Have you been enjoying the summer as I have? No? I understand - I've been going through hockey withdrawals as well. Oh, believe me, I tried to get back into it (if you've been following my Twitter feed - SeePuckCity) by going to the official NY Rangers draft party to help console Rangers fans when they had the chance to pick the 3rd and 4th best player on the list and instead went with a much lower "enforcer" type. I tried to get back into it by going to the NJ Devils equipment sale hours early, only to find myself with No.323 and among a slew of folks wondering what the hell was under their feet.
I monitored every bit of news coming out of the Poile camp like the rest of you, only I did it from a 400 sq ft studio sublet in Brooklyn with no A/C...and yes, it was pretty much the same weather Nashville had the whole time I was there. Activity began stirring about...something we're not often used to seeing. Capt'n Concrete was sent back to NJ while I was looking out at it from the Q train, while Hammer and Ellis were sent off to be someone else's recyclables. Forwards were picked in the draft - something else we're not used to seeing...as much! And then the (rather obvious) rumors that Weber would be named captain began floating about just in time for me to touch back down in the heartland in time for Prospect Camp (after being near Prospect Park for a month) and the Skate of the Union. That's more like it!
My question was, and still is, who will back up Pekka Rinne with Ellis now set to take over Tampa Bay? Will Deks be brought up from Milwaukee or will Poile set aside a chunk of change for another, more veteran goalie presence? If Deks comes up...will Pickard take over? The video above shows what I think is the future of Preds goaltending: Anders Lindback. If he's out to challenge a shooter, the shooter will lose. At 6'6" (that's TALLER than Pekka), pucks just bounce off of him. Over the first 2 days of Prospect Camp, Lindback has been the best of all 4 (Lindback, Pickard, Smith and Engren - and in my opinion, that order). Pickard will have to watch his back if he's trying to win that starting role in Milwaukee. We'll see how the rest of Prospect Camp unfolds this weekend!
Lastly, the Skate of the Union. I left the camp to check out the arena, find out any more details regarding the equipment sale that I could. The NJ Devils sale left me a bit paranoid, having arived there nearly 3 hours early and still having 300 people in front of me - I caught a glimpse of a jackass with 10 or so goalie sticks all wrapped up in a bundle, all Brodeur of course - nothing spared for anyone else who gave a damn. Sadly, that's the way of the world, even in Nashville. I grabbed a bite at SATCO and headed back to The Bridge around 1:30. One other fella was standing outside of the arena when I plopped my bag of books down on the trashcan in the entry lobby. He came inside and we began talking about hockey. Some of his friends came in a few minutes later and we had a decent chat. I mentioned the fella above, with all of the Brody sticks and they all agreed that the guy was a nogoodnik. Then I found out through hours of conversation that the fella I had been talking to nabbed not just 1 Rinne stick last year, but most of them. I'm sorry to say, for the sake of all the Rinne fans, for the up-n-coming goalies (or well-established goalies looking for cheap equipment), for TigerPredsChick and a few others that asked me when they got through the line and saw me with my 1 Ellis stick, that same guy grabbed all 4 Rinne sticks, handed 2 to his friend that was behind me, and began trying to bargain to other fans for a Hornqvist stick. Yes...you read that correctly - bargaining with merch that wasn't yet actually his own. Cheap-shot move, buddy. Stay classy. It was then that I realized that maybe the "treasure hunt" technique the NJ Devils people used might not have been a bad idea after all.
Ptty! Phooey! Thhhpt!! Now that I've got that bad taste out of my mouth, Weber is now Capt'n and Lombardi is #15. Hopefully soon we'll hear about Franson and Hornqvist, but until then...have a helluva Friday with all your new (or used) toys from the sale and I'll see you all at Centennial Sportsplex on Saturday if you decide to show up and recognize me.