There was a brawl last night at the Nashville Arena. And yeah, there was some damn fine hockey in between. To say that there was some bad blood between the Preds and the Sharks coming into the game is kind of like saying that the Sunni folk and the Shiite folk have their differences.
I have some advice for Predator Scottie Hartnell. Save us all time and skate directly from the bench to the penalty box. He’s borrowed the mantle of ‘i skate therefore I foul’ from the Inuit instigator, Jordin Tootoo. The very sight of Hartnell climbing over the wall from the bench engenders a Pavlovian response from the striped shirt brigade.
I guess the refs were trying to keep the game under control, but at least some of the freaking 87 minutes of penalties called against the Preds were not worthy of a foul in a geriatric league. Considering the game, sans overtimes, lasts 60 minutes, 87 minutes of penalties might have been appropriate for the 70s Philadelphia Flyers, but overkill for the much-smaller Predator squad.
I now have two 2007 happy place memories: Florida getting thumped by the Commodores in b’ball and J.P. Dumont’s short-handed goal against the Sharks after we held off a 5-3 man disadvantage. When the sharkish refs called the second penalty to give the giant Sharks a two-man advantage, I have to admit that it felt like the Preds were going to leave Nashville down two games to nil. The Predators stand may not have the historical weight of the Spartans in the movie 300, but I’m here to tell you that the Pred’s penalty killing squad are titans (sorry, Bud) and that Dumont’s goal was heroic.
Our budding superstar Radulov scored a big early goal and then preceded to being thrown out of the game for a little-too-rambunctious hip-check. Forsberg, who may be the greatest passer since the days of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, scored two goals of his own. Duuuuumont bagged a pair.
Despite the game-ending fisticuffs, the game last night was as much fun as I’ve had in a crowd since the Music City Miracle. Strangers high-fiving folks they’d never seen before, crowds chanting and singing as they left the arena, and noise unparalleled since Husker Du played 328 Performance Hall.
Note: To the girl in section 331, Row N, Seat 7. Girl, you are an artist with those hand-clapper deals we were given in the previous game. The rest of us used them to substitute for actual hand-clapping or for percussive effect. You played lead. You were born to (wo)man the hand-clappers.
Note to hungry Predator fans: The food at the Arena absolutely sucks*. The moisture-ridden meat-stuff passed off as barbecue should be investigated by the U.S.D.A. or at least the Channel 2 Action Team.
On the other hand, the coffee kiosk by the Demombreun street entrance gives good java. Jack, the proprietor will give an extra shot or two if you are a regular.**
*I’ve given up on my campaign against the word ‘suck’. It’s much akin to arguing against the regularity of the tides. I’m sick of suck, but I have to admit, at times last night the refs were more than SUCKY.
**Another in a immature series of superstitions related to sports: The coffee kiosk has two lines. Jack always works the right side. A variety of females always work the left. My friend, Freddy and I always get coffee between periods 2 and 3. If we get coffee from Jack, the Predators win. If we get coffee from the ‘left’ side, the Preds lose. On Wednesday night there were 8 people in line on Jack’s side and only 1 on the left (apparently other people share my superstition). Of course, we got in line on the right side. You don’t throttle the gods of luck. Sadly, I made eye contact with the ‘left’ barista-person. She beckoned me over mouthing the words: no wait. Freddy and I trudged over and got coffee from the ‘lefty’. You know what happened. It was our fault. Last night, we were as staunch as the Rock of Gibraltar. The right line was longer, but, by God, we stood in that line. I made sure to not even glance leftward. We won, didn’t we???