This trip to the City of Brotherly Love was full of a lot more fatherly love as the Predators players got a chance to bring their dads along on the team's annual Father's Trip. During the first intermission, FSTennessee did a feature on the trip, something I love seeing year after year. I would be lying if I said I didn't tear up while watching it. There is something so heartwarming knowing even grown men can appreciate where they came from and are more than grateful for the parents that helped to get them where they are now. This annual event is also a great reminder of how humble and grounded hockey players are in comparison to so many other athletes in professional sports these days. This, of course, just further solidifies my love of the game. However, no amount of love for this annual tradition can help win a game. And unfortunately, the winless streak for the Father's Trip continued tonight. Such a bummer.
I spent the majority of the game thinking about the players that the Predators used to have in Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen. Hartnell, the pesky guy who was always buzzing around the net and Timonen, the quiet, hard-working, solid defenseman. Then I thought about how eerily similar those descriptions are when applied to Patric Hornqvist, the lovable, stay at the net, facewasher-extraordinaire and Shea Weber, the quiet, solid, beast of a defenseman, who also just happens to be the captain, as was Timonen. Losing Hartnell and Timonen to Philadelphia was one of the first big shakeups of the dreaded summer of 2007. Both were key players that left a big void in the lineup; neither was going to be easily replaced.
And yet, here it is, three and a half years later and the Predators have managed to fill both of those roles quite nicely. In some ways, those roles have been met and exceeded. Hornqvist has the scrappy, let-me-bug-the-crap-out-of-the-goalie tendencies of a Scott Hartnell but he also has good offensive-mindedness that gives him more of an edge. I have a harder time finding differences in Weber and Timonen, save for Weber's age. If Kimmo can still play like he does at age 35, I can only imagine what the Predators captain can do with the next 10 years of his career. As long as the history of the organization off the ice does not repeat, the future of the on ice product, anchored by the likes of Shea Weber and Patric Hornqvist, looks really promising.
While I'm thinking about the future for a second, it's time to look ahead to Saturday night's game against the Detroit Red Wings. For a Predators fan (and probably even for the players), every game played against Detroit seems to be just as important as the game before. Now, more than ever though, is the time to get it done.
The fans will bring the noise. Here's hoping the boys will bring their A-game.