Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pekka Slams The Door Shut On The Blackhawks: Preds Win 2 - 0.

Who would guessed Jerred Smithson would've scored in back-to-back games at the beginning of the year?  And short-handed at that? 

Who, indeed!  As long as any of our boys are scoring, who cares?!

It's nice to be able to type this: The Nashville Predators shut out the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation, serving them their first regulation loss this season, 2 - 0.  A loss is best any team that's not ours, but even better when it's a division rival.

What to type about!  The 17 blocked shots - throwing the body in front of the puck to actually help our goalie?  The actual forechecking?  Another power play the same week?  The return of the "sharp as a tack" Ward as a producing entity or perhaps the "seemingly always lurking around to lend a helping hand on any and every shift" Bouillon?  The subtle spark of energy that Legwand showed the crowd or the possibility that it was merely caused by the fact that Erat was scratched cos it's become obvious he's a worthless poof?  The fact that the team is producing more without Arnott as well?  The chances that Hornqvist is creating all over the place?  Or perhaps just the "head-standing" antics of one Pekka Rinne?  I'm sure we'll all be talking about all this and more tomorrow morning!

A very strong showing by the Preds tonight.  I can't wait to see this team play again.  Perhaps the secret is and always has been to just cut the fat and play a tight, dedicated game.

Simplicity is great like that.  Let's do this.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Wild Ride: Preds Win 4-3 in St. Paul

The Preds come back once again after blowing a 2-goal lead to defeat the also-struggling Minnesota Wild, 4-3 in regulation. 

Trotz juggled Legwand's line and it ended up...well...kinda making sense.  Scatchard, Wilson and Hornqvist worked very well together (I hope to see them together again tomorrow).  Dan Ellis played a great first period and blew it in 3 minutes in the 2nd - kinda like a reenactment of his career with the Preds on fast-forward.  Rinne came in this time and stood his height (see "tall"). Santorelli gets his in the 2nd to tie the game up. Goc had a nice breakaway to no avail.  Smithson scored the game-winning goal...on the POWER PLAY, while the names you normally expect (Weber, Dumont) started the game off before it all became uncertain...just like in Ottawa.  Thankfully it all took place in regulation!

Excuse my negative tone - I'm very much glad that we won this game...BUT...(cos there always is one of those) we essentially beat a team much like ourselves, plagued with weaknesses.  I can kick the shit out of a Pekingese, but if I'm only a handicapped Platypus, is that a strength or a bit of luck?  Also, I learned my work schedule changes to evenings next week so I'll be missing many games and I'll have to sell some of my tix in 303 - contact me next week if you're interested Grr.

The losing of leads needs to stop.  Since O is our weakness, you'd think once we get a bit of it, we'd buckle down and play it like New Jersey.  We've finally got some chemistry going on with the lines...we'll see how they hold up - hopefully for the better so my fairly recent Trotz-dismissal will be proven wrong.

We've got the Blackhawks tomorrow night.  Let's do what we did right tonight tomorrow night and see how that fares against a faster, stronger Chicago.  I want to see these plans work!  I want to see this team go forward with their own identity!

And I KNOW I'm not alone in wanting this.


PS. No humorous hotlinks tonight - tired as all get out due to the new day job and I wake earlier than normal in the AM.  Off to the Land of Nod.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blackhawks Put The Stranglehold On Our Only Offense: Our Defense


This one is going to be short.

The Blackhawks, even with Toews and Seabrook out, kept our boys from doing...well...anything.  A stalemate in the 1st, 2 against in the 2nd, nada again in the 3rd, fin'.  Huet got a shutout for crying out loud.

The Preds face their former owner in St. Paul on Wednesday, as well my favorite pair of Zeds.

Fire Trotz.

"Wow, that was abrupt," you might be thinking.  My only argument is a system that a coach refuses to change when we have a team of players that require another system in order to produce.  This is coming from a fan that photoshopped "the Juggertrotz" due to his ability to make something out of seemingly nothing.  The golden eggs stopped two years ago - so something should be done about it.  We need offense...we need it in spades.  We need the young forwards to go forward, not to be held back.  Trotz doesn't like doing that.  Yeh, and I don't like losing.

I don't think that I'm alone in this.



Thanks to Dirk from OnTheForecheck for mentioning my incensed post-Huet-shutout argument on what we should do to get things done.

" be honest, I think it fits better with the Minnesota front office, which is trying to implement a new system with the same tired cast of characters." 

I'll admit that I'm not familiar with the inner goings-on of the Wild, nor the inner-workings of our Ads (who reportedly have one of the best PP units, but I'll get to them in a moment).  The Wild are suffering through injuries to their top gun(s) and are in a similar position as the Preds, though they at least tried to make big moves in the off season to both the offense and defense to little avail.  

Looking at the Ads' numbers, they're not doing spectacular (official website says 3-3-0), possibly to the revolving door we've got going with them, causing strategies to be readjusted at the drop of a hat.  Sadly, the Preds can only try different pieces within Trotz's "stick to the system" puzzle so many times only to find them almost as inadequate.  The Preds continue to struggle in a stagnant system, the Ads continue to do the same because we just can't get enough of spinning that door for our amusement, and we don't make the playoffs for the second year in a row.  

I'd love to see Barry get his head out of the sand and try a new system and stick with it for a handful of games - the tired cast has potential to do damage (sans #10, #2... and a couple others), it just needs the right wrench to be thrown into the works.  I just don't see that happening.  What else can an organization do when the coaching staff is just as stubborn in their ways as Erat is when he's in control of the puck?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Otta-wha? The Power Play! Otta-who? Shea "Friggin'" Weber & Ryan "Shooter" Suter!


Done catching your breath?  Your heart rate back down to a healthy level yet?  I didn't think so!!!

The Preds have broken the losing streak, the Power Play came to life, the D is big once again - the Preds defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-5 in OT.  What seemed certain at the end of the 1st (thanks to Picard and his immaculate positioning) was shot to hell in the 3rd when the Senators scored just as many as the Preds had and then some: 3-3 at the middle of the 3rd.  It then became a battle for the final goal, and it seemed as if the Preds buried that hatchet when Suter scored the Preds' 5th goal, 5-on-3 with one minute left to go in regulation.  2 seconds to go (though's online score counter ended with the Preds winning in regulation - had me cheering due to lag time between the counter and the radio broadcast) and the Senators tie it up short-handed.

How? HOW?!

Enter Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.  They showed up earlier in the game and stepped up, showing by example what all of the Preds need to keep doing with every other game this season: play the full game, play 60 minutes and more if you have to, do whatever you need to do and do it well.  My hat is off to you, #'s 20 and 6.  Thank you, kindly.

A tweet I made during the game: "Ham-who?".  I rather enjoy the way we've been playing since Hamhuis has been sidelined.  What kind of deals are we trying to make again?  Do it, #2 it!  The D has got a rug to tie the room together, and that rug is Cody Franson (a bad analogy, I know, but Franson got his first point in the last close game and his first goal in tonight's nail-biter)!  Perhaps I was wrong in assuming that "the depth of young D" we've heard about all these years was a crock at the beginning of the season when nothing was coming together (cos seriously, for all the years we've heard about that tasty Kool-Aid, we haven't seen it until recently).  All we had to do was send down and bring up and bench.  I still have a strange feeling that Laakso will become something great (similar to the feeling of great defensive loss I get when seeing our old pair of Z's in Minnesota)...but not just yet.  Perhaps we'll see him later this season or at least at the beginning next pre-season.

We've got a few rumors going on for more O, and I still think we need it.  Tonight was a game that HAD to be won, and the remainder of the season can't always be this great.  We are still in need of O and however we can get it, I hope we do.  Despite that, the team is finally stepping up and playing as a team.

*heart rate is back to normal; sighs of relief*



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Defensive Chutes & Ladders


It's been a few days since I've posted.  Heck, it's been a few days since anything has happened Nashville-way (or depending on what side of the river you're on, anything good at all).  The Preds made an admirable comeback against OV8 and his pair of goals and got that OT point, but his shoot-out moves proved once again why he's No.1 in every Fantasy League out there.

If for some reason you need an update: Arnott's injured (hurting my fantasy team to boot), Franson's coming up, rumor is Laakso's most likely down,  Ellis [see Ryan] was just inked to a 3 yr. deal, Hamhuis is possibly in D-urgatory (as well he [though more so Klein] should be) and Frolov does a Sabre Dance in our heads while we sleep at night, though I doubt Poile wants to deal with another spunky Russian in his lifetime.

Didn't get a chance to hit Graceland, so what was to be the inevitable shot of a Preds jersey in front of a killer basement bowling alley with gaudy music notes and guitar-shaped decorations all over the place will just have to wait.  I'll do my best to update more this week, though this might hinder progress - my first rebuild, 5 years in the making.  We shall see.

Preds visit Beantown Wednesday.  Colin Wilson must be one giddy goat.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blackhawks Didn't Win By More Than Five


Just a quick one tonight.  Tomorrow I'm off to Memphis for Steph's family reunion.  There, I will take pictures of Graceland and spareribs, cos that's all that city has going for it.  It's like Tennessee's version of Cleveland

Tonight we saw a different team in the first period, a team that said, "No, we're not going to allow you to score on us!".  That team came out to the ice in the 2nd and quickly we were down 2-0 as if it were earlier this week.  Thankfully, the team came back and said, "No, we're not going to allow another shutout in front of our fans!". So they were scored on again and that was the end of that.

Trotz mentioned in the post-game press that we were lacking decisiveness and I completely agree.  Though I think Laakso will grow into a fairly good defenseman, he hesistated on multiple occasions this evening - from his one-timer from the blue-line to his a-second-too-late-rear-check, he was thinking too much instead of just going with it.  Klein got himself in position a milli-second too late and his chance to score in the third was gone (his D also appearing a bit late in the second as well).  The passing wasn't really a game cos a game is when 2 people are playing - too many turn-overs, too many missed passes; sloppy is the only word for it.  What I've noticed this week is a severe lack of urgency.  When lines change, no one seems to give a damn except for Wilson and possibly Bouillon - they mosey off at their own leisurely pace or slowly glide onto the ice, apparently not paying attention to what was happening before their number came up.  That's inexcuseable.  Wilson has a grin from ear to ear and seems to be alert, pointing his veteran teammates to where they should be, because he's now in an elite league, getting paid to do what he loves to do most and what any hockey fan would die to do.  Somehow it seems that that point, that truth, is something that a handful of our fellas might be taking for granted.

How the hell do you fix a spoiled athlete? If you scratch him, he's still getting do what he already does on ice: nothing.  How do you get something to work out when you're already known as the team that always works something out...and it's not working?  Like I mentioned two posts ago, something drastic has to take place if the bring up / send down doesn't work.  A trade must occur or some jobs might need to be that order. 

Tough nuggets - we lost again, but this time it was respectable.


PS.  Lemme know what you think of Falkous the Hockey Dog.  Any ideas for future lampoons with Rizzo and Falk are appreciated.  Off to the Land of Nod...then Memphis.

Falkous the Hockey Dog

For those of you looking for something nonalcoholic to drown your sorrows in, look no further!  Falkous the Hockey Dog is here (and so is Cal O'Reilly off his brilliant stint with the Ads last night)!

The amazing psychic abilities that this pup has were brought to my attention by an anonymous hockey blogger that goes by the name of "Rizzo".  Here is the first of what I'm sure will be a handful of "prediction videos" featuring this wonder-dog. Perhaps this is just what our team needs after these past few games.

See ya tonight.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back And To The Left In Dallas

Why do I have the feeling that Statler & Waldorf are creeping over the shoulder of every Predators fan since...well...last Monday evening around half past 7?

Seriously, nothing has worked for this team, rather, the team hasn't worked for themselves and not even Trotz's Pop-O-Matic Bubble containing each and every line combo has proven helpful.  By the time we near double-digits in games played, if nothing has changed, the higher-ups may just need to change something.  I hate to say it for the sake of tradition, but I'll go out on a limb and say, "Jeff Fisher has been the Titans' only coach since they came to town, aaaaand look at them." Jeff Fisher has been the Titans' only coach since they came to town aaaaand they're utter crap.  Thing is, the first two games were rather easy on the eyes.  If the inebriated-hockey goggles have indeed come off and a handful of game-play like these past two days continues: trade, bring up, send down, bench, scratch, fire.  I don't wanna use that "f" word, but since this seems to be the way the NHL wants us all to believe nowadays, look at the Penguins!  Dan Bylsma turned what looked like wasted talent into (black and) gold.  Can we say Rumplestiltskin? We'll sacrifice Klein...or Hamhuis...or Erat...or Legwand (though he's at least half-assing it after being reprimanded).  Why we kept Klein instead of Koistinen is beyond me, and who would have thought we all might be missing our Team Z, Zanon & Zidlicky? I did and still do, but I'm a bit biased.

Who would have thought that after a summer crossing our fingers for more O, we'd now be crossing our fingers for D just as well?

Perhaps those superstitious mystics CAN use the internet!



PS.  Yeh, I wrote this before the game was even over, but the only changes in the game...another goal against our boys.  0-5 Dallas at the time of posting.

UPDATE: 0-6 Dallas. Bring on Chicago!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Playing A Turkey Of A Game For Canadian Thanksgiving

The good news is that during the month of October, signed "mystery" pink mini-sticks are being sold before each game with proceeds going to the NHL Hockey Fights Cancer charity program.  Here is my "cancer stick" signed by Joel Ward.  Coincidentally enough, I got a puck signed by "Wardo" in the mail for signing up for FSTs this year.  Perhaps I'll stumble upon a Ward t-shirt sometime this season...only time will tell.  It's questions like these that are just as exciting to the general public as the performance provided by the Nashville Predators this Canadian Thanksgiving evening against the Edmonton Oilers, ending in a dismal 6-1 finale.

What began with a bang, ended with a whimper.  A minute and half into the campaign, our rabblerouser call-up from Milwaukee, Triston Grant threw down with Zack Stortini to get momentum going.  The fight ended in a draw, thus ending momentum for the rest of the evening.  The Oilers apparently didn't appreciate the fact they had lost the previous seven times in Nashville, and their qualms, combined with our own D's severe lack of respect for Pekka, hanging him out to dry on many occasions, ended the first period 4-0 Edmonton.

Sarcastic cries for Vince Young (as well as some rather apparent booing from all sides of the arena) to step in were answered as Dan Ellis, the immediate target for the cameras once the 3rd goal went passed Rinne, stepped in to play...and have 2on1 after 2on1 take place at his feet, 6-0 Edmonton with less than a minute in the 2nd Period.  Then the unthinkable (and thankable) happened:  Arnott chipped one passed the rookie goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, 6-1!!!  The unthinkable (no, this time it's actually feasible) continued to unfold: verbal civil war in the Cellblock.

Sarcasm (eg. Titan comparisons [c'mon, we don't suck that bad ;D], "There's 1 minute left in the period" - "Thank GOD!") was met with negative responses from fans calling for positive energy (eg. "You call yourself fans? Get the hell out! Leave then!" - and when we scored the goal, "Sit down, you don't get to celebrate!"; the irony wasn't lost on this one as I recall some of these same folks verbalizing their disappointment over the years as well as calling out our own players, Zidlicky mostly, but hey - garbage performance brings the angry hypocrite out in us all).  Sick of having a handful of the louder (see also: shrill) voices around me, on top of the lack of effort shown by our boys in navy, I decided to listen to the rest of the game on the radio in my car.

Here's the skinny folks: there is a difference between self-deprication and disrespect.  If someone exclaims "Thank God!" instead of "Thanks, Paul", that's self-depricating and that style of humor is what I always thought Section 303 was about, that Daily Show-wit and clever sense of humor.  Seeing an obese fella (in 302)  turn to give the team the middle finger before exiting, that's disrespect.  If your comments are clever and warranted, there shouldn't be anything wrong with it.  Did you see our boys celebrate their one goal tonight? Not so much. You know they were thinking "Thank God!" too.

Regardless what camp you might've been in tonight, you shouldn't tell any fan they can't celebrate the team scoring a goal, especially on nights like these when the celebrations are few and far between.

'Til Dallas.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sommet's the home where the Buffalo roam...


First, as I mentioned via tweeting...the intro video, for those of you who think it's the cat's meow regardless of the fact that it's too long and kinda boring (I'm partial to the Rob Zombie energy they knocked out of the intro videos 2 years ago).  Sounds a bit like most of the thoughts on tonight's game, actually.

You know by now what has occurred at home ice - the Buffalo Sabres, lead by Lindy Ruff, a coach that shares more than one or two similarities with our Barry Trotz, came to our home to defeat us with 3 minutes left, 1 to 0.  You read that right...I don't want to surprise you in any form or fashion, a team that plays pretty much EXACTLY like we do...beat zero...after FIFTY-SEVEN MINUTES.  Didn't want that fact to pass by you in any form or fashion.

Somehow, whether it be due to the DEFENSE (Hate to say it, but Weber was on the line that was scored on) or the OFFENSE (Legrat? Ewand?), 41 shots hit Pekka Rinne and 1 (one) bounced off and back past him.  25 hit Ryan Miller, and a vulcanized "Your Mama" rarely ever hit net.  That's the gist of it; that's all she wrote.  That's the only story worth while here:  Our D let up once, our O never really showed up once.  The Tennessean pretty much wrote the story before it began: both coaches play from the same book, both teams play the same game.

Other than that, Laakso played well despite the one penalty, Grant didn't take a penalty this time, so he's still here, Bouillon was fast as fast can be (keep it up, #51!) and Santorelli was showing his senior line how to perform like we generally think they should.

I will say this though:  Buffalo has fans who come out of the woodwork this side of Detroit; and (not that this has anything to do with Buffalo or their fans) regardless of the support Rippy's has shown over the years, Jack's BBQ also has it's share of hockey fans and has better BBQ hands down!  Seriously, the service that myself and others have had at Rippy's, as well as the food, has been sub-par at best.  Jack's quality of food is immaculate (I call their BBQ "swine angel" and #22 apparently skips practice to "nom-nom" there [or so the owner informed me when he saw my Pred-gothic shirt]).  No, they're not a sports bar first, they're a BBQ establishment first...and that's what they do best.  With 5+ unique sauces to choose from, the buffet-style BBQ+sides line makes this THE place to go before games.  Drink various booze afterwards, eat Jack's goodness beforehand.  I say this after going there for the first time last week...I've been there 3 more times since....and I take my BBQ seriously (seriously, folks.  "Zanon" seriously).

The GNASH high school seniors played after the game, but sadly, I cannot tell you who won.  My roommate brought a friend with him to 107 (thank you again to the Preds folks that came to the Social Media Club Nashville meeting), and waiting around Sommet for half an hour didn't seem feasible for a fairly new Pred fan (little did we know he was a full-fledged PredWing, but hey...we're not all perfect).  If you stayed, how did it go?  How does a "senior" game work anyhow, if they're all from different high schools? I'm curious, and will most likely stay after a game when it is one high school team versus another.

Lastly, what happened to the Lords of Apocalyptic Carnage in the city league? I don't see them on any of the league lists!  That bothers me because their name alone is what brought me out to the Sportsplex on a Monday at nearly 11PM in the first place.


Friday, October 9, 2009

What Kind Of Voodoo Do You Do?

We all know that die-hard sports fans can be superstitious.  From wearing a certain color jersey for home or away games, to color-coordinating your closet for game days (or non-game days), to dying your hair the team colors or even driving to the arena taking a specific route, since blogs like these are for the die-hards as well as the curious (or inexplicably bored), I'd figure I'd share mine with you and you can comment with your own if you'd like.

It's no secret to those in Section 303 that I am a fan of Greg Zanon.  When I bought a blank replica jersey, I sent it out to IceJerseys to get a #5 professionally stitched on the back right away.  After a few weeks, I was eager to march right back up those stairs in honor of my favorite Puck Magnet, but the evening's events took a turn for the worse, and I marched down those stairs after we were handed a loss. No matter, I'd wear it for the next game, proud as ever...only to be slightly glum afterwards due to the fact we lost again.  I didn't wear it one evening...and we won.  And again.  And again.  Perhaps the bad juju was gone? I gave it one more shot, we lost, the jersey stayed in the closet during home games.  Z was sent to the Wild (sayonara #5, hello #6), so I figure maybe, just maybe, all would be well.  Wore it to the pre-season games, we won. Wore it last night, another win.  I think it's safe to say...I can enjoy my investment once again! Now...for one of those X-mas colored #6s!

Stephanie and my roommate discovered a minor (and I do mean minor) phenomenon in the form of a latex wrist bracelet.  Each time my roommate would don the bracelet while he watched the games on Center Ice, the Preds would win...for awhile.  The bracelet seemed to have lost its power for a few games, so Stephanie built a shrine to the bracelet out of popcicle sticks, mesh and paint. There, the bracelet sleeps, gaining mystical energies from the hockey heavens, awaiting to be summoned by a hairy, red-headed hockey conduit.  So far this season, 2-0 bracelet.

And then there is this man:
Marvin Elias Ecos.
I've had the pleasure of knowing this gentleman for at least 2 years now and have watched many an away game with him on Center Ice.  In all of the games I've watched with him and of all the games he told me he was watching, never once have the Preds lost; not on his watch.  You see the picture there? He's watching a game at a local chicken tender establishment.  Guess what? We won that game.
There are too many times to recall when a phonecall was made, a request to "turn the TV on!" or to "get thee to a bar, now!".

So there you have it.  Those are the SeePuckCity superstitions at this moment.  Have I cursed them all by sharing them with the blogosphere? I don't think so.  Superstitions may be mystical, but I highly doubt they're internet savvy.

'Til next time.


Hornqvist Melts Avalanche In Home Opener

The Nashville Predators sent nearly 15,000 folks home happy tonight at this season's opener at the Sommet Center.

Captain Jason Arnott tied the team up in the first period, though the remainder of the night's action stemmed from Patric Hornqvist.  Hornqvist, who scored just as many goals in tonight's game as he did in 28 games last season, is continuing his offensive growth from the pre-season [2 goals, 5 assists].

A certain someone might begin popping up on fantasy teams soon!

And that certain someone could also very well be Dan Ellis, depending on how long this possible Goalie Pong game Trotz has going on will go for.  Something tells me he's got a sack of quarters sitting next to him, but if Ellis keeps this calibre of gameplay up, it won't be ignored for long.

What also won't be ignored are the two penalties taken by recent Milwaukee call-up, Triston Grant. Two interferences in one period, one of which lead to the Colorado PP score from the point. Not the type of impression to leave on the ice.  Time will tell, most likely soon.

How will Hornqvist's homecoming upset the top line once J.P. returns? Time will tell there as well, but assuredly with favorable results.  If #27 keeps this roll going, who cares who's on first (Yes, Who is on first)? How will this affect Colin Wilson's return? Or Tootoo's return? I don't know (Third base!).

All's I know is, bring forth more Grand Ol Opry stars to sing the national anthem. Riders in the Sky are always a treat!

Pekka or Ellis? Go ahead and vote in this weeks poll to your right.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Social Media Club SMASHVILLE

Last night on the ground level of the US Bank Tower (One Nashville Place), a meeting was held.  A meeting of the brightest, or at least most social, social media minds in the city of Nashville, to come together to discuss the use of social media tools within the realm of Nashville Predators hockey - with a complimentary cheese plate as an added bonus.

Executive VP of Marketing of the Preds, Derek Perez was there, alongside some familiar names in the Preds blogging community: Codey Holland ( 303:30), Paul Nicholson (ReTweetBot), Dirk Hoag (OnTheForecheck), and I did see a few faces I recognize from various blogs as well (PredsOnTheGlass and WhatThePuck were representin' as well).

We discussed the use of Twitter, FaceBook, blogging, web-forums and, as strange as this would've sounded five years ago, NOT MySpace, in terms of bringing the local hockey community together and spreading the "gospel" of the Preds, as well as bringing the most interesting stories to light, taking responsibility as a fan blogger when obtaining those heavenly items we'd all like [aka. "credentials"], and the latest and greatest in marketing hockey to average joes in a non-tradtional market.

A few comments were made regarding my Nashville Gothic t-shirt I made for a handful of musically like-minded season-ticket-holding individuals, but Derek enjoyed the fact that I created grass-roots merch and wanted to see more fans doing it themselves.  More shirts, more signs, more posters, more of that familiar fang'd passion to make the non-converted sports fans to stop, collaborate and listen [Ice is back with a...wait...]. And it was in agreement that the Smashville signs we've been seeing on all the light posts around Demonbreun couldn't have come at a more opportune time.

All in all, the night was a success.  The upcoming BarCamp Nashville was mentioned, as it's the biggest ongoing annual social media event in Nashville, and if this evening was anything similar to what BarCamp has to offer, it is going to be intriguing to say the least.  I'm personally looking forward to seeing some of you familiar faces there!

That being said...ONWARD TO THE HOME OPENER!!!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Gotta Pay The Toll Troll To Get In

So last week I was offered a culinary position at a local private university and was told that the background check could take anywhere from 3-10 days to clear.  My girlfriend, Stephanie, was also offered a job last week that would begin Monday, so I figured we had one more weekend to get a little traveling in and what better way to do that than a road trip to Chicago [see Rosemont] to catch the Milwaukee Admirals' first game of the AHL season against the Chicago Wolves [and yes, we already saw a precursor to this game during the first Preds pre-season game against Atlanta, but still].

Google Maps will always give you the quickest route it seems, and there were 3 choices to get to Chicago.  We opted for the I-65N straight shot, which connects you through the Skyline of the Toll Troll.  First, $0.50...then $1.25...then $3.00 [curious enough, it was seventy-five cents less to leave the city] - a complimentary hotdog [or Cubs ticket, whichever is worth less] is the least they could do. If you took away road construction and 5 o'clock work traffic, the ETA would've been spot on [roughly 7 hours and 45 minutes]. It took us 9 and a half hours. Thankfully, the hotel was across the Allstate Arena parking lot.

We got to the hotel just in time to unload, suit up and head immediately back out the door.  The ticket booth was in a separate building, which was actually rather convenient because once inside the main entrance the inner-halls of the arena are reminiscent to those of a high school during lunch hour.  We got to our seats in section 110, Row A, a mere four rows behind the Away bench, four rows behind the team we came to see, and just in time for the floor show.

Two wooden cut-outs, painted black, were wheeled out onto the ice, leaving us wondering what it could possibly be.  Another portion of wooden cut-outs were wheeled to the entrance of the rink that created a 3D effect of a wolf head. "OK, kinda neat. What? Do the eyes light up?"  Two small flames appear in the shadows of the first two sections of cut-outs. [CUE MUSIC]

And then...

Why do we, as NHL ticketholders, NOT get pyrotechnics?!  Don't you say Great White - this arena has a wooden roof! Those fireworks blew up fifteen feet below the roof - and five feet out below the jumbotron!!! The AHL gets fire that you can feel on your face and we get dudes in khakis and polo-t's throwing XL white t-shirts that occassionally make it over the glass. This is how it's done, gentlemen!

Short Shifts was twittering away the results of the game before I could even get my phone turned on, so my attempt at "tweeting" the action [while keeping up with the Preds results on Twitter] came off a bit stifled.  And as most of you know by now, the Wolves had the 1st period and the Ads pretty much controlled the rest with a 3-2 Chicago Opening-Night Spoiler ["Take that, obese frat guy sitting next to the Ads glass, insulting them the whole time! Your team lost! Go cry in your cookies!"]. Steph and I hung around to see the 3 stars of the game as well as the rest of the Admirals fans there [the Chicago fans were already leaving with two minutes to go], getting nods for our Preds gear.

Chatted about the Staples Center and told a few fans about affordable hotels near downtown since a handful of them wanted to make the trip to Nashville in the Spring.  Shortly after, we were told to clear the arena, which was fine with us - there was a Target that sold whiskey next to the arena and an IHOP next to that. Talk about convenient!

And that was that - a quick to and fro trip to catch our farm team friends from the Great Brewing City in the Windy City. And of course, another four bucks and some change to get back home.


Catching Up - An Introduction of Sorts


Welcome to See Puck City's first post.

As many first blog posts go, this one will follow: the history behind this blog's existance and a little history about the blogger.  I was skimming the sides of another hockey blogger's site and something caught my eye.  She called for her readers, both Canadian and American, to send her the reasons why they love hockey.  I immediately opened up my email and spilled my story - my lack of interest in most sports in general, a brief introduction as only the Super Nintendo can provide, and a brilliant excuse for a birthday present.

I do hope to bring yet another take on the sport to the blogosphere, another personality for you to loath or enjoy (or be apathetic towards), another Nashville Predators fan reaching out to the public, whether it be down Broadway or up York Blvd., to let people know that we in the South love the sport despite not being born with it, that we in the South are hockey fanatics capable of decibles just as loud (if not moreso in tune) as those up North, and that we in the South can also have fun with something we do take so seriously.

That is the mission statement.  Now, as promised, where this blogger is coming from:

A little background: 27, male, Nashville native.  I didn't grow up in a sports-inclined environment; I grew up in a song-writing environment.  That's not to say I never played sports growing up.  I tried baseball when I was 8 and basketball when I was 11, but never got past that first year of truly caring about immersing myself in the sport.  I had purchased NHL's Stanley Cup Super Nintendo game that same year [1993] and grew to recognize the logos and names that were foreign to me before then, but the gameplay got old and, as most upcoming teenagers do with videogames, I moved on.  I wanted to write and play music, so that's what I did in my spare time. Went to a few high school football games on Friday nights because there was nothing else to do in the Southern suburbs of Nashville, but that was the extent of my "sporting" childhood.  I knew of major sporting leagues and most team names, I knew Nashville had a minor league hockey team called the Knights, I knew we were getting an NHL team, but it was just another name for me to add to the mental roster.

The college years [2000-2005] brought my attention to the local team, the Nashville Predators, because many of my friends (and friends of  friends) were in on it from the get-go; hockey was truly the one great sport to be experienced.  Half of the group make-up were transplants from the North, half just loved sports in general - football nuts at first (as the South goes), but paid full attention when the Preds came to town.  I would hear about how great the game was and read about how good (or in most cases, "resilient") the team play was in the City Paper.  I was paying attention, but still wasn't sold.

Until one day...

A friend of mine had a pair of Preds tickets for a game in March '06.  My birthday is on the 12th, so she invited me to check out a live Preds game in section 302 and called it her birthday gift to me.  Little did I know how life-changing her "gift" would be.  The tickets were in the nose-bleeds of the (then) Gaylord Entertainment Center.  This being my first major pro-sporting event outside of AA baseball games, I felt a dizzying effect as I walked up the steps of 302, looking back down at the ice. We got drinks and sat down as the lights went dim and the opening sequence on the scoreboard began. Rob Zombie screamed through the arena as images of the 2005-2006 Nashville Predators team flashed before my eyes in a way only Oliver Stone could appreciate. Then another short animation of a sabretooth tiger destroying his Central Division foes downtown. The lights came back up and the team was introduced by the booming voice of resident announcer Paul McCann. I vaguely knew what was going on on the ice thanks to my previous video game experience, but the on-ice action, the fights, the yelling that came from the neighboring section (The "Cellblock", Section 303), all of that created an energy that made me grin from ear to ear and had me trying to decipher what the neighboring fans were saying, so I could yell it out with them. The events on ice, the teamwork on ice, created a camaraderie felt within the arena.  I never understood the feeling that high school and college alumni get for their old home teams until I witnessed my first hockey game. The next day I looked into getting full season tickets and three months later, I did just that.  Shortly after, the hockey fans of Nashville came together to save the team and I was more than honored to be a part of the movement to keep the team, to keep the sport in Nashville.

Since that one game, I've been a full season ticket holder in Section 303, have converted many non-hockey friends into hockey fans (thanks to Center Ice and the EA games on a 50" plasma), created fliers and graphics for fans to print out and spread the word to increase sales, began following the city league teams and high school teams (the hockey club at my old high school began a couple of years after I graduated, but the sport has caught on so well that most Middle TN schools participate in the Middle TN high school ice hockey league) and am in the process of creating a new website/blog dedicated to the Predators, the teams affiliated with the Predators and Nashville hockey fans in general.

The speed, the skill, the action, the teamwork, the solidarity...that's what hockey is to me, and that's what keeps me going.


The Allstate Arena trip blog and pictures are in the works for later this evening.

I'll be attending a Social Media Club Nashville meeting later this evening to learn more about building a stronger online community of local hockey fans - I'll be wearing my custom-made black Nashville Gothic Pred-inspired  t-shirt if you'd like to say "hi". There are a handful of season ticket holders in the local goth/punk/industrial community!