| Nashville Predators|
The team was named after the fossil skull of a saber-toothed cat—a species extinct for at least 10,000 years—that was found in August 1971, in a cave during the excavation for the AmSouth Center in downtown Nashville. The fossil is only the fifth of its kind found in North America.
When awarded a franchise, the Predators got a very lucrative deal. The city of Nashville paid 31.50% of the $80-million fee to join the league. The city also absorbs operating losses from the arena, despite the fact that the Sommet Center is operated by a subsidiary of the team.
The Predators first took the ice on October 10, 1998, where they lost 1-0 at home to the Florida Panthers. Three nights later, on October 13, they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 for their first win. Forward Andrew Brunette scored the first goal on a play that was reviewed by the video goal judge.
The 1998-99 NHL season was the last year that two points were awarded for a win, and one point for a tie, regardless of how the game ended in regulation. The Predators, in their first year of existence, finished second-last in the Western Conference with a 28-47-7 record, ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.
The Predators finished the 1999-00 NHL season with an almost identical record to the previous season (28-47-7-7), and finished last in the West behind the Calgary Flames. During a game versus the New York Islanders on February 20, 2000 the Predators scored four goals in 3 minutes and 38 seconds.
The Predators opened the 2000-01 NHL season with two games in Japan against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Each team won a game in front of the largest crowds ever to see a hockey game in Japan. Backed by the goaltending duo of Mike Dunham and Tomas Vokoun, Nashville finished the season in tenth place in the West, 10 points out of a playoff spot with a 34-36-9-3 record, good for 80 total points.
A highlight of the 2001-02 NHL season for the Predators was recording their 100th victory as a franchise on December 6, 2001. With that win, Nashville became the second-fastest expansion team of the 1990s to reach the 100-win plateau. The team was especially unlucky in overtime, finishing with a 28-41-13-0 record - good for 69 points, and 15th spot in the West.
The 2002-03 NHL season saw another record broken by the Predators, as coach Barry Trotz broke the record for most games coached by the original coach of an expansion team (392 games). Nashville finished the season with a 27-35-13-7 record for 74 points, putting them well out of contention in he Western Conference in 14 place.
In the 2003-04 NHL season, the Predators, under coach Barry Trotz, finished eighth in the Western Conference and made their first trip to the playoffs. The rival Red Wings beat them in six games in the quarterfinal.
This season did not occur due to a labour dispute between the owners and players.
In 2005-06, the Predators set an NHL record by winning their first four games by one goal each (although two of those were shootout victories, which would have been tie games in previous seasons). They also became only the fourth NHL franchise to start the season 8-0; the last time a team did so was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who set the mark with a 10-0 start in 1993. The Buffalo Sabres tied the Leafs' record in 2006. The Predators set the franchise mark for wins in a season with a 2-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on March 16, 2006. In that match, Chris Mason became the ninth goaltender to score a goal. By the end of the season, the Predators had accumulated 106 points—their first 100-point season—and clinched home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in team history. They finished the season with an NHL-best 32-8-1 record at home.
The Predators acquired veteran center Jason Arnott from free agency on July 2, 2006. Arnott and David Legwand led the team in goals with 27 each. Late in the season the Predators traded two former first round draft picks Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent, plus their first-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2007 draft, to the Philadelphia Flyers for five-time NHL all-star Peter Forsberg.
The Predators finished the season in fourth place in the Western Conference with 110 points, a franchise record. They were defeated by the San Jose Sharks in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs Western conference quarter-finals for the second year in a row, losing the series 4 games to 1, for the second straight season.
Tentative sale agreement and possible relocation
On May 23, 2007, Craig Leipold was reported to have reached a tentative agreement to sell the team to the Chairman and Co-CEO of Research In Motion, Jim Balsillie. According to Leipold, the team will play the 2007-08 season in Nashville, but the future of the team after that is not clear. Balsillie had long been rumored to be interested in placing another team in Southern Ontario. The deal is expected to be finalized in late-June and must be finished by June 30, 2007. The proposed re-location site is Hamilton, Ontario, with Balsillie's new company, Golden Horseshoe Sports & Entertainment (named after the portion of Southern Ontario centred around the west-end of Lake Ontario, which is known as the Golden Horseshoe), securing exclusive rights to bring an NHL team to Copps Coliseum, as well as the rights to operate Hamilton Place, the Hamilton Convention Centre, and the associated parking facilities for the next 20 years. Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger has stated that Balsillie's intention is to bring an NHL team to Copps in Hamilton, and it is reported that Basillie will invest $140 million into the arena to bring it to modern NHL standards. Relocating to Hamilton, however, may require compensation to be offered to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, since they have territorial rights to the region. Despite rumors to the contrary, it has been reported that Kitchener-Waterloo is not being considered as a possible location for the team.
On June 13, it was announced that season ticket deposits for the "Hamilton Predators" will begin to go on sale through Ticketmaster the next day. A source said Balsillie's objective is to show the league's governors there is a large base of ticket buyers in Southern Ontario. Since the drive started, over 13,000 season ticket deposits have been sold, including all of the 70 available corporate box deposits, costing $5000 each. In Nashville, there are just under 9,000 season ticket holders.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has stated the provincial government is willing to consider offering financial support if the team relocates to Hamilton. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky, himself a member of the NHL Board of Governors through his ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes, has openly supported the team's move to Hamilton, stating that an NHL team in Hamilton would be tremendously successful.
On June 23, false information was leaked by a number of sources indicating that Leipold was pulling the plug on the pending sale and no longer wanted to sell the Predators to Basillie. Leipold was quick to distance himself from the rumours, and advised that a deal with Basillie was still in the works. Mr. Basillie's lawyer, Richard Rodier, was quoted as saying Craig Leipold's letter to the NHL "changed little if anything" in regards to the pending sale, and was a mere formality as part of the sale process. Canadian insiders believe that the false information and delay tactics may be due to the league not wanting a team to move to Canada, something the NHL denies.
The campaign to land the team in Kansas City, Missouri reportedly received a boost in late June 2007. The National Post of Canada, citing anonymous sources, reported that Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold plans to sell the team to San Jose venture capitalist William “Boots” Del Biaggio, who wants to relocate the club to Kansas City’s new Sprint Center for the 2008-09 season. Del Biaggio, who has an a contract with Anschutz Entertainment Group to own an NHL club in Sprint Center, had made an offer reported to be for about $190 million for the Predators. In 2005, he had an agreement to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the club backed out of the deal after it won the NHL draft lottery and took Sidney Crosby with the first overall pick.  Balsillie’s brazen move of taking season-ticket deposits in Hamilton while the Predators still have a lease to play in Nashville upset NHL owners and commissioner Gary Bettman and reportedly caused Leipold to have second thoughts about selling to Balsillie. Although a ticket drive in selling corporate suites is underway in Kansas City, it does not include season tickets like Balsille's move. Later that day, Leipold denied rumours that he was dealing exclusively with Del Biaggio, stating that he is open to all bids and that a deal with Basillie is still possible. The Globe and Mail reported on July 4, 2007, a group of 30 investors became the third party to make a bid to purchase the franchise and keep the team in Nashville 
Should the team relocate to Kansas City, it will be the second time the NHL has ventured to the market. The Kansas City Scouts debuted in the 1974-1975 season as an expansion franchise, but relocated after a short two season run. The Scouts suffered poor attendence in both years, only securing 2000 of 8000 season ticket sales for the 1975-1976 season. Hamilton is also a former NHL market, being the home of the Hamilton Tigers from 1920 through 1925.
For the 2007-08 season, the Predators updated their jerseys with new striping. The logo was left unchanged, and the colors were left unchanged. Nashville was added to the road 'away' jerseys above the logo.
Fans of the Nashville Predators have modified a tradition of the Detroit Red Wings to show their support: on occasion, a fan will throw a catfish onto the ice. The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville cites the first instance of this on October 30, 2003. At least four catfish were thrown onto the ice after the first Nashville goal on November 13, 2003.
Section 303 is a section of notoriously fervent fans at the Sommet Center colloquially known as "The Cellblock". The group refers to themselves as "the loudest section of the loudest arena in the NHL". While no reports of relative sound pressure levels have been cited by the group, the section's predetermined motivating and demoralizing chants towards the home and visiting teams respectively can be heard from many locations within the arena.
The entirely fan-based organization has been recognized by the Predators' front office. A large banner was produced by the front office for posting on the wall behind the section. The organization maintains a website where chants tailored to the opponent can be reviewed before the game. The group also makes available merchandise through CafePress that reflects the Cellblock's brazen and supportive attitude.
Gnash is a blue saber-toothed cat. The character was introduced in 1998 quickly set new standards in the NHL for entertainment. His trademark is incredible stunts: very fast rappels, zip lines and a pendulum swing that takes him under the scoreboard and just inches off the ice. In the 1st and 2nd intermission he picks kids to skate on the ice with him.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Predators. For the full season-by-season history, see Nashville Predators seasons
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Records as of April 7, 2007
|2001-02||82||28||41||13||0||69||196||230||1071||4th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2002-03||82||27||35||13||7||74||183||206||969||4th, Central||Did not qualify|
|2003-04||82||38||29||11||4||91||216||217||1360||3rd, Central||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2-4 (Red Wings)|
|2004-05||Season cancelled due to 2004-05 NHL Lockout|
|2005-061||82||49||25||—||8||106||259||227||1489||2nd, Central||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1-4 (Sharks)|
|2006-07||82||51||23||—||8||110||272||212||2nd, Central||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1-4 (Sharks)|
- 1 As of the 2005-06 NHL season, all games will have a winner; the OTL column includes SOL (Shootout losses).
|#||Player||Catches||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|30||Chris Mason||L||2003||Red Deer, Alberta|
|39||Dan Ellis||L||2007||Saskatoon, Saskatchewan|
|#||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|2||Dan Hamhuis||L||2001||Smithers, British Columbia|
|3||Marek Zidlicky||R||2002||Most, Czechoslovakia|
|4||Ville Koistinen||L||2006||Oulu, Finland|
|5||Greg Zanon||L||2004||Burnaby, British Columbia|
|6||Shea Weber (IR)||R||2003||Sicamous, British Columbia|
|7||Greg de Vries||L||2007||Sundridge, Ontario|
|8||Kevin Klein||R||2003||Kitchener, Ontario|
|20||Ryan Suter||L||2003||Madison, Wisconsin|
|#||Player||Position||Shoots||Acquired||Place of Birth|
|10||Martin Erat||RW||L||1999||Třebíč, Czechoslovakia|
|11||David Legwand||C||L||1998||Detroit, Michigan|
|12||Scott Nichol||C||R||2005||Edmonton, Alberta|
|14||Radek Bonk||C||L||2007||Krnov, Czechoslovakia|
|16||Darcy Hordichuk (IR)||LW||L||2005||Kamsack, Saskatchewan|
|19||Jason Arnott – C||C||R||2006||Collingwood, Ontario|
|22||Jordin Tootoo||RW||R||2001||Churchill, Manitoba|
|23||Martin Gelinas (IR)||LW||L||2007||Shawinigan, Quebec|
|25||Jerred Smithson||C||R||2004||Vernon, British Columbia|
|26||Steve Sullivan – A (IR)||LW||R||2004||Timmins, Ontario|
|38||Vernon Fiddler||C||L||2002||Edmonton, Alberta|
|41||Jed Ortmeyer||RW||R||2007||Omaha, Nebraska|
|47||Alexander Radulov||RW||L||2004||Nizhny Tagil, U.S.S.R.|
|71||J.P. Dumont – A||RW||L||2006||Montreal, Quebec|
- Tom Fitzgerald, 1998-2002
- Greg Johnson, 2002-06
- Scott Walker, 2003
- Kimmo Timonen, 2006-07
- Jason Arnott, 2007- present
Hall of Famers: The Predators do not have a Hockey Hall of Fame member from their team.
First-round draft picks
- 1998: David Legwand (2nd overall)
- 1999: Brian Finley (6th overall)
- 2000: Scott Hartnell (6th overall)
- 2001: Dan Hamhuis (12th overall)
- 2002: Scottie Upshall (6th overall)
- 2003: Ryan Suter (7th overall)
- 2004: Alexander Radulov (15th overall)
- 2005: Ryan Parent (18th overall)
- 2006: None
- 2007: Jonathon Blum (23rd overall)
Franchise scoring leaders
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history(as of 18 Nov. 2007). Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Predators player
NHL awards and trophies
Franchise individual records
- Most goals in a season: Steve Sullivan & Paul Kariya, 31 (2005-06)
- Most assists in a season: Paul Kariya, 54 (2005-06)
- Most points in a season: Paul Kariya, 85 (2005-06)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: Patrick Cote, 242 (1998-99)
- Most points in a season, defenseman: Kimmo Timonen, 55 (2006-07)
- Most points in a season, rookie: Alexander Radulov, 37 (2006-07)
- Most wins in a season: Tomas Vokoun, 36 (2005-06)
- Most shutouts in a season: Chris Mason & Tomas Vokoun, 5 (2006-07)
- ↑ Balsillie attempting to buy Predators, tsn.ca, May 23, 2007
- ↑ Nashville Predators Being Sold, newschannel5.com, May 23, 2007
- ↑ Sale terms call for deal to be completed by June 30, ESPN, May 24, 2007
- ↑ NHL Policies Examined, www.Canada.com/nationalpost, June 6, 2007
- ↑ Balsillie applies for right to relocate Predators, www.Canada.com, June 13, 2007
- ↑ Balsillie has deal for Hamilton arena, CBC.ca, May 31, 2007
- ↑ What Balsillie wants is what NHL needs, www.TorontoSun.com, June 15, 2007
- ↑ Hamilton city officials huddle to forge a deal with NHL hopeful, www.thespec.com, June 13, 2007
- ↑ Balsillie, Hamilton cut NHL deal: report, www.cbc.ca, June 13, 2007
- ↑ Tickets? Who needs tickets?, www.GlobeSports.com, June 13, 2007
- ↑ NHL ticket drive launched for potential Hamilton team, www.TheSpec.com, June 13, 2007
- ↑ Predators pressure Balsillie for deal, www.TheSpec.com, June 23, 2007
- ↑ ourteamnashville.com, www.TheSpec.com, June 16, 2007
- ↑ Hamilton NHL ticket deposits leap past Nashville's base, www.GlobeSports.com, June 15, 2007
- ↑ McGuinty hints at cash for Hamilton NHL team, www.TheSpec.com, June 14, 2007
- ↑ Gretzky approves of potential Predators move, www.GlobeSports.com, June 20, 2007
- ↑ [http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/228704 NHL calling the tune in Nashville, www.TheStar.com, June 23, 2007
- ↑ RIM boss hit by delay of game, www.GlobeSports.com, June 23, 2007
- ↑ Balsillie still in the hunt for Predators, www.GlobeSports.com, June 23, 2007
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Covitz, Randy. Kansas City's chances for the NHL's Predators get boost Kansas City Star, 28 June 2007.
- ↑ Kansas City back in the running for Preds, www.TheSpec.com, June 28, 2007
- ↑ Predators owner says open to all bids, www.reuters.ca, June 28, 2007
- ↑ Nashville consortium throws hat into ring to buy franchise The Globe and Mail, 4 July 2007.
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
- ↑ http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2957518.
- ↑ Tennessean.com, Catfish hunters: Fans throw a curve at Preds
- ↑ Section 303: I came, I saw - I yawned. Nashville City Paper.
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