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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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Sunday, September 30, 2007

TF2 Review

I keep meaning to make a post about Team Fortress 2. Unfortunately, ever since it was released made available for beta testing to people who pre-ordered the Orange Box, i haven't stopped playing it long enough to make a post about it. I haven't been playing it a scary amount, but given the choice of using my spare time to blog about TF2 or actually play TF2... the blog kept getting put off.

Sufficed to say this game is immensely fun. And i don't mean it is well done and engrossing and realistic...i mean it is FUN. Goofy, laugh-out-loud fun. Don't get me wrong, it is also engrossing and immersive and all of those good things that games should be. But most importantly it is the one thing that so many games aren't these days - a real pleasure to play. This game isn't about realism. It is about chaos, ridiculous situations, rocket-jumping, bunny hopping, and all those other things that made old-school deathmatch gaming so fun - but with great team dynamic and balanced gameplay like i've never seen outside of Day of Defeat. Over and over again while playing this game, i find my self laughing outloud - usually when i've just been blown away. That tends to happen when the 'death cam' shows you the person that just killed you looking like the screenshot on the right. Any player can instantly put their character into a 'taunt' at any time. It's great fun to hit that button right after you kill someone so you know they are being forced to watch you dance. There are also many times when the game will also helpfully identify the parts of you that are laying at your enemy's feet (see image at the left). These shots also show off another cool aspect of getting killed - the game always gives you updates on what you've done well. The game is a statistician's dream and tracks the amount of damage you do, kills you get, kill assist you get, healing you perform, captures made, buildings made, buildings destroyed, etc, etc. After you are killed it told you what was particularly good about that last round, for you. You may be like me and stink at the game, but hey, you got closer to your record for damage in a round as a soldier that time than you've been in a while. Playing this game and being killed manages to be a constantly rewarding and reaffirming experience, without being condescending.

One of the other things that is really nice is the concept of the kill assist. The most obvious version of this is when a Medic is healing a Heavy or some other player and that player kills someone. The Medic clearly made it possible, so they get partial credit for the kill and receive points. The other, really nice kill-assist is when you've done a large portion of damage to an opposing player and one of your teammates comes along to help and finishes them off. Well, you may have done 250 points in damage to that Heavy (who has 300 hit points) but in most games your teammate that did the final 50 points damage would have gotten sole credit for the kill. In TF2, you both get credit. Your name gets flashed along with your teammate's.

Another fun/competitive element thrown into the game is the concept of a "nemesis". If someone kills you 5 times without you killing them, they are said to be "dominating" you and they are now your "nemesis". They will now have a special icon above their head (only for you) and you'll get double points if you can manage to kill them (a "revenge kill"). I've had the pleasure of being on the giving and receiving end of these multiple times and it just adds another layer of fun to the game.

My one request/complaint is that they took away the nifty muzzle flash effects we saw in the trailers. This whole game as a very cartoonist, straight-outta-Pixar look to it (but is surprisingly easy on the system requirements). In all the trailers - right up to a few weeks ago - all the muzzle flashes were very cartoonist as well. However, in the 'beta' version we've all been playing, they decided to covert the muzzle flashes to use the same nifty particle effects technique they developed for the Pyro's flame thrower.

Original muzzle flash effect

New muzzle flash effect.

There are dozens of other awesome things i'd love to say about this game. It has a great commentary track from the makers of the game, cool intro videos you can watch to help you understand the basics of each map before loading them, a really nice achievement system...and don't get me started on the intricacies of playing the engineer. But...i'm gonna go play more now.

If you want to track my personal game stats, you can always see them here.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Predators Marketing


Caught this on the phone pole at 5-Points in East Nashville. Sign reads "IF YOU LIVE IT THEY WILL STAY. 10/4/07 IT BEGINS". And it lists www.nashvillepredators.com, www.savethepredators.com, and www.ourteamnashville.com

I'm not sure if this is official from the Predators or not. If it is - wow, amazing, awesome, and it's about dang time.

Unfortunately i'm pretty sure this is an unauthorized fan creation. Either way, great to see.

LAN Port


Yes, some cities are rolling out municipal wifi. Nashville is rolling out municipal wired-based broadband. At the base of every telephone pole there will be a RJ-45 LAN port.

OK, ok... I Couldn't resist painting out the "D". It is actually a sign for the bus station downtown.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Predators Breakfast Report

Rob over at Thinktrain just put up a great post on the breakfast held this morning to foster support for the Predators from the business community. The mayor showed up, and it sounds like everyone is really approaching this in a mature, pragmatic way. They know it's "just" a sports team and that the business community doesn't owe the team anything - but that Nashville is a better place with the team than without. Go check it out.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Location Location Location

My wife and i like Publix. Much more than Kroger. It reminds me of the old H.E.B. grocery stores in Texas. Bigger, cleaner, higher quality food (especially produce). A little pricier, but not too bad.

Everyday, we drive under this sign at Woodland and I-24 downtown:
It has changed several times over the last couple of years, but has almost always had some variation on the "High Quality, Short Drive" theme.

Here's the problem. The nearest Publix to this sign is over 9 miles away, and a good 10-15 minute drive.
The blue icon is the billboard. The yellow bags are the Publix locations.

My wife has actually driven all the way out to one of these locations just to get in a visit. Just pray there isn't bad traffic or the milk will go bad.

"Short drive"....right.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beautification Power

One of our councilman over here in East Nashville is working on passing an ordinance that will help clean-up Gallatin Rd. I'm all for the concept of making it look nicer. Though i am a little libertarian to love the idea of limiting the types of businesses that can be along the road (with no schools, etc anywhere near by), i personally don't love them so i guess i can live with it. Besides limiting the types of businesses that can be along the road, they also want to restrict the placement of parking lots (they can only be at the rear of the property now, with vehicle access from side roads, etc). That one makes less sense to me...but ok, whatever. Lastly, they want to restrict signs. They can only be attached to buildings or low-lying on the ground - small, unobtrusive, etc. Fine. I'm all for a little height restriction, but overall sign clutter doesn't really seem to bad.

Here's the deal people. You want to make Gallatin Rd look nicer (and the rest of Nashville while you're at it)...

Get rid of the above-ground power lines.

They are ugly, messy, way more 'cluttered' looking than any signs. Not to mention they make for a trashy power system. Above-ground power lines are full of electrical noise and are more prone to outages than lines that are all above ground. Not to mention the health problems associated with above-ground power. Bury them like any modern city. I'll have less wear-and-tear on my electronics, have to buy fewer power filtering adapters, and not have to put a UPS on everything i own because the power goes out when it gets windy outside. Most of all, it will just plain look nicer.

The Australians are burying their lines. There are studies and papers being written on the advantages all the time. Besides the fact that nobody wants above-ground power.

Here's a little fun i had with photoshop for comparison.


Which do you think looks better? Lower signs, or no power lines?

But oh yeah - here's the trick. One cost the city money, the other cost private business owners money. Guess which one we're gonna get...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Preds vs Thrashers with Video!

Here it is, video of our awesome new scoreboard. Wow. This thing is amazingly sharp and huge!!! I think it must be even higher than HD resolution (1920x1080). It looked amazingly sharp, even right up close. That's the other thing - it is so huge that it looks up close no matter where you are.

Best of all, replays are actually worth something. You can actually see the puck! For some reason the horn/music after goals was off all night. Hope they get that fixed soon. Ditto for the shot counter. It was off all night (3 shots to 5 in the 1st, 0 to 0 in the 2nd, 6 to 2 again in the 3rd...).

Here's the video!


Nashville Predators new scoreboard from Paul Nicholson on Vimeo.

For all my friends behind firewalls, you can download the mpeg2 video here.

Also got a bit of video of the one fight. Tootoo and McCarthy did more than just scrum. McCarthy had Tootoo down and was wailing on him, the refs were moving in to break it up, just about then Tootoo regained his feet, and body slammed McCarthy over his shoulder, then started wailing on him. That dude is strong.



Jordin Tootoo bodyslams the opposition from Paul Nicholson on Vimeo.

I also took a ton of pictures at the game. I feel like i'm getting better and better at working with the right settings for shooting hockey. Check out the full set here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heeee's Baaaack...

If you were David Stern and you had a 2 major referee scandals in the last 6 months, and had the integrity of your game questioned, how would you go about repairing public opinion?

Probably not by reinstating the suspended referee from incident #1.

That's right folks. Joey Crawford, who has repeatedly proven himself an out of control, spotlight grabbing, egomaniac - and who actually challenged a player to a fight in front of several thousand people - is on his way back to an arena near you.

Quote from David Stern:

"Based on my meeting with Joey Crawford, his commitment to an ongoing counseling program, and a favorable professional evaluation that was performed at my direction, I am satisfied that Joey understands the standards of game management and professionalism the NBA expects from him and that he will be able to conduct himself in accordance with those standards"
Yes, that is probably true David. He can meet the standards you have in the NBA. But that's the real problem isn't it?

The good news is that if Crawford ever gets assigned to cover a Spurs or Mavs game, the bookies won't have to consult Tim Donaghy. We all know what will happen on those nights.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Injured Penalty

I'm looking for some clarification here. All you hockey bloggers and hockey fans, help me out.

In yesterday's pre-season opener, Martin Erat was penalized for interference. David Vborny was injured on the play (he'll be out "2-3 days"). According to the way the refs called the game (and this article) there can be or should be (still not clear on if it is discretion or mandated) a major penalty and game misconduct if an injury occurs as a result of the interference.

I have a huge issue with this, especially as it played out last night and in the Nashville series against San Jose last year.

In my understanding, historically an "injury" has been determined to occur when a player draws blood. There was no blood drawn yesterday, and rarely in the San Jose series. Yet we had players thrown out of games and suspended because an "injury" occurred - even when said injury was not severe enough to keep the opposing player off the ice.

But here's why i have the biggest problem with this: If the same action is committed by a player, and in one case there is an injury caused, in another case there isn't, the penalty for the action should be the same. By determining the severity of the penalty based on the offended players reaction, you are taking control out of the refs hands and putting it in the hands of players. Never a good idea.

The NHL has an issue with diving right now as it is. Since the refs are calling games tighter (which i like, by the way), many players are learning that they can dive and get a call, much more than they used to. Now with this injury change, i could easily see a 4th liner go out, wait to get hit by a star player, go down with an "injured" knee, and the star gets tossed. The 4th liner doesn't come back out, maybe he does. Makes no difference. Conversely - there may be a nasty penalty committed that doesn't injure the player (because of luck, better conditioning, whatever).

Of course, i'd love to be more informed on this, but the NHL's website hasn't listed any changes to the rule book this year (still says "New for 05-06!" in several places). The article in the Globe and Mail cites Rule 56 as dealing with the change to the interference call, but Rule 56 in the official book deals with fighting and instigating, and never mentions interference at all.



In other Predators news...pictures!

New ice is down at the Sommet Center
(note the new sponsor logo and name-change):

New scoreboard, turned off of course
(bad picture - i'll hopefully take better ones myself soon):

New uniforms in use (we haven't actually seen them on with pads until now).
I can live with it - not as good as i hoped, but it'll work:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Predators Training Camp video #1

Just wanted to post this real quick. Gotta get back and listen to the game vs. Columbus.

At about the 1:30 mark you can see Hordichuck dump Shea Weber, then right at the end you get to see some sweet goals from Arnott and Radulov during a breakaway drill.

Enjoy


Nashville Predators 2007 Training Camp Day 2

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Nobody Likes Nashville

I'd never even heard of it, but apparently Fox's new semi-reality-ish-drama Nashville was a total flop last night. It failed to beat out stiff competition like re-runs of Americas Funniest Home Videos in its time slot, and dropped half of its lead-in audience (behind Are You Smarter Than A 5th-Grader) right off. By the half-way point, it has lost another 15% of the poor souls that started watching it.

Now, as someone who is sooooo tired of defending Nashville as a pretty awesome place to hockey 'fans' who keep saying we don't 'deserve'... I want Nashville to look good and get press on a bigger stage. But from watching about 45 seconds of the clips they put on the website for the show, i think this show getting canceled will be a good thing all around. Even the discussion groups on the official site (with headlines on the front page read: "Not a good show for Nashville" and "Real real real bad-yuck".

Yikes.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Training Camp Report #1

My thoughts on the small bit of training camp i got to see on Friday (just session 2):

  • Players were skating hard out there. Even captain Jason Arnott hit the deck more than once as things got physical and fast-paced out there. I think he was skating harder than almost anyone else on the ice. He was talking with other players, but wasn't goofing around as much as i saw him doing it last year. He was there to lead. The Captain Has Arrived. Love it.
  • Nolan Yonkman doesn't stand out as the beast he did last year. I think he may have trimmed down and gotten a little faster, but i think it's mostly that this team is much, much bigger overall than last year's squad.
  • Barry Trotz is much grayer this year. Not sure if he went gray over the summer, or just stopped using Just For Men. Probably a combination. Either way, he somehow looks both tougher and wiser. Good leader for a more blue-collar* scrappy, physical team.
  • I agree with what has been said elsewhere. We have some canons on our team. Tootoo, Weber, and Radulov were shooting often and shooting hard.
  • Rinne impressed me. Not that i am an ultimate judge of goalie talent, but he was moving quick, confidently, and was rarely out of position. I was concerned that he would be rusty given how little he has played over the last year, but he looked good. We'll see how he looks in a game or even scrimmage, but i'm already feeling better about our backup situation.
Pictures are uploading now, video to come soon.

Lots more pictures and videos to come. I'm also going to the session tomorrow and am going to do everything i can to catch the scrimmage. Ah...to see something even resembling a hockey game again! Game On!

* Note to sports writers about the term "blue collar". Do you know any hockey teams that wouldn't describe themselves as a "blue collar" or as a "lunch pail" team? I don't think there are a lot of hockey teams vying for the title of "most likely to try to avoid sweating", "pampered", or even "smarter not harder". Being tough and hard-working is kinda the over-all ethic of pro-sports in general and particularly hockey right? I think more specific terms like "scrappy", "efficient", or "punishing" could apply in some cases, but "blue collar" is by far the most overused description i've been reading in pre-season write-ups around the league. Cut it out.

Training camp


Training camp

It's cold. Loud. Fun.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Keepon Keepin' On

Many of you may not have seen this yet. It is amazing. It is cute. It is amazingly cute.

Its name is Keepon. It is a very simple robot, but with cameras for eyes, a microphone in its nose, and programming to react to its environment and dance. It is currently being used to study non-verbal play/dance behavior in children. As my wife said, it should be used to study the ability of cute japanese products to suck money out of people's wallets. $30 on ThinkGeek.com and we'd have placed an order already.

This video was put together by Wired, as a promotion for Nextfest, a Wired-sponsored technology fair that has a big robotics push this year. From what i understand, the vast majority (if not all) of Keepon's reactions to the music and people around it are genuine and a result of programming, not pre-scripted.



See the first test/dance video that was posted here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Arnott to be captain, prices to rise

According to the news feed from the Predators site, Jason Arnott is to be named captain of the Preds at a news conference this afternoon. Like the choice. Dumont and Sully get the "A's". Good stuff. Good stuff all around.

And the Predators are going to be raising individual ticket prices, pretty significantly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Engineer Profile

I haven't updated everyone on the awesomeness of Team Fortress 2 in a while, so here's at least one more post before 1) i get lost in hockey season, 2) the game actually comes out

The profile video for the engineer came out today. Awesome. Simply awesome. This is definitely the class i think i'll play most often. Between being on a slightly slower connection and just not having the insane twitch reflexes i used to (when i played FPS's 2 hours a day in college) i am not going to have the skills needed to pull off the Scout or Sniper, etc. I'll don't like moving slow, so the Heavy is out, and the Pyro...maybe. But the Engineer doesn't even have to be in the fight. It's all about strategy and setting up traps and defensive positions and enabling your teammates. Very much more my style.

And for those that missed the previous videos, here's the Heavy and the Soldier.

One more comment about the game in general - i think i like the really old-school gibs, splats, and non-realistic gameplay. This is all about fun. But...it looks like they are taking a very similar splat/gib system over to Half-Life 2: Episode 2...not sure it belongs there. HL2:Ep2 is also suddenly looking very dated when compared to Far Cry 2 and Crysis, and it isn't even out yet. Oh well. The story and game play should still be second to none. That's why i'm a huge Valve fan. I just want Valve to make a game on the new Cry engine. Please?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

More Hockey-ness

First a quick mini-update to the exciting news about the Dolphini Networks sponsorship: A little birdie half-confirmed form that there will be something in the way of player-cams in the Sommet Center this season! I don't know of anything else like this in existence in pro sports (I know the SF Giants have some pretty spiffy high-tech stuff in their ballpark). I hope the Preds marketing department makes a HUGE deal out of this and gets press all over the place (nationally and locally).

And now, as i hit "Draft Ready" on my Fantasy Hockey league and get ready to request time off from my boss to go to some of the Predators Training Camp open sessions, here is a little poem for your enjoyment. This was written by an acquantence/friend, Matt McCluskey and is published here at his suggestion.

"Just Days Until Training Camp" (with sincere apologies to Clement C. Moore and Barry Trotz who isn't really toothless :-)

Twas just days before training camp, when all through the arena,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a trainer;

The pads were hung by the Zamboni with care,
In the hopes that Lord Stanley soon would be there;

My wife and I were nestled all snug in the cheap seats,
Until visions of power-play goals had us dancing on our feet;

Then my wife in her jersey and I in my Preds cap,
Quietly settled down for a long summer's nap;

When out on the ice there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our seats to see what was the matter;

Away to the pricey-seats we flew like a flash,
Tore open the Zamboni doors and sat on the dash;

The gleam on the ice looked like new-fallen snow,
And gave the luster of mid-winter to objects below;

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an old hockey coach, and eight Preds skating like reindeer;

With the Canadian coach, watching their shots,
I knew in a moment, it must be Barry Trotz;

More rapid than Mike Eagles, his skaters they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now Tootoo! Now Erat! Now Sullivan! and Mason!
On Smithson! On Suter! On Zanon! And Ellison!

To the top of the blue line to behind Mason's goal!
Now skate away, skate away, skate away all!

As Edmonton Oilers before the Carolina Hurricanes fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the rink-top, the skaters they flew,
With a zamboni full of jerseys and Barry Trotz, too;

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the dasher gate,
The hissing and chirping of each little skate;

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down from the skyboxes, Barry Trotz came with a bound;

He was dressed all in nylon, from his head to his bottom;
And his clothes were all tarnished, like his goalie was Hardy Astrom;

A bundle of jerseys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like Ron Hextall ready to take a whack;

His eyes how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like Don Cherry;

His toothless little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as Garth Snow;

The stump of his whistle he held tight in his remaining teeth,
And his cool breath encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like Mike Eruzione;

He was chubby and plump, but could put it top shelf,
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to the puck;
And filled all the hockey bags, and hoped for good luck;

And laying his hockey stick aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the plexiglass he rose;

He sprang to the Zamboni, to his team he gave a whistle,
And away they all flew off the ice like a missile;

But I heard him explain, as they skated off of the ice,
HAPPY HOCKEY TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT
Originally it was "Nine Days Until Training Camp" but i changed it to make it more general since it is not actually nine days until training camp anymore. I also liked Christy's suggestions that it should have ended "Happy Hockey to All, and to all a good fight!", but it is awesome as it is. Great job Matt!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Predators News - Lots of it!

It has been a busy week for the Predators, though most of it is behind the scenes.

The quick points:

  • Preds signed 'journeyman' Josh Langfeld. He has been compared to a Fiddler-style player that still has potential. Trotz stated earlier this week that they are looking to shore up their depth at forward, especially when it comes to depth beyond the NHL level. This fits that category well.
  • The local potential-ownership group has moved several steps closer to closing the deal to purchase the team. The last of the paperwork has been signed between the new group and Craig Leipold, meaning all that is left is for the NHL Board of Governors (owners) to vote and approve (which they are expected to do)...and of course the local group still has to renegotiate the lease terms with Metro Nashville government to make the needed changes in the lease in order to secure the remainder of their financing.
  • The Predators crossed the 9,000 season ticket mark earlier this week. That is 9,000 full-season tickets, or full-season equivalents (in other words, probably several thousand full-season tickets, and many thousand more half-season and quarter-season packages). The team has yet to start selling individual game tickets, and camp hasn't even started (so media coverage hasn't really ramped up yet). Last year the team ended up the year at 8,758 full season tickets (or equivalents). That means assuming ticket sales for individual games doesn't go down, the team will more than make-up the roughly180 seats per game they fell short of the 14,000 needed to lock the team here. Individual ticket sales start Sept 15th, and season ticket sales always go up as the year progresses. These numbers are very very encouraging.
  • FSN South announced which games they will be broadcasting. 55 games for the year over the regular season. Pretty good spread throughout the season. Nothing noted so far as to which of the games will be available in HD, though my hope is all of them... we'll see. I'd love to have an option of a local terrestrial broadcast station pickup at least a few of the extra games (especially some of the away games) but i guess we're still not there yet. NBC has an option to have us on against the Red Wings twice, so those two Red Wings games aren't on FSN. I'm not sure if FSN gets to pickup the games in the event NBC chooses not to broadcast them. We'll also be missing at least one game against the Stanley Cup Champion Ducks. Looking up sports bars with Center Ice...
Ok - so that pretty much covers the news that you've probably seen or heard about in the paper. Now for the update of the other stuff you probably missed:

The Nashville Post reported yesterday that the Preds have picked up another corporate sponsor. This one i'm really excited about. Not only are the a corporate sponsor in terms of helping give the team financial support - their main support is actually in discounted services they are providing. Dolphini Networks, based in the Cummings Station building just down the street from the Sommet Center, is a high-tech media services company. Among other things, they will be running a special fiber-optic backbone from their offices to the arena. This will allow them to "provide the team with Internet support, voice over Internet protocol services and, down the road, wireless simulcast of games within the building."

This is where it gets good: that later feature is described as one that will "allow fans to receive feeds from cameras following their favorite players." Are you freaking kidding me?!?! They'll have camera's just trained on each individual player on the ice. You can focus on Mason all the way in on a breakaway, or watch Leggy with his great back checking that is so rarely on camera. I just hope they allow fans to get access to this data at a later time, through a subscription internet site perhaps.



Lastly, it's been a while since we've had some good old fashioned free agent speculation for the Preds... so here we go... Eklund, the master of fuzzy rumors, has updated his list. Here's the Nashville mentions off the list:
1. Peter Forsberg (Nash, Ottawa, Col, Edm, Van, Phi)
5. Mike Johnson (Nashville, Washington, Phoenix)
13. Eric Lindros (retire or Calgary, Vancouver, Nashville)
That's right, Eric Lindros is now apparently a possibility for Nashville. Uh huh. Right. Only thing that makes sense about that to me is as a replacement for Sullivan. Anyway...

Throwing a little speculation out there of my own: ESPN's (known for great hockey coverage of course) Scott Burnside wrote an interesting article about Curtis Joseph's desire to continue to play in the NHL. He doesn't want to follow Eddie Belfor to play overseas. Fine. Preds need a good, experienced backup behind Mason. I'll take CuJo. Of course we couldn't and wouldn't pay him anywhere near the $2mil he made with Phoenix last year, but maybe we wouldn't have to. Having Pekka Rinne as our only backup, as solid as he looks in the minors, just makes me nervous.

Anyway...

Last little jab: If the Predators did this, i guarantee people up in Detroit would be using it as an example of how Nashville is a failure as a hockey club. Cities are different. They don't always compare exactly. And everyone - even the great Hockeytown - has to resort to unusual methods to fill seats on occasion. Personally i think it's a great promo and with Detroit luck in filling seats (just not filling nets).

Oh - last shot - looks like we might be getting NHL games live online next year (finally!). For those like myself who don't have cable but do have broadband (all 4 of us) this will be awesome!

Update: New Preds jerseys go on sale Sept 15th (same as individual game tickets) at the Preds Pro Shop at the Sommet Center. Looks like they will be available elsewhere (Sports Seasons, etc) on Sept 22nd-ish.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fantasy Hockey Update II

Well, things are looking pretty good.

We now have 10 people signed up for the league, with a few more potentials. Last year we had only 8 people, and i found it a challenge at times to find quality talent to fill my roster with. Given roster sizes (19 players per team) we'll be at least 190 players deep. According to Yahoo's pre-set draft rankings, that means we'll be drafting down to the range of Ladislav Nagy, Jere Lehtinen, Jordan Staal, Mike Sillinger, and Doug Weight. Really not that bad. I think we can survive taking a few more people on board.

So anyone else interested?
Here's who we have in the league so far so you know who you're up against:

Brandon Felder - HockeyBuzz blogger, Sports Journalist student
Christy Nicholson - my wife, hockey blogger, general fan (6)
David Carlson - general fan, friend of mine from work
Dirk Hoag - aka "The Forechecker", Nashville area hockey blogger
Gary Nicholson - my dad, general fan, first-time fantasy sports player
Kevin Hicks - sports nut, and frequent fantasy player, friend from work
Kevin Peters - general fan, friend of mine (7)
Paul McCann - HockeyBuzz blogger, PA announcer for the Preds
Paul Nicholson - Me, sometimes hockey blogger, general fan (1)
Ryan Cassell - general fan, Denver native, friend of mine from work (2)
The numbers listed indicate their standing in the league last year, for those who played. So Ryan and i are back for more, Christy and Kevin are here for redemption :-)

I think with all the hockey bloggers among us, it is going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Several of these guys (McCann and the Forechecker in particular) tend to get news very quickly from time to time. I'll be curious to see how that might effect their strategy. Do they post news on their blog first, risking that someone else in the league takes action first? Or do they pickup/drop a player from their roster then post about it online, risking that someone else online gets the scoop? The rest of you should probably start reading those guys blogs regularly.

One things for sure, i think this is going to be a lot of fun. Kevin and Christy can both tell you that they should have done much better than that last year, but injuries hit them hard. This is also just a game of stats, so it is very possible for a first-time fantasy player like my dad to beat someone like McCann. Anything can happen.

I will probably set the draft to 'ready' status over the weekend. I'll make sure to send out a note to all the 'managers' at least 2 days in advance to give you plenty of warning so you can fix your pre-draft rankings.

If you are interested in signing up:
Just visit- http://hockey.fantasysports.yahoo.com/hockey
when prompted for the league ID, enter 15408. Password is "mason" (without quotes).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Signings and Trash Talk

Jeremy Roenick just signed with the San Jose Sharks. This allows me the first opportunity to trash-talk during the new season with my Sharks-fan-friend, Jim.

Jim commented on my posts about Roenick back in July:

Roenick=washed up, done, loudmouth, that still thinks he can play like he did 10 years ago, he should have left a very very long time ago, kinda feel the same way about Tkachuk.
I gotta give the Roenick props. His personal website (which most hockey players don't even have) already has the news updated. Kinda funny though, his site links to the TSN article about it, not the Sharks page making the announcement.



In only partially related news: The Predators just signed another two-way prospect forward, Josh Langfeld. Of course, this is a 'prospect' that is 30 years old, so i think this is more about depth than future.

zzz...zzz...

I had a fabulous weekend. Lots of fun stuff i want to blog about (reminder: music, fajitas...something else...i forgot...shoot).I also have product descriptions to tweak and blogs to post over at Ghia.

But just crossed the 24-hours-without-sleep line.
So none of that is getting done.

And i just realized i forgot to pack my lunch today.

I'm not actually having what i would call a bad day. I just have to type everything 3 times because my fingers aren't doing what my brain tells them to, or my brain just falls asleep and my fingers keep moving...

I think i may have to call my mommy wife, tell her i need to go home, and have her come pick me up from school work.