By Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent
In Which We Are Visited By Coyote, Wakdjunga, Hershele Ostropoler, Amaguj, Iktomi, Veles, Bugs Bunny, Krishna, Loki, Ananse, Eshu, Bamapana, And A Slew Of Others With Mischief In Mind
During Week Nine, the Trickster God was operating at full force and the outcome was never as clear as one would anticipate. It always starts with smaller, more personal signs that there are no forgone conclusions to even the simplest acts. Last Tuesday night in the media lounge was an excellent example.
I went into the media area washroom to find the toilet seat up. Okay, not a new thing and an occupational hazard that comes with covering sports when you work around people who have Y chromosomes. I thought, “Oh bleh,” hooked my foot inside the top of the seat to lower it, slipped and ended up slamming the thing hard as I landed on my back.
I could not, under any amount of duress, duplicate or explain how I accomplished this. There’s nothing like the abject fear that arena security will break down the door to find you on your back in front of a toilet with the broken seat hanging from your left ankle.¹
The Trickster permeated many corners of Predsnation and this was most obvious in the back and forth nature of the matches.
It’s not a miracle we needed, and no, I wouldn’t let you think so…
Phoenix at Nashville November 30th, 2010
November being November and Nashville being Nashville, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there is a lot of top-tier talent on the Predators’ roster. There was little need for any kind of intervention, as the sort of talent former captain Jason Arnott referred to last season made itself known on the ice.
Pekka Rinne added another shutout to what looks to be a pretty amazing career record. For the whole night it looked like the puck was attached to a bungee cord that ended in Rinne’s glove. This happened thirty-three times, but who’s counting? Oh, that’s right. We are! The ‘Yotes were practically pitching him the biscuit on their way around the net. Who knows what they were seeing on the other side? Lovely She-Yotes? Ah, the Trickster giveth and the Trickster taketh away, even to his own.
Weber, O’Reilly and Tootoo added to their numbers as well, getting a goal each against the Desert Dogs. Sullivan, Suter, Hornqvist and Smithson (try saying THAT with a lisp, chooches!) added nicely to their numbers with assists, and Ward distinguised himself with some nice, aggressive drives to the net.
It seemed like PHX was collecting penalties the way an eight-year-old collects Bionicles, and it was all fun and stuff, but…but…Vern? We miss ya Bubbie. How could you begrudge us one trip, the Sin Bin, and the dance of denial that precedes it?²
Little Blue Vermette
Nashville at Columbus December 1st, 2010
In spite of an impressive effort by Columbus’ Antione Vermette, Nashville managed to shut down the Bloodges during the shootout with a winning goal delivered by Steve Sullivan. For shootout fans, this was the game of the week, as Nashville unleashed their best and their brightest against the club that tends to refer to the Great White North on the Cumberland as “The Evil Empire”. Whatever, Bloodges. Nashville accepts the compliment and extends a standing invitation for BBQ and beer the next time you’re in town. No tricks, either. This is about hockey, not who can blow the biggest hole in the Death Star. Speaking of that, Wilson, Kostistyn and Klein went all Darth Vader on Columbus with some help from Ratman, O’Reilly and Goc.
Umberger made a couple of assists. The only reason I’m typing this is because it’s fun to say his name.³ Think of a 70s’ sitcom caveman at a drivethrough: Uhhhm-berger! Uuuuhhhhm-berger!
From the Tao of Crisp that night: “It’s good to bring home the bacon!”
Indeed it is, Mister Crisp.
Everyone Knows It’s Lindy!
Carolina at Nashville December 4th, 2010
Loki seemed to be afoot last Friday, as social media among Predsnation was abuzz with the news that Admirals goalie Mike Deckanich was being recalled from Milwaukee. While Dex is an excellent goalie for whom Mitch Korn has uttered nothing but praise, it also meant that something must have happened to either The Great Wall of Finland or That Lindback Moppet. Predizens who follow the net minders were at once happy to see Dex and dreading the news about who was going on IR, and it didn’t take long for word to get around that Rinne (aka “the shorter goalie”) had suffered a lower body injury and would be out for two to four weeks.
Since they’re in the Eastern Conference and Nashville only faces them once a season, it’s easy to forget what’s in store. Carolina is never an easy team to face. Aside from having an excellent goaltender in Cam Ward, they have one of Those Damned Staal Kids on their roster. I’m not even sure which one: Eric? Mark? Harpo? Groucho? Curly? 4
On the goalie front, Cam Ward was a little disappointing, as he seemed more utlitarian than impressive on Saturday. After briefly bungling one possible save that led to the Canes’ first goal, Lindback proved to be spectacular. With the help of Goc, who has been acting as a bodyguard to Nashville’s netguys this season, he kept the Canes’ scores to a minimum. Hornqvist, Weber, Goc, O’Reilly and Sullivan made it rain goals in Nashville on Saturday with help from the usual suspects: Erat, Kostitsyn, Klein, Franson and O’Brien.
Denmaster Head Coach Barry Trotz seemed pleased with his boys on Saturday night. “They were playing hard and playing smart. It came together for us tonight.”
Two thoughts come to mind as I write this final section of this digest: First, nine years old is way too young. Second, there’s no crying in hockey. Okay, there should be no crying in hockey, but sometimes you can’t help it.
Everyone fell in love with nine-year-old Brandi Burton when she made her first appearance as Nashville’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” ambassador in October. Brandi had grown out her hair and donated it to Locks of Love before finding out that she, too, had cancer. I was hoping she would be one of the lucky ones.
The image of her standing before the puck drop in January appeared on the jumbotron last Tuesday, followed by what felt like a full minute before Paul McCann was able to announce that Brandi had lost her fight the previous Sunday morning.
Here in Predsnation, we love seeing kids on the ice but hate to see another memorial jersey displayed in the B Rink at Centennial. Every one of those jerseys is a reminder that the fight is still on and brave kids like Brandi are depending on those of us who are bigger, stronger, and sometimes wordier to do what we can for them.
Brandi will be missed by those who were lucky enough to have had their lives touched by her. Nine years is way too soon. The world has been cheated of someone who was caring and brave and not afraid to make sacrifices in order to help others. On behalf of The Hockey Writers, we wish her family peace and healing.
Do JP Dumont and Steve Sullivan have the biggest hearts in the Predators’ roster? You’re going to find out tomorrow. Stay tuned, Cats and Kittens!
This is Jas Faulkner telling everyone to hug their kids today. Tonight the Big Cats take on the Thrashers. I’ve heard those birds taste like chicken. Until then, I’ll see you at The ‘Plex and The ‘Stone and online at Twitter and Facebook.
1. As a matter of fact, I did not break the seat when I accidentally slammed it and threw myself to the floor. I did however, listen at the door to be sure no one was in the hallway before I went out.
2. For those of you who are newish to Predsnation, Fid’s penalties were marked by his slow glide to the bench while sometimes giving referees a look that suggested he had no idea why they were whistling and pointing at him. This led to a slow skate to the penalty box with Vern seeming to agree to it to keep the sad men in the ugly shirts happy.
3. Yes, I am twelve.
4. I’m not sure exactly how many Staal kids there are. It has been reported that someone once slipped and mentioned the Staals in front of the Duggars. The color drained from Ma Duggar’s face while little Judahpoopie Duggar spat on the ground and glowered at the press.