Monday, February 25, 2008

“Tennessee, Tennessee, There Ain’t No Place I’d Rather Be…”

So goes the Grateful Dead song so aptly named “Tennessee Jed”. And that was my mantra this past weekend. After several months as an Hlogger, I think I’ve made it pretty clear on who my favorite player is (hint: start with an O, ends with an R, and has a “rtmeye” in the middle). Because his new team does not play my team at all this season (I hate that about the post-lockout NHL – I’m so glad that's changing), I actually went on an adventure to watch him play. Yes, folks, from the humble surroundings of the NY metro area to the Music City, I trekked to Nashville to see my boy Jed take the ice. If he wasn’t coming to me, then I was going to him. I dragged my hubby with me and we made a weekend out of it, with a Preds vs. Stars contest tossed in there.

As those of you in the Northeastern part of the US experienced, Friday morning greeted us with a blanket of snow. Of course, we were scheduled to fly out of Philly that morning, and needless to say, we didn’t know how it would unfold. The TV said airports were delayed for hours; the internet said some flights were cancelled, but ours was on time. What? How is that possible? As it came time to leave, we decided to give it a try.

After a white-knuckly ride down 95, we parked in long-term (I think we got the last spot), shuttled to the terminal, and behold: the flight was on time. Out with the passports and off with the shoes, we made our flight, and barely made our connection. We got to Nashville without incident. This was not the adventure that I signed up for, but someone was watching over us for sure.

Saturday morning we made our way around town. We passed by the Sommet Center (we learned that the correct pronunciation is soh-may), and across the street we saw a crowd gathering. It wouldn’t have been unusual, but the rest of the city was still asleep at 9:30am, so they stood out. Turns out they were waiting for the Dallas Stars to emerge from their hotel and go across the street to practice at the Sommmayyy Center. I only know Mike Modano by face, so we hung around until we saw him. No sign of any Preds, unfortunately.

By nightfall, we were jacked for the game. We brazenly donned out Rangers jersey (I wanted to make sure Jed could see us during warmups). When I planned this trip back in November, I knew it was risky – in the three months leading up to our trip, Jed could have been a) traded, b) scratched, or c) injured. At this point, we could only rule out a and c, but b had been happening often lately, so we had to wait and see if he was dressed.

When #41 hopped out on the ice, I was downright giddy. We were standing behind the corner facing the blue line, and I KNOW he saw me. How could he miss two blue Rangers jerseys among all the Preds jerseys? I KNOW he saw me!!!

The whole package that was “the game” was more like a small-scale circus. I don’t know about places, but the games that I’ve been to (MSG, NJ, Philly) don’t have much of a show except for the game itself. Maybe it’s an attempt to drum up business in a previously non-hockey market, but let me tell you, I didn’t expect this. Right before the puck was dropped, the Jumbotron played a cartoon of a giant cat pouncing all over Nashville “preying” on its divisional opponents. Then a big cat head was lowered from the ceiling and the players came through it as they entered the ice. There’s also the mascot that dropped from the rafters swinging on a cable, the ice girls (not on skates, surprisingly), goal girls (who were on skates and entertained us as the band played in between periods), a flying cat that dropped stuff, and Fang Fingers: a gesture that Preds fans are supposed to make – at the direction of the announcer – when the Preds go on the power play. I must live a sheltered life. But what did I care? Jed was playing!!!

My Jed-inspired giddiness was to be short-lived. Halfway through the first period, Jed sustained a crushing blow against the boards. He hobbled off the ice and that was the last I saw of him. To top it off, they Preds got shelled 6-3. The fans were merciless to Modano. We topped the night off with a couple of cold ones, and the prepped for our early flight the next day.

So that’s my long-winded story. All in all, we had a good time, and I got to see my boy Jed play, at least for a little while. We’d do it again – that is if Jed is still playing there next season.


Kerri said...

Fang Fingers lol! I personally like shark biting.

I'm so excited that you got so see Orts! I miss him... Messier said he'd be the Rangers captain one day :*(. The weather was brutal for you too... at least you got down there and he played for you!

Lucky13 said...

It sucked watching him get slammed and then hobble off the ice, but I'm so glad I got to see him even a little. I swear he saw me...

Isleschick said...

I was shocked to see a Grateful Dead lyric on here.. :)

Cat said...

I was sad to hear booing at Mike Modano, ALL THE TIME. :(

I've always wanted to go to a game at an opposing arena, just to see the differences. It sounds like Nashville has more entertainment than Dallas does.

(PS my email is!) :D

Lucky13 said...

"I was shocked to see a Grateful Dead lyric on here.. :)"

It took me about a week after Nashville picked him up to make the connection: Jed + Nashville, TN = Tennessee Jed!