Victor Bartley, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Seth Jones, Roman Josi, Anton Volchenkov and Shea Weber.

Goaltenders (2): Carter Hutton and Pekka Rinne.

Injured Reserve (2): Matt Cullen and Viktor Stalberg.

Non-Roster (1): Mike Fisher.

The interesting pieces start the season on injured reserve… Matt Cullen and Viktor Stalberg. Both are due to be back in the lineup within the next two weeks or so. A couple of youngsters have an opportunity right now, an opportunity to secure their place in the lineup, or lose it. But these two veterans have something to prove as well.

Matt Cullen was a solid add last season, reliable in the face-off dot, winning 56.7% of his draws, good for sixth in the league… Cullen was also steady presence in the room and on the ice. Does the almost 38 year old center still have the wheels to play Peter Laviolette’s uptempo system? That will be the question that needs to be answered, but puck possession is a key to Lavy’s system so his value can’t be underestimated.

Viktor Stalberg is a different question entirely. After what is universally regarded as an underachieving season last year, for the second straight season, Stalberg was injured in training camp and missed a significant chunk of time. Last season it certainly impacted his adapting to Barry Trotz’s system… Stalberg remains a highly talented left wing that should thrive under Laviolette, but the loss of training camp time may impact him again. The positive here is that Stalberg will not be looked at as “the man” for scoring this season, the release of that expectation could get him back to pre-lockout production.

We are on the eve of a new era in Pred Nation, an era that starts tomorrow at 7:08 with the puck drop.

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“Oh, baby…”

Another voice of my youth passed Monday. The death of Bill Campbell… the dean of Philadelphia sports at the age of 91 was certainly not shocking, he lived a long life, a life very well lived. He called basketball for the Big Five, the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors and the 76ers. He called the Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles. He called the only football championship in my lifetime, the 1960 championship over Green Bay… OK, I was a month old, but at least it happened while I was alive!

He was the voice of childhood summers, with Campbell alongside By Saam and Richie Ashburn calling the Futile Phillies in the 60’s. The voice of winter nights as he called the highs and lows of a Sixers that saw record setting heights and lows to equal those records. Bill Campbell got to call very few championships… but when he did, it was simply unforgettable.

A voice that spanned nine decades of Philadelphia sport… from doing a show with the legendary baseball icon Connie Mack, to delivering the play-by-play on Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game, to commenting on sports for KYW radio up to just a few months ago, Bill Campbell was a constant, a touchstone, a gentle but hard0hitting voice of the Philadelphia sports fan. That voice is now silenced, but the memories live on.

Rest well Bill… and thanks.

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Random Notes

– Last night’s Meet the Team Party was a rousing success. A big crowd of season ticket holders came out to Bridgestone Arena.

– Opening Night in Smashville gets started with a Gold Carpet ceremony, introducing the team to Smashville on the plaza at 4pm tomorrow. I will be your MC for the festivities so come on out early to welcome the team!

– The Nashville Predators begin the season at number 15 in NHL.com’s power rankings.

– Speaking of early… Be in your seats by 6:45pm for the new opening… I got a preview of the video yesterday and it is worth it!

– The puck drops on the NHL season tonight with four games. Montreal opens at Toronto, Philly heads to Boston (that’s the 6:30 game on NBCSN, Vancouver visits Calgary and The LA Kings raise the banner in the nightcap as they do it in front of the team they completely broke last season… the San Jose Sharks.

– There is a fairly solid consensus among NHL pundits on NHL.com… the Cup will stay in the west. All predictions on the site has either LA or Chicago lifting the cup… a few have former Predators head coach Barry Trotz as the predicted Adams Award winner.

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You are invited to follow me on Twitter. Search for @PredPAPaul… Not only will I be updating when I get news or updates, but we are having a bit of fun by getting your input on Gnash introductions, weigh in on Twitter and who knows, we may use your introduction for the best mascot in the NHL at the next Preds game! You can also keep up with all the goings on with SlapShot Radio by following the show on Twitter @SlapShotRadio1

Also… make sure to “like” SlapShot Radio on Facebook… here’s the link.

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SlapShot Radio is back every Wednesday night at 7pm on 102.5 the Game and the SlapShot Radio Network. Early season advertising specials are available to reach our activated listener base… so, if you want to drive more business to your business please… reach out to me. You can email me at paul (at) slapshotradio (.com)

The SlapShot Radio Road Trip is back!!! Go to our Facebook page for more information and join us as we hit the road to Big D!

We need to nail down tickets quick gang… so head on over!

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This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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