by Jas Faulkner, Nashville Correspondent
The question of the night was posed by Brian Engblom as he stood in the bench seat section of Rogers Arena minutes before the puck dropped:
“Who are these guys, anyway?”
An hour later, I was making a similar query. Who are you people and what have you done with the Nashville Predators? The ferocious, fiesty, focused boys in blue were glimpsed only a few times. However, I’m not sure that was the true cause for so much befuddlement at the Versus Batcave, which I am pretty sure smells like devilled ham and Axe Spray. In fact, I have a feeling that there was little if any familiarity with the Big Cats from Twangtown at all.
For those of you playing at home, allow me to let you in on an industry secret:
At the media entrances and the box level media lounges of most arenas* there are stacks of stats sheets and rosters for the teams. There is no excuse for not knowing the identities of everyone on the ice. Heck, I can recognise most of the players on both sides of any given game without a crib sheet and I’m one of those weird correspondents who walks around with a high voice, boobs and a hairdo.
The Versus people are given far more help identifying the players than I was ever given when trying to parse out the vocabulary of spatial relationships as a dyslexic child. I was sometimes driven to tears by demands that I raise my right hand. No, my RIGHT hand! My. RIGHT. HAND! No…My OTHER right hand… (sigh) For goodness’ sake Jas, just go draw something nice for the bulletin board.
Did anyone ever consider the kindness of putting an ‘L’ and an ‘R’ on my shoes? No.
The Versus team gets the aforementioned rosters not to mention names and numbers on the backs of the players’ sweaters. In the interest in multinational good will and enhancement of my karma, I will take those aids a bit further and directly address one of the sticking points for the Versus Team when it came to recognising the Predators in action.
This is Kevin Klein. Kevin’s number is 8!
This is Jonathan Blum (pronounced “bluhm”). He is number 7!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I have to admit there were some things the Versus people got very right.
1.) Jeremy Roenick’s** assessment that Nashville is going to come back stronger after game one. They want this too much, have worked to hard and have come too far to let it slip out of reach so easily. Game One was a fluke.
2.) Jones’ and JR’s observation that Rinne was left out by himself way too much -and- the fateful misstep by Blum being the result of an unfortunate decision to change lines with too many ‘Nucks at the most dangerous part of the ice for Nashville.
3.) The Dee and the netminders on both sides are fairly evenly matched. Their recognition of Rinne’s heroic effort during game one tells me that -twitting aside- they’re paying attention to the more important aspects of the game.
Oh, and confidential to my brutha or sistah dyslexic who inserts the names under the images at one of the local network news affiliates:
It’s S-H-E-A Weber, not S-H-A-E Weber.
*If you see a small room with a bunch of people watching Jeopardy and eating popcorn that was prepared during the first Clinton Administration, you’re there.
**Mr. Roenick, when it comes to your analysis, I am a fan. Just please, don’t ever, even if your bosses demand it, ask anyone else to rap during a red carpet broadcast.