I did tell you that the Preds have got a patent pending on the "3rd Period Breakdown", right? Never the ones to disappoint, that's exactly what happened near the beginning of the 3rd. Prior to that...Legwand scored the only goal in the game - so you KNEW something was up!
The piss and vinegar dried up soon after that as the legs got tired. Two deflect past Ellis and the game quickly changed its tune. Thankfully, the line that many fans are loving to watch (Horny, Sully and Goc) didn't like that tune and changed it with less than 4 minutes left in the game to tie it up.
1 point for each team, but since its Florida in the East, no big deal (though it would have been...if the Preds were in the division it SHOULD be in - it only makes sense, Bettman! Make it so!) - but it soon was time to take off the little kid gloves and put on the very mad gloves. Once again, that lovely line that tied up the game had Goc drop pass one to Francis Bouillon and he took full advantage, putting it past Clemmensen at exactly one minute into OT - winning the game and bringing the team up to 94 points in the Race of the West.
Tomorrow, Quick and the Kings. Will an injured player finally be back tomorrow? Who knows? As long as the team plays all three periods, it shouldn't matter. And if Pekka keeps up what he's been keeping up, no fan or casual viewer should have doubts. We're goin' to the playoffs and I fear once the team knows how to keep it up for the whole 60 minutes...the other teams won't know what to do with them!
That was a battle to be sure, but a battle that leaves me asking questions about the following:
Mascot Madness: Why was the Thrashers mascot in town? Was there a furry convention or something? Eerily enough...those exist.
The D: What gives? Klein actually looked better than Suter for most of the game. Yes...I don't feel bad if you have to re-read that sentence again.
Mitch Korn: What? No tape on Howard? C'mon! I'll admit - he is very good.
Arnott's Return and Injuries In General: When and how much does it matter? I recall twice this season where the team won more games while the Capt'n was out. Sadly, the lack of Arnie and Wardo has actually hindered progress. Bring Denny back soon!
Red Wings Fans: Are they still "the worst"? Once they stop chanting, they've got great things to say about Nashville as a city and how it's taken to the sport of hockey - the ones I overheard tonight, anyway. Blues fans (my friend Edwin aside)...can wither away and DUI.
Rinne / Howard: Who played better? I'm going with Rinne cos the team left him out to dry on a few occasions - something Detroit doesn't do that often.
Urgency: Where in god's name did it go? Too many times, too often, did a Pred get the puck and either toss it away to a Red Wing, pass it away to someone who wasn't there, or stop it completely and move it back instead of forward. Even my favorite of the year, Marcel Goc, was guilty of sitting with it for a few seconds while the period wound down instead of moving it forward while the Red Wings were on a change.
Next Saturday: Revenge by playing it like you meant it twice.
It should've ended 4-3 in regulation, but alas, Hornqvist was questionably called for off-sides as Goc scored on Bryzgalov - something that apparently hasn't been happening often. That, and Goc's assists and set-ups of the evening have me wondering how much Poile is going to re-sign him for - he fits in the system, nice and snug. Again, #9 & #27 - sign them now for a number of years.
It didn't end though. That's not how the Coyotes play hockey. They play overtime hockey and they won't let other teams forget it. They play shoot-out hockey and they won't let other teams forget it.
Thankfully, David Legwand forgot it for them.
32 games since Leggy had scored a goal and he couldn't have picked a better time to shatter that burdensome record. Congrats, Leggy! Now...let's work on keeping droughts like that from happening in the future.
Once again, it wasn't a full 60 minutes of gameplay - more like 47, but our boys are getting closer. A more balanced and consistent effort will have the Predators plowing through the rest of the season and whatever team happens to be standing in their way come playoff season. Anything less would be uncivilized (not to mention a damn shame).
I was unable to attend tonight's game in order to get work off for the last Red Wings home game of the season, though honestly, every game is playoff hockey at this point - it's hard to miss any of it - even if it's not Preds hockey! How's about how Columbus handed Chicago their buttocks, piece by piece earlier tonight? That's somethin'! It's been getting more and more exciting as the finish line is in the distance, and it's always interesting to watch how teams that have nothing to lose (or win in this case) play against teams that are in contention with a handful of others.
The hot rumor is that next year our 3rds will become our 1sts and our 2nd will be lighter versions of our 3rds and we'll have no 3rds cos of the new 1sts and 2nds. Fine by me. If you're not going to go "mustard" at all, take it out completely. I like the navy, black and blue-steel color scheme - and for those that think it's too similar to Toronto - I highly doubt anyone will mistake the Preds for Toronto...we win games.
Here's what I feel really contributed to Rinne standing taller than Bryz and how Leggy really won in the shootout:
"So where were the Coy-otes - while the puck tried to break past Bryz,
Just the red light to guide us,
So he ripped it past the pads and we crushed their sweet plans!"
Ya know what? I'm glad that the next games are against some of the top teams in the West. Phoenix, LA and the hearty Red Wings are a welcome change to tonight's opponents. And you already know why - cos the teams the Preds are ABOUT to play...are good teams - and we play very well against the GOOD teams. Tonight's play against Dallas - our boys (excluding one or two of them; Wilson and Hornqvist...lookin' in your direction) couldn't have cared less.
There was no hustle - no fire. It's as if they read that they really have to botch it up to not make the playoffs and figured they could sit this one out. Pekka Rinne skated around like he had cement shoes on, being way out of position on many counts - making me realize either how well the D was working earlier on or most likely just pointing out how lousy Dallas really can be. As many shots as we had on goal (namely thanks to Weber, who got the lone goal of the game), you'd think we would be outplaying them, but alas...nope. The Preds had it tied at the end of the 2nd merely in order to walk into their 3rd period breakdown (patent pending; and, most of you may not know this, you can only keep a winning streak alive if you either have a Top 5 marquee player or are owned by the NHL - it's one of those lockout rules in fine print that generally doesn't come up).
The 2nd goal against is one Pekka would like back because it ramped up his pad and up off his glove like Evil Knievel. The 3rd goal had every Predator on the ice with their back turned away from the play, only to turn around after the puck was in the net. The team was playing a second behind Dallas the whole 3rd period...'cept for Wilson and Hornqvist, but the blonde boys couldn't do it all and it was too late by then.
So yes - it stings, but it's not like it wasn't expected. The Stars are the last "Meh" team that we play for the rest of the season (sans the Blues), so that's something we should all be happy about. Playoff hockey is sure to return in 2 days against the Expos...er...Coyotes!
Before I get to the rather stat-less recap, I gotta ask - what's YOUR reception like on your phone in Bridgestone Arena? My AT&T iPhone was as useful as a scratched player on a hockey team (or in our case, we can just say "Belak"). Couldn't text, call during intermission - nothing - despite seeing full bars and a 3G showing up. If I can barely get reception in parts of my home, at all in my 2nd home (ie. The Bridge), or at work...what the hell is the point? AT&T...YOU SUCK!!!
I never thought I'd actually miss Cingular.
So...in response to the Red Wings grabbing a point with 0.2 seconds in regulation only to lose in a shoot-out against the Oilers, our boys in black & blue went into OT against our divisional "little brothers" as some like to think of the Blue Jackets. Lots of great chances and lots of great saves. The way Sullivan and Goc played together, you'd think there would be a few more notches up there, Erat - the same, but alas...Mason seemed to have returned to his rookie season form.
Come into OT: Erat's a quick lil Czech to be certain, and his quickness got it to Cody Franson who ends up being a near capacity crowd's knight in shining armor.
3 stars (via radio broadcast):
3 - Cody Franson (Really? Not #2?)
2 - Steve Mason (One goal in OT against...fine.)
1 - Pekka Rinne (13th shut out! 3 of them in the past 4 games. Thank you, Rinne!)
This was a close one against a lesser team that played a game last night. Why was it close? That's the question that needs to be asked and overcome tomorrow night against the Blues. There should be 100+ folks in Navy and/or Mustard to root the boys on, so travelers...be loud - make noise! Lord only knows how loud and obnoxious they get in our barn! Man, I hate Blues fans.
That's right - I wore my Zanon jersey tonight, and that's what the Preds left us with at the end of the 3rd - Zanon goals (Preds Zanon...not Wild Zanon, though that would've been nice as well) and a frosty richer!
Coming off of a day where the Tennessean actually prints a positive article about the Preds being the most point-producing team with the 2nd amount of 30+ point players just behind the Washington Capitols, our boys in blue top off the night with five goals (Wilson, Dumont, Arnott in the 1st; Goc in the 2nd; Hornqvist in the 3rd) and a shut-out thanks to last week's NHL 3rd Star of the Week, Pekka Rinne, who has been quite calm and cool with each and every one of his recent string of wins. Yes, that was one massively uncalled for compound sentence.
I'll say it to the fans and more importantly to those SEC folks that looked a bit lost while crossing the street from the honkytonks in the general direction of hockey: this is a playoff bound team - pay attention.
To the doubters, with tonight's attendance of 16,615, if we keep on with the numbers we've been having over the past few months, we will easily have over 14k average. As of tonight, we topped that magic number the doubters like to use as a de-marketing tool. With numbers like this, hockey won't just stay "until" 2012, it will very much surpass 2012. My heavens - I wonder what the Sports "Authority" thinks of the possibility of the World Cup being held in their team's precious stadium:
"These Nolensville Road types keep cawlin' it futbol! Hey - learn how to speak American! This ain't football! Too many foreigners - not an American sport - denied! I'll use this authority I so wrongly have been given to deny you, World Cup! You think you're bigger than me?"
Yes...yes it does. And so does hockey.
Opponents of sports that are on a sports council are half-wits and cowards and should be stripped of their title and power - simple as that. Yes, we are lucky to have even been given a chance to have a professional hockey team, though we are luckier still to have the youth that are already die-hard fans and players to keep it alive in our great city. Hockey might've been late to our party, but it's still the guest of honor for the rest of the night(s). Hockey is a way of life, no matter what backwoods Southern town or incorporated village a doubter may have hailed from prior to their personal knowledge of the sport. Once a doubter finally realizes that, they no longer have any ground to argue. And once our team hits that playoff ice, perhaps they finally won't want to.
My apologies for the rant, but it's painful to see how little respect is shown not only to Our Team, but to the sport in general - especially by what are supposed to be objective media outlets and government-paid councils.
Lastly, if you could spare your thoughts and/or prayers with Mark Hollingsworth (founder of Cellblock303) and family - his father recently passed on. I don't know him on a personal level, but as a member of 303, a fan of hockey in general, and the fact that he's that guy that's usually always smiling, it just feels right. From everyone at the SPC Haus, our thoughts are with you, Mark.
I'll begin with a quick note, I was at work the whole time Sunday's early game against the Kings was going on so I only had our lovely Preds Tweeting Choir to go by. If I had been witness to it, I would've written a blog with a title something along the lines of "Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick, and If He Is Quick Then He Don't Know Jack" or something that nearly resembles a half-ass'd attempt at being clever. But again...I wasn't a witness, so that's my excuse for missing that one.
Tonight, however, I was so there. How fun it was to be back in my 2nd home that I call The Bridge. Quite convenient considered now that we can all park in Lot R for the next while that we actually have to cross a bridge to get to The Bridge. I smell marketing genius at work...though it could just be these tacos I just finished making for a very late dinner. I did not see any green beer in celebration for St. Patty's Day, but those jerseys were killer (making me wonder why the minor leagues get to have all of the fun of themed jerseys more than we do)! How much did you Williamson County fans outbid me on this one?
Once again, the first two periods showed a cool and confident team. Sure, we had to climb the hill at first (Anyone else think "Get Carter" after that first goal?), but after 2 solid periods of play, Sullivan and Erat scored on Leighton and Smithson made it 3-1 after scoring from the first face-off of Bouchard's game (Leighton fell back and injured his ankle on what looked like bad ice throughout the whole game thanks to the SEC-ness from last weekend). So...a similar song and dance - we enter the 3rd up with a two-goal lead, Pekka is on his game like flies on a Philadelphian, Capt'n Arnott gets tripped and falls while the refs don't catch it or don't call it, the crowd reacts, the Flyers score in a swarm at the goal. Momentum swiftly decreases. Another flurry in the Preds' zone, and although Rinne's got it under wraps, Hamhuis decides to handle the goal post like a handicapped bathroom rail in order to dismantle it. The refs didn't like that very much and the crowd didn't like that they didn't call the Flyers on anything, but called Hammer on that...which lead to a Flyers PP goal.
Look at that...it's a tie game.
And look at that...nothing else is called for the rest of the game, and sadly, the Flyers picked up on that waaaay before the Preds did. They're not just dirty cos they're from Philly - they're dirty cos they're the Flyers. Tootoo got a stick to the face. I forgot who looked like he was nearly boarded. This went on through the OT period. Intensity was flowing throughout a near sell-out crowd, complete with various high school hockey teams throughout the state, newbies sitting behind me wondering what Tootoo's first name was and what happened if "no body won the shoot-out" and old favorites like the lady with the voice that sounds like she's choking on a dying cat that thinks it can survive if it scratches a chalkboard repeatedly (and with vigor; always a blast).
Hopes were met when Erat was able to make it past the Flyers' 2nd back-up goalie while none of the skating pumpkins could put one past our 6'5" Finnotype.
It was a good game, then a stressful game, then an exciting game, then a damn fine game. The officiating was awful, but in the end, that's just another bump the team has to overcome, especially on this final stretch to get to the latter half of April. To that, I say this:
Keep winning in front of the tried and the true,
Keep winning in front of the young or the new,
Keep winning them at home where you know we are loud,
Keep winning on the road and you'll shut up their crowd,
Keep winning any way and every way that you can,
Keep winning with dirty goals as long as you win,
Keep winning and you will win over the doubters,
Keep winning and force local media to focus,
Keep winning cos the playoffs are just up ahead,
And whatever happens will happen, you are Ours - you're the Preds.
(yes, I just wrote that - first poem I've written since the 10th grade - who says hockey doesn't bring out the sensitive side?)
Hockeytown South, folks - you SEC kats need to re-visit Nashville for a hockey game and we'll soon know your faces and names. See ya Thursday.
If I let myself continue typing without editing the first word would have come out as "Readquiot>". Yep - my birthday celebration is over, though the liquor is still flowing. That being said...it's going to be a short post tonight.
Weber...thanks for my present. I liked it very much (see MST3K for full reference of phrasing).
SPC Steph, SPC Stache and I went out to Whiskey Kitchen for a late lunch/early dinner - ran into my sister in from NYC by complete accident - headed out to see Alice in IMAX 3D (it's good - but not $15 IMAX good) - then bowled while the server turned the game on for us. Came back home to the company of friends, had another drink or so, played Mass Effect until I began to cuss (cos there are so many spots where you wonder if you played the game wrong and should've leveled up somewhere else - geek sheik - piss off) and that's where I am at the moment.
Tomorrow will include a full hair coat of the dog with more friends for post-birthday celebrations then lazing about the haus all day. A gift unto itself, I believe.
Preds...Sunday you'll meet back up with the Kings. Do to them what you did last time and I shall be content with a 3-1 road showing. 50-50 is NOT playoff showing...just so you know.
It seemed that the Preds would let me open up an early birthday present, leading in the beginning of the 3rd 4-2. Oh what a period I and any Predators fan would be in store for.
I don't have all of the stats in front of me at the moment, and to be honest, I'll admit, I'm going to be lazy cos everyone else (NHL, TSN, OnTheForecheck, PredsOnTheGlass, etc.) will have the same stats tomorrow, if not tonight. The gist of it is this: our boys dropped trou, gave San Jose a Sharpie and fell into a coma. It was tied up easy. Actually, they got one-up on us easy. Then it became a game again...for a moment. The Preds realized, "Oh - I might have a falic symbol on my face, I might need to wake up!" to tie it up at 5...then got cozy again while the Sharks tagged their face 3 more times with random vulgarities. It seemed like the team was going to wake up when it rolled over and replaced Mr. "3rd Period Swiss Cheese" himself, Dan Ellis, for Mr. "I Know I Am A Lil Bit Taller, Perhaps I Am A Baller, Or Perhaps I've Just Got A Sweet Contract Irregardless", Pekka Rinne...who let one goal by him...then an empty netter. Pictures taken...sent out in a mass e-mail...complete failure and embarrassment complete.
I'm 28 now, just as the game came to its disappointing end. Don't fail us, the ones that forgive you for falling asleep in a room of frat boys with Sharpies, in Anaheim...home of the 13th in the West. We are better then them. Hopefully you'll play the full game knowing that we're better than that.
The latest plague of later-season injuries makes me wince just typing this sentence out (possibly due to the fact that anything resulting in testicular surgery is enough to make any man wince when doing...well...anything).
Our boys beat the Thrashers by one goal. So...they beat the 10th in the East by one goal...which is like beating the 13th in the West by one goal...which is good, cos we're playing them (the Ducks) on my birthday and I require a birthday win as a gift despite the fact none of them know me. I'd rather them beat the Sharks as an early birthday win, and though I could come off as a spoiled no-good-nik, I'd very much like to ask for them to win the whole dang road trip...just for my birthday (and all of yours as well). The question is...will they?
Suter and Wilson showed up big in tonight's game, as did Erat. Dan Ellis did the rest to make sure the team kept the lead. "It's like playoff hockey," stated Wilson, and Ellis knows how to handle this team in these types of games (I admit, he didn't look himself against the Red Wings at all, but the Preds didn't look like themselves against the Red Wings at all). What will they do against tougher foes without key D? Sulzer and Franson must step up and prove that they're Predators. Hamhuis has been looking better as of late, Suter has been using that post-Olympic play to the best of his ability, Bouillon has been making his presence known to the other teams and Klein...got one of only two penalties against...and that's...that's something.
If they can keep tightening the D's chemistry, allowing each player to work their game while staying true to the system (it doesn't have to be an oxymoron) and keep working on making the once dismal PP better and better with each game (and it seems to have been making its way towards that as of late), this road trip will happily show us where the team will be come playoff time and that would be one helluva birthday gift.
I won't open the presents yet though. Well...perhaps I'll open one Thursday.
As far as the Detroit game went, we played like we didn't care. As far as Ellis is concerned, he didn't get the 2 year contract - I feel like he played like he didn't get the 2 year contract. The Red Wings are bouncing back from their bad Canucks loss like a game of jacks by a hyper-active child with OCD. Chicago had their 2nd period against them. We had our 3rd period with Vancouver. Game-changers, game-deflaters, game-losers.
It didn't start out that way. Edler had the first goal, but Arnott (rather, Luongo) struck back, ending the 1st 1-1 with 10 shots each. Wilson set up Tootoo for what seemed to be like the game-changer, knocking his own rebound over the shoulder of Roberto Luongo (that's right you Northern Tootoo haters...#22 beat #1 - regardless of the loss, suck on that for a moment - tastes like ipecac, doesn't it?). The 3rd started with confidence, but a few bad bounces or awful strokes of bad luck shot it all to hell. Hansen got his rebound on Pekka who thought he had it covered...he was wrong. Samuelsson notched one in and one of the Bobbsey...er...Sedin twins (forgot if it was Daniel "Diving Bell" Sedin or Henrik "Butterfly" Sedin) scored the empty-netter.
Detroit inches ever so closer as they're 1 point away in 8th while the Preds begin to lose grasp of the 7th. Thankfully the next week sees plenty of pavement, as the Preds have fared well on the road.
Thanks to those of you that have already taken part in SPC Steph's Otter's Chicken Tenders special - At the Demonbreun Otter's store only, if you bring your Preds ticket or if you wear a Preds jersey before the game, you get a free appetizer. Tell your friends and help make Otter's the pre-game hang out!
See you on the 16th vs the Flyers and possibly around town for the away games. Friday, March 12th against the Ducks, I will be at Dave & Busters for my birthday - smashing pins with a 14 pounder while pounding them back 'til I'm smashed! Perhaps I'll see you there or you'll see me on the news destroying anything with a duck on it in Opry Mills mall (I'm looking at you, Bass Pro Shop).
Tonight's game was brought to me by my Sportacular iPhone app and 104.5 The Zone during the 3rd, as I ended up having to work. At work, however, I did noticed a fella in a NJ Devils shirt and we talked shortly about my recent trip to The Prudential Center and I noticed another fella with a Panthers jacket so we talked a bit about Vokoun - mentioned college night, etc. It's great to see college-aged hockey transplants in Nashville that can naturally just talk hockey.
The top line gave us reason to believe they're at the top with Dumont and Arnott each notching a goal despite Frolov's early upstaging in the 1st. Goc reminded the folks that were quick to dismiss Team Germany in the Olympics that regardless of whatever team he's on and whatever better team he might be playing against, he is going to score, and Smithson chimed in at the end for the empty-netter, despite LA's attempts at tying it up in the 3rd.
This is the fight we need to continue to see to get to the top of that ever-changing List-O-Eight. Thus far, Poile has done us a solid in not giving up Hamhuis for just picks, picking up a defenseman who is just as good, if not better than Hammer, and we'll see what Boyd can do on the 3rd or 4th tomorrow night.
Boys and girls, I believe we've got ourselves a contender.
PS. Via SPC Steph (who works with the company) if you bring in your Preds game ticket or wear your Preds jersey before the game to the Otter's Chicken Tenders on Demonbreun (only this location at the moment), you get a free appetizer! Did someone say chicken for lunch on Sunday? I think they might have!
Welcome back to Nashville Predators hockey!!! Yesterday, we learned we had a new player flying in with the rest of the opposing Edmonton Oilers, Denis Grebeshkov (greh-bezh-kahv - c'mon people). Today, our newest Predator scored himself a Gordie Howe hat-trick - an assist (on Colin Wilson's goal), a goal, and immediately after that goal...a penalty. Welcome to the club, Denis!
Who played well against the worst team in the league? Grebby, obviously, proving that a Russian's loyalty lies with the front of the jersey, despite what they just left behind. Colin Wilson had a great game in nearly every department - goal, good passing, great puck movement, etc. Francis Bouillon looked sharp as a tack being paired with Grebeshkov. Smithson had a rather sharp 3rd period to say the least. Arnott with a goal, nearly two, building walls like he was Amish. Hornqvist with a number of shots on net. Weber with a goal...
Who played meek against the worst team in the league? Oddly enough, Weber was way off play when Suter had to deal with a 3-on-1 that lead to Edmonton's 1st goal. Ward was invisible, and when he had the chance, the energy just wasn't there. Dumont did little to help his case back on the top line. Pekka, re-signed as the Preds starter for the next two years, let a couple softies by (though again, that 3-on-1...couldn't have been handled either way) - lord only knows if Trotz keeps that blasted rotation going or not now. Lastly, Erat, Mr. Spinderella himself, didn't know exactly what to do with the puck whenever he had it, so for that, I call him out. ERAT! EEEERAAAAT!
In the end, however, we won against the worst team in the league, so bully for us, right? Next up - a much better team - the LA Kings on Thursday. I'll try to make it - but will most likely be working. If I don't see any of you kind readers then, I'll see you Sunday at 2PM at The Bridge!
Sources [the science experiment gone wrong's genius lab mice whom reside in the right side of my brain] have told me what Poile is about to pull: Hamhuis & Grebeshkov to Florida for Vokoun while Dan Ellis takes a Joel Ward-sized pay-cut in order to fill in as a forward since no team in the league currently wants a non-Finnish goalie. Eh? Any takers on this "rumor"? [Below: Rizzo, the anonymous SPC Rumor Specialist]
In all seriousness though - Grebeshkov...okay, I'll bite - he could work. What else ya got, Poile? Hamhuis for Ovechkin? Anymore of those Eklund-sized schtick rumors / ideas that stemmed from a dare on poker night while sopping up Alberta Premium? No? Then what are we getting excited about again (as usual at this time of year)!??!
C'mon folks - just because there is a trade deadline and rumors are flying around, doesn't mean anything will take place...unless...the time spent around Brian Burke knocked some sense into the old bean. I mean...there are more folks saying that our organization will be making moves soon - so does that mean we actually will this time? Hmm...
Time will tell, and then another blog will be posted. Perhaps with more merit than this one. ;D
My name is J.K.Robbins. To those that don’t care about such formalities, I am a humble fan of the Nashville Predators NHL hockey team (and the Milwaukee Admirals AHL team…let’s just say “hockey in general”) , and it is here where I hope to gather fans and non-fans alike – to convert the non-fans and verbally stone the nay-sayers.
In the end, we’re here for the team, we’re here for the sport, and we’re here because you sure as hell won’t find any of this on ESPN.