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Showing posts from December, 2007

Predators vs. Blue Jackets, the (barely) live blog

Santa decided to bring me my 4th case of strep throat this year, so I've been out of commission for the better part of a week now. How better to boost one's spirits than by catching tonight's Predators/Blue Jackets battle and passing along my observations, since the game won't be carried on local TV? The Preds come into this one after having laid an egg in Chicago the night before, losing 5-2 in a game that saw them dominate the shooting totals (32-22), but fall due to inferior goaltending. On the opposite end, Nikolai Khabibulin shut most everything down, while the Nashville power play continued its stunningly ineffective run, going 0-for-6 and giving up a shorthanded goal to Patrick Sharp to boot. Will the Predators be able to keep their successful streak against Columbus alive, having won 11 in a row against their Central Division rival? For Nashville, no Shea Weber or Ryan Suter tonight, while Columbus goes without Rick Nash. 1st Period Chris Mason gets the

Why Am I Here?

All the cool kids have been doing this lately, and since I'm unable to number-crunch until later in the week, I thought I'd take this opportunity to respond to the questionairre posted by the gang over at Interchangeable Parts : 1. What was your motivation for starting blogging? Has that changed at all in the time you’ve been blogging? At first, it was just an opportunity to exercise some creative urges and participate in the broader discussion of hockey online; as a father of three little folks, it's not like I can sit at the barstool like Norm and chat about the game on a regular basis. Once I got bitten by the stats bug, it's been more of a quest to see how we might increase our understanding of the game and unearth unexpected, yet useful, knowledge. 2. What do you think your blog contributes to the hockey conversation? I try to bring two things in general; first, to point out areas that might represent new facts about the game (such as a strategy to use when s

Ho Ho Ho, Two in a Row

The Predators head into the holiday break having ended their five-game losing streak with back-to-back victories over Los Angeles and Columbus, so while nobody should be popping champagne over a 16-16-2 record, things are certainly more hopeful than they were a few days ago. It's good to see Jason Arnott popping in goals again, and Jordin Tootoo's cameo on the top line has been impressive. Saturday's game against the Kings may have been Tootoo's best of the season, and while he only tallied one assist, he made several good crisp passes to set up scoring chances and put a wicked shot through Kings goaltender Jason Labarbera's glove that dribbled just wide of the net. When the action resumes next Thursday, we'll have to see whether this momentum can be maintained. Personally, I think this team needs a top-six forward desperately, and there's still no definitive sign that Steve Sullivan will be ready soon. By carrying eight defensemen on the active roster,

Pardon Our Dust

It's been a long time since my last update, for which I apologize, as we've been moving (and are still not 100% complete), so times for watching and analyzing hockey has been few and far between.   On the positive side, however, Santa arrived early at the Forechecker household, and with the help of a friendly neighbor , we have now entered the glorious age of HDTV, and yes Virginia, everything you've heard about hockey being better in HDTV is TRUE.  I was able to catch Nashville's craptacular come-from-ahead defeat last night in Minnesota in vivid detail and color on our new 50" Panasonic plasma .  We went with plasma because from everything I've read and seen, it performs better for high-motion content (like sports).  The picture is AMAZING, and Mrs. Forechecker likes the fact that it's mounted on the wall, so it doesn't take up precious floor space.   A picture so clear and sharp is worth any price...   Once hooked up, of course

The Red Army Comes Calling

The posting will be especially light this week, as we're busy packing boxes and decluttering in anticipation of moving into our new house starting Friday.  Toss in the hassles around having one of our cars totalled and 2 out of 3 kids being sick today, and we've got ourselves some busy times.  In the meantime, I have updated the Penalty Plus/Minus spreadsheet to be found at over at Google.  Notably Sidney Crosby has pulled back ahead of Alex Ovechkin (+21 vs. +20), while Edmonton's Steve Staios holds down the bottom at -14. A few quick thoughts about tonight's Detroit game; while it sounds cliche to say that it will take a full 60-minute effort for Nashville to win, it's a remarkably apt aspect to note when facing the Red Wings.  If you look at team records when they give up the first goal of the game , Detroit is the only team in the NHL with a winning record (.556), and they also are at or near the top in winning percentage when trailing after

A word from my better half

So the other night when the Predators were playing in Toronto and the Rogers SportsNet commentators bashed Nashville as a hockey market, little did I know that my wife, who was in the room but occupied on our Tablet PC, was as honked off as I was about their lack of tact. It turns out that she wrote up her thoughts on the matter as well and asked if I wanted to post them here. So now, I present to you the words of the lovely and talented Mrs. Forechecker... This is Mrs. Forechecker and I have been feeling the need to speak for those who are not often heard in the hockey world. I grew up in Indiana where folks love corn and high school basketball. If you ever saw Hoosiers you know what I mean… I have been a casual fan of hockey since before I met Mr.Forechecker about 12 years ago. We had the Indianapolis Ice and the Fort Wayne Komets to watch and I occasionally would go to games, but it was not something I grew up watching. After I moved to Ann Arbor and was able to go to

Hot Swedish Twins Tonight in Nashville

Once again the Nashville Predators catch an opponent who's had to travel after playing the night before, as Vancouver won in Chicago 3-2 last night (follow the link to Canucks Hockey Blog, a fine Vancouver resource whose author is my opponent this week in Mirtle's pool ). Since uber-goalie Roberto Luongo got the victory in that match, the Preds might not have to face him tonight, or at least if they do, he'd at least be battling fatigue. Hey, you take whatever break you can get against him. Vancouver currently stands at 15-10-2, in a tie for first place in the Northwest with Minnesota, and they're 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The Preds come in with a 13-10-2 record and 6-3-1 in their last 10, so we're looking at a battle of solid teams that are playing well currently. For Nashville, one of the major factors will be how well they shut down Henrik Sedin (5G, 21A), the playmaker to twin brother Daniel's goal-scoring (9G, 16A). Last year, out of Daniel's 36

Leafs Commentators Kiss Up To Balls

As if watching career knuckle-dragger Wade Belak score a goal as Toronto topped the Nashville Predators 3-1 Tuesday night wasn't bad enough, the intermission commentators on the Rogers SportsNet coverage of the game couldn't resist taking another round of shots against the hockey market in Nashville. In the first intermission, Gord Stellick established his Bozo-like credentials while discussing the recent spate of suspensions for the Philadelphia Flyers with his astute observation that "at least they've got an identity, most teams don't." I'd sure like to see the Mission Statement in Philly that's led to all those head shots... Anyways, in the second intermission the topic of ownership change in Nashville came up, and both Stellick and his comrade Bill Watters launched into a diatribe repeatedly calling Nashville a "false hockey market", and offering their sage prediction that in three years Boots Del Biaggio will move the squad to Kansas

Time to find out who's Naughty & Nice

It's time once again to review the NHL's Penalty Plus/Minus leaders, as I've refreshed the data up through the games of Sunday, December 3rd. Alex Ovechkin continues to lead with a +20 mark, followed by Sidney Crosby at +17 and Pavel Datsyuk with +14. Again, we see big-name talent leading the way here, as expected. All of these players give opposing defenses fits, so it's no surprise to see them getting hauled down more than other players. On the opposite end of things, we see the lower part of the rankings dominated by defensemen, whose job it is to prevent scoring chances, and thus are sometimes forced into taking penalties when beaten by an incoming forward. In fact, 11 out of the 12 spots at the bottom of this list are defensemen. The rarity here is to find defensemen who are drawing a significant number of penalties more than they commit; that list is led by Calgary's Dion Phaneuf, Nashville's Dan Hamhuis, and the Islanders' Chris Campoli, who

Blogger Night in Nashville

Fresh on the heels of CBC's profile of hockey bloggers on Hockey Night in Canada, word comes that tonight's Sportsline show here in Nashville (hosted by Eric Yutzy) will feature Brandon Felder, a blogger who covers the Preds for .  It's "Hockey Monday" on Sportsline, and it can be seen either on cable channel 50 locally, or via an online video stream at beginning at 8:00 p.m. Central time tonight.   Last week's show had Eric hosting with Paul McCann, the PA voice of the Predators and also a contributor at Hockeybuzz.  I've only just started watching the show, but I can tell you that I saw more informed discussion about the Predators and the NHL on that show than I've seen in the last two years of local sports television coverage here in Nashville combined.  I highly recommend you check the show out tonight.

A Dream for Some, a Nightmare for Others

Saturday night's astounding comeback victory over the Montreal Canadiens has drawn some strong reaction from around the hockey world. In Nashville, however, the Tennessean chose to stick the game recap on page 9 of the sports section. Apparently not even consecutive heart-stopping victories over two of the Eastern Conference's top teams can rouse the local daily into action. Here's some of the juicy bits from around the Montreal-oriented portions of the web this morning; "Know something? The better team from start to finish won last night, despite trailing badly in the game." - Red Fisher, Montreal Gazette Christobal Huet, who kept the Predators at bay through the first two periods, had some harsh words for his squad; " We're a fragile team. We're a little weak between the ears." And this, from the wonderfully wordy Theory of Ice : "See? I was right. The game in New Jersey last night wasn’t the worst thing ever. This game, h

Blogger Night In Canada

There was a very nice piece yesterday on Hockey Night in Canada about the rise of hockey blogs, focusing in particular on the group centered around the Washington Capitals (where owner Ted Leonsis has fostered their growth), and ending with host Ron McLean giving some of our favorite sites some coveted face time on hockey's biggest stage. It's a wonderfully comprehensive and balanced piece, and there's a few points that are worth responding to. They spoke with Kevin Allen to get the professional sportswriter's view of the growing impact of hockey blogging, and he spouted some of the more obvious arguments about the whole sector being in its "infancy", and decrying the fact that bloggers don't have a particular editor or publisher to answer to in the event that they cross the bounds somehow. First off, amateur online sportswriters have been going at it for over 10 years now, as Spector , PJ Swenson , myself , and others can attest. The field is ha