Saturday, August 14, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

With hockey season upon us, I was thinking about how much hockey has become a part of my life the last four years and why I love the sport so much. Memories of different events have come flooding back to me, so I thought why not share with anyone who reads this some of my favorite Nashville Predators moments. Now remember, I've only been a fan for a short period of time, so I'm sure some of you have much better memories to share.

1. The First TV Timeout Standing Ovation: April 3, 2008

Even though this occurs more often now, the very first one was the most memorable. I have chills thinking about it right now. It was the last home game of the season, and free T-shirt night. I almost missed this game due to inventory at work & not having tickets. My Budweiser rep has a sister that works for the Predators, so he called her & got us tickets (thanks Clint & Courtney!!). We were playing the St. Louis Blues and hoping to finish with enough points to get into the playoffs. The atmosphere was electric, but you could tell the guys needed a little boost. Boy did they get it! Toward the end of the game, an obligatory TV timeout occurred, and during that time, every fan in the Arena was on their feet, waving their free T-shirts. No interruptons from in game ops, no music, no announcements or cues from Paul. It was just a spontaneous show of support and pride for our team. It was so loud!!! I'll never forget the feeling I had during those moments. It was clearly a moment that helped get me hooked on hockey!

2. Steve Sullivan's Return: January 10, 2009

I almost didn't go to this game. I decided at the last minute to purchase tickets for the game & took my nephew, since Dad wanted to stay home and watch the rest of the Titans playoff game (his mistake!). Zach & I got to the arena and sat down by the ice for a while to watch the rest of the Titans game, but my real reason for sitting down by the ice was so Zach could watch the team warm up. Needless to say he was thrilled. We went to our seats up in the 300 level for the game, and Zach really got into the chants and the game. When Sully took his first shift, I thought the building was going to erupt! After all he had been through to get back, he deserved every bit of the ovation he received. I didn't really follow hockey before his injury, but he instantly became my favorite that night. I remember my eyes welling up with tears as he took that first shift. It was a great night that I will never forget, especially since I could share it with Zach.

3. Beating Detroit 8-0: February 28, 2009

This was my birthday present from my dad. The game fell the day after my birthday, and I remember listening to the another hockey game on the radio on the way to Nashville. One team (I think it was NYR) scored several quick goals to start the game, and my dad said maybe we'd have the same luck. I just laughed it off. Boy was he right! After only 11 minutes it was 5-0 in our favor, I had no voice, and you couldn't get the smile off of my face. Probably my most favorite game ever!

4. My First Playoff Experience: April 2008- versus the Detroit Red Wings

If the TV time out standing ovation didn't get me hooked, my first playoff experience did the trick. The atmosphere in the Arena was so much more electric than regular games. Plus, our hatred of the Wings added to the frenzy. We didn't advance to the second round, but game in this series was just awesome. To come back and score goals to win the game in our barn was just crazy! Seeing Jason Arnott leap onto the glass in celebration is one of my more vivid memories of that game, you know, right before Rads (aka Dino the Dinosaur) jumped on him in celebration & gave him a concussion. I remember this series as a turning point in my hockey fandom. I began to FEEL the highs and lows of wins and losses. I was hooked, and there was no turning back.

These are just a few of my many favorite memories from the past few seasons. I'm excited for this season to start and to have many more memories to share. Training camp starts is officially back in Smashville!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What Women Want

Yes, guys, I'm sure you wish you knew! ;) But seriously, there has been a lot of talk the last few days regarding the "Campaign for Change"- the push to have NHL merchandise suppliers offer more choices to its female audience. I've seen comments like "Women are not the target demographic of the NHL". True, but if the NHL realized how many true, die hard, female fans there are, it might force them to take a closer look at the market.

There has been much made out of the "puckbunny" comments, and while I'm not one, all sports are going to have a certain group of female fans that follow sports for the hot guys. So why not offer them more options too? Whether they like the game or just go to drool over Shea Weber, they account for butts in the seats and dollars spent. I'm sure they'd like to have more merchandise to show their love for their favorite guy.

There has been talk of "Why don't you girls just buy kid's jerseys?" Well, that's all fine and good for the girls that can do that. But the fact of the matter is, the majority of women are not a size zero. I know I'm not!

A representative from Reebok wrote a response to a blog post on the "Chick Who Give a Puck" website, and that got a lot of discussion going. Some ladies took it as a slap in the face, others are ok with what was said. Me personally, I thought the article was somewhat biased & a little condescending. I know where to look for merchandise. I get a "Shop NHL" catalog in the mail, I go to my local sporting goods stores . I visit my team's pro shop (was actually just there yesterday, and let me tell ya ladies, the pickin's were slim to none- unless you wanted a pink, rhinestone covered, jersey). So, I don't need a rep from Reebok to tell me that I am oblivious to the fact that there are women's cut jerseys in team colors out there. I've seen them around, but jerseys are not the point of contention.

To prove my point, I went to to see what the breakdown of product looked like. I'll use the Predators page for reference since they are my team of choice. Here are the 41 items listed for the women's section (excluding jerseys): 17 of those items are not "clothing", but purses, jewelry, etc.

The jersey page: Out of 19 items, there are 3 women's jerseys. One is the new "champagne" style (*shudder*), one is the screen printed Ice Flirt style. Only one is an authentic style jersey.

Now to the men's page:
Out of 72 items, 21 are not clothing.

So you can see, the men have way more to choose from than we do. After my visit to the Bridgestone Arena yesterday to go to the pro shop, I can tell you that the selection is even more dismal there. I saw 1 ladies style shirt on a clearance rack, they had 1 women's 3rd jersey (in the window for display), the pink, rhinestoned jersey, and maybe 6 or 7 shirts. Of those, only one or two looked like they were for women, not little girls. That is not including a few hats/tote bags/general merchandise items. Of course the biggest selection right now is still the player
t-shirts that line the front window. Lucky for me I found a few shirts in a men's medium, so I didn't leave empty handed. It was just eye opening after talking to the other girls to see what kind of selection is really out there for us.

So, what DO women want? More sizes (including plus sizes), better quality merchandise, and most of all OPTIONS! No need to do away with the glitter & rhinestones, as that appeals to some women. But for the women who prefer traditional to glitzy, give us more options, please!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Campaigning for Change

I was going to write my next couple of posts on NHL players I love to hate and love in general (no, not that way!), but something more important has taken over tonight.

So, my friend Rebecca (@TigerPredsChick) finally vocalized what a lot of female fans are feeling these days. You see, as the game grows, the female fan base grows along with it, and not just because we think the players are hot or that we are trying to score with them. We are REAL fans, we love the game, love our team, and live and die with wins and losses, just like the guys do. The problem is, where the guys have unlimited access to hockey merchandise that fits, us ladies are at a loss, unless we want "girly, pink, sparkly" stuff. Don't get me wrong, I like pink. It's a nice color, but not my style for hockey paraphernalia (unless it's for cancer awareness). I like to support my team in THEIR colors, not some bedazzled cutesy jersey. Hockey is not cute, it's a kick ass sport. There are hits and fights, broken bones from Shea Weber slap shots, trash talk and name calling. Somewhere in this equation, I don't see pink jerseys. Besides, bloodstains would show up really well on pink and white.

So Rebecca finally became fed up with the limited access we female fans have to NHL merchandise and decided to do something about it. With help from some of us other lady fans, she started a movement that is slowly picking up steam. Via Facebook, a page was created to get other female fans to band together and show the NHL that we need more options.

This is a topic a lot of us are passionate about. Up until now, I have only owned "men's cut", mostly because that was all that would fit me. Now, I'm ready to purchase new, female cut merchandise, but the selection is lacking and the pricing is ridiculous. Not to mention that some of the stuff is just downright hideous. We want the same items you guys have, just in sizes made for us! Listen up, NHL, we have money to spend if you give us what we want!

The movement has begun...hopefully we can get the attention of the NHL and show them that women want to show their team pride too, just not in glitter and girly colors. Thanks to Rebecca for getting us started, and to Rachel (@racheladdison) & Angelica (@ReinaDeLaIsla) too! C'mon ladies (and gents) join us in making a statement to help market the greatest game on Earth! And if anyone wants opinions for merchandise women want (ahem, Preds front office), I know several great women that will be more than eager to help!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Time

Funny how my last post 4 months ago was from our last regular season series with the Blackhawks. Sorry I've neglected this for so long, but life gets in the way sometimes. Plus,there are many more knowledgable & reputable writers out there that have kept everyone up to speed on the season.

I logged back in today and re-read all of my previous posts. Some were filled with so much excitement, some were filled with heartbreak. At this time, I am at a crossroads with my emotions. Am I excited we made the playoffs?!?-you betcha! Am I emotionally drained after yesterday's game??- you know it. Mere seconds are all that kept us from taking the lead in the series and giving ourselves the opportunity to advance to the second round with a win in front of the home crowd. Needless to say, it was very disappointing.

So what do we do now? I for one know that I am going to give it all I have tomorrow night while at the game. I will cheer, I will scream, I will clap, and I will do my absolute best to will this team to victory. The question is- will the team do the same? It's beyond time for some of these guys to step up and play with the heart and desire the rest of the team has. Marty has it. Leggy has it. Sully has it. Grebs has it. Does Jason have it? JP? What about the coaching staff- do they have it? I was very disappointed to hear a certain coach call out the crowd Thursday night. Give us something to cheer about, coach- like a power play that converts.

So it's time. The 7th man has been loud and proud this season and during these playoffs. It's time our guys were loud and proud on the ice. It's time to bring it, boys. Not just a few of you-all of you. Dig deep, skate fast, hit hard. Yesterday is over- you can't go back and change it. You have lived to fight another day. Bring it, and I promise the rest of us will do our part and rock the arena. It's time.....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home and Home Heartbreak vs. Chicago

Wow, it's been awhile since my last post. Luckily the craziness of holidays in retail is over for another 11 months, so I will hopefully be able to update more.

What a heartbreaker of a home and home series. Last night's game was so disappointing. A sell out crowd, just waiting to go crazy, and the team looked like they were skating in sand. We were pushed around all night, only able to score one goal (that almost wasn't-thanks Toronto!). With only one shot on goal from our "big guns" (Arnott, Sullivan, & Dumont) we really struggled offensively. Even though we've been able to get scores from our other lines, as the "leaders" of this team, I just expect more.

Tonight we came out strong, scoring first and playing like the Predators of late. We looked alive, not just standing around watching the Hawks all night. But due to penalties, defensive breakdowns, and struggles in goal, we come up short again. This game was at least exciting up until the end (and after, thanks to Seabrook), but was more heartbreaking than the game last night. When it seemed we had given up, two goals in less than one minute breathed new life into our guys, and you could almost feel like you could breathe, that surely there was a chance. It was not to be. The Predators needed this game to stay close to Chicago in the division. Now, because of the compressed schedule, we have seen the last of Chicago for the regular season, and made it much harder on ourselves in what is probably the toughest division in the NHL.

Not to take away from the run we have had recently, but we have got to find some heart. Tonight, I saw some. Last night, none at all. This doesn't end our run at a playoff spot, but it does make it harder. We cannot afford to lose these division games. Chicago is a great team, but we have beaten them before, and could have again.

Some observations: I think we miss Tootoo and Smithson more than anyone imagined we would. Toots brings a certain energy to the game, and while he is not the best all around player, he has shown some changes in his game this season that have been for the better. Hopefully Jordin will return soon and bring some of that energy back to the team. Smithson has been a real surprise for me this season. He has been nothing short of a beast. Losing him has really hurt our penalty kill, and with as many penalties we have taken lately, it hurt to lose Smithers. Patric Hornqvist continues to impress, and my boy Spinderella has gone on a pretty good tear here recently. Goaltending has been questionable the last few games, and for a team that is known for being a "defense first" team, our defense has been awful. Suter has been pretty invisible this season, in my opinion, and Webs doesn't seem to be himself. Hamhuis and Klein? I think we've covered that in previous posts and really don't see the need in repeating myself. Boullion has been good, and Franson decent. Sometimes Franson looks scared to handle the puck, and then he turns around and plays like he did tonight. Sulzer hasn't played enough for me to get a good read on him. I am really worried about our defense.

So what do we need to do to get back to the style of play that has had the league scratching their heads and wondering where these guys came from? I wish I knew. Right now, I just want to go to bed and sleep off the disappointment and hope for a better outcome Tuesday night.

Until next time.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who Are These Guys....

And what have they done with the Predators from earlier this season? Don't get me wrong- I'm loving these guys! In my almost month long absence from the blogging world, I've seen the team make a huge turnaround and get back to playing "our game". Highlights for me have been (of course) the seven game win streak, the great play against the Capitals (where the tides began to turn), "Movember", beating the Wings (even if they are missing half their roster), power play goals, short handed goals, not taking stupid penalties (except for Belak's hook on Jared Boll's boys- it was funny though), new 3rd jerseys, and all around great play recently from the guys. The last few weeks have been a lot of fun- but it's always fun when you're winning!

In other news, I'd like to congratulate members of my so-called Preds Family- Jamie & Melissa- on the birth of their triplets. Peyton, Chloe, and Jake are doing well, and I am so excited for them!

I'm loving the "Movember" movement. I always get a good laugh at players and their playoff beards, but some of the mustaches our guys are sporting are darn near hilarious! Arny's Fu Man Chu looks good on him, JP looks like Wyatt Earp, Sully & Weber look like there is a caterpillar under their noses, and Hammer- well it just makes me laugh! Off topic, but I'm thinking a little "Can't Touch This" is in order for Hammer's theme song-- Stop! Hammer Time!

Lastly, I have been so impressed with Jordin Tootoo's play of late. The way he drew penalties against the Devils was awesome. I like to see him fight, but it's more fun to watch him get under the other team's skin. But, when it's time to go, it's time to go. Florida's McArdle obviously didn't know what he was getting into last night, goading Toot's into not one but two fights. Toot's got the last laugh, though. When you mess with the bull, you're gonna get the horns. Glad that Trotz was cool about it, even stating that it was a "bad move" on McArdle's part to start up with Toots a second time. Toots has now passed Scott Hartnell on the Predators all time penalty minute list. How McArdle was not called for an instigator last night is beyond me, but with both fights leading to five minutes for each participant, at least we didn't give them an advantage.

I hope to update this more, but this time of year is especially busy for me. Working in retail during the holiday season tends to leave one exhausted and not feeling much like blogging. So, if I don't update again soon, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Until next time....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hockey Fights Cancer/Preds vs. Hawks (again)

Thursday's game could not have come faster. Two weeks without hockey in person is too dang long. Unfortunately, we're gonna experience that again after Saturday. Anyway, after a road win against Minnesota Wednesday night (which was pretty ugly, by the way) I was worried about how we would come out against Chicago.

Thursday night was also Hockey Fights Cancer night. I know that cancer has personally touched my life several times, and it means a lot to me that the NHL is committed to joining the fight. It was great to see Chase Donnell's parents there, selling their cookbooks. If anyone has a link to a website to order those, please pass it on. Our guys really make me proud with the way they get involved with these kids. JP's suite was filled with pediatric cancer patients, and he met with them after the game. The ceremonial puck drop brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations, Trace, on making it through treatment- all while still participating in athletics. The smile on his face when he heard the cheers for him was priceless. It makes you remember that all in all, hockey is still just a game. A kid with cancer makes hockey seem pretty insignificant. Sully gained even more of my love when he gave Trace his stick. I love that our guys are so involved in the community.

Some observations:
~Erat scratched? I know it has since come out that he is "injured"- was that injury to his ego?

~ Legwand, while he didn't score, was really buzzing around. It was nice to see him hustle and play hard, and I don't think I called him names once.

~Bouillon played great, in my opinion. He isn't afraid to shoot. Granted nothing really came close, but you can't score if you don't shoot. I'm really happy that we picked him up.

~Scatchard is really standing out. For a guy who didn't play for a long stretch, I think he has added a spark to the team.

~Ward- way to be in front of the net! Congrats on the goal, and stay down there!

~Smithson is playing exceptionally hard, and has been rewarded w/ two short handed goals in as many nights. Glad to see him progressing.

~Hamhuis- I don't know what is going on there. Maybe he needs to see a sports shrink.

~Sully just looks gun shy out there. I don't know what is going on, but he is not the same Sully from last season.

~Pekka stood on his head and shutout probably the best team in the division, maybe even the conference. It was nice to see his confidence back.

~Defense overall- I saw a lot more hustle and a ton more help in front of the net. Blocking shots, throwing bodies on the ice to prevent goals, it was almost like old times.

~Offense overall- still not seeing a lot of traffic in front of the net, but I did like seeing more shots being taken. The power play is still sluggish (I, know. What's new?) and not creating chances. I don't care who you are- when you've got a two man advantage- you should score.

My biggest question now is about chemistry. I know Trotz is doing everything he can to get a spark, but it worries me that we are changing lines so much. With all the call ups and send downs, it's gonna be hard to get some of these guys clicking. Who is going to be where when Arnott and Tootoo get back? Not knowing the full extent of Erat's injury makes for some guessing games, too. I just hope we can find some good combinations and that we keep building on Thursday's game. Up next, the Dallas Stars (again), then a west coast road trip. We really need to get some momentum going before leaving out. Here's hoping we play as well as we did Thursday!

Until next time....