Friday, November 27, 2009

My View

Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

The default of the debt by the emirate of Dubai portends a very dangerous global financial picture. Dubai has spent untold billions creating a middle Eatern paradise, and now is having trouble paying their debt. Many countries, the United States included, are like individuals that have lived far beyond their means. The only way they can pay their debt is for the financial sun, moon, and stars to align perfectly. This event should be a warning to all of us that the financial world is perilous and we should pay close attention to what is transpiring.

A friend asked me if I was an ambivalent person. I told them "yes and no."

The news this past week that leaked e-mails from scientists at East Anglia University in England showing that data confirming global warming were falsified has dealt a mortal blow to the claim that humans are increasing global temperatures. This "science" has seemed to be contrived, and the certainty that temperatures were increasing due to human activity was taken as gospel by many. The fact that so called scientists have faked the data to justify their political ends points to the fact that we should take these outrageous claims with a grain of salt. Follow the money on this one. Many of those who espoused this "science", such as Al Gore, were positioned to make a lot of money by getting companies and nations to comply with a scheme that was an outright lie.

I believe you should live each day as if it were your last. That's why I don't do laundry.

This holiday season, we are reminded of those who are less fortunate, and many open their hearts and wallets to assist their neighbor. The economic pain that many feel continues long after the holiday season, and the needs are still there after the attention dies down. Many contribute dollars, time, and effort to help their fellow man and make our community a better place. Thank you. Remember that these needs don't stop once the holidays are over.

I bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.

And that, my friends, is my view.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Hottest Team in the NHL Continues Its Winning Ways

A team that had once been written off, the Nashville Predators came back to defeat Colorado 4-3 in overtime in the Pepsi  Center for their seventh consecutive victory and 12th win in their last 15 games. A team that was dead last in the NHL after a 3-6-1 start is now 6th in the Western Conference on the strength of this run, and now are 7-2 in the month of November.

This streak has occurred because the team has bought in to the philosophy of Head Coach Barry Trotz. Being well prepared to play is a trait that Trotz and his staff have executed well over the years, and have emphasized this season. Not having marquee talent means that this team has to be well prepared each night to be competitive.  He has set this team up to play to its strengths- tough defense, solid goal tending, and opportunistic scoring. Shoot the puck, crash the net, create opportunities- nothing fancy but when played as coached will lead to wins. And this team is winning because they are executing this strategy to perfection.

This team is winning because the power play is starting to click. The Predators are 12-0 when they score a PP goal. After a pathetic start, the power play is getting traffic in front of the net, good movement, and good shots. Last night, J. P. Dumont put the Predators on the board first after driving the net and taking a nice feed from Shea Weber to beat a defenseless Craig Anderson.

This team is winning because players that were counted on to produce are starting to consistently  produce. Marcel Goc scored the Predators second goal when Martin Erat drove the net and drew the defense to him. Anderson was forced to play Erat's drive to the net, and he slid a pass to Goc who fired it in to an open net.
This team is winning because the big guns on the team are producing. Shea Weber tied the game at 3 in the third with another blast from the blue line that beat Anderson for his 6th goal of the season. Weber has a booming shot, and when he puts it on net, he creates havoc for the opponent. Jason Arnott had two assists for the night for his 5th point in 4 games, and the Captain continues to be a force on the ice for the Predators. The guys that were expected to produce offensively are producing- consistently- and this is leading to goals and wins.

This team is winning because of heart. David Legwand, he of the invisible start this season, has arrived with a vengeance, and scored the game winner last night. Legwand has bounced back from a horrific start to the season and has played like he is capable. It would have been easy for him to hang his head and call the season a bust, but he didn't. He fought through his slump and has been arguably the best player on the ice over the last five games. His defensive play has been stellar, and now his offensive play has caught up to the rest of his game.

This team is winning because they are resilient. Resiliency is a quality that Trotz and his coaching staff constantly preach. There will be times when what happens on the ice doesn't go your way, but it is imperative to believe in your system, believe in your team mates, and believe you can win the game. The Predators fell behind the Avalanche 3-2 in the second period after beginning the period up 2-0. They never wavered in their effort and tied the game late in the third. They stormed the Avalanche net in overtime, and the effort resulted in a win. This team believes that whatever happens, they can win the game. That is a great attitude that has translated in to confident play on the ice.

This is not the most talented team in the NHL by any stretch. This is, however, a team that believes in itself as a whole; that believes in each man wearing the Predator sweater that takes the ice; and believes in the coaches that have prepared them for each game. This team is now coming to the ice confident and ready to play every night, believing they can win against anyone. And that belief is translating in to wins.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Time to be Thankful

Before I slip in to a tryptophan induced coma tomorrow because I ate too much turkey, I wanted to take a moment and just express my thanks for...

The brave men and women who protect our freedoms and fight our battles in some very dangerous places in the world. You are the best of the best, and you have our undying gratitude.

The men and women who protect us at home. Thanks to the often under appreciated police and firefighters who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.

The gracious acts of common courtesy, often times by complete strangers. These make life run a little bit more smoothly.

Good friends that know you and accept you for what you are, warts and all.

My family and the joys that we can share with one another. The smile of my son and daughter.

Good health- one of life's greatest blessings, and those that work to get us back to good health when we are sick.

The abundant supply of our daily needs. And the generosity of those that supply to others less fortunate.

The "new Media" like Twitter, that has introduced me to many new friends and hockey fans across the world.

The amazing beauty of fall in Middle Tennessee.

The great bloggers that cover the Predators. We are second to no one in this area.

The fact that David Legwand and Marty Erat have started to play productive hockey.

That our power play has finally started scoring.

That a simple game can unite an arena full of people from all backgrounds to beat as one heart and exhort their team to victory.

There are oh so many more things each of us can add to our own personal list. As you spend time with family, friends, and loved one this holiday season, my wish for you is that each of you have much for which to be thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Predators Quarter Season Report Card

Twenty one games are in the books, and it's time to grade the Predators quarter season performance.With a 12-8-1 record and 25 points, the Predators currently sit 10th in the Western Conference. Let's take a look at the team components and overall grade, and then we will look at the individual players.


Pekka Rinne has solidified his position as the number one goaltender and is rounding back in to the form that made him an outstanding rookie. Dan Ellis provides a solid back up.

Grade: B+


After some early season shakiness, the defense corp has settled down and has been solid on the blue line and has contributed to the offense. Francis Buillon has proven to be a quality offseason add for the Predators.

Grade: B


This is a group that struggled mightily in the early season, and their production was anemic. It appears that they have bought in to the system that Head Coach Barry Trotz has been preaching: shoot the puck, crash the net, and get the dirty goals. This group will not light the lamp with flash; instead they have to be workmanlike and to be successful, bring that effort every night.

Grade: C


Head Coach Barry Trotz and his staff of Brent Peterson, Peter Horachek, and Robert Bouchard do an excellent job of teaching their system and squeezing everything they can out of the talent they have been given. I contend that Barry Trotz is one of the most underrated coaches in the NHL and does more with less overall talent than any coach in the league.This season has seen Trotz and his staff meld a core of veterans with young players attempting to make it in the NHL. He and his staff have done a masterful job of blending rookies and veterans and getting productivity.

Grade: B+

Overall team grade: B

And now let's take a look at the individual players:

J. P. Dumont (3G-12A 14 GP)

J. P. has shown consistent play making skills and is excellent in distributing the puck to his line mates. J. P. has good puck sense and appears to be physically stronger this season. Health continues to be a concern, as he has missed time due to a concussion (4 games) and a back injury (3 games). Grade: B

Jason Arnott (6G-3A 15 GP)

The captain is streaky- goals tend to come in bunches for him, and he can go multiple games without registering a point. He is a steady, veteran presence on the ice and in the locker room, and that leadership is invaluable. His scoring has to become more consistent for this team to continue to have success. Grade: B-

Steve Sullivan (5G-5A 21 GP)

Sully is a dangerous presence on the ice, but at times he too can disappear. Sullivan is a sniper and often times draws the opposition's best defense pairing. The good news about his game is that he is working hard and is physical on the ice. He shows no ill effects from the back injury that kept him off the ice for nearly two seasons. His production needs to increase. Grade: B-

Martin Erat (2G-4A 18 GP)

Marty was virtually invisible for a good portion of the early season, and that is unacceptable. He has too much talent to be as unproductive as he has been. Marty has started to heat up in the last five games, otherwise, his grade would be lower. Grade: C-

David Legwand (3G-7A 21 GP)

David, like Martin Erat, was given a large off season contract and expected to produce commensurate to the compensation he has received. Early in this season, David was unspectacular offensively, oftentimes not registering a shot in a game. Yes, he has drawn defensive shutdown responsibilities against other team's top offensive lines. Like Marty, he has too much talent to be held off the score sheet. And like Erat, his grade would be significantly lower except that his play has stepped up tremendously in the last five games. Grade: C-

Joel Ward (3G-6A 19 GP)

Joel missed much of the preseason and the first two games of the regular season with a groin strain, and it took him several contests to round his game into shape. He is now playing like he did during his breakout rookie season. Ward is strong on the puck and in the corners and is sound defensively. He is starting to get good looks at the net, is strong in front of the opponent's goal, and is a responsible player at both ends of the ice. Grade: B

Jerred Smithson (4G-0A 21 GP)

Smithson has already exceeded his goal production from last year, and has shown more offensive flash than has been evidenced in previous seasons. Smithson is sound in the defensive zone and spends time on the PK. He is a solid, quiet contributor to the success of this team in the early season. Grade: A

Patric Hornqvist (5G-5A 21GP)

Early in the season, Hornqvist was scoring and playing solid hockey. He was particularly effective on the first line with Arnott and Sullivan when Dumont was out with injury. Lately, his scoring has dropped off and he appears to be struggling in the offensive zone. He plays bigger than his body, and he has to go back to his physical style of play and work for the dirty goals that he was getting in the early season. Grade: C+

Mike Santorelli (2G-1A 16 GP)

Santorelli appears that he will stick with the Predators after being recalled from Milwaukee in the early season. He has talent in the offensive zone, but it has not translated in to goals. he has been masterful in the shoot out, going 3 for 3. This is a rookie that is trying to make the jump from AHL star to productive regular for the Predators. He has potential, but the jury is still out. Grade: C

Jordin Tootoo (1G-1A 8 GP)

Tootoo missed the first thirteen games of the season with an strained hip flexor. His game is not where it would be if he had played more games, but there are flashes that it is coming back. He continues to be a first class pest, drawing the attention of the opposing team. He has shown good restraint and hasn't taken the dumb penalties that pests are prone to do. His offensive game needs to step up. He has the skills to do that, but so far, it is missing. Grade: C+

Marcel Goc (1G-1A 19 GP)

Goc is in his first year with the Predators, having started his career in San Jose. He has drawn mostly fourth line duty, but has been very solid in all zones.Goc has not been put into an offensive role with this team, but is a solid contributor that spends time on the PK and is good in the face off circle. Grade: B

Andreas Thuresson (0G-2A 8 GP)

Thuresson was called up due to injuires earlier in the season and has managed to stick with the Predators. He is a big, strong body, and his play has been sound but unspectacular. Thuresson has yet to demonstrate a scoring touch, and it will be interesting to see if he can make the adjustment to the NHL and begin to be productive. Grade: C

Shea Weber (5G-7A 19 GP)

Weber continues his dominant play along the blue line, and has emerged as one of the elite defense men in the NHL. After a slow start, he has started to score with a fiercesome shot from the blue line. Defensively, he is dominant and a strong physical presence. Grade: A

Ryan Suter (2G-8A 21 GP)

Suter has quietly emerged as a first class blue liner. He has gotten physically stronger and has a great sense of what is happening on the ice, both in the defensive and offensive zone.Suter plays quality minutes alongside his partner, Shea Weber, and logs significant amounts of ice time, often against the other team's top offensive line.
Grade: A

Dan Hamhuis (0G-4A 17 GP)

Early in the season, Hamhuis was atrocious, registering an abyssmal -7 through 14 games. Since being paired with Cody Franson, he has stepped up his game significantly. Currently, he is a -4 and his play has been much improved. Hamhuis is an experienced defenseman who is the last year of his contract, and I would expect his play to continue to improve as the season moves along. Grade: B-

Kevin Klein (1G-1A 21 GP)

Like Hamhuis, Klein was horrible in the early season games, registering a -8 through 14 games. Currently, he is a -6, but has steadied his play since being paired with Francis Buillon. Klein has the potential to be a valuable contributor and has the tools to be better than he is playing. Grade: C+

Francis Buillon (1G-2A 21 GP)

Buillon was a quality off season add for the Predators. He has been solid in the defensive zone, and is physical even though he is not the biggest defese man on the ice. His steady play has settled down his partner, Kevin Klein, and the veteran leadership that he brings to the defense corp has been welcome. Grade: A

Cody Franson (2G-3A 15 GP)

Franson appears to have locked down the sixth spot on the D corp, beating out the more heralded Alexander Sulzer. Franson has the physical tools to be a solid blue liner. When you watch him play, you can see flashes of being a good NHL defense man. You can also see flashes of being a rookie. Grade: B-

Wade Belak (0G-0A 10 GP)

Belak has not seen the ice very much since his role as an enforcer has been diminished. Belak can rotate between forward and defense and has been plugged in at either position depending on the needs of the team. Unfortunately, he has not been productive at either position. With the emergence of some of the young forwards and defense men, I expect his ice time to continue to be minimal. Grade: D

Pekka Rinne (9W-4L .914 Save %)

After some early season jitters, Pekka has looked like the elite goalie he was during his rookie season. He moves well and plays a sound positional  game and has one of the best glove hands in the NHL. He uses his 6'5" frame to take away much of the net, yet is surprisingly agile for a man his size. Pekka gets stronger the more he plays, and he has locked down the number one goalie position. Grade: A-

Dan Ellis (3-4-1 .900 Save %)

Dan has shown that he can be a very good goalie. he has also shown that he can let in goals that should have been stopped. Ellis moves well and is fundamentally sound, but his inconsistency has relegated him to the back up role. He can win the games he is called upon to play, and can be a valuable player as he is called upon to play some games when the schedule becomes more compressed around the Olympic break. Grade: B

Incomplete Grades

Alexander Sulzer, Ryan Jones, Cal O'Reilly, Colin Wilson, Peter Olvecky, Teemu Laakso, Ben Guite, Dave Scatchard, and Tristen Grant. All have spent a few games with the Predators, but either due to injury or needing more time to season in Milwaukee, none have earned a grade.

After starting the season 3-6-1, the Predators have gone 9-2 and have emerged as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. This team must stick to the things that have been working and making them successful to make a run at the playoffs. This is a blue collar team that wins by bringing their lunch pail and playing gritty hockey. Now it's time to apply this ethic to the next 20 games.


Friday, November 20, 2009

My View

Some random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

If it is too good to be true, it probably is. You have heard that adage all your life. That thought pierces the conciousness as we continue to hear more details about nationalized healthcare. The latest claim is that everyone will have insurance coverage, it won't cost as much as thought, and it will lower the deficit. We must address the need to provide health insurance for all at a reasonable cost- there is no question about that. But when the promises strain credulity, one has to wonder about the validity of those claims. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

They say when a man holds a woman's hand before marriage, it is love. After marriage, it is self defense.

Lots of attention is being paid to the fourth quarter consumer spending for Christmas. If spending is down, it is considered a sign of economic weakness that will carry over in to the coming year. Expect the fourth quarter to be weak as consumers adjust their spending to the economic realities they confront. Unemployment is now over 10% and will get worse, and consumers feel that. They will respond by cutting back on spending and being judicious in the use of their resources. This is normal and to be expected. Don't get too caught up in the sensational reporting that will follow.

Deja Moo- the feeling you have heard this b.s. before.

The Predators will be conducting their Get Out And Learn (GOAL) program on Mondays, beginning December 7th, and the next three Mondays thereafter at A-Game Sportsplex. The program is a free program for children ages 4-9 to get them on the ice and teach them about hockey. Equipment is provided at no cost to the participants and no hockey experience is necessary. This is part of the on going commitment of the Predators to support youth hockey in the area. A-Game Sportsplex is located at 215 Gothic Ct. in Franklin. Further information can be obtained by contacting Andee Boiman at

There are three types of people in the world: those that can count, and those that can't.

And that, my friends, is my view.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sweet Revenge as the Predators Bite the Sharks

The Nashville Predators used three goals from their shut down line to power their way past the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in Nashville. David Legwand, Jerred Smithson, and Joel Ward all tallied along with Steve Sullivan as the Predators won for the seventh time in their last nine games.

The Predators tallied twice on the power play, as Steve Sullivan scored on a five on three man advantage in the first period. Joel Ward redirected a Ryan Suter slapshot in the second period for his third goal of the season and the third of the game. The anemic Predator power play has started to show some signs of life, and for the game was two for four with the advantage. This was the first time this season that the Sharks have given up two power play goals in a game.

The Predators used a strong second period to move the margin to 4-1 before Joe Thornton scored with :41 to go to cut the margin to 4-2. Jerred Smithson was the beneficiary of a nice pass from David Legwand and finished a two on one break to make the score 2-1. Later in the period, Ward was camped in front of the net and got the deflection on Suter's shot that put the Preds up 3-1. Ward later won a battle in the corner and fed the puck to Legwand in the face off circle, who one-timed a bullet past Greiss for a 4-1 Predators advantage.

In the third period, the Predators held the Sharks off the board until :52 remained, when Patrick Marleau scored with Greiss pulled for the extra attacker. Nashville was able to control the puck and win a key face off with three seconds to go to clinch the victory. This victory was particularly satisfying as the Preds had lost a week ago in San Jose by the same score after essentially giving the game away in the final minutes.

This victory against the best team in the Western Conference is indicative of the potential of the Predators when they play within their system. The foundation of that system is solid goal tending, and Pekka Rinne was outstanding in net and is displaying the confidence and sound positional hockey that made him an elite goaltender last season. The defense was generally effective in limiting chances. San Jose scored on a short handed deflection by Scotty Nichol, a former Predator (we miss ya, Scooter); Thornton's goal occurred when he beat the forward that should have been back checking; and Marleau's goal came with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker. While not flashy, the forwards shot the puck and forechecked aggressively and this led to several quality scoring opportunities.

It is good to see Steve Sullivan rounding in to shape. Sully scored his third goal in the last two games and is starting to show some of the scoring touch that makes him dangerous on the ice.

David Legwand has started to show some offensive spark. Thanks, David. We desperately need that from you. I have been very critical of Legwand and his play to date. Rightfully so. All will be forgiven between you, me, and the Predator fans if you start playing like you did last night.

After starting the season 3-6-1, and looking pretty miserable in some of those losses, this team now sits at 10-8-1 and is playing some very solid hockey. The players, many of them new faces at the start of the season, are starting to trust one another and trust the system. The results have been manifested in solid hockey and more wins.

The schedule favors the Predators over the next few weeks as there a numerous home games. Time now to bring this kind of effort every night. Time now to make up some ground in the division. Time now to play Predator hockey.

Friday, November 13, 2009

So What Do We Know About The Predators?

The Predators roll into mid-November with an 8-8-1 record and 17 points, good for 12th in the Western Conference. So what do we know about this team and their prospects for the remainder of this season?

We know this about the Predators. This is a team that can successfully play gritty, grind it out hockey, and when they do, they have the potential to win any game. This team will not win this season by being flashier than their opponent and scoring highlight reel goals. Instead they will win by shooting the puck (which, thankfully, is a concept they have seemed to finally embrace) and crashing the net. Dirty goals will be the norm for this squad. There is nothing wrong with that style of play- the goals still count the same.

Another positive aspect of this team is that some of the younger players are showing that they are capable of making the jump from the AHL to the NHL and be productive. Andreas Thuresson, Mike Santorelli, and Cody Franson had played quality minutes and have contributed offensively. This was a gamble that General Manager David Poile made at the start of the season- relying on unproven talent from the farm system to fill roster spots instead of pursuing high priced free agents. Assuredly a high risk gamble that has required a period of adjustment by these youngsters. They have started to round into NHL caliber players and although the season has many games to play, it appears that this move will be positive for the Predators.

The defense has started to round into shape and settle in as a solid component of this team. The top paring of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter have performed as expected, which is as one of the top defensive pairings in the league. Francis Buillon has been a quality add for this team, and has been very steady on the blue line. Kevin Klein and Dan Hamhuis both started the season with very shaky performances, but have seemed to settle down over the past six games and their play has improved markedly. Cody Franson, one of the youngsters making the jump from the AHL this season, has shown the ability to log quality minutes and chip in offensively. This unit, especially the second and third pairings of Klein/Hamhuis and Buillon/Franson will have to continue to elevate their play for this team to have a successful season.

The forwards. Ah, the forwards. The source of great consternation for Predator fans. Scoring has been, and will continue to be an issue for this team. No great, consistent scorers up front. Yet this group, when they play to their strength, is effective. A pleasant surprise has been the play of Patric Hornqvist. He has shown a willingness to camp in front of the opposition's net, and he has been rewarded for his efforts, having tallied five goals, which already is better than his total in 27 games last season. J. P. Dumont has shown great play making skills and leads the team in points with 11 (3G-8A) in ten games. Dumont has missed six games already due to injury, and his durability is in question, but he is dangerous when he is on the ice.

At this point of the season, we also know that this is a team that has to have balanced scoring to win. They have won so far with great goaltending, solid defense and timely scoring. Unfortunately for the Predators, scoring has been spotty, and frankly, many of the players that were counted on to contribute have be missing in action. David Legwand and Marty Erat have been disappointing, each with only one goal apiece, and Legwand's was an empty netter with six seconds to go against St. Louis. These players were rewarded in the off season with the largest contracts on the team, and they were expected to produce commensurate with their compensation. This has not been the case. In the early going, both have often times been invisible on the ice. For the Predators to contend for the playoffs, these two players in particular are going to have to step up their offensive production.

Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan have to become more productive as well. Each has five points (both have 2G-3A). These are proven veterans that have to score, and their scoring has to increase-quickly. Arnott and Sullivan have been reunited with J.P. Dumont on the top line, which has not had much time together this seaason due to injuries to Dumont and Arnott. When this line is together, they have the potential to dominate as they did for stretches in the St. Louis game. This line, particularly Arnott and Sullivan, has to start scoring consistently for this team to gain ground in the highly competitive Western Conference.

An indication of the lack of scoring from the forwards is that 11 of the Predator's 36 goals have come from defensemen. While this scoring from the blueline is welcome, it is evidence of the production that is lacking from the forwards.

Neither Pekka Rinne (5-4) nor Dan Ellis (3-4-1) have taken the number one goalie position. Both have shown flashes of brilliance and both have shown they can be shaky. The team has to have a clear number one who is solid in the net. Predator fans are still waiting for one of them to claim the starter's role.

So is this a team that has the potential to make the playoffs, or are they destined to be on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin? This team has shown that they can play with anyone when they play their game- solid defense and gritty, balanced offense. They have also shown that they can stink up a barn when they aren't focused on what makes them successful. After some early season meltdowns, it appears that this squad is understanding and embracing what they have to do to win. We know that scoring will have to improve for this team to make a run at the playoffs. We know that if it doesn't, they will be spectators come playoff time.

My View

Some random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

$12.1 TRILLION. Think about the magnitude of that number. A very large, almost imcomprehensible number. And yet we live with this number every day. It is the amount of our national debt. To frame this in numbers that may be more relevant, every man, woman, and child in the United States is on the hook for $395,000 as their portion of the debt. And it is growing. The Obama administration has petitioned Congress to raise the debt limt by 1-1.5 trillion additional dollars. We are placing a financial burden on future generations- our children and grandchildren- that is unconscionable.

I wonder what disease cured ham had.

It's always interesting to me what passes for journalism today. Forbes Magazine, generally a reliable source of business news, did an article that examined and valued each NHL franchise.  I don't have a quarrel with their valuation of the Predators- it is purely guesswork on their part since the team is privately owned and does not disclose their financial information publicly. However, in their brief overview of the franchise, they stated "The Predators have suffered from...embarrassing play on the ice..." Really? This team has made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons and has been one of the most competitive teams in the Western Conference. The article further goes on to state "The rumor mill is buzzing that the owners are looking to sell the team...". I have some questions for Kurt Badenhausen, the editor on this article. Did you come to Nashville and see the team play? Did you speak to anyone in the ownership group about the supposed potential sale? Or did you just decide to lazily repeat tired rumors under the guise of reporting? And the main stream media wonders why they are losing customers.

Build a man a fire, and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

Picking through the rubble of the Madoff fraud and other frauds that have been perpetrated recently, one thought comes to mind. "If it is too good to be true, it probably is." A trite adage that we have heard from childhood, but one apparently by which we are unwilling to abide . Madoff promised and supposedly delivered uncharacteristically consistent returns, regardless of what the market was doing. Other con men have promised outlandish returns that were totally disconnected from the market and have successfully duped investors. In each case, the returns on these investments were far beyond what was reasonable in the market. Every one of us has a responsibility to examine a prospective business or investment deal. And if it appears too good to be true, it probably is.

Curiousity killed the cat, but for a while, I was a suspect.

And that my friends, is my view.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veterans Day- Remembering Heroes Past and Present

Sacrifice. It is a term that is no longer in vogue. Oh, we talk about it, and in some instances we give up things that are not too much of a sacrifice. Sacrifice, real sacrifice that costs us something dear, is foreign to most of us. There are those, however, that are sacrificing for us right now. They are sacrificing so we can live free and enjoy the comforts of our lives.

They sacrifice time away from their families. They sacrifice the comforts that we take for granted. They place themselves in harm's way so we can enjoy a life of freedom. And in some instances, they make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.

These brave men and women sacrifice freely and willingly. For us, many of us, that they will never know.Yet when called, they are unwavering in their commitment to serve and protect us, to protect their country, and to protect our freedom.

And now we have a day to honor them, the veterans that have served gallantly and those that are serving now. A day to honor those who are buried in numerous graves both here and on foreign soil. A day to pause in our comfort and freedom to remember those that have made and are making it possible for us to enjoy the blessings of liberty. One day.

As you perhaps enjoy this day off or go about your daily routine, pause for a moment and give thanks for those that have sacrificed for our freedoms. And say a prayer of thanks and protection for those that are defending our freedom today.

A heartfelt "thank you" to all who have sacrificed on our behalf and who are sacrificing for us today.


They were there,
And they remember,
The shock, the horror
of watching strangers die.
A life ended
by a fellow soldiers shaking hands.

The unimaginable debt,
owed by a free world
can never be repaid.
Still we try,
Giving up an hour, a day
to thank you for the burden you now carry
Laid there so we can live our lives.

They fought,
and killed,
enemies with faces
identities unknown to the bullets
shattering the protective shield
laid there by those they loved.

For one day a year we honor you.
For our lives
it can never compare.
Still we try
Thanking you on this day
for a million moments you lived
so we could too.

-Brittany Skinner

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Proposal for Dealing With Head Shots

The rash of head shots and the resulting concussions and injuries in hockey is a cause for great concern, Rightfully so. The debate rages about what to do about the head shots that are egregious and unnecessary and how to take them out of the game.

There are shots to the head that occur that are legitimately part of the game. Players get caught with their head down or get blindsided by a clean check. The fact that hockey is a collision sport precludes that these types of hits will happen. The hits that are in question often involve the use of an elbow, leaving the feet, or running a defenseless player into the boards. These are the hits that have to be addressed.

It has been said in many quarters that players have to respect one another. In so doing, these types of hits will be virtually eliminated. It is obvious that this level of respect does not exist, and perhaps never will. The number of injuries due to unnecessary head shots gives proof to the fact that respect for an opponent is not a deterrent.

The discipline meted out after an unnecessary and illegal hit is inconsistent and can seem capricious. There is no objective standard used, and often the punishment does not fit the action on the ice. If a fourth line player can take out the other team's scoring threat with a head shot and suffer an inconsequential suspension, there is no reason to change the behavior.

I'm not talking about hits like the one that Willie Mitchell put on Jonathan Toews. This was a hard and clean hockey play that resulted in Toews suffering a concussion. It was unfortunate for Toews, but he made the mistake of not keeping his head up and was hammered with a clean check. No, I'm talking about the the type of hit such as the one Curtis Glencross put on Chris Drury- one where the player away from the puck is blindsided by a shoulder to the head. A hit that is not part of a hockey play, and takes out a scoring threat for the opposition.

So what do we do about this type of hit? How do we take it out of the game and yet still allow hockey to be played physically yet cleanly?

I would propose the following. The head hunting shots- the hits to the head with an elbow, or by leaving the feet to launch oneself at a players head, or the headshots away from the play, would be dealt with a consistent level of punishment. That punishment would be an mandatory suspension of a predetermined number of games- five, ten, pick it, but the suspended games would be mandatory. Additionally, the player that committed the infraction would be suspended a number of games equal to the amount of games the injured player missed. So if the agreed upon mandatory suspension is five games, for example, and the injured player missed ten games because of the head shot, the player that committed the infraction would be suspended for a total of 15 games. Finally, his team would not be able to fill the roster spot during the term of his suspension.

This proposal is not meant to take away hitting- that is an integral part of the game. It is designed to take away the cheap shot to the head. It requires the league to be tough and consistent on these types of hits. It requires the players to agree on this type of action for these types of hits. It may just be the the type of action, however, that forces players to respect one another and think before they take that head shot. And that will be a positive change for the game we all love.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My View


Some random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

Wednesday is Veteran's Day. For many, just another day. Some get the day off, some work, most go about their normal routines. We are free to go about those normal routines because of the men and women that have served and sacrificed- and continue to do so- to preserve the freedom we all enjoy. Those that have served and are serving deserve our eternal gratitude and our support. If you have a chance, thank a veteran for their service. And say a prayer for those that serve today for their safety.

I'm a man of my convictions, but far more proud of my acquittals.

The heinous attack on our soldiers at Ft. Hood by one of our own soldiers reminds us that this is an extremely dangerous world. There are obvious enemies of our freedom and way of life that are in other countries. There are enemies within, as well, and it requires vigilence and courage to protect our freedoms and ensure our safety. Compromise with terrorists and those that seek to do us harm WILL NEVER WORK, and for that reason, I am thankful for those that serve to protect us. Our thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers and their families at Ft. Hood.

I've still got my looks. I just can't find them.

Unemployment has climbed to 10.2% of the work force, the highest rate in 26 1/2 years. This does not bode well for a quick recovery in the U. S. economy. It is estimated that the under-employed, those working at jobs for which they are over qualified, and those that have quit looking altogether, would add another 3-4% to this figure. That is a significant number of people out of work, and it does not bode well for a quick economic recovery in this country. The consumer accounts for 67% of the GDP spending, and the consumer is suffering. Until this trend reverses, look for the economy to limp along for the forseeable future.

All I want out of life is a warm bed, a kind word, and unlimited power.

And that, my friends, is my view.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Injury Bug Bites. Hard

Injuries are a way of life in hockey, and every team copes with them during the course of a season. At times, however, it seems as if the injury bug bites hard on a particular squad, and right now, it is the Predators that have been bitten.

Stellar defense man Shea Weber took a shot off his foot in the Dallas game on Saturday. It is hoped that he will miss only one to two weeks. In talking with the staff, on Tuesday night, there is a concern that his recovery time may be three to four weeks.

Forward J. P. Dumont tweaked his back at the Tuesday skate and was very sore afterwards. It was going to be determined on Wednesday morning when the team left for their west coast trip if he would be travelling. According to the latest news, the back was extremely sore and he did not go with the team when they left this morning.

Dumont has eleven points in nine games and has been integral to the production of this offensively challenged team. It is hoped that he can join the team later on this road swing.

Rookie center Colin Wilson did not make the trip as well. He has re-aggravated the groin strain that plagued him during preseason camp. He is currently receiving treatment and it is hoped that he will be in the line up when the Predators return from the road.

On a positive note, the team will welcome back captain Jason Arnott for Thursday's game against Anaheim. Arnott has missed six games since injuring his shoulder against Washington. I had a chance to speak with Jason last week and he has regained the strength and mobility in the shoulder, and he is ready to return to the ice.

Jordin Tootoo will be making his first appearance of the season since injuring a hip flexor and quadricep at the end of training camp.

Andreas Thuresson has been recalled from the Predators AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, and he will take Wilson's roster spot.

The injury bug strikes just as this team is building positive momentum and stringing together wins. One response is to hang your head and bemoan the loss of key players. The other is to lace 'em up tight and skate hard. Lace 'em up boys.

This critical early season road trip will be a test of the mettle of this team. Young players will be given a chance to shine and veterans will have to shoulder a bigger load on offense. So be it. The adversity this team is facing now can steel them for the fight for the playoffs.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Predators Dig Out of a Hole

At 2-6-1, the Predators looked to be digging a hole that would be difficult to overcome. Scoring was at a premium, and the defense looked shaky at best. Goal tending was spotty. In the powerful Western Conference, the Preds were falling quickly out of the race.

Then something happened for this team. Offense started to appear. Defense settled down and looked solid. And the Predators reeled off three straight wins to close October at .500.

Looking back over the play of the Predators in this first month of the season, it is apparent that for this team to have a chance at success they will have to continue the style of play that has brought them back to even. Defense has to be responsible and limit chances. When the D is on, they can make it very difficult to for other teams to get quality scoring chances. The addition of Francis Buillon has been positive for this team, and he has been sound in his play on the blue line. Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Klein have started to settle in as the second pairing and their play has improved significantly in the past few games. Ryan Suter continues to be quietly emerging as a star in the league, and his play has been exemplary. And Shea Weber, always a beast defensively, is heating up with his scoring, having notched five goals after a slow offensive start.

While still waiting for David Legwand and Marty Erat to get untracked offensively, scoring has come by committee. J. P. Dumont has elevated his game with eleven points in nine games. Scoring has also started to emerge from the second and third lines, which is critical for this team. Jerred Smithson has three goals, two of which are shorthanded. Joel Ward has started to round his game into shape after missing early season action due to a groin strain. Patric Hornqvist is showing that he belongs at the NHL level after a brief stint with the team last season. Jason Arnott, who has five points in seven games, is expected back after missing two weeks with a shoulder injury, and his return should bolster the offense.

This team has seen how lackluster offensive play and shoddy defense can cost them. They are not good enough to overcome an off night. Don't bring your best and expect to see a loss.

This team has also seen how playing their game- aggressively forechecking and creating turnovers, strong defense, and scoring by committee, can bring a victory. This team will never be flashy. Grind it out games will be the norm. That is fine. They don't grade wins on style points.

The month of October has been a learning experience for the Predators. They have seen what it is like being at the bottom of the standings looking up at other teams. They now know what it is like to be in the thick of the divisional race. Take the lessons learned and build on them.

You are out of the hole. Time to move on to higher ground.