Two Predators draft picks have made their debut with the Ads recently, first Ryan Thang joined the team from Notre Dame and on Friday, Geoffrion joined the team in Chicago.
Geoffrion was signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract. (for more info on the different levels of NHL contracts, read this breakdown) The way I understand it, the Preds wouldn't have brought Blake up to the NHL for the playoffs because they would have cost themselves a free agency year with him.
Multiple stories on Blake's signing and play mentioned that members of the Predators front office, including general manager David Poile, assistant general manager Paul Fenton and director of hockey operations Mike Santos, were planning on driving up from Chicago (where the Preds had a playoff game) to see Geoffrion play.
The drive was surely worth it, as Blake scored two goals, put in significant ice time, and was named First Star of the Game.
Love the lead sentence in this piece: "Who could have doubted the combination of Blake Geoffrion and Wisconsin ice?"
As I said a few days ago, the best part of this for me was Blake matching up with Chris Chelios just a week after Blake was in Detroit for the Frozen Four and Badger fans were gathering at Chelios' bar.
We were able to get front row seats to the right side of the goal the Ads attacked twice, so we had a great view of an incredible game for Ads fans.
After having been shut down the two previous games and with a half dozen players scratched from the night's roster, it seemed unlikely the Ads were going to walk away with a win.
However, Milwaukee was stellar on the PP, scoring four of their six goals while on the man advantage.
We were surprised to see Blake in the starting lineup after he was -2 the night before in Chicago.
Blake was matched up with Chelios on lines most of the night and as I tweeted last night, it seemed a bit like the Wolves had decided to give Geoffrion a little "welcome to the big leagues" party. Two separate times hits on Blake sent Wolves to the penalty box.
Geoffrion's first goal came on the opposite end of the ice and happened so quickly after period and so far removed from the goal that we didn't immediately realize that it had happened. He got the puck to the right of center and threw a shot on net from behind the face off circles that got through the keeper.
As the game progressed, Blake took a couple of face offs and looked to be the guy they cycled down and planted in front of the keeper.
His second goal came as a result - he got the puck just to the side of the net and threw it on the keeper. The rebound shuffled around and Blake got the puck back and put it home.
Early in the game the whistle was blown on the Ads offensive end and Blake was near the keeper so a Wolves player skated up to him to be chest to chest and "protect the keeper" as is often done. Except it was Chelios who stepped in and after a second they each realized who it was and they definitely talked to each other and Chelios gave Blake a butt slap.
Per the JS recap of last night, here's what Blake had to say on it: "It was unbelievable... On the ice for the first time with him, I was kind of in awe a little bit even though my dad said not to be like that at all."
"It was pretty cool. I said, 'Hello, Mr. Chelios.' He was like, 'What's up, kid.' That was my little moment with Chris Chelios and I'll remember it the rest of my life."Lastly, here's a screen cap from the Preds website tonight as they are playing in the NHL finals. Game 2 is the top story - but Blake is #2. Pretty impressive after just his second game in the system.
(click on pics for enlarged version)
Here are the pics I took last night:
In the opening line up
Opening face off
Fighting off Chelios
Taking it to the net
Taking a hit at the net
Taking a face off
Once again against Chelios
Showing some D
Another face off
Being named First Star