Austin Watson, the Nashville Predators forward whose family lives in Saline, has been showing up in a lot of NHL videos lately.
Saturday Night on Hockey Night in Canada, hockey’s Grand Poobah Don Cherry briefly highlighted Watson’s work. Cherry showed him fighting defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
Fast-forward to 5:48.
Then Cherry showed him diving to block a slap shot from the point against the San Jose Sharks. The play reminded Cherry of the time Watson, then playing junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, blocked a shot in the Memorial Cup and then tried to return to the ice for his next shift.
“I tell ya one thing, I know that kid was going to be a good hockey player in the National Hockey League. What a guy, Austin Watson,” Cherry said.
Watson is also featured in a video posted to Youtube by the San Jose Sharks. In the video, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon is wearing a microphone. Dillon sees Watson tangled up with one of his teammates and grabs him. Both players drop their gloves and start fighting.
(Fast-forward to 2:05)
After they go to the penalty box, Dillon starts chatting with Watson.
“Eh Wats, we gotta work on our cardio this summer, huh?”
“I’m dying after like 10 seconds, man,” Watson replied.
Then Watson says, “Good luck the rest of the year, buddy.”
Watson is playing in his second NHL season. He’s played in a career high 65 games (out of Nashville’s 69 games). He’s also got career highs in goals, assists and points (5-10-15) and his plus/minus has improved from -4 to +14. The 6’4 204-pound Austin Watson is also credited with 124 hits.