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Let’s Get This Rivalry Started: Blackhawks and Predators

April 15, 2010

They say the playoffs are where the real rivalries are started.  Hopefully that’s true about the Blackhawks first round matchup against the Nashville Predators.  These two teams seem to have more of a moderate dislike of each other.  Well here’s my reasoning why you should develop a passionate hate against the Preds. (Note: This was written Sunday night and ran in this week’s issue of the Loyola Phoenix.)

It’s never fun to lose to the Red Wings.  I have an extreme dislike for that team, to put it mildly.  The loss on Sunday stings for a different reason though.  You see, the Hawks were only playing for playoff position, but losing sends the team somewhere very, very terrible: Nashville.

Oh, how I loathe everything about the city of Nashville! Let me count the ways:  First, I hate country music.  I know that has nothing to do with hockey, but the place is the home of country music.  After every Predators goal, the first thing you hear is “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.” If it wasn’t enough to see the Blackhawks get scored on, my ears are now screaming in pain from listening to that shrieking.

Next up on the list is the power play.  I’m not talking about the players on the ice during the power play.  I can’t hate on those guys because I feel sorry for them. They’re 24th in power play goals, scoring on just 16.4 percent of their chances. The real menace is the Predators PA announcer.  Just listen after the first Blackhawks penalty in Nashville and you’ll hear him lead the crowd in yelling, “The Predators are ON … THE … POWERRRRPLAAYYYYYY.”  How about we get back to watching the game instead of yelling about what’s happening, OK cowboy?

Make sure to keep your eye on number 22, Jordin Tootoo.  I don’t say keep your eye on him because he’s a great player.  It’s a warning. If you don’t, he’ll probably take a cheap shot at you while you aren’t paying attention because that’s what Jordin Tootoo does.  This guy is up there along with guys like Matt Cooke and Sean Avery in the “Guys who I really don’t like because they’re dirty players” category.  If you have time, find his fight against James Wisniewski from two years ago, and watch him get punched in the head repeatedly.

The Predators are one of those teams that are pretty tough to watch play.  Head Coach Barry Trotz has his players committed to playing a strict defensive system.  Unfortunately, it’s extremely boring to watch.  Get ready for a series full of dump and chase (except for Versteeg, who will inevitably try to skate through three defenders all day).
And last on my list of loathing, I’d like to draw your attention to the worst tradition in all of sports.  Instead of creating their own traditions, Nashville decided to modify the stupid tradition of throwing an octopus onto the ice like Red Wings fans love to do.

Preds fans put their little Nashville spin on it so now you’ll probably see a catfish or two hit the ice this series.  That’s right. They carry a big, dead, stinky catfish into the arena.  When I was at a Hawks game a few years back, some guy threw one on the ice toward the end of a Hawks win over the Preds. That guy had to sit there with that smelly fish all game.  Good job man, you certainly got us that time.

Thankfully the playoffs are finally here.  I may not be happy about the matchup, but I sure am happy to see playoff hockey return.  Buckle up. Hopefully it will be a long ride toward the Stanley Cup Finals.

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