It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Watching the Predators take on Vancouver was a bit like living in the hockey equivalent of a grad student’s attempt at writing the Dickens novel that Chuckie D. never wrote because it’s 2010 and he has been dead for 140 years. The range of emotions, from amusement to giddy joy to a deep down wish that one could kill or at the very least slip away gently was to be had in the sixty minutes of drama that took place Sunday afternoon.
First period, we saw Nashville Predators: The Tiny Toons Years as the game cranked up slowly with an admittedly sweet wrister seven seconds in from one of the Sedins. No, I don’t know which Sedin and don’t care. Frankly, I suspect that one of these days, Stephen King is going to come take them back home to whatever novel they escaped from. Those boys give me nightmares and they should do the same for anyone who has to meet them wearing the opposition’s laundry. This was followed by some nice goal fishing from Ward, Smithson, Honrqvist and Franson, but no nets just yet.
Hamhuis, who spent a few days in suspense as the trade deadline loomed and the armchair left wings howled for his dismissal, took a sweet twenty-two seconds to let out all of that pent up frustration on the pointy little head of Alex Burrows. The five minute major might have hurt, but it also seemed just a little bit worth it. For the rest of the game, Hammer brought the grit and the ethics that we’ve seen from him in the past. Take that, couch taters!
By first intermission, the Katzenjammer Kids antics had been replaced with real honest-to-goodness hockey. What followed? Some gorgeous puck control, two goals that were scream-worthy from Arnott and Tootoo and some nice saves from Rinne. The Boys in Navy and Mustard held the lead for a good long time. So what stopped them from taking this away from Vancouver? They got outplayed, pure and simple. There was some fumbling and off-kilter playing where there shouldn’t have been. Rinne is good. So is Luongo. They didn’t let up and some gorgeous shots from our guys never made it past Luuuuuuuuuuuuu while a couple of soft ones got by The Great Wall of Finland. Lemme give you the good, the bad and the just damned ugly:
The Ugly first…
Suter: Farmboy? Most of the time you’re so good you make my Mama want to slap Gordie Howe, but yesterday you were fumbling way too much. During third, I saw you hitting around the puck. No. Just… no. Dunno if missing Weber, the Yang to your Yin, is throwing you off, but it just wasn’t your game.
Everybody: Y’all cant afford for the wheels to keep coming off in the third period. Every point counts. Every. Point. Counts.
Coach Trotz: See what I wrote to everyone. An empty net is not a good idea, especially when you’re down by two and getting into the playoffs (or not!) could come down to a goal.
Now the Bad…
Arnott: You are Oh-My-Sweet-Lord-Blot-Out-The-Sun Big. Stop worrying if you’re going hurt someone or make them think you’re a big meaniehead. Let me tell you a little story to show why this is a salient point. This morning I attempted to sit in a chair in my living that is often occupied by the elderly rescue Shih Tzu who has been living with me since August. He climbed into the chair with me, got behind me and proceeded to try to push me out. I gently extricated him from the small of my back and set him on the floor with his Winnie the Pooh doll. His response was to give me the doggie equivalent of The Finger. He acts this way because he thinks he’s as big as you are. The last time I checked, y’all had not switched bodies and a 6’5″, 219 pound Shih Tzu is not a Shih tzu, it’s a wookie. If you were, in fact, a wookie, there would still be no reason not to play like the opposition is to be cleaned out like so much toe jelly. Need a closer and more accessible example? See: Tootoo, Jordin Also, please explain to your teammates that you are the captain and it is their best interest to keep you happy.
Aaand the Good:
Arnott: That goal was a thing of beauty. When Trotz allows the lines to go in their best combinations and you’re out there with Dumont and Sullivan, it doesn’t get much better than that. Okay, one of you needs to learn to do Jerred Smithson’s Death Glare, but other than that, it’s perfection.
Ward: That was some brilliant puck control during third period. Don’t know if Crisp noticed it during his commentary, but the only thing that kept you from getting a goal or an assist was the fact that everyone seemed to be off doing something else and Luongo is a frickin’ wall.
Legwand: The stalwart: always there, always on and serving as the support for the flashier kids.
Hamhuis: Thanks for showing so much sheer damned guts after what has to have been a thankless two weeks. Blocking that puck during second was nothing short of awesome.
Tootoo: Now I understand straight guy crushes. (Bromances?) When you made that goal, someone two rows behind me screamed, “Ah luuuve yew, mayun!”, I have to agree. It was like the entire arena (except for the faux “Green Man” who was nice enough to cover his junk with some swim trunks) went all Point Blank Keanu Reeves to your Patrick Swayze.
So that’s the news from Rhinestone Capital of the New World. Next up, we slap some sense into Scarlett O’Hara The Thrashers. Until then, I’ll see you on Twitter or in the knitting and anthropology aisles at Borders!
Confidential to BT: No, as a matter of fact I don’t think I can do a better job than you. However, if you want, just leave the keys to the place at the front desk and I’ll give it a shot. Just be sure to tell the guys to cover up before I come into the locker room. I’m old, not dead.