What better place to start the post-Christmas slate than Nashville? Among the stops on the Western Conference docket, it’s one of the preferred cities due to the close proximity to the rink, nightlife and dining options. On an open day in the off-season, I’m eventually going to come around to using advanced stats to formulate a metric that ranks all Western Conference cities. This formula will use a weighted rating system to judge the following criteria: Distance from the hotel to the rink, nearby nightlife and dining, length of flight from Los Angeles, distance from the airport to the hotel, in-hotel food options, strength and quality of hotel and arena WiFi, press box view and comfort, quality and comfort of the hotel room, weather and access to in-room instant coffee, amongst other factors. Even though the Predators play in the Western Conference’s easternmost city and return flights to Los Angeles don’t arrive until the wee hours of the morning, it’s likely that Nashville will grade out in the top three or four preferred western cities as defined by the proposed #fancystats guidelines detailed above.

Our hotel is a new hotel. It opened just over two weeks before our mid-October visit and is connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. There is a beautiful, expansive lobby, a library with a fireplace, a bar-slash-concert space that has live music every night and opens up into an outdoor patio when the weather is appropriate. Along with those options, there are restaurants, bars, cafes and general hotel what-have-you. Many of the areas downstairs aren’t really marked by doors, but by wide entrances that allow each space to flow into the space adjacent to it. It’s a good spot for people watching.

To prove we are actually in Tennessee, and that this post isn’t the front for some vast LAKI conspiracy, here is our descent into Nashville International Airport:

Try and disprove this post now, LAKI conspiracy theorists!

It’s a chilly morning that has grown less overcast since these photos were taken. We may see some rain this afternoon – it was rainy here during our recovery day here in October – and the temperature will likely stay on the wrong side of 60 degrees. It was a spectacular early winter day when we stepped off the plane yesterday afternoon, a welcome greeting after the frigid temperatures of our trip earlier this month through Eastern Canada.

The team is scheduled to hit the Bridgestone Arena ice for the morning skate at 10:30 a.m. After losing in Dallas last night, the Predators are not holding a morning skate. More to come throughout the day.

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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