Friday, December 2, 2011

My trip to Smashville (Part 1)

 Last April, I did the most outrageous thing in my life. It did not result in being scolded or yelled at or even given the Greek disappointed head nod by my parents. I embarked on conquering my greatest fear, in style, and I was applauded for it.I have to say, it was one of the best times of my life.I actually participated in planning a vacation of epic proportions, that to this day, I still cannot believe I did it. Those who know me, know that I hate flying. A drive to Toronto for me, was preferable to a flight to a beautiful island in the sun.But I do believe that has all changed now.

On April 1st, 2011, I embarked on a trip that involved 5 different flights and thousands of miles. I decided I wanted to visit Nashville before landing in our original destination: Las Vegas. At first, a trip to Nashville seemed ridiculous to my husband. Both hubby and I are avid Habs and Sergei Kostitsyn fans, but the notion of going to Nashville to see a Predators game that did not involve the Habs, hubby was skeptical and unwilling. He had a reason to think that. I mean, why take a detour in Nashville when you're headed to Vegas to simply see a hockey game. However, then the best thing that could ever come up...came up. The Canadian, worldwide successful band RUSH released new cities in their tour that included Nashville, on April 3rd. This is when plans started to roll. Before I knew it, we booked our hotel, our flights and not only that, my wonderful, incredible fellow tweeps planned a full weekend for us. Just so you all understand, I am terrified of flying. Absolutely terrified, and this vacation involved the following flights: Montreal to Toronto. Toronto to Nashville. Nashville to Denver. Denver to Las Vegas. Then Vegas to Montreal....all in a span of 11 days. But this blog is not about the flying, it's about the amazing,incredible short time we spent in Nashville.

Upon announcing on twitter that,in fact, we were going to Nashville, the influx of invitations began. Starting with lifts from the airport, to attending the Predators Wine tasting fundraiser on April 1st, to going to a Preds practice and tickets to the Preds game on April 2nd against the Red Wings.So before even landing in Nashville, our whole weekend was planned. All this, because of the wonderful world of twitter. You talk to people everyday, you don't really know them. You have no idea of how they are away from a computer, until you meet them, and you feel like you've known them your whole life. That's exactly what happened in Nashville.

Nashville = Smashville 

Day 1


We first met Mark ( @theviewfrom111), who not only picked us up from the airport and gave us a tour of the city, we were his guests that evening at the Predators Wine tasting fundraiser.Due to time constraints,our initial meeting was short, which is the exact opposite of what our evening festivities were.


One hour and a half after landing in Nashville, Rebecca (@Tigerpredschick) picked me up from my hotel to take me to a Preds open practice. She lives in Memphis, about 3 hours away, and whenever she can, she attends Preds games and practices. She went out of her way to make sure that I got to a  practice.This experience was somewhat of a shock to me. The practice facility was so fan friendly, it was unbelievable. Fans are at ice level, and the only thing separating them from the players is the plexiglass. THAT'S IT. You're not standing two stories above the players behind soundproof windows,like at the Complex Sportif Bell, you are right in there. Players coming on and off the ice are just mere feet in front of you, stopping for pictures and autographs. I was shocked,to say the least.And not only did I see Sergei Kostitsyn and the rest of the Predators, but I also met other favourite tweeps like Jennifer (@Predsaddict) and Rachel (@RachelAddison). I swear I felt like I knew them my whole life. We had lots of laughs, it was absolutely incredible. After practice ended,all the players came to greet the fans. All but one. All, but the one I wanted to meet. ^()&$#@% oh, well. Next time.

                                                   Me and the girls

Again,due to time constraints, I had to rush back to my hotel to get myself ready and presentable for the Predators Fundraiser. I wanted to spend more time with the Rebecca & Rachel because I knew I wasn't going to see them again(on this trip), but unfortunately,those couple of hours would have to suffice.


Jet lagged, exhausted, swollen like a buffoon, we made our way to the Bridgestone Arena to meet Mark for the Wine Tasting Fundraiser. Entering the arena,we saw that the pro shop was open, but to our dismay, they were sold out of SK74 jerseys and t-shirts. So we proceed to the Gala, that was held on the ice surface of the arena. I was awestruck. Standing on the ice ( obviously covered), staring up at the stands, the jumbo-tron and not believing I was actually there. After "sipping" a few wines, we decided to have a glass in the players bench. Sucking in the moment, sipping our wine,looking up in the arena and not believing we were actually there. There were hundreds and hundreds or people there to support the team. Some wearing their Preds jerseys, some in T-shirts and others with Preds pinson their jackets. We finally meet up with Mark and his amazing wife Laura. They introduced us to some of their friends, who were just as warm. Hubby was amazed at how all this could happen through twitter. More drinks, more food and lots of talking. Huddled over with Laura, we talked about Martin Erat,her personal favourite, the Preds, and of course, she was trying to convince me to try grits, to no avail. What can I say? Absolutely incredible woman. Soon thereafter, Mark introduced us to Fireball Whiskey. OMG was that ever delicious. To this day,I can't remember how many I had, but just that it was going down smoothly. Mark then introduced us to assistant coach Pederson and VP of Preds marketing Christian both with which we talked about Canadian hockey, Montreal and the increased awareness and support of hockey programs in Nashville. Whiskey in hand, we looked over the items for auction. Two items caught my eye. An autographed SK74 goal scoring puck (easy to travel with) and an autographed picture (not so easy to travel with). Seeing how much I wanted the frame,Mark convinced hubby to bid on it, and that he would mail it to us. And so it happened. We won the bid on the frame!! YAY!  To add to a perfect first day in Nashville, Mark and Laura also won their bid on the SK74 puck,that they gave to me. I don't even know how I could ever repay them with their generosity and friendship.
                                        Met the awesome Gnash
                                       Inside the Predators Mouth

Day 2 : Gameday

It's gameday. Preds vs Red Wings at 2pm. Still jet lagged, we ate our breakfast and made our way to the Bridgestone Arena for the tailgate party. The lot outside the arena wall full of activities and jammed with people. Fans filled the streets & I felt like I was back home in Montreal,only the jersey colours were different. I did wear my Preds t-shirt but added my Habs cap to the wardrobe. I felt I had to represent them too.We met up with Jim (@Diamondhockey) & his lovely wife for a pre game drink & then made our way to our seats for the pre-game skate. I didn't know what to expect. Never went to a hockey game outside of Montreal and the Bell Centre. What I experienced for the next few hours was absolutely mind blowing. Not only were our seats at a prime location (thank you Jim) but I was able to go down to ice level and see the players. Fans are allowed to stand next to the glass during the warm up. Security doesn't wisp you away. They appreciate fan support and let you enjoy yourself. Once again,I found myself standing mere feet away from my favourite Pred. He looked right at me and I'm guessing he noticed my Habs cap because he then blasted a slapshot at the glass in front of me. LOL

The arena has filled up. Chants have started and my ears are ringing.I've been to many games at the Bell Centre and only once was it as loud as the Bridgestone. I kid you not. It was so loud that I thought my heart was going to pop out of my back....and this is all before Beau Bice even stepped on the ice to sing the Star Spangled Banner. (yes,the Beau Bice from American Idol, who ended up sitting just a few rows in front of us) Ever heard of the TV time out, unsolicited, standing ovations in Nashville? Well if not, you just did. Every single fan in the place stands up,cheers and claps for the duration of the break. I freaked. We freaked.

With great thanks to the twitter world,we knew to visit Cellblock 303 at the intermission,and yet again,my mind was blown away.I met most of the tweeps that I chatted with. They were real!! From Buddy(@predsontheglass) to Ben (@predsfanben), @RLDhockey, @Predsaddict, @JoshuaCooper and Amanda (@ADPreds) who had a gift for me. Knowing the trouble I had finding a Sergei Kostitsyn Jersey, she gave me her own. I think about that to this day and it still makes me tear. Never,in my life, have I felt such warmth from what were, strangers.

The intermission was coming to an end, so we had to rush back to our seats.With hands full of goodies, I had some difficulty getting my SK74 jersey on.Trying to put my right hand in the left sleeve,hair tangled up in the jersey.....I managed to miss his 20th goal LIVE, and I was there. I missed it. The crowd roared,my eardrums were throbbing,hubby and Melissa were yelling Sergei scored and I had his jersey over my eyes. A complete, ecstatic mess. At least I got to see the replay on the jumbotron. Boo

The game ended. Preds lost in overtime and we made our way back to our hotel for some much needed rest. After about a few of hours, still very early on a Saturday night, we didn't know what to do or where to go. I contacted Jen through twitter, and although she was 30 miles away, we arranged to go out for dinner and drinks, thus requiring her to come back downtown to meet us.We had supper, walked along Broadway, Ben joined us at The Stage for some live country music, then made our way to The dueling Pianos where Patten (@Smashville) met up with us for drinks. To this day, whenever I hear the song "F*ck You by Cee Lo Green, I will always remember my time with this gang. Priceless.

                                                    Jen & me
           Ben,the most famous guy at Bridgestone Arena with the girls

Unfortunately, night came to an end. We had to say our good-byes with promises of returning. And we will return to Smashville. Such an unexpected trip, that hubby and I still talk about today. The people, the city and the hockey! For those who ever said Nashville is not a hockey market, you are dead wrong. Hockey fans in Nashville are as passionate about hockey and the Predators as the world is as passionate about the music in Nashville. Trust me. I live in Montreal, hockey mecca, and I was amazed at the dedication and passion of the fans. They know their hockey, they love their team and by god, they are louder and more appreciative than Montreal. And I am being honest.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Twitter

This post is somewhat different than the usual ones I write. I'm either attacking a certain media member or a certain sector of the media. Tonight I'm writing about the effects of social media. Well, the effects of twitter on me. At first, I thought it was fantastic, and I still do for the most part. I used to have tweetdeck open all weekend long. I'd come home from work and do the same, daily, until I couldn't keep my eyes open, and went to sleep.

I made friends through twitter. Close friends that I speak to regularly and go out for suppers and hockey games together. I've hosted dinner parties and hockey nights with many of these friends at my house. Hell, I even traveled thousands of kilometers to meet some of these new friends. I will always hold them in my heart and I thank this medium for making this possible. Lately however, I am actually starting to get annoyed. It's not because I don't enjoy social networking anymore and I won't quit it anytime soon, but a lot of things "said" on twitter are quite disturbing. Maybe I'm following the wrong hockey fan bases. Maybe celebrities and professional athletes take what they tweet not as seriously as those that follow them do.

Last night, following the firing of Coach Paterno, Jeoffrey Lupul and Ashton Kutcher tweeted about how such a great coach who had won so many championships was fired. Kutcher further went on to tag #NOCLASS. No class people. A pervert, who knew about what had happened and did nothing about it had no right to be fired, because championships are more important than the lives of all those boys that were raped. The good thing about twitter in this case, was how everyone attacked these guys for their moronic comments, and we got to see what is important to them. (they have since deleted those tweets and claimed they had no idea about the rapes. IMO, that's BS)

Another thing that has bothered me about social media, is closer to home. It's mainly about the Habs. I don't know if some people are trying to be funny or think they are funny, or if things they say come from deep down inside their twisted souls. Maybe they are just ignorant, read half a tweet, draw their own conclusions and then attack. They attack the coach, they attack the players, they attack the organization and they attack the media. Many of these tweets are just out right disturbing to tell you the truth, so much so, that I sometimes, most of the times, don't even read my timeline. Had the pleasure of talking with a well respected journalist in Montreal today and even he agreed. Saying how they are "sick of the venom" and "stuff I get is very depressing,truly frightening or more ignorant than you can imagine." I am glad I'm not the only one who feels like this.

People say how Habs fans are passionate. You can be passionate about about your team. You can love and support your team, I do, but I don't beat up on players. I don't blame Scott Gomez for not playing tonight against the Coyotes, when he just got the "green light". Many people assumed that this said "green light" meant he could go from being injured and out of the line up since October 20th, straight to a game....without practicing with full contact. Others wanted to throw Jacques Martin under the bus for not playing Gomez. I don't get it. I'm not a fan of Martin but I think he knows what he's doing. Furthermore, the attacks on Gomez are as disturbing as the previous attacks on Andrei Kostitsyn. Some fans find it ok to attack certain players on the Habs, because some media do it OVER AND OVER AND OVER. Some players are not producing and/or not playing well, but they seem untouchable. How about we all just relax a little bit. How about we just enjoy the fact that there is hockey on our TV's again. How about, people stop panicking 15 games into a season that has been riddled with injuries again. And, for the record, for those calling for Jacques Martin's head on a platter, it doesn't look to me like the players don't like him, or have stopped playing for him. In the words of this respected journalist "IT'S JUST A GAME"

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Confessions of a hockey fan

Every year, at this time, I get antsy. Rookie camps have started, pre season is just around the corner. Watching TSN & RDS from the time I get home until bedtime. Thinking who's gonna make the team, who's going to have a good year, what will the Habs do, which players look promising etc etc etc. This year, it's not the same. Don't get me wrong. I'm a hockey fan and everything revolves around hockey in my household, however, it is just not as exciting as it's been in the past. I can't even point my finger and say "THIS is the reason why" but rather a melee of the events of the past season.

I guess it all started with,well, Colon (YES I call him that because that's exactly what he is) Campbell. The NHL's master disciplinarian. The iron hand who laid down the law against everyone, who was not a Bruin of course. Bitter? Maybe I am,maybe I'm not but the facts show for themselves. You all know the details of how Bruins were slapped on the wrist, while players of other teams got suspensions for the same acts. Indecent actions: Wizniewski vs Ferrence. Sucker punches..(LUCIC)..where do I start. Head shots...attempted murder on Pacioretty. Need I go on? The NHL, Gary Bettman and his sidekick really sucked the life out of me last season. The obvious favouritism was sickening.

And now, Jacques Martin. Two seasons of his "system" and I've had enough of  drowsy hockey. I've had enough of HIS favouritism. I've had enough of "I'll move this Russian down a line, when he's hot,scoring goals and winning games for us, because I just don't like Russians or I want to teach every other North American on this team a lesson" attitude. Makes sense? No? Exactly my point.However I did kinda see a difference in our Coach Martin last season towards the young guys. Maybe he got scolded for targeting Sergei Kostitsyn, humiliating him,treating him like scrap and losing him 2 years ago,that maybe Coach changed his "I am King" attitude. Maybe.

Then there's the hockey fans,especially some Habs fans. The most bi-polar fans in the world. People call them passionate. I don't. I call them selfish and mesmerized. Selfish because they believe that if they are at a game, Habs have to win. Mesmerized because they eat up everything prejudiced media throws at them. They love their team when they win.When they lose, they're picking on the usual suspects blindly, ie: Scott Gomez & Andrei Kostitsyn (he's an easy target for reasons fabricated).Umm, how's our 6 million dollar diva doing so far? * crickets*

This past year in hockey has been, to say the least, the worst ever. The hockey community has been filled with the loss of lives, too many lives. Too many young families affected. So much sadness, that, instead of looking forward to the first game, first puck drop and action....there will be sad memorials for fallen players in nearly every arena this season. Instead of tears of happiness and excitement that hockey is back, there will be the reminders of all the lives that were taken.

Why is life so unfair?

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My sincere apologies to my loyal readers. I have not abandoned this blog in any way, I've had computer issues that have forced me to re-write blogs I had saved. Additionally, I am currently working on a emachine, which has no disc drive, hence I cannot upload any of my photos that are required to complete my blogs. I do promise, I will try to work everything out so I can bring you my favourite encounters and experiences. Namely, a gala evening with Alex Kovalev, Vladislav Tretiak & many other favourites, as well as my most recent trip to Nashville to see the Predators in action, and of course my favourite, Sergei Kostitsyn.

Thank you for staying tuned, and I promise, I will be posting very soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Want some cheese with that whine?

I tried holding myself back from writing this post because it might offend some people, but decided to do it anyways. The reason for a blog is to be heard, so here I go.

We all know the Habs had a pretty horrible week. They couldn't score 1 goal in 3 consecutive losses to shut outs. I understand people are upset, so am I. I think what hurt the most was the fact that one of those teams was the Boston Bruins and they really laid it on us.What I find more upsetting, is the reaction by Habs fans and some MSM. Although MSM will do whatever they can to create controversy and hence ratings, sometimes they just don't know where or when to stop. Today was blame Gomez day again. Habs have been playing scared all week, zero drive, but it's all Scott Gomez's fault. I'm sure, if they weren't blaming him, they'd blame Andrei Kostitsyn..because that's how they roll. However, enough with them.

What has me upset the most, are the fans. POOR Fans. Habs haven't scored a goal in 3 consecutive games, they've hit a slump at the worst possible time of the year, and YOU think it's because they really don't care. Comments like "we should have gotten a goal scorer (at trade deadline)", "we need a big center","we need a tough guy", "Eff you Gomez and your $7 million", "fire Jacques Martin","this team has no heart"...etc. You know what I mean. I wonder what would have happened if the Capitals had this fan base when they went on their EIGHT, yup 8 game slump? I personally have had enough of this whining. Either support your team, and the players on it, or get out. There are a few players on the Habs that are having horrible seasons, but everyone is picking on Gomez. It's HIS fault he got that contract in New York and it's HIS fault that Montreal was on his trade list. Get over it. He's here and that's that. People seem to forget that he was also crucial in our play-off run last year.

Another issue I have, is the whole "fire Jacque Martin" BS. You know I'm not a fan of his, or his system, but look at what he's done. Look at what he did last year. This year, our injuries are even worse than last year, and yet, he has coached this team to pretty much solidifying a play off position for the last 2 months, at least.We all like to win, but no one wants it more than the players themselves, or even the coaches.

Why are the people kicking the team when they are down? I don't get that or accept it. Everyone has an opinion, but when people support the Habs only when they win and pick on them when they lose, I personally have no time for that.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


When you think about Montreal Sports media,the last thing that would come to mind is "The Enquirer", "Star" or even "Perez Hilton", but really, how far are they from being exactly that, a tabloid. I have come to realize recently, just how much power Montreal media has over the fan base and possibly the Habs organization itself.

We all know that the most important criteria when hiring a coach is hiring a winner. Wrong. In Montreal, the major concern is hiring a coach that speaks French, in order to communicate with the "fans", so says the French media. I heard Francois Gagnon, Norman Flynn, Benoit Brunet and many others say that. I ask you this, when does a coach talk to the fans? I do know coaches talk to their players (the most important), assistants, other members of the organization and the media. But fans? Personally, I don't care if the coach speaks Aramaic, as long as he can communicate with his players, and get the best out of every single one of them and I'm sure you all agree. Some might argue that the coach speaks to the fans through the media. Oh, I see, I'm sure the coach wanted the media to forward the following message to the fans in Montreal.

This was aired on RIS on January 21, 2011 on the show 4 a 7. Do you think this is appropriate? Do you think this is funny? According to French media, it is. According to French media, it is acceptable to degrade and make fun of the way a person looks and speaks (well, if he doesn't speak french,of course).

The more I think of the events surrounding the Habs over the past few years, the more things are getting clearer and it's making me queasy. First thing that comes to mind is the whole "Saku Koivu has been in Montreal for 13 years and he doesn't speak French" debacle. Saku Koivu was constantly being attacked by the French media because he refused to speak French. It was always a huge issue for them and they constantly criticized him for that "fault". With Koivu returning to Montreal today after being let go by the Habs, RDS was first occupied with the return of Maxime Lapierre, then concentrated on a possible return of Alex Kovalev as a Hab and then it was about Koivu. We see their priorities. Last I checked, Alex Kovalev doesn't speak french either, never did, but they loved him. He was never attacked my the french media, hell, they gave him nicknames like "l'artiste, and le magicien". Why was there such a difference in the respect they showed Koivu and that which they gave to Kovalev? Was it because they wanted Koivu out of Montreal before he broke Jean Beliveau's record as the longest serving captain of the Montreal Canadiens? Was it because Kovalev was charismatic and comedic and made the media laugh and feel more comfortable? I don't know either. One thing I do know is that Kovalev was offered a contract extension by the Montreal Canadiens organization and Koivu was told "thanks, but no thanks". Could it be that the media liked Kovalev because he was different and didn't give standard answers, hence "a good interview"?

I remember an e-mail exchange I had with someone from Team990 last year. The host was going on and on,on air, about how Koivu was not a good leader and that he was selfish in the locker room. How Koivu only cared if he had points and scored goals. So I e-mailed said host asking: If Koivu was so bad,why was he given a letter in Anaheim and Kovalev doesn't have one in Ottawa? The quick response was: talk to me in a year from now,you'll see. Well a year and a half has passed, Koivu still has his letter and a new contract, while Ottawa can't wait for Kovalev to leave...and he never wore a letter. Could it be that Montreal media bases their opinion of a player on his "interview" qualities? If he makes you laugh he's a good interview, therefore you like him and praise him, hence the Canadiens organization should keep him? Is that what it's all about?

I have come to realize that the media in Montreal, namely the french media,will support a Habs player if he smiles, meets with them, irregardless of whether he is a good player or not. If he talks to them, he's a keeper. If he gives standard answers,has trouble with the language (hence NOT a good interview) and isn't pretty on camera, they will do their damnedest to make the fans hate them, poke fun at them and eventually make the Canadiens organization trade them or just let them go for nothing.

I for one have a serious problem with this. Does the Habs organization follow the footprints of the biased media when deciding who to keep or trade in Montreal?

Thanks. Please leave a comment on your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Instead of writing a whole blog on each of the following issues, I've decided to bundle recent events affecting the Habs and media, in what I will try to make a weekly entry.

  • Pierre McGuire, stop talking about your coaching days with the Penguins.That was over 18 years ago, your "coaching" skills are irrelevant, as are your GM abilities. (that's why no team will hire you)
  • RDS seems to have missed the boat on what's exciting about the Ducks coming to the Bell Centre on Saturday. WE DON'T CARE ABOUT MAXIME LAPIERRE. It's SAKU KOIVU'S return to Montreal, it's his night. ACCEPT IT.
  • For Benoit Brunet all I have to say is there are many cities you can move to,take your pick between Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and now Anaheim. Buh Bye.
  • Francois Gagnon, if you call Andrei Kostitsyn a mule again, I will tie you up and make you watch YOUTUBE tributes to him and Sergei over and over. How old are you? 12? Grow up already.
  • Randy Tieman's prejudice towards European players is as profound, if not, worse than Mike Milbury's. Your opinion of Alexei Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn doesn't count. You're a Red Wings fan, move to Detroit already.
  • Regarding PK Subban, don't change. Be who YOU are always. We love you.
  • For Jacques Martin, I would like to ONCE see you stick up for your players, be it to the media or the refs.You might be surprised with the outcome when you show you have a heart and feelings. Look at Lindy Ruff and how he changed the game last night.
  • Regarding the NHL refs, if you are going to put your whistles away, keep them equally disposed of for both teams. Don't call a penalty against the Habs with under a minute left in a tie game....especially after you've missed four penalties against the other team. Fair is fair, no?
  • On the PK celebration, anyone who has a problem with it, stop watching hockey, it's not for you. I hear Lacrosse is a great sport to follow.
  • To the Antichambre guys who dissected the "Gomez snub", let it go. We did not need to see it in slow motion over and over and over again. You don't know WHY it happened, you don't know the circumstances, so LET IT GO. PLEASE.
Ah, that feels better. Thanks.