by Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent
correction: Many thanks to Charlie Jones, who pointed out that Matt Halischuk scored for New Jersey last year!
Welcome to the road mix edition of Greetings from Smashville! The guys are on the road. So far they’ve visited some of the wilder and woollier parts of the western US and then they made a swing up to Edmonton, Alberta for a brief reunion with Ryan “Junkyard” Jones*.
Ca Plane Pour Moi!
(It Goes Well For Me!)
NSH @ PHX January 18th, 2011
Okay, technically the game in Edmonton on the 23rd should have been JP Dumont’s night. After all it was his 800th career game. It didn’t work out that way for a number of reasons; but that’s okay because Dumont had one heck of a Sunday evening duel with the Desert Dogs and came out on top with a win that included his first hat trick with the Predators and Nashville’s first hat trick of the season.
The other goals in that five to two win over the Cactus Curs were delivered courtesy of
a big, happy Swedish bear in a Predators uniform Patric Hornqvist. NHL pundits love to talk about the number of facewashes Hornqvist gets in a season, but they’re missing the core of how he plays. Really watch him next game or better yet, next open practice. P-Qvist is one threat of being made to sit still by Coach Peterson away from skating up to the opposing blue liners and screaming “RAWR!”
I’m all right, don’t nobody worry about me!
NSH @ COL January 20th, 2011
The O’Reilly on O’Reilly** matchup that fans were looking for didn’t happen. The bugbear that has plagued both teams this year is to blame. Cal has his leg in a cast while Ryan is recuperating from a header he took into a dasherboard with some assistance earlier this month. Not that I blame either player for taking a pass this go-round.
In spite of the drive for points and standing, the narrative wasn’t about where the teams were going, but where they had been. This was one of deepest concentrations of former NCAA players on the ice this season, with players representing the cream of collegiate ice while wearing pro laundry. In the end, Nashville bested the Rocky Mountain Yeti, five to one. Goals came from kids like Matt Halischuk and veterans like First Gen Big Cat David Legwand.
One person didn’t get what they wanted that night. In the third period Rinne was denied a shutout by Matt Duchene. Would this make the Great Wall of Finland that much more determined? Keep reading.
Tuo se, nartut!
NSH @ EDM January 23rd, 2011
The hype was about Dumont’s 800th game and the Disney endings belonged to Alexander Sulzer, who got his first NHL goal and an assist and a much deserved star of the game and Cody Franson, who first star of the game, a goal and the winning turn at the shootout. However, the most compelling story was between the pipes.
Edmonton proved to be a tough opponent for Nashville. Trotz, in his Buddha-like wisdom stressed to the team and the media that he expected everyone to take nothing for granted where the Oilers were concerned. While the team might be heeding his advice, they seemed to be leaving Rinne a little too much on his own. Every close call, every too-easy turnover was followed with a shot of Rinne furiously grabbing his water bottle or tapping his stick impatiently as he got into position for the next onslaught, all while glaring at the Oilers’ end of the rink as if to say, “Bring it, bitches!”
Tough games make for good television but the payoff for Rinne was to be found long after the contest had outlasted regulation time. Every to-the-sole gratifying “Ei!” he got to tender to every comer wearing blue and rust during the shootout was an answer to the frustration that came from seeing the lantern lit as a puck got past him. He didn’t even pause after deflecting an attempted delivery from WonderMunchkin Taylor Hall before skating out and raising his stick triumphantly. Now that, as they say in my knitting group, was effin’ badass.
What’s next? More adventures north of the border as Nashville goes to Calgary, where Terry Crisp gets some love from the old school Flames fans and then it’s on to Vancouver where they’ll say hey to Hammer and the Green Men.
This is Jas Faulkner hoping everyone stays warm this week, sending get well vibes to her sniffly masthead mates and gearing up to ‘splain more about this thing called Bridgestone Arena. I’ll be seeing you at the ‘Stone and the ‘Plex and online at Facebook and Twitter!
*Cute, sweet, doofy Little Ryan Jones? They call him…JUNKYARD? Oy. They grow up so fast…
** No, Cal and Ryan O’Reilly aren’t Staals. There are other siblings playing in the NHL. If you need a point of reference, they’re kind of like Staals, only less likely to flick boogers on your cat.