Predators Fall Short…Again.

predators-loseJohn Klingberg probably did us a favor when he scored from the left circle in overtime which ended the season for the Nashville Predators.  He put an end to the most frustrating experience I have had since I moved to Nashville four years ago and became a Predators’ fan.

Yes, the Predators did repeat as Central Division champions – and they will probably raise another banner for that one to go with all the others that have fallen short of a Stanley Cup champion.  I honestly don’t know how they won the division this year.  They certainly didn’t make it easy.  This is the earliest exit for Nashville since losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in 2015.

This team once had so much promise but the future is uncertain.  Will the Predators fire Coach Peter Laviolette?  What moves with the team make in the off season?

There is definitely a problem that is hard to put a finger on.  Maybe there are personality issues in the locker room.  Perhaps there is a lack of leadership.  Right now there are a lot of questions about this team.  If they don’t correct it soon, the window of opportunity to win the Stanley Cup may be closing.

After watching the Predators this season here are the glaring weaknesses:

Power Play

The Power Play is awful and ended up doing them in against Dallas.  They were 0 for 11 in the series and had a power play in the final two minutes in Game Six.  I know these guys try to set up the play but at one point I counted seven passes before they turned the puck over without even attempting the shot.  Something has to be done about this.  Oddly enough, it seemed during most of the season that our best scoring chances were when we were shorthanded.  The Power Play must be fixed.  The Predators were the first team in 10 years to qualify for the playoffs with the worst power play in the league.  They finished 33-for-269 during the season and did not score a power play goal in the playoffs.

Lapses on Defense

The Predators used to be the best in the National Hockey League (NHL) on defense but they have gotten awful on defense.  Too many defensive zone breakdowns and turnovers have made goalkeepers Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros’ jobs much harder than it needed to be.  While it is easy to blame the goaltenders for goals, they have kept the team competitive.  Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and P.K. Sabban were once the main guys for defense but they aren’t getting the job done.

Inconsistent Scoring

While Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith are usually pretty reliable in getting the pucks to the net, the others are horribly inconsistent.  This is clearly evident when you get someone like Rocco Grimaldi who comes in and out plays the other “stars” on offense.  Maybe it’s time to trade some of those stars.

So, if I were in charge, what moves would I make?

#1 – Trade P.K. Subban

Yep, I know he’s a fan favorite and all that but his defense has been terrible this season.  I think it’s time for a change.

#2 – Trade Kyle Turris

Turris is one of those offensive stars who was supposed to be the goal scoring machine when he came to Nashville.  Since coming to the Predators in 2017-18, he has only scored 20 goals.  I think he’s expendable.

#3 – Bring up Eeli Tolvanen

There was quite a splash when the Predators signed Tolvanen but what have they done with him?  I don’t think they have given him much of a chance to prove himself.  Bring him up now and insert him into the lineup.

#4 – Restore home ice dominance

Enough with the “someone sucks” chants by the fans.  Bridgestone Arena has not be a good place for the home team to play.  When your team plays better on the road than at home then something is wrong.  Change up the goal songs and get some new energy in the home games.  Make it a feared place for opposing teams to play again.

It’s time to take a break from hockey.

While it has been frustrating to watch the Predators this season, I’m still a fan and always will be.  It’s sad that the season is over but a relief that we can take a deep breath and take a break for the next five months.   Some times it’s easy being a fan because I don’t have to make these difficult decisions and can actually forget about hockey for the summer.

 

 

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Nashville’s Newest Team Needs A Name

XSQL_logo2Last week Nashville was awarded a franchise in the new X-treme Scooter Qudditch League (XSQL) and now the franchise is looking for a name. Nashville will be one of eight teams in this unique league which features electric scooters mixed with quidditch.  Teams will have specially designed fields.

The XSQL will be looking for fans to name the Nashville team in a name-the-team contest. The league is asking fans to vote on the following team names: Boot Scooters, Renegades, Revelers, SuperStars or Villains.

The league plans to play a 14-game schedule in October and hopes to attract some of the most talent scooter riders in the Music City. Open tryouts will be announced at a later date. Players must be advanced scooters users.

The league also hopes to name a team manager within the next two weeks.  Once a team manager has been named, the team can start scheduling tryouts and filling their rosters with chasers, keepers, beaters and seekers.  Players will ride scooters instead of using broomsticks.  Quidditch rules will be modified to accommodate the scooters.

City officials are still wondering where the Nashville franchise will play.  A source close to the commissioner said that the league is hoping to find an area downtown to install the playing field.

The other seven cities are also seeking names for their new teams.  Here is a list of what they are looking at:

  • Atlanta – Fire Ants, Avengers, Arrows, Wasps
  • Austin – Rattlers, Argonauts, Aragogs, Scorpions
  • Los Angeles – Lynx, Stars, Sunbirds, Hot Wheels
  • New York – Nighthawks, Juggernauts, Wanderers, Yorkers
  • Orlando – Wizards, Storm, Lasers, Dragons
  • St. Louis – Steamers, Stingers,  Vipers,  Sorcerers
  • San Francisco – Quakes, Seals, Fog, Muggles

Nashville hopes to tap into the recent influx of electric scooters in the past year.  The XSQL could be some positive news that scooter riders could use.

[THIS IS A FICTIONAL SPORTS STORY.  IT IS INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.]

 

Empty Tomb, Full of Hope

Today is my most favorite day of the year. It has nothing to do with the Easter Bunny but with the hope from a risen savior.

I think most of us have experienced the death of a loved one. This is a painful thing to experience and we feel that sting that death has caused. Today gives us hope because the resurrection of Jesus Christ takes away the sting and the power of the grave. Because He lives, we will live. I will admit that I have gotten a little bogged down about what happens when we die. I am still not sure whether we stay in the grave under the resurrection or if we immediately go to be with Jesus when we die but it doesn’t change my hope.

The most encouraging scripture is when Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)

Years ago when I was in Jerusalem waiting in a long line to walk inside of what was believed to be the Garden Tomb, the guide made the comment: “Everyone is waiting in line to see an empty tomb.” He was right. Those of us who have been taught about Jesus all these years finally got to see for ourselves that the tomb was indeed empty. The empty tomb reinforced our hope in the power of Jesus’ resurrection and the promise He made to believers.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in history and irrefutable evidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be – the Son of God. Sure, there are doubters and haters about this but it still doesn’t take away our hope which energizes believers on what today means to us all.

I can’t offer you scientific proof of the resurrection and I don’t expect to convince you with this post. I can only tell you of my hope. Everyone believes what they believe. I tell you as it says in the old hymn: “You ask me how I know He lives. He lives within my heart.”

Obscure Sports News

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Scores from Week 3:

  • Charlotte Energy 90, Peach State Cats 0
  • Carolina Predators 23, Carolina Cowboyz 14
  • Cape Fear Heroes 40, Georgia Doom 37

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

Antonio Bray rushed for two touchdowns and caught a third to lead Omaha to a 44-21 win over Wichita at Ralston Arena in Champions Indoor Football action on Saturday night. The win vaults Omaha back into 1st place in the CIF Northern Division.

The Beef (2-1) also had five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Chris Perry opened the scoring with a 28-yard return four minutes into the game, and Trey Dudley-Giles capped it with a 44-yard score with 36 seconds left.

The Beef led 30-7 at halftime after Bray scored from 1 yard out. But the Force (1-3) cut the lead to 30-21 midway through the fourth quarter when Mikhail Lindsay scored on a 1-yard run of his own.

The Beef answered with a four-play, 37-yard drive, with Bray rushing 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:54 remaining to put the game away.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Green Bay Blizzard defeated the Nebraska Danger on Saturday night at the Resch Center by a score of 60-50.

In a game that saw 30 total points scored in the last 2 minutes and 25 seconds of the game, the Blizzard were able to hold on to win. With the score at 45 to 35 in favor of the Blizzard, Danger quarterback Tommy Armstrong made his only poor throw when defensive back Bakari Triggs stepped in front of a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. As the Green Bay holder as well, Bakari took the bad snap and ran it in for the 2-point conversion. The Blizzard took an 18-point lead at 53 to 35. The Danger answered back on the next drive to score and add the 2-point conversion to bring the score back to a 10 point difference at 53 to 43. The Danger then recovered the on-side kick and 2 plays later scored on a pass from Armstrong to John Jackson for 24 yards. With the extra point good, the Danger were within 3 points with 15 seconds to play. The next on-side kick attempt was recovered by the Blizzard and 2 plays later, running back Rameses Owens ran in the final score of the game with only 6 seconds to play.

MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE

The Ron Newman Cup Playoff season begins on Thursday in Kansas City as the Comets host the Milwaukee Wave in the opening game of the South Central Division Championships. This is the eighth playoff meeting between these two teams in the past nine years. The Southwest and Pacific Divisions begin on Friday night as the RGV Barracudas host the Monterrey Flash and the Tacoma Stars host Landon Donovan and the San Diego Sockers.  The Eastern Division regular season champion Utica City FC travel to open their series against the Baltimore Blast on Saturday afternoon, one of three games that day.  The Divisional Championship round of the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs feature a home-and-home series between the two teams. If the series is tied after two games, a 15-minute Mini Game is played immediately after Game Two to decide the winner.

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Seattle’s Brock Staller is MLR Player of the Week

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY

The San Diego Legion battled RUNY in MCU Park and became the first team to leave New York victorious, winning 29-19 and earning the Week 12 Team of the Week Award. Seattle Seawolves wing Brock Staller spearheaded a 52-point offensive onslaught in victory over the Houston SaberCats, scooping Week 12 Player of the Week and becoming the 2019 season’s first two-time award winner.

Rugby United had yet to lose at home in their inaugural season, relying on one of the stingiest defenses in the league. Seven minutes into Sunday’s match, the San Diego Legion faced an early 12-0 deficit on the road in a game with huge playoff implications. But after half-time, the esteemed San Diego defense exerted control and swung the match, not allowing a single second-half point. The Californians’ well-rounded offensive unit won 100-percent of their scrums and saw five different players score a try, Joe Pietersen’s show-and-go solo effort a particular highlight. The Legion climb to third in the standings with the win, propelled by the league’s best point differential. Meanwhile, RUNY are on the outside looking in for the playoffs following the loss, sitting at fifth.

The Houston SaberCats and Seattle Seawolves played out a tight opening half at the newly opened AVEVA Stadium, only the second full-time rugby venue in the United States. But the second half was the Brock Staller show. After drilling two penalty kicks to extend Seattle’s lead to 19-5, in the 57th minute the speedy Staller intercepted an errant offload and ran over untouched from 60 meters for his fifth try of the season. By the final whistle, Staller had accumulated 22 points, a 2019 MLR single game record, and stuffed the stat sheet in the Seawolves’ 52-10 victory, piling up 127 meters on nine carries, four conversions, three penalty kicks and a try. Staller tops the league by a sizable margin in individual points scored, recording 128 points so far, 17 points ahead of second place JP Eloff of the NOLA Gold. This is Staller’s second MLR Player of the Week Award of the season, the first occurring in Week 5.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Orlando Predators’ franchise returned to the field after two years and started another chapter in a new league with a 43-40 win over the Columbus Lions.  Robert Brown Jr. intercepted the first pass of the season and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.  Orlando quarterback Kyle Israel had five touchdown passes including two to L.J. Castile in the final minutes as the Predators edged the Lions.

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE

Here are the current standings:

Eastern Division

  1. Buffalo Bandits (12-4)
  2. Georgia Swarm (12-5)
  3. Toronto Rock (11-6)
  4. New England Black Wolves (8-8)
  5. Rochester Knighthawks (5-11)
  6. Philadelphia Wings (3-14)

Western Division

  1. Saskatchewan Rush (10-6)
  2. San Diego Seals (9-7)
  3. Calgary Roughnecks (9-8)
  4. Colorado Mammoths (6-10)
  5. Vancouver Warriors (5-11)

NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER LEAGUE

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath has been voted Week 1 NWSL Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association.

Heath tallied a goal and an assist to propel the Thorns ahead of the Orlando Pride 2-0 on Sunday.

Heath’s assist came in the 45th minute after receiving a pass in the 18-yard-box from Christine Sinclair. Heath pulled her defender wide and then backheeled a pass to teammate Caitlin Foord, who drove the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the match.

Heath’s goal came in the 49th minute when Foord returned the favor, sending a low cross to Heath, who pulled off a behind-the-back touch with the inside of her right foot to redirect the ball into goal.

Heath finished the game with four total shots, three on goal and eight chances created.

This is the second time Heath has been named NWSL Player of the Week. She last earned the honors in Week 6 of 2016.

PRO CHESS LEAGUE

The Baden-Baden Snowballs and Armenia Eagles rounded out the four teams have booked their ticket to the live PRO Chess Leagues semifinals in San Francisco this May. The Snowballs and the Eagles join St. Louis and Chengdu in qualifying for the event.  With Tuesday’s action coming to a close, the results mean that three of the four contestants will be returning to the semifinals, as Ljubljana was relegated during regular season play. The semifinals will see a rematch between St. Louis and Armenia, as Chengdu will take on newcomer Baden-Baden.

Shhhh….I’m An Introvert

introvertOkay, I will be brave enough to admit it.   I am an introvert.

It doesn’t mean I am anti-social or weird (depending on who you ask).  I’m just reserved when it comes to opening up to people.

For the most part, I have accepted who I am and my life as an introvert.

Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone.

I don’t have a degree in psychology or anything official on paper but it seems to me that being an introvert isn’t something I was born with but a behavior I grew into from a child.  At least it seems that way for me.  I can’t speak for everyone. (And please don’t make me speak in front of a crowd.)

I am quiet until you get to know me and I let you in.  Even then I don’t often say much and I’m not one that will carry the conversation in a group.  Honestly I usually don’t have anything important to say that interests the group.  When I do, I will give my input.  I am clearly not the smartest person in any room and I’m okay with that.

I am quiet. I don’t often say much and I’m not one that will carry the group conversation.

People often mistake my quiet and feel uncomfortable with it.  I can assure you that it isn’t my intention to make others feel uncomfortable.  If I have something to say I will say it.  If I attempt to say something many times and it isn’t acknowledged I won’t force the issue.

How did I become an introvert?  I think it has a lot to do with how I grew up in a fish bowl as a preacher’s kid.  My life was an open book to others so I learned at an early age to be very guarded and developed a very fragile self-esteem to avert being made fun of by others.  I learned how to retreat into the background and avoid the attention.

I learned to observe and listen. I understand a lot more than people think. Introverts are often thought of as being timid and shy but we are information gatherers. We learn the personalities around us and who we can and can’t trust. We won’t let people in until we feel secure about them. We have our own internal TSA screening. We let very few people inside of our world.

We are often eccentric.  We will do things like choose to take the next elevator alone rather than board with a group of people.  That’s just how we roll.

Some people have been described as never meeting a stranger.  To an introvert, everyone is a stranger except for those who have been mentally vetted into your life.  I can’t say that I enjoy “alone time” but I function okay when I am forced to be alone.  Except for my wife, I can’t say that I have ever had a best friend.  It hasn’t been from the lack of trying.  I have made the effort but it always turns out that I have to be the one that makes all the effort to be the “buddy”.  It has never been a two-way street.  I have learned to be okay with that.

I have had friends but those close friends have been difficult to have.  Some reasons are because I am introvert but mostly I felt the other side didn’t put forth the effort in the friendship.  I was urged once to befriend someone and after attempting to do so three times I gave it up.  It was when he needed another person for a golf game that I was thought of.  I don’t roll like that.  I’m not going to be the last person picked.

Another contributing factor to me being an introvert was that I was an only child.  As an only child you just learn to do things by yourself.  You self-teach yourself things and you function alone.  Being alone never meant being depressed or something to feel sorry about.  Most people don’t understand introverts.  Here are some common myths:

#1 –  All Introverts Are Shy

Although most introverts seem shy when you first meet them, when they become more familiar with you they will be trust you more and open up more.  I know I do it.  I appear to be shy and quiet when I meet someone new but the longer I am around someone you will never believe I was shy.

#2 – Introverts don’t like being around people

This is true in part.  I don’t like being in crowds or groups of people I don’t know.  I have no problems with people I know.

#3 – Introverts don’t make good leaders or public speakers

This is totally not true.  I  have been a leader, instructor and public speaker.  As long as I know my subject, you would never guess I was an introvert.

#4 – Introverts are lonely and depressed

Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  Someone once asked me how I could go to lunch alone or did it bother me.  Actually it doesn’t.  I will never seek out someone to have lunch with and if I go somewhere and see a co-worker I will not join them.

#5 – Introverts avoid confrontations

Yeah, this is definitely NOT true.  When it comes time to confront someone or something I will step up and do it.  That doesn’t mean I like it but sometimes you just have to get it done.

According to some estimates, as much as 40 percent or more of the population identifies themselves as introverted. Based on those figures alone, we are certainly not weird, odd or even eccentric.  So we are not alone in this.  Introverts are sometimes unfairly labeled as strange. Perhaps this is because introverts tend to follow their own interests rather than paying much attention to what is popular.

For an introvert, constantly being told that “you’re quiet” is a lot like telling an extrovert that they “never shut up.”  It’s unnecessarily rude and implies that there is something wrong with the individual. Both personality types need to make an effort to understand those who differ from them. Introverts have their own needs and quirks, just as extroverts do.

Most importantly, not all introverts are the same. You can’t put all introverts in the same pile.  It is important to get to know the individual and learn us.  If we let you in, you will see the difference.

 

Professional Scooter League Awards Franchise to Nashville

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Scooter Riders Will Get A Chance In New League

Taking advantage of the electric scooter craze that has hit many major U.S. cities, a professional sports league has jumped into the mix as it has announced today that they have awarded one of their eight proposed franchises to Nashville, Tennessee.

The Xtreme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) will begin in October with eight franchises.  In addition to Nashville, the league has also announced teams in Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; New York, New York; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California and St. Louis, Missouri.

“We were looking to tap into major markets but also cities that would be a good fit for the league,” said Mark Rockwell who is the league’s commissioner.   “Nashville is a rising city and seemed to be a good fit for our new league.”

The league will build outdoor arenas in each city fitted with Sport Court surface that will be ideal for electric scooters.  The game will be a variation of quidditch which is a fictional game featured in the Harry Potter movies where players are riding broomsticks.  Instead of broomsticks, players will be riding electric scooters.

“The game will be a variation of quidditch so don’t expect our players to be flying around in the air,” Rockwell added.  “We are tweaking the rules to make it more spectator-friendly.  The rules of the fictional game can be a little complicated for the average person to understand even if they are fans of Harry Potter.”

The league will conducted open tryouts in each city to attract the best scooter riders for their teams.  Players must be very comfortable with electric scooters and capable of operating their scooters with one hand when they are in possession of the ball.

City officials are skeptical about the new league.

“For one thing, I don’t know where they are planning to put this arena they are proposing,” said City Commissioner Lance Wright.  “There is no room for it in the downtown area.  Maybe they can put it out near Vanderbilt or maybe near Nissan Stadium.”

The league will own all of the teams initially but will appoint managers once all cities are onboard which should be within the next couple of weeks.

“We might need a little magic to get started in October but I think we can do it,” Rockwell said about his new league.  “We are hoping this announcement will get people excited about the league.”

[This is a fictional sports story intended for entertainment purposes only.]

 

When You Have Been Hurt By The Church

Church is supposed to be a safe place. A positive place. A place where you gather with God’s people. There are some good churches out there but unfortunately there are bad ones that hurt people.

If you’ve been hurt by the church, I feel you. I have felt the pain of being burned by a pastor, church leader or fellow believer. It hurts bad. It’s not a hurt you can easily overcome. I recently drove by a church sign that had the message “If you have been hurt by the church we’re sorry”. It was quite an unexpected message on a church sign but I was impressed by the honesty of it.

Having been hurt by the church myself, one of the most important things I can tell you is not to let it affect your relationship with God. Instead of hindering it, let it motivate you. Now, this isn’t easy. I won’t lie about it. It can be difficult to separate God from the church.

The church is made of people and people aren’t perfect. They can disappoint you. Unfortunately we tend to hold church folks to a higher standard than other people and when they fail us, we are dealt a blow. That blow can defeat us if we aren’t careful.

People can be cruel. Yes, even church people. I have had church people fuss at me for sitting in their pew. At another church I greeted people as they entered. I had to deal with some grumpy ones who would complain about anything and some would even complain to me about the pastor.

One important thing I realized about church people is they don’t really know you. They might think they know you but they don’t and they often have their own ideas about you based on the few hours each week you are at church.

If you are to remain faithful to your church you have to be good at forgiving because you will have to do it a lot. You will also have to have a realistic expectation of others. Realize that people fail and will let you down but don’t let it bring you down with it.

If you finally decide to give it up, it doesn’t mean you have to give up God either. I know this goes against what people will tell you but you can still have a relationship with God and not go to church. How is this possible? Discipline. It takes a lot of self-discipline. You have to be personally committed to your relationship with God. It is a PERSONAL experience.

Pastors and church people will make you feel guilty for not going to church. They will use the verse “forsake not assembling yourselves together” but it isn’t a commandment. It does you no good to force church on yourself out of guilt when you’ve been hurt. You don’t need to add more hurt on top of what you already have endured.

If you need church and you have been hurt by it, take a break or visit other churches. Don’t be afraid of taking time to heal. Being hurt by “God’s people” is not to be taken lightly. God understands and He can heal.

if you’ve been hurt by the church, don’t let it jade you. Don’t cast your net of hurt upon all churches. Focus on your personal relationship with God so that is more important than any church.

If you are in the church, don’t guilt trip people who are hurt. Give them some space. Love those who have been hurt. Don’t do it for the motive of getting them back to church, do it out of love for the person.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8