Siriusly… The Preds are in the Cup Finals too…

Dear SiriusXM Radio,

I’ve been a subscriber to your product, XM Radio (later to merge with Sirius) for a good 10 years… maybe 11 or 12, but I was definitely an “early adapter.”

I made friends with Dan Blakely, who was an early Program Director. I was even featured on an old “call-in and maybe we’ll use your message on the air” spot that said, “When I want to see my LA Kings in first place, I just turn my computer’s monitor upside down.” — They ran with that for a while, and then the Kings won a Stanley Cup.

After Blakely exited, there was Joe Thistle, and while we didn’t become “buds,” he replied to my occasional emails, tweets, Facebook posts, whatever.

Now, from time to time, I have had conversation with a myriad of guys (and gal) on the station. Scott Laughlin, Steve Kouleas, Nick Alberga, Michele Sturino, Mick Kern, Peter Berce (perhaps he replaced Thistle) have all liked the occasional tweet, and/or taken my calls on the air and we’ve talked hockey. I’ve enjoyed chipping away, 20 seconds at a time, my 15 minutes of fame. (Believe me, I use the term “fame” QUITE loosely.)

So, here we are, the Nashville Predators, the lowest ranked regular season team to squeeze its way into the NHL post-season, just two wins away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup. The channel is buzzing with hockey talk, interviews, special guests, and of course, calls from all across North America. I generally only listen in my car, and today I was only in my car for perhaps 45 minutes or so. I know that after the afternoon programming they had play-by-play of the AHL’s Calder Cup game, and then replays of the “Power Play,” and their guests included Kelly Hrudey and Ray Ferraro.

I just want to go on record that in the time spent listening, I NEVER heard the NAME of a Nashville player. Not once! I heard 2/3 of the Penguins roster, and at any moment I expected to learn what Pens 4th line winger Josh Archibald had for breakfast today!

Crosby came to the party. Malkin was invisible. Kessel has to shoot more. They’re missing Letang, the official beverage of French Astronauts. Daley is banged up. Schultz is banged up. Jake Guentzel wasn’t on the team last year. Dumolin is the best defenseman they have. Bonino is hurt. Kunitz. Hainsey. Rust. Sheary. of course, Murray, Fleury. Seriously, it never stopped.

How about “Phil Kessel has 30 less shots than he had last year at this time?” HOW ABOUT NASHVILLE’S EXCELLENT TEAM DEFENSE? How about a little praise for guys like Jarnkrok, Gaudreau, Arvidsson, Ekholm? I’m sure if I had listened a little more I might have heard a cursory Pekka Rinne or P.K. Subban mention, but it’s like “Well, Pekka was good in Nashville, but now he goes back to Pittsburgh.” Or, maybe we hear about the tremendous contribution to a Montreal Children’s Hospital that Subban has made. It’s MADDENING I TELL YOU.

You think there are NO Nashville stories? How about talking about the decision that Poile has to make next week at the Expansion table? Does he offer up James Neal? Calle Jarnkrok? Colton Sissons? Pontus Aberg? Austin Watson? Colin Wilson? Craig Smith? or does he pull another George McPhee Jedi mind trick and get Vegas to grab Matt Irwin in an effort to get a piece of the Nashville defensive puzzle? Kinda like in the glory days of the New Jersey Devils, when adding a guy like Willie Mitchell meant unlocking a treasure trove of secrets from Jacques Lemaire’s warchest.

Maybe we could hear a little more about Filip Forsberg, who in the past three seasons has 105 goals between the regular and post-seasons, which during a quick cursory look is more than either Malkin (103) OR Kessel (90.)

How about a little discussion about the newly 37-year-old Mike Fisher, the team’s Captain? Succeeded Shea Weber, and in his first year as the team’s leader finds himself in a Stanley Cup Final series for the second time in his career, ten years after being a part of an Ottawa team that got dismantled by Ducks whose names included Getzlaf, and Perry, two guys he helped dismantle just a couple weeks earlier.

I realize the world revolves around Pittsburgh, and satellite radio is required by law to mention the city and their hockey team at least 18 times an hour, whereas Nashville is limited to a maximum of 3 times in the same amount of time, but the predictability of the conversation today has reached a breaking point for a guy like me.

I have ridiculed Preds fans who constantly bombard Facebook boards with conspiracy theories about on-ice officials prejudice, NBC announcer prejudice, National hockey blogger prejudice, and I’ve scoffed…mightily! But, today it became crystal clear to me. These people may actually have an argument (at least about the media.) No one is giving them the kind of credit they are due. Sure there are two gamesย  left to be won by one of these two remaining teams, and it may take three games to decide who hoists and who doesn’t, but one of those teams won it last year, and the other was barely given a chance to finish that Conference Final round after number one pivot Ryan Johansen (and Capt. Fisher) were lost to injury. No chance. Game Over. It was Anaheim that was supposed to be here for all the talking heads… and before that, it was St. Louis, and of course, when the playoffs started, it was Chicago, who were going to WIN IT ALL according to oddsmakers in Vegas! Ptui! I wish I’d placed a bet ๐Ÿ™‚

The Nashville Predators are the story here, and every time you remind us that Matt Cullen had a bunion on his #3 toe, or although Kris Letang had his neck operated on, there’s still a faint glimmer of hope he could play in Game 7, or that Carter Rowney and Carl Hagelin are so fast that the old two-niner, Phil Bourque sometimes confuses them with an Amtrak Nor-easter that leaves Penn Station at 6am and arrives in Bahsten 15 minutes before it left. It’s MADDENING. Holy Maatta! Takin’ It To The Streit! Here’s the real news.

Peter Laviolette has done a brilliant job. Phil Housley and Kevin McCarthy are two GLUE guys. Pete Weber is the best radio play-by-play guy left in this season’s arsenal. Terry Crisp no longer has the tie collection he had in Calgary. I am a season ticket holder who is paying 113 dollars to see a game that the guy sitting next to me is paying almost 4,000 dollars to see. THAT’S NEWS. No outdoor game (yet) – A great presentation at last year’s All-Star game, and now a BRILLIANT Stanley Cup Final. Sure, you’ve made cursory mentions of the fans, the noise and the presentation, but barely a peep about a guy named Aberg who spent most of the year in Milwaukee. A guy named Irwin who couldn’t even MAKE a Boston Bruins 2015-16 team that ran through 193 defensemen between the pre-season and the ensuing games that followed. A guy named Zolnierczyk which is obviously Polish for GLUE. A guy named Smith who spent more time on milk cartons this season than he did in box scores. TALK ABOUT NASHVILLE. If you don’t, I may have to call you at some point today, because I can probably come up with 20 more line items that all add up to what the REAL story is!

 

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