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Conversation with Scott Hannan

In August, the Nashville Predators signed veteran defenseman Scott Hannan to a one-year, $1 million contract to improve the team’s depth. Hannan and his family recently moved to Nashville, and we caught up with him this week as he gets accustomed to his new digs.

24/7: How do you like Nashville?
Scott Hannan: It’s been good. We got moved in and met our neighbors, the moving truck is out. It seems like a great place to live. We moved in last week and most of the boxes are unpacked; the kids are running around, so it’s good.

Any reason why you moved down here now?
Where we were living, we had our place rented out. We had to sign a lease and get here. It was just a matter of getting to skate with some of the guys and getting used to the area. I didn’t want to try and do it in an instant if things do get going [with the lockout].

How many of your new teammates did you know already?
I know [Shea Weber], I’ve met a few of the guys around. Webs and I live in Kelowna, so in the summer we see a lot of each other.

Did knowing Weber sway your decision at all to sign here?
It definitely had something to do with it. I also knew Barry [Trotz]; he has his house up there. Knowing the team, it’s a good fit. This team always has a great goalie and always has a chance to win.

And I guess it’s nice that you no longer have to stand in front of Weber’s slap shot?
That helps! Especially those one-timers. I always had to cover my face on those one-timers. I never knew where they were going to go.

How do you see yourself fitting in with the Predators?
I’m not going to be changing my game too much. They’re not going to be expecting anything different. I’ve been a solid penalty killer and stay-at-home defenseman. I don’t think I’m going to reinvent my game.

From playing in the West throughout your career, you’ve made plenty of trips to Nashville. What has always been your impression of the environment in and around the arena?
It’s always exciting. With San Jose, we had a couple playoff series against Nashville and it is a lively building to play in. The fans get really into it. Obviously as a player on a road team, the atmosphere walking from the hotel to the rink and all the fun stuff downtown – it’s good.

The NHL canceled the Winter Classic, an event you were a part of in 2011. What do you feel the league and the players are missing out on?
It’s unfortunate for the fans, the players that could have been involved. It’s a great game and a great way to showcase the NHL. It’s unfortunate that they chose to cancel it. So much for the partnership they wanted the last time [we were locked out]. It turns out they just make decisions and it’s up to them. It was great for me to play in the Winter Classic, a great experience for your family and friends. It’s a shame to lose it this year.

When you were traded to Washington that season, did you expect the Winter Classic and HBO’s 24/7 to be approached like it was the Super Bowl?
It was funny: I got traded there the day [HBO started filming]. The cameras are in your face every day but their staff was amazing. A couple days in you didn’t even know they were there. The show turned out great; it was great TV and gave a good in-depth look at what goes on. I talked to family members that rarely watch TV and they were loving the show – not because I was on it, but because they loved everything about it and they watched it again last year.

What has this lockout been like for you, with it being your second time experiencing it?
Last time I was younger and wasn’t as involved. This time I think the group [of players] is really involved and knows the issues, more so than the last time. It’s tough. Everybody wants to be back playing hockey but you always want to get the right deal. We all hope to be playing soon.

What does it say about Gary Bettman that this is his third lockout as commissioner?
It seems their first form of negotiating is to [lock us out]. Since I’ve joined the league it’s always a threat. It doesn’t seem like much of a negotiation, and that’s unfortunate. I don’t know why it seems to work out that way. In a way it’s his legacy, isn’t it?

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