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....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preds vs. Bruins

Colin Wilson returns to Boston tonight- hope he does well! I'm jealous of my friends John, Mike, and Ed who are 17 rows behind the penalty box tonight. Two weeks is just too long between home games! Will miss Arnie tonight, but no excuses, guys. Boston is playing w/out Savard (another blow to my fantasy team...) and I guarantee they will bring it hard. Our guys need to bring it harder!

Period 1:
Like the intensity I'm seeing so far. Legwand is actually looking good! He played awesome against the Bruins when they were here in February, so hopefully he will find his rhythm tonight. Awesome goal by Smithson- Legwand made the move and Smitters was there to bury it! Klein- please don't shoot from the blue line. Glad to see them trying something new on D- splitting up Weber & Suter. I love them together, but I am interested to see how this works, since I wrote about it in a previous post (and I didn't get to see it Saturday night). Tim Thomas is an outstanding goalie- just robbed Shea with an awesome glove save. WOW!!! Look at Colin mixing it up! Way to hold your own, kid! O'Reilly robbed by the post- that was a hard shot!!! Great first period! Good discipline and pretty good hockey. Nice to go into intermission with the lead! Congrats, Cody Franson on your first NHL point (assist).

Period 2:
Seconds in, the Bruins have scored. The linesman should be credited with an assist. Let's not have our second period slump!! Good play in front of the net by Weber. We need more people in front of the net. (As I say that, JP almost buries one) Great presence in front of the net this power play- we didn't score, but I thought we played that one well. WOOO HOOOO!!! Hornqvist- nice job of driving it in instead of the old "dump & chase"! Wilson in great position on that one. Goal goes to Wilson- his first NHL goal! Great that it came in Boston with his friends & family there. It was only a matter of time before he scored. I hope to see a LOT more of that from him. So far, I'm still liking the intensity, and loving that the kids (Wilson, Franson, Hornqvist) are killing it tonight! Great idea on the backward pass by Smithson, but nobody home. I'd love to see Wardo get a goal tonight. Just like that, tied again. We are playing much better than recent games, but the power play is still struggling. At least we're taking more shots. I'm hearing Erat's name a lot tonight- in a GOOD way! Good second period. Hate that we let them back in the game, but this may be the best I've seen the entire team play this season so far. Hope we keep the heat on in the third!

Period 3:
Well we made it through a little more than 40 minutes without a penalty, pretty good discipline for our guys. Great job on the penalty kill with no shots for the Bruins. Sullivan is playing hard- wish something would fall for him. Another penalty for us- hope we didn't save all of them for the third. Boston is playing really hard so far. Another good penalty kill by us, and again no shots for the Bruins. I always forget just how BIG Zdeno Chara is until he parks himself in front of the net. Congrats to Wade Belak on game #500. The footage of him manning the drive-thru at McDonald's was kinda funny. Bruins take the lead as another referee gets in the way. Wonder how he'll feel tomorrow after big Shea Weber ran him over. We look really frazzled and a little sloppy now. Need to regroup and play like we did the first two periods. Nice shot by Klein- I hope he can turn things around after his really rough start this season. A lot of hard hitting this period by both teams. Erat so close! Nice rush to the net again. Scatchard seems to have a big target on him, seems like the Bruins have been after him all night. Good rush at the net, but time just ran out on us. Preds lose 3-2.

Overall, I think we played much better. A "complete" game, if you will. We just need to build on this. I saw some real fight in our guys tonight, and, even though we lost, we can take some positives from this and hold our heads up. A loss sucks, but I can deal with a loss if we are playing hard and trying! Tonight is definitely a loss I can stomach.

Don't know how much of tomorrow's game I will get to see. Hope I get home for at least half of it. Until next time....

P.S. I love Colin Wilson- his post game interviews make me smile :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Preds vs. Blackhawks (The "Brother Can you Spare a Dime" Edition)

Last night the Chicago Blackhawks came to town. Usually I'm not so worried about playing them, we usually play well against them. Right now, though, we are not playing good hockey, so it had the potential to be a disaster and I went in a little apprehensive. I was especially excited to be there, though, as it was Steve Sullivan night! In my short time as a Preds addict, I had heard great things about the man we call Sully, but for the first little while, it was all legend as I had never seen him play. I was there last January as he made his remarkable comeback to hockey, and from then on, he has been my favorite. It was so awesome to see him recognized not only by our fans, but by the NHL for his perseverance. It's been such an honor to meet him and have the ability to personally thank him for coming back to our organization. Not to sound too fangirly, but when Sully tweeted "House not for Sale" on his twitter account (@sully26 if you want to follow him) I was literally jumping up and down in my office! So, thanks Sully, for feeding my addiction even more, and congratulations to you for the Masterson win and for willing your way back onto the ice. You are an inspiration, and will always be this fan's favorite!

Now, onto the game. Little Baby Predator Colin Wilson made his first NHL start tonight! So excited for him. I really like the WWE line the more I see them together. It won't be long (preferably sooner than later!) that these guys start clicking and scoring some goals. I thought we came out hungry in the first period, and for the most part, stayed hungry.

Unfortunately, Chicago took advantage of us and scored two quick goals. Shades of Monday & Wednesday came back in a hurry, and the life went out of the arena. The guys kept fighting, and finally, we got on the board with a goal from Marty (Spinderella, Tiny Dancer) Erat. Just like that, we were right back in it. The guys kept fighting, but a late goal by Chicago sealed the deal, and we lose 3-1. I felt better about this loss (if you can feel good about a loss) because we played hard for the most part, and didn't get the wind knocked completely out of us when they went up 2-0. 12 shots on goal, though, is not good enough. I saw several "whiffs" out there, and puck management was off all night.

Random thoughts:
Goc looked pretty good

Is it time to split Suter & Weber up? Maybe pair one good D man w/ a lesser D man?

The guys looked too tense- and I know they should be with the way things are going right now. But, it seemed to me like they were playing scared. I agree with what Rachel said @ What the Puck.... remember what it was like to play as a kid? No worries, playing for fun. We need to get back to that. (Hope you don't mind me using your words!) I know this is the "Big Time"- but you can be too loose or too tense at times. Play YOUR game guys! It's gonna get better. I believe.

What's up w/ the wave? I think it's time for all sports teams to retire the wave. Really, it's lame.

A big thank you to the guy by the penalty box who taunted Patrick Kane with money. Hilarious. I tweeted Paul McCann to ask the crew to play "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" for Mr. Kane, but no luck. So thank you, Mr. Taunter, for at least getting a dig in on Kane.

Up next, the Capitals. I'm really ticked that we aren't showing the game locally. Love him or hate him, Alex Ovechkin is a joy to watch (personally I like the guy), and I'm jealous of those who traveled to Washington to see the game. Even if it was on, my women's sorority (Delta Zeta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi) is hosting a poker tournament fundraiser Friday night, so I'll be busy. Maybe I can sneak in my pocket radio so I can keep up. Hope we play better and get a little confidence back. Two weeks is a long time to wait for a home game, so give us something to look forward to when you get back!

Until next time....

Everything's Bigger & Better in Texas...

Ok, so maybe not, but the Stars were definitely the better team on Wednesday night. After thinking losing 6-1 was bad, and that things would get better, the Stars crushed those hopes with a 6-0 win over the Predators. I made the joke that night that we were the Nashville Pre_at_rs- all that is missing is the O & the D. That night it was truth, as there was no offense or defense whatsoever. The pairing of Hamhuis & Klein was pathetic, the offense all looked out of sorts. Poor Dan & Pekka- it's gotta be hard playing with no support in front of you. The only thing that looked somewhat good was the WWE line (Wilson, Ward, Erat). I like that we finally split Legwand and Spinderella (Erat) up. I think Wilson is gonna be a beast once he gets used to everything. I could go into everything bad, but that would make this post longer than necessary, and I honestly don't want to relive the entire game again. Up next, the Blackhawks!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Buffalo Sabres & Edmonton Oilers

What a crappy couple of nights in Smashville. Saturday night brought the Sabres to town, and way too many of their fans to our barn. True, it's butts in the seats, but I can't stand when the opposing team's fans are as loud as we are. Pekka got the start, and was pretty much the only person who showed up for our team in a 1-0 loss in the final minutes of the game. 40 saves on 41 shots is pretty damn impressive. We looked flat out there, and to me, it was a yawner of a game. Maybe I was just tired from work, but I didn't feel any excitement at all. Not to mention I sat next to the world's most annoying child (and his equally annoying father) and had to bite my tongue all night.

Mike Grier's goal took what little life was left out of the building. Our top line had some close shots there at the end, but nothing fell. I give them props for shooting the puck and being the only line so far to score any goals. Pekka stood on his head and did all he could to keep us in the game. We were just outplayed. Buffalo did a great job of keeping the puck away from us, and outshot us by a pretty good margin (not a stats junkie, so I don't have the exact numbers- I leave that to Dirk). My take on shots is to keep shooting- something has to fall! (Maybe I'm wrong, as you will read later). Overall a disappointing loss, but we can't win them all.

Monday night brought the Edmonton Oilers to town. Little Baby Predator Colin Wilson was finally going to make his debut with the big boys. I rushed home from work to get my camera so I could get some pics of this.... one day I can say I was there when he started his career. We get downtown and went to park in our usual lot. Major problem- our lot was being used for valet parking for the Symphony Center (not even gonna try to spell the name!) The valet working the lot was mute, and the frustration began to set in- he couldn't tell us why we couldn't park, and time for pics at warmups was running out. The beginning of a bad night- should've recognized the sign. We get parked and I hightailed it into the arena and down to a section on the glass- only to see 3 players getting ready to leave the ice-none of them being Wilson. I hear he looked excited and comfortable, and I'm pretty ticked that I missed it. Luckily Shannon got some pics, and is going to email them, but it's not the same. I did get some of his first official shift, though.

Grabbed a drink & headed to the seats. I don't know much about our history against the Oilers, but I knew that they aren't one of the best teams, so I'm thinking this should be a decent game. Boy was I wrong. The most entertaining part of the first period was watching Triston Grant & Stortini go at it. I don't know what started it, but pretty good fight. It went on longer than I expected, with both guys looking pretty tired at the end. By the end of the first period, we were down 4-0, Peks was pulled, and I was off to find another drink.

I'm not gonna go into all the details of the rest of the game- Pred Nation already knows the story. My theory on shots was shot down, though, as we outshot the Oilers by a 2-1 margin. and lost 6-1. Jason Arnott with the lone goal, and the top line keeps its scoring streak alive. I was surprised to see Erat shoot as much as he did, but ice dancing seems to be his favorite sport, still. Hamhuis is really struggling, he and Klein don't communicate well. I know their pairing is new to them, but they need to figure something out. Legwand was his usual crappy self. I just don't understand. I thought Wilson tried hard, as did Ward. Peks & Elly both gave up the goals, but I can't place the blame entirely on them.... no defense, no one helping out. No offense, no one hardly going to the net, missing breakaways, over passing. It's gonna be tough to win another one in Dallas Wednesday, and then the talent heavy Blackhawks come to town Thursday. I hope we can get it together. We can't afford to start slow like we did last year, only to have to make it up in the second half of the season. I know it's only the 4th game, but with the wonky schedule due to the Olympics, we have to do better. Last night=massive fail. I hope the rest of the week is better.

Until next time.....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meet the Team & Home Opener vs. Colorado

I've fallen behind in this, so I'm gonna do all I can to get caught up.

I attended my first Meet the Team party this past Tuesday night. I wasn't sure what to expect from this event, but was excited to be able to go. Now, I am not the "puckbunny" or fan girl type. I love hockey because I love the game. Yes, some of the guys are hot, but that's just an added bonus. I've met athletes and famous people- all part of living in Nashville- so I wasn't thinking about it being any different than everyday life. I was wrong. First of all, I became very "fan girly" after meeting Shea Weber and getting to see Sully again. I did it again when I met Arnott (ok, so he's pretty good looking- I am a woman, after all!). I hope that when I told him that I loved seeing him hit people, he didn't get offended. I broke the "rules" twice and got pictures with Weber & Arnott. I had the best time. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to every table. Next year I won't be waiting for anyone else (love ya, Shannon, but I'm leaving you in the pro shop next year!).

The lines were long, but moved pretty quickly. I liked being able to go to the tables I wanted to visit. have to say the lines for Weber/Sully, Arnott, and Tootoo were the longest. All in all, I met 13 players and missed 10 (really 9, since JP couldn't make it- but I met him this summer, so it all worked out). I was impressed with Patric Hornqvist- I think he made the most effort to speak to everyone. Kevin Klein was especially nice and seemed to be really good with the kids. Pekka seemed shy, but was very gracious (plus, I love the accent). Shea was very nice (and very tall!), and Sully was his usual approachable self. Tootoo was thanking everyone in his line for coming, which I thought was unusual since we were there to see him, not the other way around. It just shows you how much these guys love the fans. Colin Wilson seemed happy to just be there and was laughing and joking around with us- can't wait to see him in action! Laakso & Santorelli were both pretty quiet, as were Ward (loved the hat!) & Goc. Ryan Jones has got to have one of the best smiles ever. I appreciate the guys for being so nice to me and everyone else, and for being approachable. Thank you to the Predators organization for allowing us to get up close to the team. It was something I'll always remember. I know of no other sports franchise that allows you to have that kind of interaction with the team. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

Now, on to opening night. I have been waiting a long time for the first home game. As a full season ticket holder for the first time, I know there are lots of games to be played. But opening night at home is pretty special. The atmosphere is different- more electric- almost like when we play the Red Wings. The opening video was cool, but a little long a not a lot of "pump up the crowd" feel to it. I loved the "Rivalry" video before the February 28, 2009 Red Wings game- it gave me chills and helped the crowd get pumped. This video is cool, but not chill inducing.

Dan Ellis in goal again, and I felt good about it. I think Dan is a great competitor and is really going to fight for the #1 spot. The top line looked great (except for missing JP) Hornqvist stepped in and played well with Arny & Sully. As usual, Legwand & Erat did nothing to impress me. (Erat's new nickname= Tiny Dancer) I think we looked like the better team out there, but Colorado was able to stay in it due to some lapses in judgement (Elly- I love you, stop trying to play the puck!) I'll take goals from the top line anyday, and thankfully they were willing to oblige. Arnott with 1 and Hornqvist with 2! I hope Patric can keep it up and prove that he is ready!

Other observations: Hamhuis- what the heck is going on with you??? I hope you get the kinks worked out soon, because we need you! Erat, Legwand- I can't say much to you since no one wants to read a lot of ranting & raving- but I do believe your coach said something about you both needing to step up and score some goals. News flash- go to the net, hustle, quit over passing, over skating, over ice dancing(Marty) and go to the net.

The "Herb Brooks" kid- awesome! I noticed the video has gone global, appearing on CNN.com and NHL.com. Great job, kid! The only thing that would have made that any better would have been if the actual players had been in the locker room listening instead of the in game entertainment, but awesome video none the less!

All in all, glad we came back and won that one. 2-0 to start the season, that's better than the Titans! (Disclaimer: I am not a Titans hater, I believe you can love more than one sport, I just wish both got equal billing in the media) We need to get some kinks worked out soon, but great way to start the season.

Long post, but like I said, gotta get caught up. Until next time....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's Time!!!!

Finally, the puck drops for real tonight in Dallas. So excited to get this season started!!! Ellis gets the start over Rinne and away we go...

Arnott playing pretty good here in the first, a goal and (OMG) some HITS!!! I had to use the rewind on the DVR to see it again!

What is with the Care Bears on the back of Ellis' helmet?

Way to kill that 5 on 3... need to watch the penalties.

Ellis looking pretty sharp so far. Legwand & Erat, not so much. Liking Goc & Bouillon so far. Think we should yell Goc-ya (Get it, gotcha) after he scores! Pretty good period by our guys going into the first intermission.

Second period slump....Dallas is all over us.

Hope JP is ok, don't need him to have a concussion. Is it too much to ask that we get to keep our top line together for a while????

Glad Hammer seems ok.

Wow, we really look bad this period. The puck has been in their end way too much.

SULLY!!!!! The best way to get back at them for the hit on JP is to score!

Noooo.... I hate when we give up goals in the waning seconds of the period. They were all over us this period, hitting hard and bringing the pressure. Need to come out hard in the 3rd!

Elly- I love you, but stop trying to play the puck. Just like that, tie game. Dallas not laying off.

Stupid penalties..... keep your stick on the ice!

Nice save, Elly.

Dangit, Jonesy!

Good penalty kill, and great job by Suter to get the puck and put it on net.

More hits by Arnott! Loving it!

We look rough!

WOW!! Just an inch away!! Great idea from Arnott to Hornqvist

Penalty to Dallas for slashing.

Keep the pressure on!

Where the crap was the penalty? Tripping, much?

Going to OT... let's do this!

PP still needs work, but what else is new?

Bad call, that was not a hook.

Looks like Modano is hurt.

Good pressure, where has that been for the last two periods?

Survived the OT..... now for the most nerve wracking thing in all of sports....the shoot out. Sully, Goc, and Legwand get the call.

Sully is denied by Turco, but Neal is denied by the dreaded pipe. Ellis never saw that one.

Goc close, but no cigar. Ellis gives up the goal.

Legwand scores!!! Tied up, but Richards up for the Stars. Ellis with the stop!

Erat turned away by Turco. Mike Modano's "back injury" sure did heal quickly, but Ellis with the stop again.

Santorelli up.... and HE SCORES!!!!!

ELLIS!!!!! What a save!!!

And the Predators start the season with a WIN!!! The best thing... we have more points than the Red Wings!!!! LOL!

Hate that we gave Dallas a point tonight, and we GAVE them those goals. Wonder if Peks gets the start next Thursday? We need to work on shots--- we got outshot badly tonight. Impressed with Arnott's play tonight- glad to see him using that big body! Need to get back home, get JP healthy, and get ready for the Avs. I'm so excited!!!! Coming up--- four home games. Wouldn't miss them for the world.

Until next time.....