Dispatches From Planet Hockey: The “Where’s Ryan Suter?” Edition

commentary by Jas Faulkner, contributing editor

Yeah, it's glam... (Paramount Pictures)

Okay, let’s do an experiment.  Everyone who thinks my job is glamorous, please raise your hand.  Ha!  That’s what I thought!  Now, let me qualify what I’m about to say by mentioning that this is my dream job and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.  I like my boss, my colleagues are amazing, and we have some of the brightest young talent around writing for us.  Still, there is this niggling idea that-  Okay, do you remember that internet meme from a couple of months ago?  The one where there would be six to eight pictures with captions like “What my mom thinks I do”, “What my dog thinks I do”,  “What I think I do” and so on? Well, it’s kind of like that.  Everyone has this vision of me sitting around all day watching hockey games, chatting up Jordin Tootoo, and crank-calling the sports talk radio guys.*  The truth is different and arguably stranger than the fiction that passes for what most of y’all, meaning those of you who raised your hands,  think I do.  This misapprehension definitely colours the conversations I have with people on a day to day basis.  Let me give you an example:

Name Withheld To Protect Me From Litigation: When you see Ryan Suter, tell him he needs to stay. And tell Shea Weber I think he is the single greatest human being to ever draw breath at Bridgestone Arena.

Me: I edit and do features now, so I rarely see the players.

Name Withheld To Protect Me From Litigation:  Oh. So have you talked to anybody with the team? Have they told you if Shea and Ryan are staying?

Me:  No.

Name Withheld To Protect Me From Litigation:  No what?

Me:  I have talked to some people from the front office, but no one has told me if they’re staying. That never came up.

Name Withheld To Protect Me From Litigation:  I don’t believe you.

Me:  Check please!**

This is not to say that we, the people of THW are averse to questions.  Some of us could spend hours arguing over whether Todd Bertuzzi or Zdeno Chara would do a better job of beating up Chuck Norris and how many hard boiled eggs will fit in the Stanley Cup.  Personally, I’d rather answer questions from children.  Most of them come to me via Twitter and Facebook, usually sent by Mom-n-Dad post. Others are delivered in person.    I’ll answer a few here to give you an idea why the inquiries from kids are far more fun.

Pekka Rinne Predators
Pekka RInne (Icon SMI)

How tall is Pekka Rinne?  What does he sound like?

-Nathan, age 8, Hendersonville, TN

Hi Nathan!  Pekka Rinne is six feet,  five inches tall.  His skates and helmet add another five to six inches, so when you see him on the ice, he is standing at around six feet, eleven inches tall.  That’s pretty big!   Pekka has a deep voice and a Finnish accent.  He can speak English quite well. 


See what I mean?  Let’s answer another one.

Are Pete and Terry brothers?

Pete and Terry (Predators.com)

-Will, age 5, Franklin, TN

Howdy Will!  Pete and Terry have been the TV announcers for Nashville for 14 years.  After all that time together, they may feel like they’re related, but they’re not really brothers.  Pete (Weber)  is from Illinois and has been a sports announcer since 1981.  Terry (Crisp) is from Ontario. Before becoming an announcer, he played and coached hockey and has three Stanley Cup rings, two for playing and one for coaching.

and one to grow on…

What are pucks made of?

-Regan, age 5, Indianapolis, IN

Hello Regan!  Pucks are made of rubber that is poured and pressed together until it is very hard.  They feel like slick tires on the top and bottom and have rough, waffley sides.   An NHL regulation puck is approximately one inch thick, three inches across, and weighs five and a half to six ounces.   They are kept frozen until game starts and then the referee usually carries one or two while he is on the ice.  Most NHL teams use around twelve pucks per game. 

"Where's Ryan?" (jas faulkner and the paint program that came with her laptop)

Where’s Ryan?

Who knows?  And does it really matter? Chatter about sightings in Detroit, BC, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay abound, but it’s all just speculation until the press conferences are set, the contracts are signed and sweaters are doffed or donned.  The truth is we’re all waiting to see where he (and all of the other free agents) will go.

For those of you observing the turn of the wheel of the hockey year for the first time, the Draft and the Awards are coming up.  For some fans,  July first is like a combination of Christmas and dropping a piece of raw chicken in a tank full of hungry piranhas.  That is the day free agency starts.   Some people consider it a break from all that is physical as the business of hockey takes center stage.   It has all of the strategy of chess mixed with a testosterone-fueled grab for all of the  monopoly money filtered through a broadcast year’s worth of telenovelas minus any sense of shame.  All thirty teams promise to bring the drama this year.  Want to know more?  Check out our Prospects Tab and the Free Agents and Trades and Transactions selections under the NHL News pulldown menu at the top of the home page.

See you next weekend!  Until then, fire up the popcorn maker and send the kids to camp.  Things are about to get very interesting around the league.


*”Is the refrigerator in your breakroom running?  Well, you better go catch it!  Oh, sure.  The last name is Tabuger, first name Ollie.”

**Mom?  This is why I no longer date.  You know how we talked about my ideal partner being a male version of me: a fat, moody sportswriter who does not get a glazed expression at the mention of chapter books, movies with subtitles, or references to Damon Runyon or the Scopes Trial?  Mom, it turns out there is only one Oscar Madison and he is a woman and she is me.  I am that fat, moody sportswriter… Mom!  A cake with two brides on it is not the solution, either.  ::sigh:: Welcome to the 2010s.