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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing Manager at HealthTrust. Social media junkie, strategist, and app idea guy. Hockey fan, photographer, and father to 2 awesome boys.

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)
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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

chris mason for vice-mayor

Someone just commented on this flickr photo of mine, that they just voted for Chris Mason for vice-mayor of the city as a write-in.

I don't think Chris is even eligible, being Canadian and all, but it sounds like a good idea to me. I get to show my general distaste for the current political landscape and the offerings i have to choose from, but still cast my vote - all while supporting the Predators!

This wouldn't be the first time, mind you. Me and a few friends of voted for a co-worker as a write-in during the last election. I don't even remember what office it was for.

NHL on ESPN

Ok, i'll go ahead an weigh in with my thoughts about ESPN talking to the NHL.

First, the basics:

  1. I would love the NHL to be anywhere but on Versus. Even if they went exclusively to their own NHL network (which is being discussed, but it wouldn't be exclusive), it would be better than Versus.
  2. NBC wants to get out of their contract. The NHL hasn't done well for them (mostly because there is no secondary support and only airing a few games for a few weeks out of the year isn't enough to build an audience). But the NHL needs a free, over-the-air presence.
  3. ESPN also carries with it ABC. See point #2.

Now, my thoughts are this. ESPN would be great. No question. But what would be better? Fox.

For everyone that remembers the old glowing pucks and has a general hatred for the idea of hockey on Fox - hear me out.

Is ESPN the "worldwide leader in sports"? Yes. But here's the rub. They also have the TV contract for the NHL's major competitor, the NBA. The NBA and NHL both have 82-game seasons that run through the winter. They have games on the weekend and during the week. ESPN and ABC will be forced to choose between the two leagues for prime coverage spots. If given the opportunity to air an NHL game or an NBA game, ESPN is going to choose the NBA game every time.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports is the only other major factor in sports broadcasting these days. This makes more sense for a few reasons. First, most of the NHL teams around the US have contracts with regional Fox Sports affiliate for cable broadcast (the Predators are on Fox Sports South for instance). Fox does also have experience in covering the league (1994-1999).

More importantly, Fox's other sports contracts are with MLB, NFL, and NASCAR. Baseball is off-season while the NHL is playing, and the football is just 1 day a week for Fox (Sun afternoons) and NASCAR is at a minimum over winter. This means the NHL will get more prime coverage and more choice spots.

Of course the main down-side to that is that Fox Sports does have great broadcast presence, they lack a major national cable channel to replace Versus. The ESPN/ABC combo is a powerhouse. It would be great to get. I just worry about scheduling issues...

We'll see how it pans out.

what could have been

With all the talk today of the Garnett to Boston trade, i am reminded of what could have been. What should have been.

Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan should have been the Bird/Magic rivalry of this era. They are the two most fundamentally sound, super-star talented players in the league. They are in a contest every year for who will run up more double-doubles, and are capable of playing inside, outside, and are - and this is key to setting them apart from others in the league - great defenders.

They are the same age (though Garnett skipped college so he's got more years as a pro) and are mirror images of one another in many ways. Both wear number 21. Both are 7-footers with deceptive speed...the comparisons go on and on.

Yet thanks to commissioner David Stern's love for big-market showboating superstars, both of these stars were overlooked by the media in favor of Kobe, Shaq, Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, and players like that. Minnesota and San Antonio are not 'big markets' and Duncan and Garnett don't trash-talk enough. So the media didn't maximize their coverage. Combine that with Garnett's team's poor performance (due to his lack of a supporting cast and mediocre coaching), and these two are rarely mentioned in the same sentence these days.

Who knows, now that Garnett is moving to the east, with more of a supporting cast and a bigger market, we'll get a little Kevin vs. Tim. Of course...the league's marketing machine has already moved on to the next generation with LeBron vs Wade.
I just think that would have been a good rivalry. Something that might have been and wasn't.

By the way, i also love this article about the trade today, describing it as Kevin McHale's last great contribution to the Celtics (he's the GM for Minnesota).

Friday, July 27, 2007

his name wasn't matthew

I find names in the Bible pretty funny. Especially all the ones in the New Testament that have been westernized or anglicanized or whatever the right word is.

Somewhat related: Twelve Most Interesting Bible Characters

Hilarious.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

bad movies

Christy and i signed up for a Blockbuster online account a while back (for now it really is a better deal than Netflix) and have enjoyed being able to watch all sorts of movies we had passed up in theaters but wanted to get around to, etc.

We found out that many of those movies were great - like Mirrormask, Unbreakable, The Prestige, and Good Night and Good Luck (some we ended up buying).

But we've also seen a whole lot of real stinkers. Die Another Day, The Last Mimzy, Men in Black II, The Fantastic Four, etc.

I'm beginning to wonder if we should re-think our list and take off movies that we didn't see because they didn't look that great, and start going for more movies that we don't know much about or couldn't get around to. For instance, Christy and i (yes, her too) have really gotten in to Jackie Chan movies (plus some Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon). I think we may explore more movies in those genres, or more artsy films like Mirrormask (City of Lost Children is on the list already).

We'll also leave on many classics that we haven't seen (or haven't seen in a long time) like The Godfather (i've seen it, Christy hasn't) and Terminator, etc. Those will stay on the list.

But i think Firewall, Jurassic Park III, and Daredevil are gonna get taken off. Or at least bumped waaaay down the list. If we see much more junk like we've been seeing - i agree with Christy - we'll go nuts.



While i'm on the topic...does anyone know how to grab an RSS stream of our Blockbuster Online queue? I know Netflix provides such a service, but i can't find a way to do it with Blockbuster. It'd be fun to post on my sidebar, but i haven't figured out how.

predators sign new forward

Predators have signed winger Martin Gelinas to a 1-year $1.25 million deal. (He's coming off a 2-year $1.9mil deal with Florida).

Gelinas is coming to us from the Florida Panthers.
Last year he had 14 goals, 30 assists, (for 44 points) was +7 and had only 36 penalty minutes in all 82 games for the Panthers (averaged 13+ minutes of ice time last year). Looks like a good 2nd-3rd line winger and a penalty killer. Possibly a replacement for Scott Hartnell of sorts. Not a huge player (5-11, 202), but we already picked up size elsewhere this off-season.

He's also an experienced veteran. At 37, he's the oldest player on the Predators roster and has been playing professional hockey for longer than Radulov has been on the planet. He played for the Oilers, Nordiques, Canucks, Hurricanes, Flames, and Panthers. his peak year was in 96-97 when he finished with 68 points (35 goals, 33 assists). But he has been a consistent performer through his career, and it looks like recently he's turned himself into a reliable two-way player, finishing with an average of 42 points and +8 over the last 5 years.

This signing uses up most of the salary-floor space we had left so i think Eklund's newly posted update (this morning) of Foppa-to-Nashville possibilities are looking unlikely. Assuming that thePredators stay on the salary-floor, which i think is likely, at least until we get in to the season and see how the team and ticket sales are going...or if the sale of the team goes through and the new ownership (whoever it is) has money to spend.

The Forechecker and Paul McCann have posted their thoughts as well. Forechecker has some interesting looks at our possible line-ups for next year too.

Hockey trivia - the Predators site is listing Gelinas as one of the players traded to Edmonton from LA as a prospect for Wayne Gretzky back in 1988.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

my wife, the girl singer

I just have to take a moment to brag on my wife.

She's been taking a class at the Nashville Jazz Workshop for the past 5-6 weeks. She wanted to do it and really has enjoyed it. Tonight, they had a concert with each of the students performing 2-3 songs. All from the Rogers and Hart songbook.

She was great.

For those that don't know, my wife was actually a vocal major (classical/soprano) in college, so it isn't like i didn't know she could sing. She sings around the house frequently and..well, yeah. She's good. But she also has a fairly soft, small voice. She worked through much of college to counter that while singing classically (arias, no mics, etc). Worked a lot on technique and how to sing as big and strong and exaggerated as possible. She was good at it...but tonight, she was singing jazz. In my opinion, this is what she was made to sing.

Thanks to the mic, and the fact that she was singing a ballad (one of the songs anyway) really let her shine. She was able to drop all the exaggerated stuff she had been forced to do singing classically and just allow her voice to be natural. It was really beautiful. She did well on the up-tempo tune too, no question. Good energy, but not crazy, etc. But the ballad...this woman was made to sing lullabies and torch songs.

There was video shot, and i'm hoping we get a copy soon. I'll try to convince her to let me post it. I tried to record it using her Sansa, but it just didn't turn out too well. The band over balanced her in the recording (it was fine live) and i'm not sure if i am going to post it or not.

Anyway, i thought she was great, and really look forward to making her forget everything she learned in college and sing more pretty, jazzy stuff.



Side note: The Nashville Jazz Workshop was awesome. That place is amazing. The players in her backing band tonight were very good (though for other acts later they seemed to be a little less-tight) and the building and atmosphere is amazing. Driving there looks really sketchy, but once you're inside the building it is awesome. It has me wanting to take some drum classes just so i can work on my chops some for the Quartet.


Side note 2: This is my 250th blog post. :-)

predators rumor update

Eklund just posted an updated version of his list of available free agents (ranked in order) and their possible destinations. As stated previously, the only player listed a few weeks ago was Jeremy Roenick.

Here's our presence on the list now (with other possible destinations):

1. Peter Forsberg (Nashville, Vancouver, Detroit, Philadelphia)
21. Jan Bulis (Columbus, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Wash)
31. Jeremy Roenick (Toronto, Nashville, Ottawa)
32. Mike Johnson (Nashville,Phoenix, NYI, NJ)
It is very interesting of course to see Peter Forsberg added to the list. We have a good bit of room left to spend to get to the salary-cap floor, and supposedly Foppa really liked it here. Whether or not he'd give us another shot is another issue. He would be a huge boost to the team, both for fan draw and marketing, and would still be able to contribute on-ice as well (though i would pencil him in for only 50-games tops with his ongoing foot problems).

Jeremy Roenick i've already talked about.

Jan Bulis and Mike Johnson...interesting, but nothing special. These guys are more 3rd/4th line fodder (unless they have a breakout year) but do provide more good size (6'0" and 6'2").

I'm just happy to see us back on the shoppers list. Best of all, i still trust David Poile to put together the best possible team given his financial pressure.

It is a testament to his skills and deal structuring that we are still not to the cap floor yet and we are putting a team on the ice with Steve Sullivan, Jason Arnott, JP Dumont, Alexander Radulov, David Legwand, and Martin Erat up front and Zidlicky, Weber, Suter, Zanon, and Hamuis on defense - and a goalie that finished # 2 in the league in save percentage and 12th in shutouts, 10th in goals against.

All that for less than the salary floor.
He gets my (totally unbiased) vote for GM of the year if we get close to the playoffs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

this scares me

I loved Batman Begins.
Now, i wasn't one of those people that hated the earlier Batman movies. Batman and Robin was bad, but the others were at least moderately entertaining. However, i did love the dark-realism treatment of the Dark Knight's story that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale brought to life.

But i'm not super excited about the new photos Warner Brothers just released for the next iteration of Batman movies.

The new suit looks good. Not that different. Very cool.

The new bike...not so much...looks goofy.

The shot they released of Heath Ledger as the Joker disturbs me though. As in: i think i'm going to have nightmares tonight. I am sure that's what they are going for, but this may be over-the-edge-dark if they follow through on what this shot looks like.

I'll of course wait to see trailers and such to decide if it goes on my list, but as of right now, i'm only about 50/50 on it.

many me

Through my wife's new corporate blog, i was introduced to yet another social/blogging/photos/videos/my-online-self site: VIRB.

You know a site is a little on the mod-artsy-emo-30-something side when Fightclub and Death Cab for Cutie are more popular tags than Star Wars and The Beatles.

Just how many of these things do i have to sign up for before it is too much?

blurred vision

Since i woke up this morning (which is actually still a process i am working through) my eyes have been blurry. Yes, even after i put in my contacts. I think it's time to throw these out and start new ones. I'm horrible about remembering when 2 weeks are up.

Anyway...then i come in and check all my sites this morning...and i see this.
It didn't help.
But it is funny.

Friday, July 20, 2007

i am now stuck in 1996

Most of my co-workers that sit on the row of cubes with me discovered last week that you can set a sound file to play when you get an email. Apparently they all missed out on this when "You've Got Mail" was the standard in the mid-nineties.

So i am now repeatedly (and i mean over and over) bombarded with "You've got mail, baby, yeah!" from Austin Powers, "There is a message for you" by HAL, and "Message for you sir!" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I also just overheard someone saying someone might need to enable "micros" to correctly view an Excel spreadsheet they were being sent.

Kill me now.

video from predators rally

[Check here for the latest Predators news]
[For more pictures of Eklund, look here]

I'm swamped catching up with things at work, but wanted to post the video i put together from last night's rally.


If the video isn't working, try this link.

In short:

  • Rally was fun, but not amazing (a little too short)
  • Turnout was great (though my inner fan-boy hoped for more)
  • Results were fantastic - tickets sold!
  • The Predators are staying
  • It felt really good to be back in the arena
  • I can't wait for the new jumbotron...i was really disappointed it wasn't installed yet.
More thoughts later...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

gimme and welcome

A quick non-Predator related post.

You have no idea how badly i want one of these. LG's 2nd generation all-format drives. They read and write Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD+/-RW, DL, etc, etc... And they are "only" $500. $400 if you just want to read the new formats and write to old ones. That really isn't bad at all considering it replaces about $1200 in cutting edge equipment.

But that will sound very familiar to my wife. I talked her into letting me buy an awesome 4 format DVD recorder back when DVD+R and DVD-R were fighting it out. Little did i know that they would both win and both are now standard in every drive. At the time, i thought this Sony drive would be a rarity and i totally misjudged how fast prices would drop. We paid $400 for a drive that only 6 months later cost $95. I still apologize for that one occasionally, just at random points over dinner.

So unless someone is feeling real generous around Christmas-time, i'll be waiting on these to drop a little more.

[sigh]

Also...i'd like to welcome my friend Jim Craig to the world of blogging. He's been commenting on my blog a lot (i appreciate dude!) and has decided to launch his own. Check it out: I have strong opinions and i'm gonna tell ya.
Add him to your blog rolls and feeders.

Predators Rally Recap

Amazing. 700+ full season tickets*. Over 7000 people in attendance.
This team is staying.

Now the challenge is to sell even more seats so that the team can really be profitable and have the budget needed to put together a team that can win a cup.

104.5 had some of the leaders of the local ownership group on while i was driving home from the rally, and they said their goal would be to reinvest any overage or profits into the team. They weren't looking at this as a money making venture (understatement of the year), but wanted the team to be successful and wanted the team to stay in Nashville so it could maintain its level of national and international respect.

Right now i am furiously trying to edit video. That will really show you what this was like.
Tons and tons of pictures coming soon.
If you want to browse through the raw stack, they are uploading to Flickr right now.

Oh - and i just made a comment on Eklund's post thanking him for coming out, then linking to pictures of him at the event. The post was deleted and my posting rights on the site were suspended for 6 hours. This guy is serious about not wanting to be seen - or he is serious about not wanting people to post on his blog fishing for hits...which i understand. I guess. I just think it was funny.

This is a picture of him to the right.

No question, this was the picture of the night though:

As the governor later said...he may live to regret that picture :-)

Great photos of the event by Chris Wage too.

My full breakdown and recap tomorrow.

(* the equivalent of 700 full season ticket packages. Made up of full and partial packages)

predators ticket sales update

For those looking for updates on the ticket sales, check Paul McCann's blog.
He's there all day, on the radio off and on.

I'm stuck in a training class at work otherwise i'd be posting my own updates.

So far, 202 new full season ticket equivalents (read: lots of full packages, but lots and lots of half and quarter packages).

It's looking really good!

FYI: For anyone interested - I'll have pictures going up live throughout on my Flickr stream.

twitter

I did it. I finally succumbed to the peer pressure and signed up for a twitter account.
This post about all the ways this guys uses his text messaging on his phone convinced me. So last night, in prep for the rally tonight, i setup a twitter account and setup my phone to be able to upload pictures straight to my flickr account.

Now all of my fans can follow and know what i am doing every second of the day.
There is huge demand for this you understand. I have to satisfy the needs of the people.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

predators license plate

Just in time for the Rally tomorrow - the Predators License Plate is here...well...90% here.
Just fill out this form, send it in with a $35 check, wait for 999 other people to do the same, then we get our plates! They will be accepting deposits at the Rally tomorrow as well.
This is what the plate should look like (taken from the PDF form online)
Pretty different from the other sports plates, and not much like what i predicted. But i like it.

rally is tomorrow - be there!

Some great posts around the web about the Predators Rally tomorrow.

Seriously - all you bloggers out there that love "live blogging" and you photographers (i'm looking at you Wage) need to show up. This is going to be big. You don't want to miss it. My wife will probably be there off and on all day photographing the festivities.

For the Rally itself, we will be sitting with the rest of Cell Block 303 in section 103 if you want to come meet us. We'll be one of about 8,000 people wearing our jerseys. Mine doesn't have a name on it.

Misc Notes:
Hockey blogging celebrity Eklund just made a long, impassioned, very impressive post about why Nashville is a great hockey city, and explained why he is flying down to support the Rally (scroll down a bit to read the main part about Nashville).

Predators P.A. announcer and hockey-radio personality Paul McCann has made a few posts as well.

This event is going to be great.

Even if you aren't a Predators fan - especially if you aren't a Predators fan - this is a great time to come down to the arena for free - get inside, and see what this is all about.

It has been confirmed that players Ryan Suter, Chris Mason, Vern Fiddler, and Scott Nichol (at least) will be in attendance, that the new uniforms will be debuted, and that the ice pack and rival packs will be announced. No word on whether or not the new multi-million dollar high-def jumbotron has been installed yet. (It is supposed to go in sometime "this summer").

To make things even better, it is looking more and more like tomorrow will be a party to welcome (if unofficially at that point) our new local ownership. The local ownership team met with Leipold and NHL officials today in New York and apparently the meeting went well.

104.5 The Zone will be broadcasting all day live from the Sommet Center.

Here's their broadcast schedule of the day (from Paul McCann):
6am-10am - The Wake Up Zone with Frank Wycheck, Kevin Ingram, and Mark Howard. Predators player guests will be on

10am-2pm - Nashville Predators Insiders hosted by Willy Daunic and Pete Weber, and Paul McCann...possibly Eklund...?

Box Lunches will be available for only $5 from 11am - 1:30pm

2pm-6pm - The Sports Zone
George Plaster and Darren McFarland with Mike Coyne, Rick Regen, Butch Spyridon, and Ralph Shulz

6pm-7pm - THE RALLY
The Rally will be held on the floor of The Sommet Center... wear your Predator finest and prepare to get crazy!

7pm-9pm - The Sports Zone with George Plaster, Willy Daunic, and Darren McFarland



While we're back on the topic of hockey, On The Forecheck has some interesting thoughts about what the addition of teams in Kansas City and Las Vegas would mean to re-aligning the league. Includes pretty pictures.

Update: The Predators just agreed to terms with Vern Fiddler, the last player on last years roster not accounted for through resigning, trade, or signing with someone else. This still leaves the Preds $1.5 million+ left to spend to get the salary floor. We're gonna be a very good team for one with that low a payroll.

more tv movies

I hope they have fun with this.
Not too much. Doesn't need to be a parody, but i just hope they don't go all Miami Vice on it. I didn't even seen MV, but it just...yeah. I hope they make it more like the Transformers was than like Miami Vice.
I wonder if a MacGuyver or A-Team movie can be far behind? Or GI-Joe?
I know that A-Team (with Mel Gibson as Hannibal) was rumored for a long time, and looks like it might be in production now, though no cast has been announced. GI-Joe has been an off again on again idea for a while. Good times.

Update: Matt pointed out, that no, it is not a Camero. We got over Bumblebee being a Camero instead of a Beetle...so maybe KIT will be a Beetle when the movie actually comes out?

Monday, July 16, 2007

jeremy roenick a predator?

Now this is an interesting theory.

This morning James Mirtle posted that former Blackhawk/Flyer/King/Coyote, Jeremy Roenick, may not be retiring after all. Then this afternoon, hockey blogger extraordinare, Eklund, posted his updated list of unrestricted free agents and included Roenick on that list, and listed Nashville as a possible destination (the only player on the list with Nashville as a destination).

For those that don't know, Roenick is something of a controversial player. Not exactly a dirty player, but a whiner and a talker. Mostly a talker. Picture an NBA player drafted out of high-school but in a 37 year old hockey players very worn out body. On the ice he is nothing compared to what he once was, which wasn't a whole lot to begin with.

So, would Roenick signing with the Predators be something that fans want?

I think yes.

This may sound strange, from a fan that normally is all for the well behaved, mature, quiet teams. But think about it from this point of view: Nashville needs not only a successful team, but 1) vocal leadership 2) a face to the franchise 3) coverage from local and national media.

Roenick brings all of these, but especially #3. The scene at the right is where he would be most useful. Having him on the team guarantees sound-bytes worthy of Sportscenter and the local news. If nothing else, i think it would make for an interesting season. The only possible down side would be if he became too negative on Nashville, but considering how long he's played in Phoenix, Nashville is Toronto by comparison.

Maybe that's where we spend our extra cap money...

He could also come in, alienate fans, and kill any sense of team-unity the Predators have.

I'm glad i'm not the GM.



In related news (and yet another reminder):
The great Eklund himself will be coming to Nashville on Thursday for the Rally. Even more reason to be there! We gotta show him that Nashville fans will show up!

predators sign more players

The Forechecker just pointed me to the Tennessean article with good news: The Predators just resigned Zanon, Klein, and Hordichuck.

I left a long comment on his post, and here it is - my thoughts on the signings:

I love getting Zanon back.
Klein will be a big part too.

Hordichuck - that one's for the fans. He's a duplicate player with Tootoo, really doesn't add anything to the team besides a great personality and a radio show - which is why he was signed.

Zanon will be huge though. He is a bargain, but i'd have paid him 50% more than that if that's what it took. He is a defenders defender and a big part of our penalty kill (which is going to get even more work this year).

I think it will be really interesting to see who else we pick up with the few extra million left to hit the cap floor. Probably waiting to see who he can grab coming out of arbitration (like JP Dumont previously). My only question about that is that though those players are solid, they are not the 'bargain' players. By the nature of the arbitration/UFA process, they are usually paid on the high-side of what they are worth.

I agree, we're slightly more balanced this year, and most importantly a playoff team.
Reminder: The big rally for the Preds is this Thursday! Be there!

cool tech roundup

Time for a round-up of new random items i think are cool.

A few items from Think Geek:

  • A Red T-shirt with "Expendable" written on it in a 'trek-ish' font. Classic.
  • A cell phone signal repeater. Awesome. I wish i could get my company to put one of these in our building. All my Verizon friends get signal just fine but T-mobile...nooooo.
  • Electric finger-drums for my desk. Even lets you create loops. Nice.
From Engaget:
  • Is it just me, or is this just a really expensive way of asking someone "do you like this"?
  • Same category of, don't we already have something that does this?
  • A real, working, MP3 player Soundwave Transformer. Nice.
More video game news too:
  • Cool (long) videos about Half-Life 2: Episode 2, and Portal/Team Fortress 2. TF2 will feature the ability to have your character trash talk in-game, in-character, animated and all ("cry some more!"). This is going to be so much fun.
  • RockBand is looking better and better. Apparently both that and Guitar Hero 3 are getting some major upgrades, including using the original masters for tracks instead of covers. They have also recently announced that (at least for Xbox 360) there will be downloadable extra songs, including whole albums. The first album up: The Who's Who's Next. I can't wait to knock my shoulder out of joint throwing down some big pinwheel guitar action.
I guess that's enough for now. Have to get back to the whole "work" thing.

x-files weird

Check this out:

I have watched maybe 10-12 episodes of the X-Files in my life. I have seen the movie, thought it was cool, and moved on.

But i had an X-files dream last night. I was Mulder, Christy was Scully. I don't remember much more than that.

Then i find this news story published this morning. New X-Files movie being planned.

Cue the creepy music.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

judge a book (by its) cover

Well, my wife is pretty into Harry Potter. I have to admit i've gotten into it a bit too. Some friends let us borrow the movies and i caught up last spring. Then we just went to see the latest movie. Very very good. (My review: Good special effects in the beginning, bad effects in the middle, great effects at the end...the plot roughly follows).

Now i am going to start listening through the unabridged audio books (so i can more intelligently argue some points of debate with my wife) thanks to the Nashville Public Library system, and just pre-ordered the new book for Christy.

I said it'd never happen, but i guess we're fans.

But now i wish i had ordered Christy's copy to be shipped from the UK. Apparently they get a better version there. First, their version has the original UK English intact (the US version is re-edited for US kids vocabulary), but mostly, they have a way cooler cover. I'm sorry, there is just no comparison. What's up with that?

This is the US cover.
(click to enlarge)
I know the US versions have had this same cover style for a while, but it...well...stinks. I just think it looks dumb. It doesn't match the feel of the stories that they hold inside. Looks more like a dark Dr. Seuss or something. Too melodramatic and stylized without being fun looking. It either needs to be creepy or fun. This fails at both.

These are the UK covers - plural.
(click to enlarge)

In Europe and Asia though, they get two covers: A kids cover, and an 'adult' cover. I find both of these a far better option than what we get in the US. The 'adult' cover in particular is way cooler, spookier, and generally more mysterious. And yes, it reminds me of cover of the book in The Neverending Story, so that probably helps. The kids version also seems a better fit somehow. Of course, from looking at the UK kids version, this is apparently going to be a cross-over with Stargate.

A quick skim of amazon.co.uk makes it look like they have only been doing the dual-covers for the last two books. Before that, they all followed the kids-cover style, but it was still far better than the US versions. Ok, except the first one. Aside from the different title, that cover does look pretty lame. But i guess at that point it really was more of a kids book.

Oh well. I guess in reality i would like all books to either be a pocket-size paperback or a leather-bound library volume. Can anyone hook me up with one of those yet?

Friday, July 13, 2007

new look hockey

If you don't remember, or haven't heard, the NHL is rolling out new uniforms across the whole league for this next year. New material, new cut to the sweaters, etc. The new look was debuted at the All-Star game this last year (for all 26 of you that watched). Should be a real upgrade for the players.

The Predators will be showing off their version of the new suits for the first time at the rally on the 19th. That is also going to be when they announce which games will be a part of the ice packs, rival packs, and half-season packages. So - be there! (or at least listen to the radio and buy some tickets)



In somewhat related news, the Sharks just rolled out their revised logo for next year: ewww. Isn't really a change, so not sure why they bothered. Just a little more anime looking.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

engadget

I just needed to share the wonders of Engadget.

Established facts: I need to know about cool tech. I am a geek and i have to know what is going on in the geek world.

I used to be a Slashdot addict (which peaked when i actually got posted), then switched over with most everyone else to Digg a few years ago when that came on the scene. But more and more both of those sites got distracted by random, only partially tech-related news. I was only interested in real "cool tech" news and related points of interest. I didn't need to read long rants about civil rights or know about funny videos of diet coke and mentos. Not that mentos civil rights aren't important to me, but that isn't what i look for in a tech news site.

But i have recently re-discovered Engagdet. Great site. To the point, editor driven (keep out the hoi polloi) and so very well written. Today they are in particularly good form (i think they are all hyped up for their E3 coverage).

Here's a sampling of some of their hilarious writing from today:

Nyko Wii Party Station:
Yeah, you thought you were living the high life with that pair of rechargeable batteries and tennis racket attachments you ponied up for -- too bad you weren't even halfway to awesome...Best of all is the completely superfluous score board to make your smack talk so much more effective, and the hand cooling fan really seals the deal. For $25, if you don't have one of these 12 seconds after they hit store shelves, we can't be friends anymore.

Terrifying bike helmet filters bad air, increases fear:
If you've been worrying that small children weren't frightened enough when you pedaled your bike down the street, 22-year-old Luke Pannell...is here to help. The young inventor has created a biking helmet that he's dubbed "Breathe Air," which in addition to looking like a cross between Michael Myers, a Storm Trooper and The Predator, also features a filtering "shield" over the mouth and nose, which cuts particles and dust...Now all it needs is an attached Bluetooth headset so you can communicate back to the Death Star without taking your eyes off the road.
I laughed out loud at both of these. Makes my lunch break so much better.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

pixar in hd?

At Microsoft's E3 keynote last night they announced that more movies will be available on XBox Live in HD - including "Disney Movies".

So - my questions:

  1. Are Pixar movies included?
  2. Will they be available in HD on iTunes or any other services or is this exclusive?
  3. Will they release them on HD DVD or Blueray?
Only other question is that if the answer to (1) is yes but (2) and (3) is no, then how long until i get an XBox 360?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

predators news

It's been a whole three days since i last posted about the Predators, and there actually has been some news today, so here's a big huge update:

City Paper had a great article* today about how he thinks we will actually be pretty good this year and that we could surprise people "the most talented team does not always win the Stanley Cup". Of course he's the coach, he has to say that. But i agree. We certainly have a better team than our first playoff year when we barely made it in. And that team actually won two games in the first round before getting knocked out, as opposed to just one game the last two years. With Arnott being one of our main guys up front, and trading Hartnell and Timonen for Bonk and de Vires, we are a much bigger team overall. I will be really curious to see if we keep going after more size with other free agents or prospect call-ups. Though after seeing him in camp last year, don't hold your breath for 6'7" Yonkman to be in the lineup regularly.

Speaking of camp...
Here's the schedule so far (finally announced today!!!)
Training Camp starts Sept 13th
     with testing and physicals at the Sommet Center
First open, on-ice session will be Sept 14th
     at Centennial Sportsplex (as usual)

The Preseason was also announced today. Looks like an all South East schedule for us, which is kinda fun. I really wish we were in a division with all these teams. Would really help build the sport in the south i think (all the SEC'ers would be more likely to get into it). But the NHL is so eastern heavy that Nashville, Columbus, and Detroit are all in the Western Conference. How nuts is that. Anyway - i'm hoping to go visit some friends in Atlanta for the pre-season game there, but we'll have to see since its a "school" night.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS 2007 PRESEASON SCHEDULE
Day Date Opponent Site
Time (CDT)
Sunday Sept. 16 Columbus Blue Jackets Nationwide Arena
4:00 PM
Thursday Sept. 20 Atlanta Thrashers Sommet Center
7:00 PM
Friday Sept. 21 Carolina Hurricanes RBC Center
6:00 PM
Saturday Sept. 22 Carolina Hurricanes Sommet Center
7:00 PM
Tuesday Sept. 25 Atlanta Thrashers Philips Arena
6:00 PM
Saturday Sept. 29 Columbus Blue Jackets Sommet Center
7:00 PM


I also just got the latest email update from Section 303.
Lots of "Save the Predators" events going on. I'm just going to do a cut and paste for ya here...

1) IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY, GET SOME SEASON TIX..OR ADD-ON!
http://www.seats3d.com/nhl/nashville_predators

2) COME TO THE BIG "SAVE THE PREDATORS" RALLY ON THUR. JULY 19.
Sponsored by 104.5 "The Zone" and OurTeamNashville.com, this event at the Sommet Center (the new name for the Nashville Arena) will be an all-day affair from 6 AM to 8 PM, but they want to pack the arena out at 6:00 PM. There will be tons of media coverage for this so we want to see the joint rockin'!

The event will be inside to avoid any problems with inclement weather. Folks will be able to roam around the arena to look at season ticket locations. Current Predators players will be on hand to answer phones and help sell tix.

More info:
http://www.1045thezone.com/?pid=6506

If you would like to volunteer to help at the rally, go to:
http://www.ourteamnashville.com
Phone: 615-259-4754

3) SAVE THE PREDATORS BENEFIT CONCERT
(was tonight at the Rutledge)

4) BUY A NASHVILLE LOVE HOCKEY WRISTBAND
Price is $5.00 and 70% of the money goes to buying tickets for worthy groups. For more info go to:
http://www.nashvilleloveshockey.com

5) ZANIES SHOW 7/25 TO SAVE THE PREDS
Featuring Patti Vasquez
Wed. July 25 at 7:30 (doors open at 6:00--seating first come, fist served)
Tickets are $16.00
100% of proceeds go to SavethePredators.com
Call 615-269-0221 to reserve seats

6) SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE PREDATORS
http://www.petitiononline.com/19972007/petition.html

7) FILL OUT THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SURVEY ABOUT THE PREDATORS
http://www.nashvillechamber.com/predators/


Like i said, the concert for SaveThePredators.com was tonight. We didn't go, but Christy and i did order shirts from the site to support the effort. They aren't anything special and i don't know if i'll ever where it in public (i have about 6 Predators shirts that are cooler and i have to wear collared shirts to work now), but it's nice enough. Anyway...interesting thing is that the City Paper announced the concert. Had a little write-up next to the main Predators article.



And for those still trying to keep track of the off-ice Predators news, On The Forecheck just posted that the Nashville Post is reporting that Jim Balsillie is apparently out of the running for purchasing the Predators. It is now just down to "Boots" (the Kansas City guy) and the local offer. I like the idea proposed that they may combine. Of course, there is also always the possibility that Leipold will decide to work with the local group to do what he asked for way back in the spring - partial ownership from locals. No one took that talk seriously back then, and now suddenly this group has to play catch-up. How different might this have all looked if a few of these local businessmen had just stepped up with a few million back then?

I wonder if one person can own a minority stake in two NHL clubs at the same time? I'm not sure why "Boots" would want to trade a small share of the Sharks for a share of the Predators. I mean, i love the Preds, but the Sharks are a stronger team financially than we are right now.



* Of course, i would love to link to the Preds article in the City Paper, or the write-up on the concert tonight - but noooo. The City Paper's new online version (as cool as that is) keeps me from linking to it. I like that i can now see the pictures (the old site had no pics) but how the heck am i supposed to bring them extra readers if i can't link to their articles?!

Monday, July 09, 2007

we're rollin'

Quick note for those that haven't noticed.

I finally added a blog roll of sorts to my page. Down on the lower left hand side. It is more accurate as it is labeled: What's in my feed reader. More than just blogs (though there are a lot of those) also news feeds, online comics, and a few other random bits. This is not to be confused with my "other places" section on the right side that is other places i write/content/dump and other cool sites that i like.

So, there it is. If you're on the list, know that you're being watched :-)
If you're not...then...do something interesting and i'll add you.

It really is nuts how much i have crammed in to Google Reader now. It used to take me a good 5 minutes minimum to skim through all my sites and just see if there was new content. Now it just takes seconds. What to do with all this time...

Related Question:
I'm trying to figure out how to add stat tracking to the feed for my blog.

I know lots of people read my blog via a feed reader, but i have no idea how to tell for sure how many, or make sure they are registering. I added the Stattracker/Google Analytics code to the footer of my feed, but i'm not sure if that registers every time someone reads a post through the feed.

Anyone else know how that works?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

gaming update

Time for an update on my favorite games that i haven't even played yet.

The Half-Life 2 Orange Box is coming out soon. Soon-ish anyway. October 9th. I finally actually believe this date because they have at least released the cover art, as well as just put up a new site to cover it.

For those that don't know, the Orange Box is what you need to buy. It is Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2.

Of course, the irony is that 90% of those that that do know what the Orange Box is, you won't be buying it. You already own HL2 and HL2:Ep1, so you will do like i will and buy HL2:Ep2, Portal, and TF2 over Steam. Why Valve isn't releasing each of those games in their own retail boxes too, i'm not sure. It is a battle for shelf space at Christmas guys - get with it!

Anyway, i am really pumped. Especially when i saw this new screenshot from Episode 2 that is on the new site (at right, click to enlarge). Will the character animations really look like that when you croutch and shoot over a wall? What are those little glowing things on the ground? Are they coming from the Hunter (the thing in the background)? Is the Hunter shooting that electricity? Or is that a Vortigaunt shooting at it?

Yeah, i'm a fanboy and i can't wait for these games.



In related news: Playing a new game.
Insurgency.

Basically it is yet another awesome, free, user-made mod for Half-Life 2. This one takes the Coutner-Strike (terrorist/counter-terrorist) in to a real-world situation (Iraq) and makes it much more realistic (iron sites instead of crosshairs, etc). It is also based on real-world locations in Iraq. Real cities and the layouts are supposed to be fairly accurate. It is very well made and a lot of fun, but boy do i suck at it. It goes for realism, so it is very much a one-shot-kill game. Not an arcade game by any means. (New patch just got released this morning). Go check it out.



Last, the other game i'm waiting for is Left 4 Dead.
Normally i don't go for the tons-of-Zombies genre of games, but the new elements they are putting in this game are really cool. The work they did on the AI isn't in the enemies (they are zombies after all) but rather in the game layout. Everytime you play through will be different. The game moves where traps, zombies, etc are located withing the level. The buildings don't change, but the experience does every time.

It also very much encourages team-based play (not just shooting everything on your own), and it introduces some really cool elements that make it more cinematic. Example: When you are hurt you start limping, then when you are really hurt you can only lie on the ground in one place until a friend helps you up. You can still shoot, but you can't move. It looks really cool. Just like something out of a movie.

Enjoy video here (if you like lots of gross zombies in video games)

Friday, July 06, 2007

online communities map

Many of you have probably seen this before, but i wanted to be yet one more guy to throw it on my blog. As much as anything, i actually just posted this now to get it off my desktop. That's where the file has been for months while i wait for a lull in blog-worthy topics to get around to posting it. The Predators sale, etc made sure that didn't happen for a while. Normally i have as few items on my desktop as possible (like 4-6 shortcuts and thats it) so this just finally had to get posted.

click to enlarge
(To the best of my knowledge, this originated here).

I love that this isn't just random web-things posted around on a map, they are arranged very logically according to their relation to other sites around, and according to the labels on the compass-rose shaped island (which itself i find hilarious). The "bit torrent" river is great too. I think my favorite item is the under-sea Usenet basin. That or the small peninsula of attractive MySpace pages. Though it is a little too large. My only real complaint would be the lack of Blogger and the relatively small size of Flickr, but of course i use both frequently, so maybe that's just me.

I would love to see this re-drawn every year just to see how things have shifted and changed in relative size and location. Many additions and subtractions over time would be necessary i am sure.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

transformers

Time for a summer movie update.

So far i've missed one of the movies on my list for this summer, but i've seen most of them. I'd also have to say that having seen the trailers, Rush Hour 3 is probably off my "must" list and on to "optional", while the Simpsons Movie may be on to my "must" list now. Underdog is off the list entirely. So... new list...

Movies i am for sure going to check out:
May 4th - Spiderman 3 (3.5 out of 5)
May 25th - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (4 out of 5)
June 8th - Ocean's Thirteen (didn't see)
June 29th - Ratatouille (4.5 out of 5)
July 4th - Transformers (3 out of 5)
July 13th - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
July 27th - The Simpsons Movie
August 17th - Fanboys

Others of note that i am going to wait to rent or borrow:
May 18th - Shrek the 3rd (didn't see)
June 15th - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (didn't see)
June 22nd - Evan Almighty (didn't see)
June 29th - Live Free or Die Hard (not yet)
August 3rd - The Bourne Ultimatum
August 10th - Rush Hour 3
August 17th - The Invasion



Anyway - now to my review of Transformers.
My expectations were pretty much met for this one, which isn't necessarily a great thing.

It was Michael Bay. Pure and simple. As my good friend Matt said - he is basically an old-time b-movie action director on a big budget. Lots and lots of 'spolsions, little character development outside of the one main hero (Sam), and an almost complete disregard for the intelligence of his audience.

At a high level, the plot was actually better than i had hoped. It was mostly believable, reasonably true to the original show, and the different groups all acted according to plausible motivation. Nothing completely random happened and there were no gaping holes.

At a lower level however, the dialogue and minor plot elements were poorly executed. The writing was slightly better than the first Fantastic Four movie, but that isn't saying much. There was more cussing than needed, though not a ton. But most of it felt very forced, like a middle-schooler on the playground trying to sound tough. Several weak minor plot elements including things like "they are using a signal to hack our network" - as though playing a sound-file really loud near a computer automatically opens up all encryption. Oh - and all government computers are apparently connected to one massive server and are connected through a "hard line". Lots of little science mis-steps too, like a craft leaving the earth's atmosphere showing heat and flame bouncing off a shield (which only actually happens when items enter the atmosphere, not leave). But this isn't an educational documentary, so all that can be overlooked. Barely.

I'd say my main real disappointment and complaint about the movie was the characters. In the TV show the Transformers all had very unique personalities. We got a very very small glimpse of that in the Autobots, but got to see none of that in the Decepticons. Basically the only time any of the Transformers were on screen they were shooting something or fighting, not standing around exchanging witty banter or arguing the way they did in the shows.

My only other complaint would be that there was lots of collateral damage to innocent bystanders that was treated very casually. I'd guess the death toll in the movie to be somewhere in the 5,000 area minimum (though you probably only see about 500 deaths on screen), but the whole time everyone was worried about averting an impending disaster, never acknowledging that tons of people were dead and dying already.

But if you can get passed elements like that - and for a movie like this you'd better - it was actually pretty good. The action sequences were excellent. Very fast paced, but they also slowed down to give a 'bullet time' look at the fighting which really showed off the Transformers and their abilities. Plenty of chances to see them actually transform - which i was afraid would be to rare. Lots of military hardware, just shy of being silly - just enough to be really, really cool.

I was also pleasantly surprised that the product placement didn't get in the way too much. Don't get me wrong - there is a TON of it. But it was very subtle - kinda. It didn't get in the way of enjoying it, but everything in this movie had a logo. Besides the whole movie being a Hasbro ad, all the cars/trucks were GM (a change from the mix of VW, Porche, Mack, etc from the originals) but i got over that pretty quickly. Sam's favorite band is apparently The Strokes, the US military exclusively uses HP computers and Logitech webcams, etc. What was amazing though is after the movie i quizzed my friends...what was the vending machine in the last scene (Mountain Dew) - what was the box that the guy was holding on the sidewalk (X-Box 360), etc. We could all name what we had seen, even though we didn't notice it at the time. Which is, of course, exactly what they were going for.

As for the movie experience, this was at the 'other' old theater in the Rivergate area. All digital picture, etc. Not quite as nice in the lobby and such as where we saw Ratatouille, but it was good enough. Good sound balance, great picture - mostly. There was one part of the movie where there are long sequences of over-exposure - basically most of the screen is bright white. During those scenes, i could see something on the screen. Not sure if it was dirt or what. It was in kind of a pattern of lines, and i almost wonder if it was the speaker or some sort of support behind the screen. I'd be curious to see if anyone else saw that at their theaters too. 90% of movies wouldn't have made me notice this, but the extended bright-white made it show up. Didn't ruin it for me though. I have to wonder how that bright white scene would look on film though. Probably a great example of how digital is better - no scratches or dust which i'm sure would show up on a film showing of the same scene.

So...if you like action movies and are looking for a shallow, entertaining movie, it is worth checking out, and unless you have a $10k home theater system, you need to see it in a digital theater. Coming from a guy that has a theater room with digital projector with 8 foot screen - i'd recommend that as a minimum requirement for seeing a movie like this. This movie is big in every possible way.

Overall, good flick. I would not say that this was a remake of the TV show, didn't feel like it at all. But it was an enjoyable movie.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

indiana jones 4

Yes, for those that haven't already heard, they are finally getting around to making Indiana Jones 4. If you want to read the whole saga of how many times they have tried to make this movie (including M. Night Shyamalan writing a script that was rejected), read the Wikipedia entry here. For those interested in more: Rumor site here. Official site here.

Anyway, they finally settled on a script and just started filming a few weeks ago down in New Mexico. Video from the set here and here. Looks like it will have a strong cast, and with Speilberg and Lucas finally finding one another again, plus the fact that we have assurances from numerous sources that there will be no CGI used in this movie (the effects will all be traditional in-camera effects to mesh with the other movies), it may be possible for this movie to be really solid. (How great would it have been if George Lucas had done that with Star Wars...)

Of course, the one major question everyone has is: Can Harrison Ford pull off an action movie at the age of 65. Well, the answer is: he doesn't have to. Stuntmen will cover all the action sequences. And for the close-ups and dramatic portions...

Well, this is what Harrison looks like now:
Not too bad. Plenty of make-up i'm sure.

But better yet...
Enter the technology used to de-age Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in X-Men 3.

Check these out (click on them to see full size):

That wasn't make-up, and strictly speaking, wasn't CGI. They essentially used photoshop to frame-by-frame give them digital face lifts. Smooth a wrinkle, shorten an ear, shrink a nose...

For any scenes in the Indy movie that need help, shouldn't be any problem at all given the budget i am sure this monster has.

I am listening to the soundtrack to the first films as i post right now.

After the latest several movies by both Lucas and Spielberg i don't know why, but i really have hope that this will be good. We'll find out next May 28th.

Monday, July 02, 2007

more players, more video

First, the quick news that the Predators picked up the first new additions that may be said to be 'real' players. I think it is also safe to assume that David Poile saw what the Ducks did in the playoffs with their size and decided to follow suit.

Defenseman Greg de Vires (ex-Predator) is a 6-2 220lbs defenders defenseman. Low on scoring, but high on ice time last year for Atlanta (22+ minutes per game, played in all 82 games). Looks like a huge presence on the blueline to go with our young core.

Forward Radek Bonk is 6-3 213lbs, played for Montreal and appeared in 74 games last year, registering 23 points. He was once a 70-point man with Ottawa back in 2000-2001 and has solid playoff experience.

We also signed a few more prospects, though they are unlikely to see any ice time at the NHL level anytime soon. For pictures of them at practice yesterday, see here.



Also, courtesy of Rob over at Think Train, here's a cool new video with none other than Pete Weber, encouraging everyone to come down to the Sommet Center and support the team on July 19th.

kariya goes for money, certainty

Paul Kariya has signed with the St Louis Blues for way more money than the Predators could offer him.

So much for him wanting to play for a contender. The Blues will be a playoff team next year, but not much else. Given their overall weakness in the past few years, i think this is a lateral move in terms of competitiveness. I think it is clear that Kariya signed with them not as a contender, but as a team willing to pay him more and with a stable ownership situation.

And it looks like all the speculation (which i agreed with) that Kariya would avoid a major hockey market because he doesn't like too much of a spotlight was dead on. No Vancouver, Montreal, etc. He moved to one of the markets in the league that has averaged lower attendance than Nashville in recent years.

Oh - and the on-ice sessions at prospect camp were canceled today. No reason given that i have heard.

it's good to be steve

Steve Jobs' weekend:

Approx $288mil from iPhones
Approx $47mil from Ratatouille
I'd take that.

Oh - and this is freaking awesome.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

we still have a team you know

It is easy to get caught up in all the soap opera and debate and forget that we still have a really good hockey team in Nashville, and it is not too long until they will be playing the game that we have all been working so hard to defend.

We will still be able to put a very competitive team on the ice. Offensively we still have Sullivan, Arnott, Dumont, Erat, Legwand, and Radulov coming into his second year in the league. Defensively we still have Weber, Suter, Zidlicky, Zanon, Hamuis, Nichol, and Mason in net.

And GM David Poile has proved himself a master at doing a lot with a little. We won't have the amazing team we had last year, especially depth-wise. But if we can stay healthy, i think we are still a playoff team, and could even surprise a few people. Predators fans know very well that the team that is supposed to be the best doesn't always win. I'd like to think that this year we can be on the good side of that coin, considering we've seen enough of the bad.

So, now to the updates: First, a quick round-up of some of the player/contract updates to this point. The Predators have (as expected) laid pretty low as far as going after free agents. Only signing as of right now has been forward Jed Ortmeyer as a free agent (formerly of the Rangers). Don't know much about him, but his bio lists him as a 'defensive forward'. We also resigned Scot Nichol, Jered Smithson, and Alex Henry. Nichol, Zanon, and Smithson ensure that we'll have a solid penalty kill again. Henry is as big a defender as we've had for the Preds in a long time, and his chances of seeing some NHL time this year are increased thanks to a thin roster. We're also about to sign Chris Mason to a much needed pay raise/extension, keeping him with the team for the next 3 years total. We also inked his 'new' back-up Pekka Rinne to a new deal as well.

Last but not least, I finally got a chance to drop by prospect conditioning camp this morning. (9:00am on a Sunday. What are you thinking Trotz? Check here for my comments on that.)

Pictures are scattered through this post with many more here.
Video is here:

Predators Prospect Camp.
The video on Google turned out rough. It is actually much better quality. The horribly scratched-up glass wrecked havoc on the flash video codec. If you really want the high-quality video, let me know and i can post it.

It was great to get to watch hockey being played again. The session was run by assistants, but Trotz and Poile were both there (photo proof here).

As for players:

Hornqvist is a Radulov-type firecracker with even rougher edges. Scoring touch, but is a goofball. Good skills but looked silly (even tripping a few times) trying to show off a little. You can see in this in the video pretty well, actually. The whole session was blue vs. white. Hornqvist was going last for blue and only needed one goal to beat white for that session. When he got it, it cheered and stuck his arms up in the air - even though he had several more session of the drill he was supposed to do. He forgot this was practice, not just a contest. So...good competitive fire, but i have to wonder about discipline and control.

The other players looked pretty good. Only other one that stood out a lot was Atte Engren, a young goalie from Finland. He may have just been having a good day, but he looked the best and most under control of the goalies. The rest made the occasional cool-looking save, but he looked the most like Mason and Vokoun in my limited experience.

Oh and best mullet in camp (and there weren't many) goes to Antti Pihlstrom. I think as much as anything because it's bright blonde hair against dark blue sweater and helmet. Runner up goes to Viktor Sjodin, but he gets the award for looking the most like a caveman from a car-insurance commercial. At least in this picture.

No word yet on when big-kids training camp starts. It'll be mid-September. I'll be sure to let you know the dates when it is announced.

You are also all here on notice that i am not going to keep posting on every little off-ice thing that happens. Just the big stuff. Try watching Kuklas' Korner, TSN, or the Nashville Post for that kind of news (heaven knows you shouldn't look to the Tennessean for it). I am going to try to focus on on-ice related news and comments when it comes to the Predators from here on in.