Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sidnerella's Golden Necklace / Team USA Gets Silver; Comes Up Short in OT 3-2


Congrats to Team Canada winning the Gold in the hockey tournaments on their home soil and in front of the world. 

Congrats to Team USA for being the underdogs in the beginning and becoming the king of the hill by the end of these 2010 Olympics - I do believe these past handful of games will do more for the game of hockey in the US than this whole 2009-2010 NHL season, and that is precisely why Gary Bettman should shut his yap when it comes to complaining about the 2014 games.  It's times like these past few weeks that breed new fans, Gare-Bear - stop fooling yourself.

The only thing that I am unhappy about in today's game of games, isn't exactly about the outcome, but about who fired the shot.  I would've been fine with Niedermayer, Iginla, Weber (especially Weber - go Preds!), hell - even if Luogno scored, I would've been fine.  But no.  It had to be the game's most recent "Golden Child" - Sidney Crosby.  I find it a bit convenient and rather cliche, in one of those "early 90's Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan is the end all and be all" moments - the marque name in the NHL scores in OT for Team Canada for the Gold.  Recall the first Winter Classic? The OT shootout against...well what do ya know...Ryan Miller and the Sabres.  And the fact that the first game back from the break is the Penguins vs. the Sabres.  But what happened has happened.  Crosby will most likely get a few streets named after him in Nova Scotia or something after this.  We in the US will be hearing all about Crosby for another four years easy, and lord only knows how this will boost the arrogance of the typical Canadian hockey fan/blogger/reporter/Don Cherry.   To that, I'll just nod, smile and say, "See you in give me a Tim Horton's doughnut."

I was unable to join Section 303's blast at Bleachers, but SPC Steph and SPC Stache were able to make the trip, and took the all-too familiar 303 sign that we made in NYC with them.  Apparently 100+ RSVP'd and judging by a few pictures and stories from Steph, that seemed about right.  Fan-made events like this one are what successful hockey markets are made of, so you know damn well we're doing something right!  Myself - I was at work - preparing for dinner on campus - but I was able to take my break in the middle of the 3rd.  With two minutes left in the 3rd, I noticed a handful of students began flocking around the TV.  Girls talking with one another, "You like hockey?" "Um - yeah - I love hockey!" and "OhmiGawd, I wish I knew how to play hockey," among many other similar quotes had me grinning.  The college kids that grew up with the Preds are obviously coming around.  There were at least 20-odd students around the TV in the last thirty seconds when Parise scored the goal that took it to OT - an Asian-Canadian sitting next to me cursed loudly and chuckled.  It's as if he knew how OT was going to unfold all along. Curse'd goose-faced Sid the Skid.

Now that the gold, silver and bronze railroad-run-over coins have been given out, it's time to get back to the game.  Trade-deadline is coming up. Fantasy teams will be up and running in two days. I can't wait! Pekka got his 2 year extension - hopefully he'll live up to it for the rest of the season and then some.  I wonder what will become of our Danny Ellis.  I'd like to keep him, cos the kids in Milwaukee aren't ready to step up yet - Deks is finally coming into his own in the AHL and Pickard needs another year or so there as well before being considered as an NHL back-up.   These Olympic games have certainly had me missing the hell out of Vokoun.  You too?  Thought as much.

Perhaps a goalie with a significant mustache?



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hockey Is No Joke - It's A Packed-Out Comedy Show


Did you have an extra $15 lying around a week or so ago when word got out of some strange VH1 Storytellers type of night at Zanies was featuring our very own Terry Crisp?  Did you have an extra $5 on you yesterday when they announced it was then only $5 to get in on the action to see Crispy, Jim McKenzie, Stu Grimson, Wade Belak and Ralphie May? Well...plenty of us did, and honestly, I'd say it was a good $20 worth if not more for a hockey game length's amount of hilarious hockey stories and jokes.

Knowing how Zanies works, we (myself, SPC Steph and SPC Stache) got there fifteen minutes before the doors opened - and there was already a small line.  By 6:30, 30+ people snagged the best seats in the house.  By 7:00, 75+ people had been seated.

By the time the guests came out, Team Canada had scored twice (Weber firing one through the net) and Team Germany once (Goc'ya! Go Preds!).  Jim McKenzie, Stu Grimson and Wade Belak - all Predator players at one point in their careers, all enforcers in their own rite, sat on stools right in front of us and shared stories with Terry and newly appointed Preds hockey fan / Southern comic cruise ship Ralphie May while watching various clips from their wildest times on the ice and answering questions that came from the audience.
Near the 3rd period, er...latter portion of the evening, the group was joined by none other than Pete Weber to bring even more fun to the event [best moment: Pete using his announcer voice after Ralphie May mentioned being quite high at the game and noticing himself on the megatron - "And Ralphie May is here, stoned as balls." Ralphie responded by hoping they didn't let out the flying tiger and mimicked what a "balls-stoned" Ralphie would do...if being attacked by a giant flying smilodon].  Also, at the end of the night, Pete mentioned that if we enjoyed the evening, let Zanies know through their website and they'll be able to host more events like tonight.  With the money going to the Nashville Predators Foundation, there is nothing to lose in shooting the folks at Zanies an email! 

The place ended up being packed-out! If anything has impressed me during this Olympic break, it's the events the Preds organization has been a part of putting together for the fans and the fans for even going so far as organizing a few of their own (see the Gold Medal game NHL Tweet-Up at Bleachers as a prime example).  Great job everyone - it's almost as if we're not even on a break! 


Road To The Stanley Cup Is Less Bumpy With Bridgestone Tires


Music City Center is totally messing with the chances of parking anywhere downtown, but thankfully I had enough crumb and soda-covered change in my car to snag a metered space right next to 501 Broadway for this morning's press conference.

I'm sure all of you were glued to your phones and computers when I tweeted "As of Mar 3rd 501 Broadway will become the Bridgestone Arena", not more than 30 seconds after Pete Weber announced it to the people of the press.  And shortly after, they corrected themselves with it being March 2nd, in time for the Edmonton Oilers game. 

What? You weren't??  You didn't see my awful twitpic of a picture I took with my iPhone of a picture I took with my camera of a picture on a tv screen? You waited twenty minutes for the official statement and clear graphics? C'mon! And I did my best to act "press-like"!  Actually...

I don't consider myself "press" (cos I'm not), and I somehow ended up there in my normal attire (black coat w/ Preds gear underneath - Goc shirt to be more specific, black pants, and crazy tall black boots - which apparently earned me the nickname "Boots" in the ProShop - though this "Boots" actually has some money in his bank account [wicked burn on Del Baggio]) while everyone else was a suit of some sort ('cept JR Lind in his trademarked bow-tie and jeans).  I doubt this was for the public, but hey - public was allowed in.  One lady decked in Preds gear (obviously un-Press)  even had the courage to ask a question that had already been answered. Psh - blew her cover (not that my spiky hair and giant boots did me any justice)!

My effort to hide in the back row was diminished when a fella sat next to me before the conference began.  This guy ended up pelting the speakers with negative nancy questions regarding the deal and how the Preds organization hopes to have signage up by March 2nd, despite not having a scheduled meeting with the Metro Sports Authority until the following week.  I smell Titanssean, but hey, I could be wrong.  Other than the "gotcha" questions (not "Goc'ya!", as I hope to see tonight against Team Canada), the conference went over rather well.  The Bridgestone speakers were all very positive and enthusiastic about the deal.  The graphics quickly ended up on the Nashville Post, making my 4th generation twitpic obsolete within the hour and I believe I saw free muffins as I walked across to Wild Bill's (delicious chicory coffee).  Talked with Derek Perez for a moment about my Prudential Center experience (see previous posts drenched in nothing but compliments) and he mentioned they're planning on representing the GNASH league high schools next season.  I stressed that presenting the proof of the growing hockey community to the public is the best way to A.) show appreciation for the growth and B.) show people coming into the arena for the first time that it exists and is here to stay.  Also, that Otter's on Demonbreun should be the unofficial hangout for Preds fans before games (as some of you at PredFans' Twitter have wondered).

You going to Zanies tonight? Terry Crisp and friends will be there to tell stories that I'm sure he began to tell on telecasts before Pete Weber elbowed him into blurting out "bubba" instead.  Terry Crisp will be accompanied by none other than Ralphie May, which is the "best" pairing I've seen since I saw this year's Bonnaroo announcement of Jay-Z and GWAR.  I'll be will SPC Steph...and SPC Stache.  The whole SeePuckCity crowd will be at Zanies tonight - so be sure to come out and support the Nashville Predators Foundation, Zanies (the only damn comedy club we've got!) and say "Hi!" to the SPC crowd (note: I'm the one with spiky hair, sideburns and tall boots if you haven't noticed by now).

Bloggers: what's better? Blogger/Blogspot or Wordpress? I'm at a loss.  Trying to type the picture-heavy blogs out is a pain in the butt here at Blogger.  I originally attempted SPC at Wordpress years ago, but with no knowledge of any code of any sort, I quickly gave up.  Last year, however, I noticed how Section303 , AJ and PsychoPuckBunnyDestroyer have skillfully used Wordpress to their favor.  It's a possibility I'm leaning towards, though, again, no code know-how no way, no how.

Team Germany is totally going to beat Team Canada tonight (buy me a round if I'm right, tonight, kay?).  And we're gonna sign both Rinne AND Ellis next season, only Ellis will be a forward and we'll trade Hamhuis to Florida for Vokie and a 1st-round cos we just love our goalies. Honestly, I wouldn't mind that if it were true. But it isn't. 


Sunday, February 21, 2010

USA! USA! USA (& Shea)!


Above was the chant that Gnash had the whole room at O'Charley's in Franklin yelling out prior to the beginning of the 2nd period of the epic match up between Team USA and Team Canada, not a medal game, but still one of great importance.  It was a chance for America to wake up out of their Ice Dancing-induced comas and see hockey for what it is, and that their own countrymen were the best when playing against the best.  With the World Juniors peering in from a few months ago, if Team USA gets the gold...this will be the year America can stand side-by-side with Canada in calling themselves a hockey nation.  Well...that case would be made better if games like tonight's were actually on NBC and not one of its sister cable stations, but nonetheless - it's a step in the direction all American hockey fans, especially we die-hards in the small markets, are hoping to see.

Rafalski x2, Langenbrunner, Drury and Kesler made the offensive case for USA.  Heatley, Staal and Crosby for Canada.  Though I love Brodeur, this was not an "on" night for him.  The exact opposite could be said for Ryan Miller, who stole the show, rewrote it, and turned it into an epic trilogy full of dazzling special effects - stopping 42 (the answer to the universe) of 45 shots.  Insert "Yo momma" joke here at the Team Canada's expense.

[Below: The Viewing Room]


Steph, our roommate Jamie and myself started the day off by checking out The Athletic Club.  We read a few tweets in regards to a small group of folks being there to watch the Russia/Czech game and figured that might be the place to be.  Great television set-up aside, we were wrong.  One lone woman was there when we arrived at the end of the 2nd period.  The scent of chlorine from the Embassy Suites pool and the lobby carpet that stretched into the whole bar just made the atmosphere a bit off-putting.  We quickly made our way to where we'd settle down for the rest of the evening: O'Charley's, home to many Predators viewing parties.  We just so happened to get there and hour and a half before festivities began. 

Half of the employees didn't know about the event, or the game for that matter, and the bar had most of its TVs on a NASCAR race (1 muted TV on the Olympics, 1 on women's basketball).  Thankfully, the staff was nice enough to change the loudest TV to the hockey game, which resulted in a handful of younger heads turning (servers and their friends on break) to enjoy the game with us.  It's a shame that Russia won (so hoping the Czech team to do well), especially after the collapse against Slovakia, but as they say in Nashville when things take a turn for the worse: "Radulov happens". 

At 5:07, we noticed a few folks snagging the first booth in the reserved room, so I raced in to get the next best booth in the house.  The gates were open, the people began to make their way in.  A giant 107.5 the River truck pulled up (cos when I think of hockey, I think of 107.5 the River) and began setting up a PA system, GNASH and two EquipLinq ("Wit a Que!") dancers showed up, and two mouths with 107.5 customized 3rd jerseys began making sounds with themselves. 
[Above: GNASH checks to see if something is wrong with this woman.]

By the time the puck dropped at 6:40, most everyone in the Twitter verse had beached themselves for the next few hours to watch what would end up being a glorious game - including AJ from Pull My (Fang) Finger [Right: J.K.& A.J.]. 
As usual, Preds trivia took place (Steph and A.J. won gift cards! I should've won a grab bag of Weber-signed goodies, but I didn't raise my hand ;D), Channel 2 popped in with a camera (I tried to make a 3-0-3 sign when the lens was in my direction, but who knows if they'll use any of that), great drink specials were had, and amazing hockey took place for millions of viewers.  A good night, indeed!

A few other notes:

Your thoughts on the rumors? Damn Hamhuis to the Bruins? Our old pal Vokie to the dreaded Blackhawks? I think it'd be better for both of them professionally, and I'd love to see Vokoun more often...just not in that sweater...and not against us.  Maybe as the new spokesperson for Vanderbilt Medical?

Lastly, I was searching all over the web for a Team Germany jersey - sold out, the Team Germany site only has some strange sponsor-covered version of the jersey available for a lot more, so I turned to my online heroine, eBay.  Found an auction late one night for an "Official 2010 Winter Olympics Team Germany" jersey for a bit cheaper than IceJerseys ($99 + shipping with MakeAnOffer) from the seller "thejerseyhq".  I did end up getting the jersey advertised, but something was wrong - the sleeves were different and nothing like what I remembered seeing on IceJerseys.  It was an official Nike Team Germany jersey...only from 2008! I emailed them to tell them of their folly of advertising it as 2010 and they replied of the 60+ sold, I was the only one to make such an accusation and that the other ones I had seen were mere replicas and what I held in my hand was "an authentic hockey jersey for 2010"...regardless of the fact the Nike tag said "RepJer" and was dated 2008 and was a Large, not a Size 52.  I sent them those tidbits of info, a link to (which I should've gone to first)'s actual Official 2010 jersey for sale, aaaaaand they still wouldn't acknowledge facts.  They said it was a "special edition jersey from 2010" and I'll have to pay a restock fee in order to get a refund.  Long story short - DO NOT buy anything "thejerseyhq" on eBay and always look at every picture closely before you buy something online...and don't do it late at night...after a few drinks.

My work schedule has shifted again due to drastic employee changes, so I might not get to join everyone next Sunday for the Gold Medal game at Bleachers. Hopefully I can make it out, but only time will tell.  At the moment, I doubt it.  Perhaps Steph and Jamie can make it instead.  Viewing parties like tonight are what being a hockey fan is all about!


[Below: SPC Steph & GNASH]

Monday, February 15, 2010

303 NYC


What a SO win the other day, eh?  Sadly, my sister didn't have Center Ice at her apartment while Steph and I packed out bags to head back to Nashville...and The Blind Pig (the great bar I tweeted about during the Islanders game) had a Rangers game on half of the TVs and the Olympics on the dice getting it changed over to the game.  All I could do was refresh my Twitter app (EchoFon currently) and marvel at how well Cal O'Reilly is playing his game these past four games.

At the airport, I ran into a handful of Nashvillians that flew up to be a part of this New England trip and almost felt like I was in a club box...until I realized Sommet Center doesn't have the delicious smell of Auntie Anne's Pretzels...which is something they should look into: real food.

The City of New York can be a great place, depending on where you are.  I don't feel at all unsafe in Manhattan - it's been vastly cleaned up since the 90's and, though I haven't been past the 100+blocks, the first 99 are fine by me.  Brooklyn...they're working on it.  Time, money and only having a day or so to hang out with my sister (who lives there), kept us from hitting up the Islanders game in the historic Nassau Coliseum, an arena that "Pred Ed" likens to Municipal Auditorium.  No wonder they're going through hell trying to build a new one (I was invited to an event at Municipal a few years ago - not having been since 1996, and man - they need to do something to that place).

[Photo on right: Steph with "303NYC" in MSG].

Madison Square Gardens, or MSG for short, is a classic arena to be sure, but it is incredibly over-rated with a lay-out that would make Jackson Pollock's eyes cross.  After traveling up 4 sets of escalators and up one elevator and walking through a few corridors since our tower (C of A,B,C,D) was blocked off, we ended up being at the equivalent of the 200 level back home.  If that didn't knock our understanding of physics for a loop, the railing you see in the picture there blocks the view of anyone sitting who isn't taller than 6'3" (basing this on the fact that I'm 5'11" and had to peak my head up a handful of inches to see the ice entirely).  This was my 2nd time to MSG, Steph's 1st, and we both agreed: No sir, we don't like it.

Note that the "303NYC" sign could only work if we were in NYC.  We knew we'd have to crop it a bit once we got to the Garden State (such an overrated movie) - if we didn't get tossed out for wearing Preds gear to a Devils game, we'd definitely get tossed out for associating Newark with NYC!  With that in mind, we walked around for a bit and took a few pictures.  We were already in the lower half of what's considered "Midtown", so we figured we'd start from the bottom and work our way to the top.  [Pictured left: J.K. holding "303NYC" in front of the famed Hook&Ladder firehouse used in the movie Ghostbusters].

Making our way back up town, we hit up the NHL Store (Powered by Reebok [which is why no Olympic jerseys where to be found]).  The last time I had been to the NHL store was in 2007.  At that time, they had one home Preds jersey and nothing more.  Thankfully, this time they made up for it.  Original Six teams aside, the Preds merch was nearly equal to any of the other 23 teams. Preds merch adorned the mannequins in the window, along with one mannequin featuring a Devils shirt (since we were playing them the next day) - more Preds featured in NY than Devils - the enemy of my enemy is a friend indeed! [Right: J.K. with "303NYC" at the NHL Store]

[Left: Steph with newly cropped "303" sign in front of The Prudential Center; Below: Steph holding "303" with Joel Ward...kinda.]

The next day had us shifting all around NY and NJ on the PATH train, a much cleaner, but less obvious subway/train to use vs. the MTA (color coded maps, but no train is color coded - they use Track numbers and Abbreviations not made clear on said color coded maps; strange to a newcomer).  Once we had that down, we made our way through the busy Newark-Penn Station and saw The Prudential Center a few blocks in the distance.  As stated in the last post, this arena is nothing short of beautiful inside and out.  This is exactly what Sommet should strive to be: more local displays (high school hockey teams along the lobby hallways), more locally designed merch, special to the pro-shop, unavailable anywhere else, and most of all...better food.

[Left: The Lil Goalie That Could've...But That's Not Part Of Rotation. Note to Trotz: this man provided us with the WINS.]

Thanks to Twitter, we got word that the "303" sign was featured on TV during the 1st intermission, so for the whole 3rd period, we held up the sign in the face of the Devils' onslaught against us.  If you have screenshots of the "303" (one section to the right of our bench on TV), lemme know at seepuckcity(at)gmail(dot)com.

Though the game ended up falling apart, that didn't deter us from having fun. NYC is full of unique stores, amazing restaurants (best falafel: Mamoun's; their hot sauce will kill the weak with flavor!), one helluva park and a never-ending cast of colorful characters.  It's a place we both could see ourselves moving to in the next year or so if the circumstances are right.  My one gripe...Manhattan isn't really a hockeytown.  Preds fans top them easy - too fair weather for my taste.  And MSG? It really is bad for you. I'm sure they'd rather watch Ice Dancing on NBC too!

'Til then!



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Devils Solid As The Rock; Preds Implode In The 3rd - Lose 5-2.


Just got back off of the PATH train to Manhattan, sent my iPhone pics to my comp for the blog (the better camera pics from the whole trip will be uploaded Sunday night or Monday afternoon - including a handful of 303 pics from around NYC as well as tonight's game at The Rock), and settling down with a tiny bag of Utz.

The Prudential Center is a rather amazing arena to say the least.  It's two blocks from the Newark-Penn Station, making it oh-so-accessible, and bright and spacious and rather inviting inside.  Every NJ high school hockey team seemed to be represented by their jerseys on the wall of the main lobby, Thomas Edison is currently represented along the walls as Jersey's "first celebrity", so there's good ol' local history being celebrated in the main lobby as well, and lastly...the food!!! Premium Nathan's hot dogs, fries, name-brand burgers, giant super-pretzels (where did those go?? I miss them so!), etc., adorn the eateries.  I got a large soda in a souvenir cup for $5.75 and of everything I just mentioned, that was the only thing over $5.  That's what I'd like to see in Sommet - more catering to the local community that supports it: the local breweries (Yazoo, Blackstone), local or even regional snack brands (Brim's, Bartlett, TN or Golden Flake, Birmingham, AL) in the eateries, high school jerseys from the GNASH league and hockey jerseys from MTSU and UT and whatever other colleges are attempting to finally include the sport into their program, have more information available regarding local city-league ice and in-line hockey teams, and perhaps even get local artists who happen to be hockey fans to help marketing create new fan-made campaigns.  Just sayin' - Prudential gives even award-winning arenas like our barn stiff competition (and blows Madison Sqaure Gardens to bits out-right) - we got free Devils hats to boot.  Funny thing is, the crowd was just as empty as MSG on a Wednesday night - looked 2/3rds full at best.

Thanks to StubHub, I was able to score seats that were maybe $20 more than what I had to pay for nosebleeds at MSG through TicketExchange...and ended up on the 2nd row from the ice.  Thank you, StubHub (an eBay company - no, they don't pay me to say that, I've just been an eBayer for ten years and they're great)!  The game began and continued not unlike the one in Manhattan:  our first two goals came from Cal O'Reilly and Jordan Tootoo while our goals against came from defensive breakdowns.  The first, strangely enough, came from our two North American Olympians, Weber and Suter.  Suter didn't stay with his man and Pekka came out just a bit too far.  The 2nd, I can't remember completely - I was too busy answering texts about folks catching SPC's very own Stephanie holding up the 303 sign we made for the trip on TV at the 1st intermission.  Once again, we see our boys tied with the opposition with the same score at the top of the 3rd - this time with the opposition with more SOG. Then Kovalchuk shot one from the high slow to begin the "3rd Period Implosion" with his first goal as a New Jersey Devil (which resulted in many of those free hats being tossed onto the ice).  Bad and/or questionable penalties taken (Stephane Auger was on the ice, so that's a given these days), and the usual... the D hanging Pekka out to dry.  

With Dan Ellis posting cryptic humor on Twitter regarding what could happen before today's pseudo-trade-deadline roster freeze that happened earlier today, and the way the team seems to play better in front of one goalie and not the other, it's difficult to pin-point what went wrong and where to actually point blame.  New Jersey is a defensive-minded team, much like the Preds, but it's a team that comes to give its all with each and every game, and to make sure they protect the brother in goal, whoever that may be, but when you have a stand-up class act such as this in net [see picture to the left] would make your mother curse your existence if you left him down.  How can we resolve our goalie situation once and for all - or at least give our Protectors of the Twine 60 minutes of confidence instead of...well...anything less?  This is something I hope Poile and his Shadow Cabinet will discuss during the Olympics break, perhaps talking some of those Canadian olympians to try out some sweet tea and gravy one weekend off, to realize that Nashville is a great place to raise kids or hook-up with country-pop starlets: something for every type of NHL player!

Lastly, the Devils fans were quite loyal, but once again, Preds fans proved to be some of the most die-hard.  I ran into Pred Ed, a few locals (Shaun/Shawn/Sean - whose father confessed that he was the only Predator fan from New Jersey, though two others passed by when he was telling us this...and we all got a picture together - which will be up next week), and a few other familiar faces from 501 Broadway whose names I don't personally know, but whose faces I could pick out in a line-up.  Even though we had a loss, we all had a great time at The Rock and we held up our 303 sign in the face of adversity.  If anyone got screen caps of the game and caught us holding up the sign around our goal area, send us a screenshot to seepuckcity(at)gmail(dot)com to be included in our SPC New York Takeover post. 

The main Devil's Den (their pro-shop that they have a handful of around the arena) had some rather amazing items to purchase, and what with my odd feeling of familiarity and even a bit of comradery due to the system we play and the whole possibility that they were close to becoming the Nashville Devils way back when, I picked up a shirt that I'm sure isn't available outside of the arena, a shirt that puts Rangers' fans in their place, a shirt with a style of humor likened to that of those in Section 303...enjoy the following: 

Let's hope these leaks are stopped up come Pittsburgh.  I'll most likely be watching the game once again at The Blind Pig before heading back home, to Hockeytown South, to Nashville.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Tale Of Two Islands: Preds 1-0-1 in New York


So ends Day 3 of the SeePuckCity Manhattan Getaway 2010 - perhaps this might begin an annual trip? I guess it depends on the Preds schedule.

We seemed to have brought the snow with us though - it began in Nashville the day we left and began here in the Big Apple in the wee hours of this morning, but this isn't about snow days.  It's about the Nashville Predators and how they act and react against easy and/or Eastern conference teams, and with two games after two nights, the team has shown me its Jekyll & Hyde in a span of 24 hours.

The Islanders game wasn't viewed live - I knew we'd be able to make 2 of these 3 games this week and when it came to Islanders or Devils, what with their new star forward, I had to pick the Devils.  Also, it's the Islanders, an easy win, right?  [insert eye-rolling here]

The Islanders, losing more than their share in a row (7), came out strong, making it an even game before notching one first.  The Preds responded as they normally do, scoring 2 within a minute and a half, and as they normally do, they quit playing with fire once ahead.  Mirroring the San Jose game, the Islanders caught back up, we'd score a goal to stay ahead...then make the worst move possible in the last minute or allow the opposing team to tie the game aaaaand win.  Note, we did take it to OT unlike against San Jose...but again, this is the Islanders!!!  I've said it before and I'll say it again: we play crap against crap teams, which is funny because fans of the top teams think we're a crap team, yet we tend to play very well against them.  Perhaps the coaches should print out bogus standings to hand out to the team?  Regardless, Erat must have felt like a tool after that game (and by tool, I mean Hamhuis) - boarding once again in the last few moments to allow a 6-on-4.  *le sigh*  You all know how it happened...on to better things.

Tonight was a different story.  They went from Long Island to Manhattan, from dry to covered in snow and slush - perhaps the snow brought the game with them? MSG had little to offer, sparse crowd (2/3rds full at best), drunk crowd ("Wettttt's goooo Raaanggguuuurzz!" Repeat x 30), and a crowd that loved to boo their own team if they didn't get the puck out of the zone.  The Preds came out and didn't really let up.  The goals came from Tootoo (though we, and many others, swore it was Klein) and Colin Wilson (always great to see a Bostonian give it to these New Yorkies) and the only gripe I had with this game, Capt'n Arnott seemed slow as all get out and once again, the discipline seemed to disappear when NYR had a 5-on-3 that earned their only goal of the night.  As the least penalized team in the league, I've been having a difficult time believing it as of late.  After Wilson's goal, however, we played that disciplined game and had very good chances of our own - the Rangers were hanging Lundqvist out to dry tonight and it obviously showed (especially based on what I heard from Rangers' "fans").  If they take what they did tonight and add just a bit more discipline (I know, I'm overusing the word like a hockey coach would), we have a good chance against New Jersey.  The Flyers did beat them tonight, however, so they will be pissed off and looking for an easy win (and that's where our boys step in and show them that the team from Nashville should never be considered a crap team).  As for Nashville fans, there were a handful of Preds jerseys in the crowd (at least 2 white aways, one personalized for our top player #27; 3 new thirds; 2 homes and me wearing the old "musthird" jersey)  - ran into a pair that sit in 302 and they informed me there were plenty of others that came up to catch these games to boot.  I also ran into the friendliest New Yorker / Ranger fan ever - gave us directions to MSG while we were trying to figure it out under Penn Station.  Apparently she loves country music, loves hockey, loves when we play the Rangers and wants to move to Nashville cos it feels like home to her, and she's from Brooklyn!  It was a breath of fresh air in this cold, stale and often impolite New York climate.

Two more games left on this New England tour: New Jersey and Pittsburgh.  Not the easiest teams to beat, but they've been showing weaknesses of their own as of late.  Let's try to exploit them before they can exploit ours!

Go Preds!

These photos were from my phone - left my camera cord back in Nashville.  There will be some sight-seeing 303 pics up next week!!! Just you wait!!! Here's a hint: Who you gonna call?


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Needed A Bigger Boat: Preds Thrown To The Sharks 4-3


What a see-saw doozy of a game.  The Sharks and the Preds were neck and neck through the first two periods, beginning the 3rd with the same number of shots on goal and same number of goals.

What brought us to that point?  2 goals notched in by none other than Mr. "Publicly Reported In Trotz's Doghouse" Himself, J.P. Dumont and a lovely break-out performance by Joel Ward.  Toss in a handful of fights between Belak and Shelley, thankfully no goals by ex-Predators and some bad PK let downs and you've got yourself a 3-3 in the 3rd hockey game.

What happened to keep us from winning? PK failures? A bit.  The waiving off of a few goal chances? Possibly so.  Nabokov making dangerous saves when called for? You betcha. The last two minutes tossing around the puck like a hot potato, making our top D look like...Hamhuis and Klein on a bad night? Well...that did happen, but there was tons of miscommunication on the ice when Pekka skated off for the extra attacker.  We generally matched up very well against the 2nd best team in the league, but the few mishaps that took place cost us the game.

It was one of those games that shows the strong points as well as the weak points which is a good thing to have before for back out on the road against some of the best in the East.  Sadly, the weaknesses were pointed out the clearest.

If you watch carefully during the Rangers game, you might catch a glimpse of two Preds logos in the upper corner deck.  If you watch the Devils game, you might catch a glimpse of two Preds logos very near the ice.  That's right - SPC is making a trip to NYC this week! There will be plenty of pictures and links to go around this coming weekend! 303 represent!!!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Snow Melted - So Did the Avalanche: Preds Win 5-3


Now THAT is the game we've been wanting to see!  The top line coming alive multiple times and sending a sold-out audience home with Frostys in their pockets (figuratively speaking; that would rather suck if you had a Frosty in your pocket - unless you were wearing your Cooler-pants).

Ward brings his luck to the game as well, making it 19-0 when he tallies a point in a game this season.

As for the Capt'n...a handful of folks gave him a bit too much credit in the form of hats, as two goals ended up being tipped in my Mr. Fantastic himself, Patric Hornqvist.

I didn't get to see it first-hand, as I was at work this evening (though that will soon change next week as I will have my days shifts back soon and I will be at every game from there on out!), but I did hear that Goc had a great defensive-minded game and that even Hamhuis and Klein were, dare I say, clicking?  And apparently Jones had some smooth moves that were sadly blocked. He's getting better each week, I think.

This was an important game indeed - hell, any remaining game is an important game indeed at this rate!  It's not "panic time" yet, but these games leading up to this last little break in the season will be watched closely to say the least.  The Preds will head up New England way next week aaaand Steph and I will be following them!  We'll be representing 303 in Madison Square Gardens and now that Kovy has made his way up to New Jersey, I feel if I had to pick between an Islander game and a Devils game, the Devils game has won out! We'll do our damnedest to make it there - and there will be pics...unless one of those Yankee bastards mugs us on the way out for wearing our Preds gear (truth be told, I don't think they'd even understand we were rooting for the other team anyway - I wore my Preds jersey to a Rangers/Ducks game and I overheard a guy asking his friend if I was wearing a Kings jersey...yeh).

See ya Saturday!  We might need a bigger boat, but Weber can nail the oxygen tank from the blue line.


[Editor's note: I nearly forgot.  While I was driving home, listening to the 1st star of the game (Hornqvist) interview...Patric said something that made me smile and hope the other guys were listening.  He said, to paraphrase, "I know I've got to be in front of the net every night." This is the guy who knows where to be, how to be, who won't quit, who will do anything for the emblem on his chest and this is why we will need to pay him Ward-money if not more...especially if he passes that 30 goal mark.]

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coyotes Bring The Snooze To Sommet: Win After 7 OT SO Rounds 1-0


If this is what Phoenix fans get from their home team, no wonder porn-star enhanced game promotions have popped up on craigslist this past week.  If I move up to the NYC area, is this kind of game what I should expect from being a Devils fan (cos there's no way in hell I can justify being an Islanders fan and being a Rangers fan requires you to hate your team while wearing their colors)?

This game was a snoozer to say the rest.  Hell...the shoot-out is supposed to make the game exciting, but after 10 rounds, I was getting impatient instead of getting into it. Though...really...Weber? Why not Smithson? Or if you really wanted to play a defenseman, Bouillon?

Regardless, the Preds got a point and that's fine by me.  What isn't fine is that the Phoenix is still rising in the standings while we linger around 7th.  I really hope this isn't the 1st matchup come playoff time.  I'm not afraid of losing against them, cos we proved tonight that we can be just as stubborn - I'm afraid of having to pay again to watch more games like tonight's.