by Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent
Before I start, I have to make a confession: I have a bizarre loathing of costumed characters. Yeah, I know, not the best neurosis to harbor when you work around professional sports. Ask various people in my life where this began and you will hear theories like the one suggesting that my mother was frightened by mummers while she was carrying me.¹
Others insist that in my youth I must have had a bad romance with a B*g G B***y at O******d.²
I maintain that the origins for this are:
1.) I worked for a legal eneffpee as their outreach wonk for a while and sometimes on my break I would walk through the Arcade, an old proto-mall in downtown Nashville. Invariably I would encounter this guy:
It didn’t matter how many people were getting their picture taken with Mr. P****t. It didn’t matter who he was talking to or what he was doing. Mr. P****t always found time in his busy schedule to make me want to fast-walk my fat butt out of the Arcade. This is why I aways buy Blue Diamond nuts.
2.) There’s also the whole “I graduated from Western Kentucky University and all I got was this lousy baccalaureate!” business.³ And the mascot? What IS that thing?† No, really, I have a degree in anthropology and I heard better struggles to explain what anthropology is than anyone’s attempt to enlighten the student body about the genus of WKU’s mascot.†† Why am I bring all of this up? Is it because I don’t want to write about this week’s games? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I just want to express my filial, little-old-lady love for Jordin Tootoo.
For those of you who haven’t been to the games, they have these segments that they play on the jumbotron. Sometimes you do get to see them on TV. Given the broadcast coverage the Predators have gotten this year,‡ chances are good that you haven’t. So at some point before the 28th, they gave Wade Belak a camera crew. Yes, we know what happens when they give Wade Belak a camera crew. Mayhem ensues. You also may know how in the past they have shown Gnash
jumping out and scaring various staffers, wonks, etc. This year they showed him jumping out of a large box at various players. After seeing a number of players jump, flinch and one guy screaming like a girl‡‡ they showed Tootoo approaching the box, Gnash leaping out and Tootoo delivering a hard punch to his fiberglass head. Dear Mister Tootoo, I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
So I guess I am not going to get through this without writing about the games, am I?
St. Louis at Nashville, October 28th, 2010
It was hard. It was, as Blue Jackets writer Jeff Little would say, ugly. Predsnation’s heart cracked just a bit to see Rinne drop to the ice in weariness and frustration after his unsuccessful attempt at stopping Berglund’s shot from getting into the net.
The high points from a Nashville perspective… Kostitsyn is fun to watch. He lights up on the ice the way Bouillon and Savard do. He’s all energy when he gets out there. (Thank you, Mr. Poile. I had my doubts after reading about his stint in Montreal, but he seems like a perfect fit for Nashville. I hope he sticks around.) Wilson and Legwand had some elegant moments in terms of stick and puck handling that night. Watching Legwand and Johnson spar for the puck was like watching a very good fencing match. O’Reilly, Sullivan and Hornqvist played like the elite guys that the Predators sometimes forget they are.
It ended with a 0-3 shutout. It’s done. Moving on…
Nashville at Detroit, October 30th, 2010
Pete and Terry (but no Mark. Paul McC. must have been busy that night‡ mentioned that some of the players had been frustrated with the slow starts that had been plaguing the team. Unfortunately, it seemed like they ran out of momentum fairly quickly, only to pick up speed and strength in the last two minutes. It was maddening to see all of the great parts not coalesce into a strong collective force against Detroit. Some heroic moves by Hornqvist and Sullivan and a desperation blast from the Weber Cannon in the last minutes of the third period couldn’t save the night for Nashville. Quoting the Tao of Crisp again: “It was too little, too late.”
What can I say at this point? As a fan, I’m disappointed. As a writer who has observed this team from pre-camp-camp onward and has seen just how good they can be, I still have faith that they and the coaching staff can pull everything back together. Be patient, Predsnation. They’re nowhere near done.
1. Having missed being born in Philadelphia by about a week means that there is probably some alternate universe version of me walking around, talking with a heavy Philly accent and throwing herself at the glass at Wells Fargo Center while screaming, “I love you, Scotty Hartnell!”
2. Nope. We all knew they were perverts who wanted nothing more than twenty minutes alone with the puppets from the kiddie area.
3. Real sign that used to be at the TN/KY state line: “Kentucky! Where education pays!” I guess they got tired of me posting pictures of various former classmates holding up signs underneath it that said “minimum wage”, “in popcorn and Bluegrass Mint Patties”, and “occasionally”. The new signs say “Kentucky! Unbridled spirit!” Weeee!
†. A Topper? What, pray tell, is a Topper? A hematoma? Big Red? Okay, he does look a little like a chewed wad of Big Red gum. Good enough for me. Problem solved. Thank you!
††. We’ve all seen Duncan struggle to define anthropology on “Community”. The reality isn’t too far from that. They give you three or four approximate definitions and you get to pick one. Seriously, ask any anthropologist.
‡.) I was going to say that the absence of Pete and Terry (and Mark) was a sign that the PTB just aren’t showing that many games. But I’ve actually met Pete and Terry. I swear I have never laid eyes on (and Mark ), although one of the guys from Hockey Independent swears he got a glimpse of him a couple of weeks ago. I have this theory that he’s really Paul McCann and a CGI program. Have you ever seen them together? I rest my case.
‡‡.) Someone else is going to have to rat out the screamer.