Quarterfinal Recap & Semifinal Predictions

28 Apr

I think it’s impossible to argue that round one of the 2011 playoffs ranked up there in best all-time, including a streak of 8 straight nights with an overtime game. Here’s hoping that round two is just as good. We give you our take on exactly what will happen in the conference semifinals in our second installment of Read Em and Weep.

Newton’s picks, with commentary…

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:

Washington (1) vs NY Rangers (8) – Washington in 5
I won’t gloat on the fact that I was right, any more than Sean Avery will be relieved that he can now go begin work at his summer job as a coffee boy at InStyle magazine.

Philadelphia (2) vs Buffalo (7) – Sabres in 7
I still think the Sabres can win this series…wait…you mean game 7 was Tuesday? DAMMIT! That explains why Buffalo never showed up for it. They thought the game was on Thursday.

Boston (3) vs Montreal (6) – Habs in 7
What an awesome series. I don’t even care that I got the pick wrong, it was just great to watch.

Pittsburgh (4) vs Tampa Bay (5) – Pittsburgh in 5
I have nothing to say for myself. Awful pick. Mega-dumb.

Western Conference Quarterfinals

Vancouver (1) vs Chicago (8) – Vancouver in 6
After trying like hell to lose the series, and causing an arena wide pants-crapping late in game 7, the Vancouver Canucks finally escaped round 1…and celebrated more than Nashville in the process. Seriously guys, act like you’ve been there.

San Jose (2) vs LA Kings (7) – SJ in 5
The Sharks could’ve beaten the Kings in 5 games, if Joe Thornton hadn’t waited until game 6 to show up.

Detroit (3) vs Phoenix (6) – Phoenix in 6
I was drunk. No, really, I was.

Anaheim (4) vs Nashville (5) – Nashville in 6
While Corey Perry tries to figure out why people hate him, Teemu tries to figure out where the rest of his team went, and GM Bryan Murray dives into draft planning, the Preds shake off the shackles of the first round and try to keep the history-making train rolling.

On to the semifinals…

Eastern Conference

Washington (1) vs Tampa Bay (5) – Washington in 6
I’m still picking against the Lightning. Maybe they’ll wind up being this year’s version of Montreal, but I don’t see it. The Caps won the season series, and none of the games occurred in the Lightning’s abysmal March swoon.

Philadelphia (2) vs Boston (3) – Boston in 6
If Philly struggled with Buffalo, they’ll get ousted by Boston. I think the difference in goaltending will be the key to the series, even though the Flyers look to be a better team on paper (except in goal).

Western Conference

San Jose (2) vs Detroit (3) – Detroit in 6
Zetterberg appears to be healthy, and the Wings seemed to find not just a new gear, but a whole new transmission in round 1. Maybe it was imported by Eminem. I don’t think the Sharks were tested in round 1, but I think they were exposed.

I might as well announce that I’ve been drinking, since I’m going to shock the world with this next pick…

Vancouver (1) vs Nashville (5) – Nashville in 7
There, I said it. I know I picked Vancouver to win it all, but I’m changing horses. Nashville fared well against Vancouver this year, and while I don’t think the Preds are in LOLuongo’s head like the Blackhawks are, I do believe that the Predators (along with their fans) can at least begin looking to rent space in that ugly ass Reebok mask he wears.

Kevin’s picks:

Washington (1) vs NY Rangers (8) – Capitals in 7
Welp. I got the winner right but the series would have actually needed to be excited to get to 7 games. This series was like watching a live action lullaby.

Philadelphia (2) vs Buffalo (7) – Flyers in 7
Boom. As much as I wanted to see Buffalo take this series I couldn’t bet against last year’s cup runner up. Me and all four of my grandparents could have put up a better fight than Buffalo did in game 7.

Boston (3) vs Montreal (6) – Bruins in 6
Didn’t expect Montreal to put up so much of a fight, but they were impressive. Especially Carey Price.

Pittsburgh (4) vs Tampa Bay (5) – Pittsburgh in 7
Like I predicted, a toss up. I let home-ice advantage decide this one in my pick. Never would have guessed game 7 would have ended 1-0, but I’m still impressed by the Lightning. The Caps better watch it in round two.

Vancouver (1) vs Chicago (8) – Vancouver in 6
One of the best series I’ve followed. Also, game 7 was probably the best non Preds game I’ve watched since Stevie Y roofed it in double OT against the Blues in the playoffs. Just an amazing game and I hope the Canucks are physically and emotionally shattered from it going into round two.

San Jose (2) vs LA Kings (7) – SJ in 6
Boom. If the Kings just could have held onto the ever dangerous 4-0 lead early in the series it would have been a completely different outcome.

Detroit (3) vs Phoenix (6) – Detroit in 5
Close enough. This series was pure domination. I hope that wasn’t the city of Phoenix’s last showing in the NHL because that is just depressing.

Anaheim (4) vs Nashville (5) – Preds in 5
Well it wasn’t quite as comfortable as a 5 game win but it’s a win. Game 5 brought tears to my eyes and the final 3 minutes of game 6 caused me to wear a diaper for the first time since 1989 but it was all worth it. Ready to experience round two hockey.

Eastern Conference

Washington (1) vs Tampa Bay (5) – Tampa in 7
Yep. You heard it. Both teams have extremely dangerous offensive weapons but seem to opt for the lull you to sleep defensive game. My gut tells me the Bolts come out on top.

Philadelphia (2) vs Boston (3) – Philly in 6
The Sabres are better than the Canadiens, and the Flyers took them to grade school in game 7. They are built better for a deep run and I think their offense makes up for the elephant sized question mark in the room. Or goal.

Western Conference

San Jose (2) vs Detroit (3) – Detroit in 6
The Sharks are just too difficult to pick as a winner. You never know which team is going to show up. The Wings, however, looked like cup champions in their first round drubbing of the Coyotes and that alone is enough for me to pick them in this series.

Vancouver (1) vs Nashville (5) – Nashville in 5
Yeah. I said it.

With all the great match ups this round, and almost 100% of the games being on tv, the second round has a serious chance to top the first round. Check back in two weeks for our conference finals predictions, and GO PREDS.

Same Score…Different, but Same Results.

17 Apr

What a win tonight by YOUR Nashville Predators! Sure, it could’ve been better. They could’ve buried a few more chances and made it a laugher, but a win is a win is a win, right?

Despite beating Nashville by the same 4-3 score on Friday in Anaheim, you didn’t get the feeling that the Ducks gained any momentum. In fact, I would argue the opposite, that Anaheim LOST momentum, despite winning the game. The same cannot be said about tonight’s win at Bridgestone Arena. In game 2, Anaheim scored 2 quick goals, but never really seemed to be in control of the game, just the scoreboard. In game 3, Nashville was clearly the better team on the ice, but Anaheim managed to yank the life out of the arena with two quick goals from Teemu Selanne, and then had another huge goal after giving up the lead again. The pattern seemed somewhat similar: home team takes big lead, away team comes back, home team takes lead, away team comes back, HOME TEAM SCORES TO WIN. Oh, wait, there’s the difference.

On Friday, Nashville was the team applying all the pressure in the 2nd and 3rd periods, and seemed sure to score, only to run out of time. Tonight, Nashville didn’t hang on to a lead – they went out and took the lead. I don’t have a press pass and I don’t know any players on either team, but I imagine that Nashville, while not being thrilled about losing 4-3 in game 2, still felt like the game was theirs to win. I think the sentiment in Anaheim’s locker room after game 3 was exactly the opposite – they were lucky to not get buried 5-0. Check out this quote from Teemu Selanne:

“We had no business in this f—ing game.They wanted it more…We were lucky to even be in the game.”

If I’m in the Ducks locker room, I don’t know if that’s motivating or disheartening. I’m referring to Selanne’s quote AND the results on the scoreboard.

Bottom line: Nashville needs to know that a) they got a little lucky in letting a dangerous opponent back into a lopsided contest and b) that Anaheim should bring a much more spirited effort on Wednesday.

I believe that the first few minutes of game 4 will set the tone for the remainder of the series: either Nashville comes out and re-establishes its dominance, or Anaheim awakens and gets the series back on their terms.

GO PREDS!

(edit: i just remembered that the ducks added an empty net goal at the end of the game to make the score 5-3, NOT 4-3. oops. i still stand by the rest of what i wrote…)

post game observations – game 2, preds v ducks

16 Apr

there were lots of things i noticed in the 3rd period, many of them unfit for print and the byproduct of my efforts to drink the team to victory. here are the better ones…

- it’s obvious that ray emery has very little rebound control or awareness. time to crash the net.
– p&t mentioned this during the game, but now that i’m paying attention, ray emery is slow getting up when he drops to cover a low shot. it may not help the preds tonight, but it might be a factor during the remainder of the series.
– i mentioned it earlier, but klein shooting into emery’s glove now proves to be huge.

i’ve been accused of being a pollyanna when it comes to, well, just about everything, but i’m going to choose to look at the positives from tonight’s game:

1. no sign of quitting. the preds didn’t panic, didn’t resort to “message sending” (a concept that still baffles me – “you really kicked our asses at what matters, and let this cheap shot be a lesson to ya!”), and still seemed to skate 4 lines through the 3rd period.
2. solid goal tending and defense. i know, how can i claim solid goal tending and defense after losing 5-3? well, the first 2 goals were on the 5on3 and 5on4 powerplay where the ducks shine. the 4th goal might as well have been a power play goal, and the 5th was an empty netter. pekka looked pretty good all things considered, and the defense wasn’t as bad as the score would make it seem.
3. ray emery is very beatable. he won tonight, but looked shaky in doing so. i’m wondering if the ducks go with ellis again in game 3, or let emery try to get his sea legs about him.

we now have a best of 5 series, with the preds having home ice advantage. time to show the ducks what smashville hockey is all about…

2nd period observations

15 Apr

- What the hell was George Parros thinking?
– ALL HAIL THE BEARD! Weber with 2 goals in 2 games.
– Why was Suter still on the ice after that clear (prior to the 3-1 goal)?
– Even though the score is 3-1, I believe that Emery’s saves on Erat and Klein are the game winning saves.
– Time to start shutting down their big line again…
– Aside from the 0 for 2 start on the pk, i really like the way the team has played so far tonight. it hasn’t been perfect, but they’re playing much better than the score would indicate. (this was typed prior to giving up the 4th goal.)
critical powerplay at 12 minute mark. barring a goal, the preds needs to use this as an opportunity to reclaim the momentum in the period. (that obviously didn’t happen)
– totally confused on what the refs are calling versus what they’re letting go. case in point: hornvqist getting mugged for an entire power play with no call, but geoffrion going to the box for a rather mundane cross check. i wonder how it would be called if o’brien were bitch slapping corey perry every time he got close to rinne.
– corey perry owned klein on the 4th goal. embarrassingly so. kevin klein singlehandedly makes his d-pairing the 3rd best on the team, no matter who he’s partnered with. I propose a new nickname for Klein: someone else’s new defenseman.

if the score holds, the preds are looking at a new series. best of 5, with nashville having home ice advantage. gotta win 3 before they lose 2…

1st intermission observations

15 Apr

just a few rough notes as i watch the game tonight.

pregame thoughts:
– it drives me nuts that i’m paying $20 to watch the game on gamecenter live, yet i don’t get to see any of the pregame stuff.
– my pregame lasted five minutes longer than everyone elses. i didn’t get video on gamecenter until the 5 minute mark of the 1st…just in time to see the preds give up two power play goals. i know we’re dealing with technology and stuff, but that’s totally unacceptable in my mind.

1st period:
– worst start ever.
– how is it possible that we LOSE momentum on the power play? that first power play was slightly better than awful. no decent chances, there was no organization in our zone.
– after the lousy start, it seems like we’ve responded well. the next powerplay needs to be a momentum creator, NOT a momentum KILLER.
– that should’ve been a good goal. if not a good goal, it should NOT have been a penalty.
– speaking of penalties, it’d be a good idea to not take any more of them. the preds match up very well 5on5 with the ducks. not so good when they’re a man (or two men) down. it seems like the refs are calling penalties on plays that the crew on wednesday wasn’t. interested to see how the team adjusts now that they know how it’s gonna be called.
– the key to the remainder of this game will be the preds ability to keep their heads about them and not get frustrated.
– i’ve always wondered what the locker room’s like after a period like that. does trotz blast the team on the negatives, or use the positives to encourage the team to get the next goal?

What We Learned: Preds 4, Ducks 1

14 Apr

(Newton continues his beachside posting bonanza with a observations from last night’s game)

- Both teams had ample chances in this game, and Pekka Rinne is clearly a better goaltender than Dan Ellis. I really wish that the Preds had a few more quality chances on Emery, either to get into his head, or to shake the Ducks’ confidence in him.
– Corey Perry has less balls than a trailer full of geldings. The Preds need to ignore his goalie spearing and trash talking antics and focus on keeping him pinned against the glass and disrupting his line’s low cycle.
– Speaking of Perry’s line, they were NOT the best Duck’s line last night. That distinction belongs to the line of Teemu Selanne. It seemed like every time I was holding my breath, Selanne was on the ice. I hope that this is just a one game phenomenon and that the Preds’ D corps can limit this line’s chances.
– Randy Carlyle’s decision to keep the Getzlaf/Perry/Ryan line away from Shea “my beard can beat up your beard” Weber and Ryan Suter doesn’t seem like a strategic decision as much as it seems like an admission that his top line can’t beat Nashville’s top D pair.
– Lastly, Nashville’s ability to (mostly) maintain their composure when things started getting nasty last night is encouraging. It would’ve been easy for the fellas to lose their focus, and just as easy for Anaheim to gain some momentum, but neither happened. Hopefully Anaheim will continue to get frustrated and the Preds will continue to let that work against them.

If the even numbered goals are the most important goals in a hockey game, I think the even numbered games are the most important in a playoff series. Anaheim wins and we’re down to a best of 5 series. Nashville wins, and they have a stranglehold on the series with 2 games in the loudest arena in the NHL. I expect a better game from the Ducks on Friday, and hopefully a better game from Nashville as well.

Remember kids, Ducks can’t quack if you have your fingers wrapped around their throat…

Round 1 Revealed

13 Apr

Ah, playoff time. Sweaty palms. Stomach knots. Reading enough series previews to be able to spout off countless stats at the speed of an over-sized Texas auctioneer. The agony of defeat. The sweet taste of victory (not that we’d have any idea what that’s like).

It is my favorite time of year and this year surely will not disappoint. The Hate Fest between Boston and Montreal. Chicago/Vancouver III. The Predators not getting matched up against seemingly the best team in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The excitement is palpable.

So read ‘em and weep. Here are the Hands of Cement crew’s first round predictions. We’ll be taking them one round at a time in the feeble attempt to save some face. I am of the opinion that this year for the first time since I can remember, every series could literally go either way. Should make for an extremely exciting end to April.

Eastern Conference:
Caps vs Rangers
Newton’s Pick: Caps in 5. The Rangers shouldn’t have made the playoffs based on their end of season play, and Washington is hellbent to make up for last year’s failure.

Kevin’s Pick: Caps in 7. If Ryan Callahan were playing, this would be a completely different series. Ovi & Co. vs. Lundqvist is going to be a real treat to watch.

Flyers vs Sabres
Newton’s Pick: Sabres in 7. As much as I hate to see former Preds fail (except for Alexander Radulov. He can suck it), I don’t think Philly can turn it back on. They’ve been too cold for too long, and the Sabres have been playing for their playoff lives for a month.

Kevin’s Pick: Philadelphia in 7. As much as I want to pick Buffalo being my favorite team in the East, I’ve gotta stick with Philly. They’ve cooled down lately, but they also came in cold last year and we all know what happened. They’re built for a deep run.

Bruins vs Habs
Newton’s Pick: Habs in 7. Simply put, I think Carey Price can steal this series.

Kevin’s Pick: Bruins in 6. The Emperor will enjoy this series.

Pittsburgh vs Tampa
Newton’s Pick: Pittsburgh in 5. I don’t know which Tampa team will show up, the one that sucked in March, or the one that crushed in April, but I know which Penguin’s team will show up: the one that pushed for 1st place in the East without Staal, Crosby and Malkin for huge stretches of the season.

Kevin’s Pick: Pittsburgh in 7. Without Crosby, this one is a toss up for me and it came down to having home-ice advantage.

Western Conference
Vancouver vs Chicago
Newton’s Pick: Vancouver in 6. They’re my cup winner this year, and that means they finally get past the Blackhawks.

Kevin’s Pick: Vancouver in 6. They finally do everyone a favor and silence Chelsea Dagger while it’s still April.

San Jose vs Los Angeles
Newton’s Pick: San Jose in 4. LA’s beat up, and San Jose is on the warpath.

Kevin’s Pick: San Jose in 6. I think the Kings will put up a better fight than most people are giving them credit for even with the injuries but SJ is just too good.

Detroit vs Phoenix
Newton’s Pick: Phoenix in 6. The ‘Yotes exorcise their demons from last year, and piss off the Goldwater Institute in the process.

Detroit in 5. Phoenix is not as good as they were last year and they will experience the same result in less games.

Anaheim vs Nashville
Newton’s Pick: Nashville in 6. Not only do the Preds get out of the first round, but they do it on home ice. The only question in my mind is which of the goalies Randy Carlyle goes with, since Jonas Hiller doesn’t seem to want to be the guy.

Kevin’s Pick: Nashville in 5. Yeah I said it.

So there you have it. Our take on exactly what will happen in the first round. Be sure to check back after round one for our semifinals predictions.

Season Prediction Recap (aka how bad did we suck)

12 Apr

It seems that very few hockey writers a) leave their predictions up after the All Star break and b) ever fess up to totally screwing the pooch on their predictions. Well, we’re crappy hockey writers, so we aren’t afraid to let you peek behind the curtain of mediocrity.

Newton’s Predictions:
Eastern Conference: (actual final standings in parentheses)
1. Washington (1)
2. Pittsburgh (4)
3. Montreal (6)
4. New Jersey (11)
5. Boston (3)
6. Philly (2)
7. Buffalo (7)
8. Tampa Bay (5)

9. Ottawa (13)
10. New York (8)
11. Atlanta (12)
12. Toronto (10)
13. Carolina (9)
14. Florida (15)
15. New York Islanders (14)

The Good:
Well, I got more right than wrong in the top 8, plus I picked Washington to finish first. I didn’t get the seedings quite right, but I’m comfortable with “respectable.”

The Bad:
You mean OTHER than picking the Devils to finish with home ice advantage, I thought Ottawa would be better, and didn’t see Carolina having a shot at the playoffs. I also missed the Rangers getting in, but hey, I also thought Boogaard would play more than 22 games. If he played his normal 50ish, I’d still stand by my prediction.

The Ugly:
I can’t imagine how the conversation between Cory Clouston and Bryan Murray went on Saturday morning. Was he really so bad that you couldn’t let him coach the last game of the season, Bryan? Damn.

Smartest Guy in the Room Quote: “I’m also probably the one person in the universe who thinks Carey Price might actually have a decent season.”

You Are So Dumb Quote: (re: New Jersey Devils) “They’ll push Pittsburgh, but they’ll give up points based on their lack of depth.”

Western Conference: (actual in parentheses)
1. Vancouver (1)
2. Detroit (3)
3. San Jose (2)
4. L.A. (7)
5. Nashville (5)
6. Chicago (8)
7. Colorado (14)
8. Phoenix (6)

9. St Louis (11)
10. Edmonton (15)
11. Calgary (10)
12. Anaheim (4)
13. Minnesota (12)
14. Dallas (9)
15. Columbus (13)

The Good:
Pretty much nailed the top 3 (no hard task), and (unfortunately) picked Nashville in the correct spot. I also only missed one team in the top 8. Given the race in the west, I’ll give myself a grade of “pretty good.”

The Bad:
The one team I thought would make the top 8 that didn’t, missed hard. Colorado, I’m looking at you. I also totally missed on Anaheim.

The Ugly:
You can’t get much uglier than basically flip flopping Colorado and Anaheim.

Smartest Guy In The Room Quote:
(re: Chicago) “Let’s call them the New Jersey of the western conference. They’re thinner than Patrick Kane’s playoff beard, and will lose points as a result. The addition of Turco will also cost them 6-8 points.”

You Are So Dumb Quote:
(re: Colorado) “Last year wasn’t a fluke. Colorado’s good, and they’ll get bonus points off of Calgary, Edmonton & Minnesota.” (The Avs didn’t get bonus points off shit.)
Bonus quote, based on absurdity: “Selanne should’ve retired.” Damn, was that ever stupid.

Kevin’s Predictions:

Eastern Conference: (final standings in parenthesis)

1. Washington (1)
2. Philadelphia (2)
3. Buffalo (7)
4. Pittsburgh (4)
5. Atlanta (12)
6. New Jersey (11)
7. Tampa Bay (5)
8. Boston (3)

9. Montreal (9)
10. Toronto (10)
11. Ottawa (13)
12. New York Rangers (8)
13. Carolina (9)
14. Florida (15)
15. New York Islanders (14)

The Good:
6 out of 8, including 5 correct seedings overall (3 in the top 8). Considering my luck with NCAA brackets (I had 4 in the sweet 16 and 1 in the elite 8 this year) I am more than happy.

The Bad:
The two I missed. Granted, not many predicted the debacle that was the New Jersey Devils season, I got a little ahead of myself thinking Atlanta would be one spot out of home-ice.

The Ugly:
Poor Ottawa. They seemed to have the pieces to possibly challenge. After having a minor fire sale the motivation wasn’t there anymore. They are set up well for the future though, grabbing a couple first rounders in trades.

Smartest Guy in the Room Quote:(re: Tampa Bay) “A scary group of forwards got scarier with the addition of Simon Gagne. First year GM Steve Yzerman will guide this team to the playoffs under the assumption he won’t be experiencing any #DanEllisProblems.”

You Are So Dumb Quote: (re: Atlanta Thrashers) “My surprise team this year. Led by 19 year old feared enforcer Evander Kane this team is quick, gritty ,and will take advantage of their weak division.”

Western Conference:
1. Vancouver (1)
2. Los Angeles (7)
3. Nashville (5)
4. Detroit (3)
5. San Jose (2)
6. Chicago (8)
7. Colorado (14)
8. Edmonton (15)

9. St. Louis (11)
10. Dallas (9)
11. Phoenix (6)
12. Calgary (10)
13. Minnesota (12)
14. Anaheim (4)
15. Columbus (13)

The Good:
6 out of 8 again, 12 out of 16 total. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

The Bad:
Once again, the two misses are glaring. I managed to put the two bottom dwellers of the conference in the playoffs.

The Ugly:
Colorado completely shit the bed the second half. I think the blockbuster sending Shattenkirk (giggle) and Stewart to STL was a bad move. That kind of move rattles the team and it did so negatively.

Smartest Guy in the Room Quote:(re: Chicago) “If I hear “Their core is still in tact” one more time i’m going to puke. They certainly still have their stars, but I don’t think Sharp, Toews, Kane, and Hossa can make up for the total loss of secondary scoring. I also think Turco is past his prime and I look forward to his weekly goal surrendering gaffes.”

You Are So Dumb Quote: (re: Anaheim Ducks) “It’s tough to replace ole’ Greybeard, especially with an 18 year old Cam Fowler. This is going to be a brutal year for the Anaheim Ducks.”

Willful Disbelief

10 Apr

It’s high time that we bring this blog back to life, and now’s a good time to do it. Why now, you ask? Because this is the time of year when I allow myself to buy into the dream of a Stanley Cup parade down Broadway wholeheartedly.

I know the chances are slim. Mathematically, the Predators have the same 6.25% chance of eating Fruit Loops out of the best damn cereal bowl in the world as fifteen other teams. Realistically, it’s hard to look at the Canucks, Sharks, and Red Wings and believe that the Preds can make it to the finals. Each of those teams are bigger, more talented, and more experienced. The Eastern Conference side of the equation, assuming they run the Western Conference gauntlet, doesn’t look much better. The Capitals, Flyers and Bruins aren’t quite as daunting as the foes from the west, but how much can the boys possibly have in the tank if they survive the Western Conference enduro-fest? Simply put, it’s easier to expect the worst and hope for the best. But I’m not having it.

I believe in this team, and not just this year. I believe in this team every year. Why? Because I can’t help it. Over the past thirteen years I’ve grown accustomed to seeing the fellas at 501 Broadway overcome their weaknesses, defy expectations and wring more effort and performance out of themselves than Bear Grylls squeezing water out of camel shit.

Like most of you, I’ve bought into the Predators. I hung onto my season tickets through the lockout. I went to the rally and told that stupid bastard from Blackberry to piss off (and have sworn to never own a RIM product). I’ve yelled obscenities at the radio when I’ve heard people on XM NHL Home Ice say we aren’t a hockey market. I too had to fight off the barfies after game 5. I get choked up during pregame warmups*. Why? Because I see some of my own story in that of the Nashville Predators. I see some of Nashville’s story in that of the Predators – overlooked, under appreciated, mocked, and cast off as an after thought.

So if you ask why I think that, despite all the odds, why I think the Preds are gonna dance with Lord Stanley, why I willfully disbelieve, against all apparent evidence (much like most atheists if I’m being honest), here’s the reason:

I want the Predators to win because it gives me hope that I can win.

And when they do, I’ll celebrate with them, because it means that I won, too.

(*Hey. If TJ Ouchie can cry on the bench, I can get choked up screaming my brains off for my boys, right?)

Thumbs of Cement – Wild vs Preds, 1.11.11

11 Jan

We’re gonna try a new column here on Hands of Cement. During any particular Predators’ game, our thumbs are on fire as we text back and forth about the play on the ice, the lousy commercials or the gaffs made by the tv & radio guys. We thought you might like to be in on the conversation, albeit a day or two late. Since we’re primarily writing to hockey fans, we also thought you might need a legend so you can keep up with the conversation…

k: Kevin
n: Newton


random pregame:
k: blues signed wellwood from europe. has to clear waivers. nothing would make me happier than stealing another player from them even if its just to scratch him.
n: kyle wellwood? i didn’t even know he was in europe. we should claim him and trade him…

k: ilya kovalchuk is -29 this season.
n: i almost feel bad for jason arnott.

preds first goal (preds 1, wild 0):
n: (after sending k a picture of my first Guinness float) you’re craving a guinness float like leggy’s craving his second goal. 1-0 preds off the stick of LOLegwand.
they're magically delicious!

after mikko koivu scored for the wild (preds 1, wild 1):
n: koivu just made 3/5 of our powerplay unit look like a bunch of retarded blind kids. and by that i mean it’s 1-1.

after nick spaling’s first goal of the night (preds 3, wild 1):

n: nick spaling is a man on fire! 3 goals in 42 games. 3-1 preds.
k: Spals to the Wall
n: another sign for the road trip (note: we’re going to the preds/bj’s game on feb 22.)
k: can we do LOLegwand?
n: i don’t think people would understand that it’s an LOL of LOLove.
a few minutes later:
n: i think cellblock303 read your mind…they just tweeted Spals to the Wall.

after nick spaling’s second goal of the night, emphatically signaled by the ref (preds 4, wild 1):
n: i love it when the ref swings the hammer. I SEE THE PUCK!!! I SWING THE HAMMER!!!
k: if spaling gets a hat trick i will twitpic my nipple on PredFans

after marcel goc (rhymes with crotch, so that’s what we call him) scored to make it 5-1 preds:

k: that was a crotch rocket.
n: my heart gets so happy when we beat the hell out of other teams.

After Pekka stretches out to make a sick save:
n: when stretch armstrong was a child he dreamed of having pekka’s range of motion. and the wild announcers are being rather homo-erotic in their discussion of pekka’s size.

Preds 5, Wild 1. Nice 60 minute effort by the Preds. They totally dominated the Wild, whose announcers scoffed at our snow storm, lusted after our goalie, and mispronounced our players’ names. Maybe they’re just jealous of our new NHL Guardian.

By the way, I mentioned this on Twitter earlier tonight, and would love some feedback. I’m a little disappointed the league gave a southern-based hockey team’s super hero a power that involves spitting. Am I overthinking things?
nuclear spit? must be peach skoal.

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