Nashville Hockey 2010 Edition Part 3.3: Meet the Men in the Middle

by Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent

Last but certainly not least in this section devoted to the Predators Roster are the centers.  Flanked by the hottest wings in the NHL,  these seven men face off against some of the toughest players on the continent.  Some of them are figurative places of calm in the eyes of the storms their lines can generate, others are breakout personalities who can be depended upon to ramp up the game. Time to meet The Glare, The Showman, Karma’s Favorite Son, The Last of the First Gen and the rest of Nashville’s center corps.

Marcel Goc One of the sweetest moments last season was seeing Goc get his first goal as a Predator against his old team in San Jose.  It wasn’t about revenge. There was no point to be proven.  It was a confluence of the right thing happening at right place and the right time  asserting to the hockey cosmos that  Goc’s move to Nashville did not constitute relegation to The Island of Misfit Toys.  It was sports karma at its best.  2009/2010 saw him hit some career highs in Nashville.  Don’t count on his numbers staying where they are now.  He’s raised the bar, so look for even greater things from him this year.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 73 12 18 30 10 14 0 0 1 118 10.2
LEAGUE RANK 278th 210th 253rd 244th 75th 598th 383rd 134th 264th 270th 265th
Playoff Stats 6 0 1 1 -2 2 0 0 0 13 0.0
LEAGUE RANK 180th 191st 161st 205th 245th 207th 83rd 13th 68th 155th 191st

David Legwand Legwand was Nashville’s first draft pick.  Ever.  As the remaining First Gen Predator, he still leads the team both in numbers and as part of the group when the blades meet the ice.   At 30, he is hitting his prime as a player.  During team practice earlier this month, he and Sullivan were the undisputed leaders.  He can be  remarkably centered during game time, a perfect fit for a team where there’s room for everything but ego.  On a personal note, he’s on my short list of players I want to see hoist the cup at least once.   This year looks good.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 82 11 27 38 -5 24 0 1 3 151 7.3
LEAGUE RANK 2nd 222nd 137th 172nd 652nd 473rd 383rd 41st 100th 173rd 419th
Playoff Stats 6 2 5 7 5 8 0 0 1 16 12.5
LEAGUE RANK 180th 73rd 52nd 64th 24th 74th 83rd 13th 14th 128th 81st

Matthew Lombardi One of David Poile’s summer acquisitions, Lombardi’s inclusion in the Pride was the cause of quite a bit of excitement in Nashville and no small amount of consternation in Phoenix.  His stats show this former Desert Dog turned Big Toothy Cat has a lot to offer.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 78 19 34 53 8 36 4 0 2 174 10.9
LEAGUE RANK 179th 111th 74th 78th 99th 324th 147th 134th 168th 116th 224th
Playoff Stats 7 1 5 6 2 2 0 0 0 19 5.3
LEAGUE RANK 147th 115th 52nd 76th 60th 207th 83rd 13th 68th 109th 166th

Jamie Lundmark Poile may very disprove that old saying about lightning striking twice  when he took  Lundmark away from the Maple Leafs earlier this year.  From Original Six to a part of the Sunbelt Experiment, word is that Lundmark is adjusting quite well down here in the land of sunshine and deep-fried musical turpitude.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 36 5 7 12 -7 20 1 0 1 52 9.6
LEAGUE RANK 602nd 387th 497th 481st 713th 526th 289th 134th 264th 514th 299th

Cal O’Reilly O’Reilly spent the last two seasons dancing the Admirals/Big Cats shuffle between Nashville and Milwaukee.   The Predators official website referred to his last recall north as his “fourth and final”.  We’re holding them to their word on this. O’Reilly has proven he’s worthy of a permanent place at the Den.  It’s time.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS
Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 31 2 9 11 1 4 1 0 0 23 8.7
LEAGUE RANK 619th 527th 436th 492nd 283rd 715th 289th 134th 432nd 637th 341st

Jerred Smithson When I showed my nephew, Cory,  a picture of Smithson on the bench, his first response was, “He needs a hug.”   The patented Smithson Death Glare followed everything from stints in the Sin Bin to celebrations after lighting the lantern.  He made it clear he was out there to win, or at least leave the opposing team with some lingering awareness that they’d spent some time on the ice with the Predators.  It wasn’t all for show or to teach lessons, though.  He hit a couple of career highs in 09/10.  That should give him something to smile about.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 69 9 4 13 -4 54 0 2 1 54 16.7
LEAGUE RANK 337th 279th 582nd 463rd 614th 177th 383rd 13th 264th 500th 36th
Playoff Stats 6 1 0 1 -1 6 0 0 0 5 20.0
LEAGUE RANK 180th 115th 231st 205th 185th 98th 83rd 13th 68th 239th 30th

Colin Wilson Even when the Boys in Black and Blue are wearing practice jerseys, its easy to pick Wilson out in the crowd. He’s the one playing “Follow the Bouncing Puck” as he defies gravity by continually bouncing a puck on the blade of his stick while waiting for things to get underway.  All of this is cute and fun and it makes him a standout when the puck isn’t in play.  When it is?  This legacy NHL player who was a first round pick for Poile and company during the 2008 draft garnered kudos as a rookie of the month and more than a little respect for his performance come playoff time.

2009-2010 SEASON STATISTICS

Season GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Regular Season 35 8 7 15 -2 7 1 0 3 58 13.8
LEAGUE RANK 610th 303rd 497th 420th 489th 682nd 289th 134th 100th 486th 93rd
Playoff Stats 6 0 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 8 0.0
LEAGUE RANK 180th 191st 161st 205th 185th 273rd 83rd 13th 68th 204th 191st

And now you’ve met your Nashville Predators!

Coming up soon…Meet Nashville’s best hockey bloggers! After that, we’ll chat with some of the people who call the games for fans online and on the air.

See ya here, at the ‘Stone, on Facebook and on Twitter!

Jas Faulkner
Jas Faulkner is a minimally socialised writer and artist who lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee. She hearts her attitude problem.
Jas Faulkner
Thinking of donning a war bonnet and getting out the face paint? Read this first. http://t.co/hIoDX1TNps - 19 hours ago

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