5 Things We Learned at the Cooper Steel Speakers Series Predators Face-Off Luncheon

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1. THE LEADERS OF SMASHVILLE

Nashville Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette and General Manager David Poile took the stage first to talk training camp, the upcoming season, and announce the 2016-2017 leadership team. Coach Laviolette told guests that they had finalized their leadership team with Mike Fisher as Captain and James Neal and Roman Josi as Alternate Captains. In September Predators announced Fisher as captain, and broke the news of their alternate captains at today’s luncheon for our guests.

Captains: Mike Fisher

Alternate Captain: James Neal and Roman Josi

This will be Neal’s third season serving as an alternate captain and Josi’s first year wearing the letter full time.

2. VERY SUPERSTITIOUS

They say it’s only weird if it doesn’t work, right? These players had some great answers to the cliché question, “Do you have any superstations you perform before games?” See what some of them had to say:

Filip Forsberg: “I am not really superstitious but we always eat lunch in the same spot, which goes for most guys. Doing the same routines and warm ups.” Forsberg also expressed that he did not really buy into the whole idea of superstitions.

James Neal: “I always gel my hair before warm ups so it’s just perfect. I can’t go out there with it all nasty looking.” We have all been there James Neal.

Pekka Rinne: “When I drive home from morning skate I just drive in reverse home.” You know nothing special. Just kidding. He continued to tell us that he eats the same thing before every game and naps around the same times. He considered these “superstitions” more routines than anything. 

Roman Josi:  “I am not a superstitious guy. I have the same warm ups and eat the same pasta lunch.”  

3. DIY HOT DOGS PEOPLE!

The players have not been the only ones busy this offseason. Close to $10 million in building enhancements and upgrades to the fan experience took place this summer inside of Bridgestone Arena. So what are we most excited about seeing this season inside?

DIY Hot Dogs: Top Dogs, a build-your-own gourmet hotdog stand located in the Main Arena Food Court, will feature signature hotdogs at each game, as well as dogs inspired by that game's opponent.

What is more convenient than having a convenience store inside your arena? Twice Daily, located inside the Nissan SoBro Entrance, will offer gluten-free and dietary restricted items as well as "you top it" soft serve ice cream, soups, sandwiches and over 100 different snacks and bottled beverages.

In a release issued by the Predators, the bar footprint inside Bridgestone Arena has expanded. The Fox Sports Tennessee Bar has doubled in size, the Yee-Haw Brewing bar and Tito’s Bar have been remodeled and the Bud Light Fan Zone has been revamped to carry your beverages more comfortably. Did we mention this season Koozies are available for guests at all beet and bar locations (you can literally never have enough koozies).

These are just some of the many changes happening at Bridgestone Arena this year. For a full list of renovations, read the full article here

4. OPENING WEEKEND: SMASHVILLE STYLE

In some cities just the anticipation of hockey season is enough to make opening weekend the main event, but not in Nashville. Opening weekend at Bridgestone Arena is set to host one of the top four-day starches in its history.

Kicking things off Thursday night, Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year Florida Georgia Line brings their “Dig Your Roots Tour” to Bridgestone Arena along with guests Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three and Kane Brown.

Friday the Predators begin their quest for the Stanly Cup as they begin their season hosting Central Division rival Chicago Blackhawks. Puck drops at 7:00pm CST and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.

To round out the week, Grammy Award winning international superstar Adele will take the stage at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday and Sunday night. "We have never had an opening weekend like we're about to enjoy this week," Predators and Bridgestone Arena President and CEO Sean Henry. “So in four short days, we have a lot of firsts, but hopefully, this is just the beginning of our firsts this season.”

5. HOUSE OF CARDS

A question came up about how the players spend their time when they travel on planes. James Neal shared a very intriguing fact with us about a card game. He explained that when he flies his main source of entertainment is a card game with some of the other players. The catch to this game? You can’t be a rookie. “After you have played in NHL for a few years you can make your way to card table, as a young guy you will never get there.” Neal said. “It took me about 4 years in the league.” Roman Josi is also in on these card games. He told the audience that he spend a majority of his time on airplanes playing cards and listening to James and Ribeiro (Mike Ribeiro #63) complain. From the sounds of it, things can get pretty intense 30,000 feet in the air.

Don’t worry if you are not invited to the card game, though. Filip Forsberg enjoys playing games on his iPad, he says “I’m still pretty young, so I can do that.” While Pekka Rinne watches movies and read books.

Thank you to the Nashville Predators for allowing us to host this annual event inside the arena at the Lexus Lounge each year and to Cooper Steel, our title sponsor, for making events like these a reality. We would not be able to do this without you!