Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thank You Preds: An End To A Better Season Than Last And A Look To The Future


And so it goes.

A blistering 1st period in a must-win game had the Preds down by 1, 5-3.  An excruciating 2nd period in a must-win game had the Preds killing power plays for 10 minutes.  A nail-biting 3rd period in a must-win game had the Preds with the man advantage for nearly 10 minutes, but in the end...they could not muster the must-win.  Thus, the Predators took a bow, shook the hands and exited off the ice for the last time in the 2009-2010 season.

Thank you, Preds.

You've shown us that even under that gritty facade, you are in fact a 100 point earning team.  You've shown us that you can climb that Top 8 ladder without the use of "loser" points [see: Detroit Red Wings].  You've shown us that there can be a balance that is stronger than any marquee name or marquee line. You've shown us that the future of the Preds is strong in the youth that ended up outshining the vets tenfold.  You've shown us all of these things that make me proud to be a Predators fan and believe in you when you step out on the ice.

The only thing that I'm a bit curious and a bit anxious about, is how we find ourselves out in the 1st Round once again.  The coaching staff and the team worked their tails off to get to the middle of the playoff pack, but once again, when the playoffs finally rolled around, things got bumpy.  The PP was a hindrance instead of a relief.  The vets disappeared after Game 1, never to truly be seen again.  The whole mind-game hullabaloo with Hornqvist's injury just added insult to it rather than doing much good.  And Game 5...enough said there.

What can you do to redeem those weaknesses and to regain the trust and love of Predator fans that might just be calling for "a cleansing" of the organization over the summer.  It's similar to what Jacques Lemaire said regarding his Devils' Playoff team:  [paraphrasing] "Sometimes you look at players [in our case, the coaching staff or perhaps just the system] when you are trying to get something through to them and you see in their eyes that they understand it but this time I look in their eyes and I saw they did not get it."  Something didn't click as well as it should've and it's about time it's taken into serious consideration what that is and how to fix it over the next few months.  I feel this will be the brunt of off-season conversation as well as the diamonds in the rough that Poile found in the regular season (Goc, Grebeshkov) and those that are very much going to make a difference in what kind of team the Preds can be (Hornqvist, Wilson, Boyd, etc).

A toast to our AHL brethren in Milwaukee, sadly also being taken out of contention by...Chicago.

To the Blackhawks' fans' trio of idiots in 304, lead by a fella that looked a bit like this and kinda like this for his asinine behavior throughout the evening...a well-deserved, mostly full souvenir cup of soda, chucked from twenty feet away.  Kudos to the "anonymous" Preds fan for having precision aim and retaliating against folks that rivaled the idiocy of Blues fans [and for those of you who had to put up with these fools in 303 and 304, you can send your thanks and emoticon wishes in the comments section, and I'll tell her about them in a few minutes ;D ].

I'll update SPC from time to time over the summer, but I'm still coming up with new ideas on where to take it.  You can follow me on Twitter - SeePuckCity, natch.  Congrats to Boston on heading to Round 2. Sympathy for the Devils - I'll be very curious how the off-season will treat them and what kind of team will come back in October.  I'm going to teach myself how to skate in the next few weeks, so wish me luck on that - I may do a few special posts regarding my embarrassing ice-capades for your enjoyment.  And that's it for this post.

Thank you Predators. Thank you readers (except for you Asian spammers that keep leaving comments to spam voyeur sites - you're barely any better than Blues fans).  And lastly, thank you bloggers for creating more venues for information, entertainment and opinion based around hockey in the South - it helps get the word out to the world that it is here and it's here to stay.

Predators Hockey: It Stays With You...indeed.

See you in September.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Preds Blow Game 5 In Regulation By Going To OT: 5-4


Jack Daniels would be making so much money if they were a Preds sponsor, especially after games like this afternoon's Game 5. 

They battled back and overtook the lead late in the 3rd period...and while on the power play...instead of playing 4 corners for 1 minute and 3 seconds...they allow the Blackhawks into the zone to tie it up.  The game may as well have ended there.  With 2 and a half minutes of PP left in the OT, it seemed as if the Preds were just waiting to hand the puck over to Hossa...which they did...and got out of the way.

What a waste.

A waste of time, of talent, of emotion, of energy - all for naught because we have the sorriest PP in the Playoffs - one that actually hinders us from doing anything positive whatsoever.

Yeh, I'm pissed.  And Monday, the Preds have some making up to the fans to do by doing what Chicago did today: tie it (the series) up.  Then they will win in Chicago, as they should have done today. 

Easier said than done, but it's not improbable.

Kudos to Grebs for playing so well after not having been with the team since early March.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Give And Take A Whoopin' Part 4: Preds Take A Whoopin' 3-0


I could've sworn the ice said "Stanley Cup Finals" on it last Tuesday.  And I think I also saw a Bridgestone logo down there too.  So...why did the Preds' game play look like they rewound the clock back to October?

I can't really find the words, partly cos of tired and partly cos that game was way to frustrating to even think about.  Sloppy play plagued the Predators and they didn't seem to mind - that's why the 7th Man quit giving a damn and began heading to the parking lot in the final 4 minutes.  Rinne can't bail out the whole team...only half of it.  And Hornqvist's handlers better let the kid play.  I don't know if this is some bizarre mind game the coaching staff is playing, waiting to the last minute to unleash the beast or saving the Swede's energy for Round 2, but if the rest of the team plays like they did tonight, there won't BE a Round 2. 

Was that Hamhuis and Klein I saw for a majority of the game, or at least during the 2nd goal against? I thought so. 

Put Grebs out there, separate #2 and #8, let Horny do the damn thing, drill the idea into JP's noggin that he can be worth a damn and bring the A game to Chicago this weekend, cos this C game...well...the "C" stands for "Crock of ----".

The team knows what it can do and it needs to stop this trend of following what the other Western match-ups are doing and show them they're better. No more "Win, Lose, Win, Lose" - take the reigns and reign down upon the Windy City with revenge.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Preds Take Game 3 Against 'Hawks With A Familiar Score: 4-1


4-1.  Seems like the Preds like that score.  They did it the first time around, tried something a lil different and decided that 0-2 wasn't all that it's cracked up to be, so they went back to 4-1.  That being said, the series stands at 2-1.  I feel our boys would very much like that to be 4-1 in the end of it all, and I feel that Pred Nation does too.

A crowd of 16,075 rallied in Nashville, making it look and sound more than "sold out" cos Preds fans are just that hardcore (it's a fact that 1 Preds fan is equal to that of 1.59 fans of other NHL teams - think British pounds to dollars and you've about got it).  The crowd didn't disappoint and neither did the boys in blue.  A 60 minute hockey game is what we've wanted out of the team during the regular season so many times, and finally a 60 minute game is what they gave us.  Everyone fought with vigor, but not carelessly so as seen in Game 2.  Power and patience was the name of the game, whether it was choosing between going in the zone alone or waiting for a full change to waiting for the referees to finally call one of the many tackles on Martin Erat in the 3rd (the third hit hooked him and resulted in a successful penalty shot - something we rarely get to see, especially in the playoffs).

SPC kudos go to Pred "vets" Legwand, Erat and Sullivan for stepping up to that level the organization dreams of becoming consistent because these fellas are capable of being just that.  More kudos go to...well...I was going to name names, but the whole Defensive corps was damn fine (with the exception of the brief moments in the 2nd where Hamhuis and Klein were out together - the fact that they both did quite well defensively when NOT pair together...is further proof that that is what works).  And of course, the most consistent kudos of them all goes to Pekka Rinne for once again being brilliant.

4-1.  Again(la) and again(la)! Man, I'm hoarse.

Go Preds!!!


PS. It has been brought to my attention that Otter's Chicken Tenders is adding a little something extra to their Preds Fan Appreciation deal thanks to the 2010 Playoffs!  If you didn't know already, if you wore a Preds jersey or Preds gear to Otter's (Demonbreun location) on game day, you'd get a free appetizer.  Now, add the option of 2-for-1 beer to that!  Sweet! Perhaps I'll see you there Thursday?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Preds Follow Suit With The Other Upsetters, Lose Game 2 To Blackhawks: 2-0


Everyone else is gonna say it: the first two periods looked like a mirror image of Game 1.  The 3rd was supposed to continue with more force from the Preds, perhaps another fluke bounce to get the game back on track.  Well...that didn't happen.  Lots of penalties happened though.  And the Preds didn't convert on the few that weren't on them. 

How I miss Patric Hornqvist in games like this.  How I hate Patrick Kane in games like...well...any game, really.

I gotta do more than just post-game blogs here and I'm working on ideas.  Only doing post-game blogs burns ya out...especially when there are at least ten other sources online saying essentially the same thing.  Meh.

More fire...that's what I need on this site...and that's what the Preds need on Tuesday.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Nashville Predators Win 1st Playoff Road Game VS. Chicago Blackhawks: 4-1


It's been a lil while - I seem to have fallen into the hole of blogging only after games - something I will have to change soon...perhaps in June ;D. 

The Predators have done it: they've won their first playoff game on the road...and win they did.  A scoreless 1st, a swarm of a 2nd by the Blackhawks gave Taxi Kane the first goal of the game.  Then J.P. Dumont happened in the 3rd...twice.  The Predator went into overdrive in the 3rd, creating turnovers in their favor as the Blackhawks did in the 2nd.  Niemi was pulled not once, but twice in the final minute and a half of play...resulting in not one, but two goals for the Preds (Smithson; Erat).  Let's let'em play 5-on-6 as much as they want with those odds!

This has been the season of the OT point making a difference and the post-season of statistical upsets thus far.  As a fan of the dark horse team, I'll just say this: let's keep pissing on everyone's hushpuppies!

Go Predators!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

If Those Were My Fans, I'd Have The Blues Too: Preds Win 2-1 In SO


As I'm sure you've already guessed since I began this blog, if there's one thing I dislike more than Red Wings fan, it's a Blues fan - especially when they're in our house.  Yes, that's "butts in seats", but there's something that just goes with having to hear something that sounds kinda like "BOOZE" over and over again from some jackass that thinks their hometown BBQ is better than that of the South and that their hometown king beer is worth the dimes worth of paint it takes to put a Bud Light logo on the ice.  Thank you, Blues fans, for deciding to use your fiscal tidings in our lovely city instead of your own festering swill-hole - it goes to making our home that much more delightful for the next time you wish for an escape.

Apologies for the venom, but when you're a part of 303 and you turn to find 301 is a bit less Navy blue and gold and a bit more Royal (pain in the ass) blue and (Bud) yellow...AND when you read an article earlier in the week how Branson is calling itself "The OTHER Music City"...nothing from Missouri will escape my blog-wrath! MUAHAHAHA!

And there was much to laugh about as Erat put one over Conklin to win the game in a shoot-out.  OK...that's not much to laugh about at all, but Capt'n Arny's shot returned with his brand new helmet to boot.  Our PP disappeared again, but that's what happens when your best goal scorer is out (expected back for Round 1 of the playoffs or so I've read).  Ward was injured to some degree, sadly, and still no word on Grebeshkov.  One of these days, we'll have a healthy team going into the playoffs - alright...you can laugh at that one. 

Until then, the boys currently sit in 6th place as LA and Detroit both play tomorrow (rather, later today as it's 2AM right now) to change the outcome of the lower half of the Western Playoff teams.  If Detroit and LA lose, we're set for 5th.  If Detroit loses and LA wins, we're set for 6th.  If Detroit wins and LA loses, we're set for 6th.  If the both win, we're set for 7th.  If Chicago wins tomorrow and we end up in 7th, we play San Jose.  If they lose, we play Chicago.  If we set up in 6th, it's Vancouver and if somehow we end in 5th, it's Phoenix.  I've been hoping for a Vancouver match-up cos Luongo's been off as of late, but tonight's game with Daniel Sedin's hat-trick and his brother notching 4 assists...makes me think...no team is going to be easy.  At the same time,  this season (based on NCAA's basketball and hockey tourneys) has been quite generous to the dark horse teams...so...BRING IT!

Congrats Blake Geoffrion on the Hobey Baker award! Tennessee represent! Yes, you Northerners, we DO care about hockey here - on EVERY level. Some more than others, but the passion is here nonetheless.  Take me, for example: I've barely set foot on the ice, let alone in ANY kind of skates, but this year, I have made it my goal to play in goal by learning from the ground up (namely cos I feel I will be spending a lot of time on the ground as I learn to skate fluidly)! I'm already older than your average pro-hockey player, but I'm going to do it anyhow because I feel a connection to the sport that I cannot shake, and in fact, would fight if I were forced to shake it.  I can't wait to get on the ice...for only the 2nd time in my life, so I can learn to physically live hockey. 

It will soon be playoff time for Nashville and for a Predators team that seems best suited to march through these upcoming playoffs more than any other I've seen. 

Let's do this!  PREDATORS!!!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Preds Dry Up In The Desert: Lose 5-2


With Detroit and Chicago winning tonight and LA being a crap shoot (but rather strong in that last win against the Ducks), all I'm going to say tonight is:

Please Not San Jose
Please Not San Jose
Please Not San Jose

Kudos, Desert Dogs - you're like us, only on a hotter hot streak.  To be honest, perhaps Vancouver would be the better team to play - Luongo's been so off since the Olympics, why not?


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Preds Clinch A Playoff Spot and Top Detroit In OT: 4-3


Playoff hockey at it's finest...only a couple of weeks before they actually begin!  The Preds come back again in the 2nd, take the lead, then (in what has become distinctly Red Wingean this season) Detroit ties the game in the last minute of regulation to take the game to OT.  Though that automatically gave Nashville the point needed to clinch a playoff spot, it gave the Red Wings their 14th OT point.  You know what - Ryan Suter didn't take kindly to that, so he ended OT as quick as possible by putting one past Jimmy Howard to win the game and get that extra point.

The Nashville Predators are in the 2009-2010 playoffs.

Re-read that if you will.  Doesn't it feel nice?

Weber, Hornqvist, Dumont and Suter on the goals for the afternoon.  Spaling and Boyd (#13 and #14 respectively) had near misses on Howard, so kudos to their performance as well.  Rinne, another strong performance, especially considering being at the Joe Louis Arena where calls do NOT go the Preds' way.

Here, here, Predators! Enjoy that happy flight back home.  You've got one more round trip to pick off in the desert and one more game to show the fans that you appreciate them.  Then...playoff time - not that these last few weeks have been any different from those types of games.

When you compare last year's team to this year's team...who's feeling good about the playoffs this year?

This guy.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Preds Bounce Back On The Blues: Win 3-2


Learning from mistakes, the Preds did not let off steam in the 3rd period.  Nope - that wasn't an April Fool's joke - they battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it at the end of the 2nd (thank you Boyd and Wilson, respectively).  They took that 2nd period momentum to the 3rd when Sully popped one in from Hornqvist and Goc (gotta LOVE that line!) to make it 3-2 around halfway through.  Even after the lead, the Preds didn't just play "keep away", but the Blues began pushing and pushing to the final minute, giving them the best chances in the 3rd...to no avail.  Pekka "Iron Man" Rinne stood firm.  The refs gave the Blues nearly 3 seconds to add to the clock in the Preds' zone because that's what refs do to the home-team here in Nashville, but the home-team stood firm - no flukes were to be allowed.

The Nashville Predators came back from a weak 1st to tie in the 2nd and win in the 3rd.  Sounds kinda like the season in a nutshell, doesn't it?

Let's keep tonight's 3rd period atmosphere for the next handful of games, shall we?  That's Preds hockey.


PS. Whomever Tweeted with that Belak report for April Fool's - you got me.  I mean, c'mon - we re-signed Klein after all.  I forgot that "holiday" until I was Rick-rolled early on.  Kudos.