Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Guest Blog: O'Neill Faulkner on Hockey Again!

My original blog entry for today was called "Sean Avery Is A Bitch And I'll Bet He Eats Kitty Poop", but then The Momster saw it and made me hit delete. She reminded me of one of her favorite sayings from the Doggy Lama: "Bark less, wag more". So I'm just going to wag for now.

Here's what made me wag this year so far:

The Sharks, the Flames, The Blue Jackets Guys, you fought the good fight and man, I would have loved to have seen you make it to round two. There's always next year. Ducks. Ducks? That's just so wrong. Calgary, your fans are as much a part of the show as the game itself. They personify the concept of the Seventh Man like no one else. And now that Columbus has gotten a taste of playoff sweetness, it'll be hard to stop them.

The Kremlin on the Potomac I love my Predators, but there are so many moments when the Red's play was so elegant that I'd realize I was so caught up I'd forgotten to breathe. Paws down, they're my other favorite team.

This brings me to the Nashville Predators...What can I say other than thank you? I can't speak for what the game means to my staff, but I will say that the sheer joy that I saw at times made every minute in front of the tube worth it. If you're in doubt, Google the Preds and look at the images of them in play. The majority of them show guys in the same state of bliss I used to feel as a younger dog when I'd either steal something from the freezer or take my Cookie Monster doll and run around the back yard, tongue lolling, tail wagging. Cups, playoffs, rings, those are nice and all but they're just details, what matters is feeling the love when you're on the ice. Believe me, when you do, it shows. It comes out in the leadership and the heart that my team has shown this past season.

So that's it for now. As much as I like Syd the Kid and the Opii, I'll be rooting for the Caps. After that? Who knows.

Wuff and Rawr!

copyright 2009 jas faulkner

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Word From O'Neill's Mom and a List of Hockey Resources For The Noob

I am sure that there are a number of people who would love to read an essay entitled "Sean Avery Is A Punk And He Can Kiss My Big Fuzzy Butt And Steve Sullivan Is The King Of The Universe". Unfortunately for my boy and his readers, I'm going to play the Mom Card and let him cool down before he posts again.

While you're all in time out, I thought I'd take a moment to say hi and offer my sympathy to anyone reading who doesn't quite get the hockey/NHL/Nashville Predators love. Is it too late to read up and see what the shouting is about? Nah! We've still got the rest of the playoffs to go and Fall will be here before you know it.

In Nashville, there are intramural groups that play year-round at the local rinks.

Check out the Centennial Sportsplex site for more information.

There are quite a few good books on the subject, some of them a little more technical than others. My favorite nuts n' bolts book is Lloyd Percival's (sometimes controversial) "The Hockey Handbook". You might also want to check out Davidson and Steinbreder's "Hockey For Dummies". If you want to get the stories behind the stats and rules, take a look at Brian McFarlane's "Original Six" series, Allen Duff's excellent "Without Fear" which looks at some of the greatest goalies to play between the pipes, Wayne Coffey's "The Boys of Winter", an account of the 1980 men's US Olympic Hockey Team and Kevin Allen's entertainingly goofy "Why Is The Stanley Cup in Mario Lemieux's Swimming Pool?" For more information on my favorite team, there's Craig Leopold's "Hockey Tonk: The Amazing Story of the Nashville Predators".

Next up: Great places to visit on the innerwebs and cinema therapy for when the season is over.

copyright 2009 jas faulkner

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Guest Blog: O'Neill Faulkner on the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

I was going to write about the cage match that is the series between the Penguins and the Flyers and then I got a look at the Ducks tonight. When did the fairly good waterfowl get replaced by Moe, Larry and Curly? (Nuts to Shemp. Everyone knows the best Stooge is Curly. But I digress...) Then again, that was the start of second period. A lot can happen in 20 minutes and with the game tied 3 to 3 at the top of second intermission, I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Until then, let's talk about the McCoy-Hatfield feudin' and a-fightin' that is going on in Pennsylvania. In spite of the presence of former Predators in the Band of the Hollywood Spray-tanned, I'm still rooting for the Penguins. When The Lovely Andrea asked my assistant what was with the ex-Preds, she tried to deflect the question. My theory is that they go through Moon Pie withdrawal and eventually turn feral. What other explanation is there for Hartnell's tendency to fling equipment and clothing at the puck? I would love to relax and watch him play, but this is hindered by the nagging fear that one day he'll get carried away and we'll be seeing naked Scotty on ice.

The Pennsylvania pickin' n' grimacin' had me on edge but it was the action over at MSG that had me on the edge of my seat. I started out rooting for the Caps and was expecting James Bond-like goals from Ovechkin and the crew. Instead we saw something that cemented my fandog-dom for them. They got out of their own way and delivered a strong no-nonsense 60 minutes of good hockey. No goals or floor shows from Number 8, but the solid assists more than made up for it. The Kremlin on the Potomac rules and Ovi is Fonzie.

There's not much to say about the Blue Jackets. I really like Coach Hitchcock and am happy for him and the fans in Columbus that they got to go this year. I'm hoping they can make a comeback in the latter half of the series.

And Calgary? The 'Hawks look like they're getting tired and cocky. Time to kick it up a notch!

What's next? Wait and see. Even if my guys didn't make it this year, it's still turning out to be a pretty entertaining series.

Loud and proud and waving my fanger.


PS. Brodeur? Dude. Time to switch to decaffeinated, big guy.

copyright 2009 jas faulkner

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Guest Blog: O'Neill Faulkner Wants Everyone To Relax and Love The Game

Does this picture make me look like Alexander Ovechkin? Mom just rolled her eyes and went back to editing an interview with a collage artist so now I'm asking you, my loyal readers.

Let's get down to business...

The past few games have given Preds fans their share of ups and downs and then some. The high point of the last Columbus mashup had to be the huge grin on Koistinen's face when he slammed the puck between the pipes during the shootout.

Last night's game against Chicago? I was proud of the fans who were there and barked along when they roared in third period. Arnott and Fiddler's goals had me barking and wagging and I was pretty happy to see Little Ryan back on the ice. Seeing anyone come back from an injury makes the game for me, but I'd be happier if players didn't get hurt in the first place. Even if I haven't mentioned an injured Pred here (Hey, keep in mind that I'm alternating between typing this with my nose and my paws!) know that I'm not deliberately slighting anyone's favorites. We miss them all, wish them well and can't wait to see them back in the game. There was one other really cool thing I want to tell you about. If you're at the game or use the time between plays to go to the fridge, you may have been missing TerryandPete's interviews with Dan Ellis. Ellis has good information to share on the how things are going with the team, how the game is going and how hockey is played. Last night he talked about what the fans meant to the team and how the cheering helps to get them pumped up. High paw back atcha, dude! If the Preds weren't here, I'd be whiling away my time licking the same spot on the living room floor and sending 30 pizzas to the cat across the street.

There has been some talk about who everyone would like to see the Preds face in the playoffs. Most people seem to be arguing for Detroit for a number of reasons. Mom has friends in Detroit and has a hard time being mean about anyone in Hockey except Wayne Gretkzy, so I'll refrain from using Gramma and Grammy Sylbia's favorite title for Detroit (Coach Opie and the Dead Things, but you didn't hear it from me) so she wouldn't say this, but I will. I am sick of looking at Coach Opie and if I have to see him and the Wheelie Pops again, I hope Suter yanks Hossa's pants and runs around the rink hooting and waving them above his head with the refs in hot pursuit. The other mitigating factor is that Leggy seems to get very very mouthy when they play Detroit and with him out for the rest of the year, such a matchup would be lacking. Mom told me last night she would love to see the Preds play the Sharks again because she loves watching good hockey and thinks they'll be better prepared for the Big Fish than they were before. For the finals we agree that watching our guys against the Nucks, the Flames or the Caps would be the best way to end the season.

Time to sign off, Mom wants to work on the collage art article again. Save me some popcorn and a spot in front of the tv!


copyright 2009 Jas Faulkner