Sports Desk 

From the Scene’s desk at McCabe Pub

From the Scene’s desk at McCabe Pub

Before Saturday’s broken collarbone injury against the Chicago Blackhawks, David Legwand’s fourth NHL season was stellar. The injury will sideline Legwand for four to six weeks and it could not come at a worse time. The Predators, who are 9-2-1-0 since the All-Star break and have won eight of their last nine games, have lifted themselves out of the Central Division cellar and remain just two points shy of booting the Edmonton Oilers from the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Legwand paces the Predators scoring attack, tallying 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) and ranks second on the team with 167 shots on goal. Dennis Arkhipov, Adam Hall and Vladimir Orszagh pick up in Legwand’s absence to maintain the team’s momentum. And Nashville (26-25-9-4) opens March with the NHL’s elite—traveling to St. Louis and Dallas and hosting Minnesota this Thursday. ♦ Barry Trotz set an NHL record for the longest-tenured inaugural coach of an expansion franchise during Saturday’s 5-4 OT win against Chicago. Trotz has now coached Nashville for 392 games and his record-breaking contest saw Nashville win its seventh straight home game—also a franchise record. Since his promotion from the AHL’s Portland Pirates, Trotz’s record (144-187-45-14) hasn’t been great. But during his five seasons in Nashville, Trotz has weathered fan criticism and periods of lackluster play that are typical of a young franchise. Trotz currently has Nashville above .500 for the first time since the 2000-01 season, a massive accomplishment given that the Preds won but two of their first 20 games this season. But Trotz’s most impressive accomplishment may very well be enduring the arduous task of selling the sport to an until recently hockey-illiterate audience. ♦ Will Bobby Johnson, the Vanderbilt coach who runs one of the tightest NCAA football ships in the country, allow top recruit Marcus Dixon to wear the black and gold? In a program where players cannot wear facial hair, are not permitted to curse and remain true student-athletes—normally an oxymoron—Dixon, 18, might not fit. Not only was he charged last month with the felony rape of a 15-year-old; it was also revealed last week that he has been twice suspended from Georgia’s Pepperell High for “alleged sexual incidents.” But Dixon, a 6-6, 265-pound defensive end who ranks as one of the top 100 prospects in the country, is a tricky, and rather odd, case. Sure, he’s an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society. But he also missed most of his senior year due to reconstructive knee surgery and he’s been busted for sexual misconduct three times. Winning is imperative for the future of the Vanderbilt program, but at what cost? ♦ Stat of the week: The Vanderbilt Commodores men’s basketball team have not won an away game in over a year and, as of Saturday, have dropped their last (unlucky) 13-consecutive road games. Vanderbilt (10-15, 3-11 SEC) could easily push their dubious on-the-road losing streak to 15 with unfavorable outcomes against No. 2 Kentucky on Wednesday and a loss in the first round of the SEC tournament. ♦ Vanderbilt’s men’s tennis team were certainly impressive last weekend, shutting out Georgia and Tennessee 7-0 for a pair of SEC wins. The blanking of the Vols, who were ranked No. 26 at the time, marks the first time in six years that Vandy has defeated their in-state rival. Junior Bobby Reynolds defeated UT’s Mark Dietrich 6-4, 6-3 and claimed the 80th win of his collegiate career—a school record. Reynolds has now won 17 consecutive matches. Vanderbilt (9-1, 2-1 SEC) faces Georgia State on March 14 and Florida March 16.

—Brian Blackwell

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