ashton-remaxMorning, afternoon, or evening to you. This is your residential hockey doctor coming to you from the confines of home. Normally, I am much quicker at posting another juicy edition of As The Puck Spins, but a bout of the flu knocked me out like going full speed into the boards. Now that I am back to full health and hydrated, let’s take a look at the last few days of feasts and famines our brothers in Gold and Blue endured.

Home Cookin’ & Family Road Trips

As a number of wise people have said over the years, home is where the heart is. For the team, it also has been where 8 of their 11 wins have been recorded since the start of the season. At the time of writing, our young and quickly gelling team stands at a record of 11-8-3 with 25 points in the till (good for a 3rd place tie in the Western Conference and strong enough to hold the top Wild Card spot). Home has been especially good as well because the team rang in six straight home wins after an shootout loss to Carolina at the beginning of the month. More so, the team hasn’t given up more than two goals at home in that stretch. Hopefully with a back-to-back weekender coming up, they can continue the hot streak deep into the holiday season.

Though I may have been bed ridden with the flu, that won't stop me from cheering on the team. =)

Though I may have been bed ridden with the flu, that won’t stop me from cheering on the team.

The road away from Smashville, though, hasn’t been as kind and jolly. This is one area where improvements still need to be made in order for the team to balance the success of home with more joyous road trips to remember once done. The bumpy road record got another pothole in it with a 3-0 loss to Winnipeg. However, the store doesn’t tell all because there were a lot of good things that came from it. Saros continued to impress and improve with the score was only being 1-0 before two empty-netters. Even with getting a season-high 41 shots on goal, the puck is like a bad loaf of fruit cake and you chuck that thing in File 13 faster than a few choruses of “Jingle Bells.”

Fortunately, the other road game was much more blissful and hearty as they rounded the sleighs into the Pepsi Center Tuesday night against Colorado. Keeping their eye on the prize of a win and not letting injuries get in their way, the team walked away with a solid 5-3 game with Pekka getting another win while between the pipes.

Gearing Up For Success

I'm not the best at doing selfies but when I do, it has to be in hockeywear.

I’m not the best at doing selfies but when I do, it has to be in hockeywear.

Applying some wisdom of two past managers, Tony and John, they would always throw me off in a coaching session with a simple, yet complex question. With a curious look, either one or both would chirp “so, let me ask you a question?” Such a simple response can have a million answers which leads to the question again, right? They always loved to do that and I can’t appreciate it more than ever now.

Ever since I started to write these articles, attend adult hockey league and Predators games, the thirst and quest to know the sport keeps growing. Anytime I’m in the car, going grocery shopping, sleeping, or even cleaning up for the night, it is in my mind. Kind of like a tune that you can’t get out of your head.

So, I have to ask a question boys and girls; ladies and gentlemen. If this curable cancer of love is spreading to you, good! What are you going to do about it? While the cure for a fever may be more cowbell, these dingy objects also come in handy when your favorite team(s) score. If getting into the sport of hockey, regardless of your age is on your wish list this year, here is the checklist of goodies that you’ll need to get. While some this holiday season may want their two front teeth, hockey gear is not a bad compromise now. Some make great stocking stuffers! Ding, ding, ding!

  • Hockey Skates – usually 1 – 1½ sizes smaller than your normal shoe size but will vary depending on the skate brand your purchase.
  • Helmet – gotta protect your noggin’ now
  • Elbow Pads – believe me, it helps a lot when you take a spill on the ice
  • Hockey Gloves – not recommended for using behind the wheel but they’ll keep your hands warm and grip on the stick!
  • Chest Protector & Shoulder Pads – usually a combo; something snug and tight but comfortable
  • Hockey Pants – they’re bigger than most and ride up with wear
  • Hockey Jill or Jock Strap – have to have protection there too
  • Hockey Sticks – recommend at least two in case one breaks when you least expect it
  • Hockey Socks & Jersey – casual wear for looking sweet on the ice
  • Hockey Tape – to help keep your socks up and your stick solid
  • Neck guard – recommended for little ones that are getting into hockey early on
  • Water Bottle – stay hydrated out there my friends; something that is easily squeezable too
  • Towel(s) – you’ll get a workout of your life while on the ice
  • Hockey Bag – fashionable sports luggage and big to get everything (with or without wheels) in there including a kitchen sink and probably a dining room ensemble!

Unlike other sports where it may be easy to determine equipment sizes, it is recommended to stop by a local sports store or shop that specializes in hockey gear to get properly measured. As an example, if you’re in the neighborhood, the good folks at Perani’s Hockey World inside the Ford Ice Center in Antioch and Play It Again Sports in Franklin are places I have hit up for advice, help, and gear purchases If you decide to take the plunge onto the frozen pond, we would love to hear about it!.

The Path Towards Playing Hockey

While the flu bug hit my backside harder than getting bumped on a see-saw, I’m eager to get back onto the ice to forward my progress towards playing the game. Coming up in just a couple weeks’ time, I’m going to go to my first stick session with fellow players so that I can get more comfortable skating and holding a brand new hockey stick. Personally, this is going to be one of the hardest things for me to learn. Just like skating, though, it will come in time, practice, and a few spills on the ice. To add to that, skating, skating, and more skating while wearing a full set of gear is on the menu to close out 2016 and beyond.

A Brief Timeout For Reflection

At this point if you’re a loyal reader, this is where I would normally toot the horn for players that achieved greatness on the ice. However, something far more important has come up in our worlds and I kindly ask that all to take a moment to think about our friends and neighbors here and elsewhere.

Residents that live to the south and east of the friendly confines of Nashville Metro have endured an enormous amount of stress, pain, and heartache in the last couple of days. Sadly, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and horrifying wildfires that have forever changed the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge has caused losses that have yet to be finalized. Even worse, many people lost their homes and in worse ones they loved. Our fine friends affected need our support – positive thoughts, prayers, donations, and patronage to bring normalcy back there as soon as possible. Hockey families stick together and are also great participants in their local community. Please take a moment to think about them and help out if you’re able to. Thank you.

Preview For The Next Post

With the calendar turning the page to the final month of 2016, December is going to be a very busy month for hockey for all. The Predators have a total of 14 games on the docket and all but five are at home. Can the team continue their hot streak at the big tire into the December? Also, where does my hockey knowledge and journey take me next? These and other questions will be answered in the next riveting article of As The Puck Spins. Stay festive and safe out there y’all.