Minor League Hockey Playoffs


It’s playoff time and here are the latest playoff results in the minor leagues:

ECHL (First Round – Best of 7)

  • Manchester Monarchs 2, Adirondack Thunder 0
  • Brampton Beast 1, Reading Royals 1.
  • Orlando Solar Bears 2, Florida Everblades 0
  • Greenville Swamp Rabbits 2, South Carolina Stingrays 1
  • Toledo Walleye 2, Kalamazoo Wings 0
  • Ft. Wayne Komets 2, Quad City Mallards 0
  • Allen Americans 1, Utah Grizzlies 1
  • Colorado Eagles 1, Idaho Steelheads 1

American Hockey League  (First Round – Best of 5)

  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Providence Bruins
  • Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears
  • Syracuse Crunch vs. St. John’s IceCaps
  • Toronto Marlies vs. Albany Devils
  • Chicago Wolves vs. Charlotte Checkers
  • Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Milwaukee Admirals
  • San Jose Barracuda vs. Stockton Heat
  • San Diego Gulls vs. Ontario Reign

Federal Hockey League (Finals – Best of 5)

  • Danville Dashers 2, Berlin River Drivers 2

Southern Professional Hockey League (Semifinals – Best of 3)

  • Macon Mayhem vs. Pensacola Ice Flyers
  • Peoria Rivermen vs. Huntsville Havoc

Junior Hockey Leagues

North American Hockey League (First Round – Best of 5)

  • Aberdeen Wings 2, Minot Minotauros 0
  • Minnesota Wilderness 1, Brookings Blizzard 1
  • Aston Rebels 2, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights 0
  • New Jersey Titans 2, Johnston Tomahawks 0
  • Janesville Jets 2, Coulee Region Chill 0
  • Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2, Minnesota Magicians 0
  • Lone Star Brahmas 2, Wichita Falls Wildcats 0
  • Corpus Christi Ice Rays 2, Shreveport Mudbugs 0

United States Hockey League (Conference Semifinals – Best of 5)

  • Chicago Steel 2, Youngstown Phantoms 0
  • Dubuque Fighting Saints 2, Muskegon Lumberjacks 0
  • Sioux City Musketeers 2, Des Moines Buccaneers 0
  • Waterloo Black Hawks 2, Fargo Force 0

Western Hockey League (Round 2 – Best of 7)

  • Kelowna Rocekts defeated Portland Winterhawks 4-1
  • Seattle Thunderbirds defeated Everett Silvertips, 4-0
  • Regina Pats defeated Swift Current Broncos, 4-3
  • Medicine Hat Tigers 3, Lethbridge Hurricanes 3

Nightwatch Drop Home Opener To Atlanta

The Nashville Nightwatch hosted the Atlanta Hustle in their American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) home opener on Saturday night at Hunter Lane High School in front of over 175 fans.  After playing even in the first quarter, 9-9, the Nightwatch had some key turnovers to allow the Hustle to open up an 18-14 lead at halftime which the Nightwatch could never overcome.  The Nightwatch fall to 0-2 on the season.  

The Nightwatch looked promising in the first quarter with some tight play but was unable to sustain it throughout all four quarters in the loss.  The team also looked out-of-synch at times and not the fluid play they had at the end of the 2016 season.

The Nightwatch will host the Jacksonville Cannons next Sunday at noon.

I’m not really a fan of the move to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville.  The field is awful and the home side must deal with looking directly into the sun until the sun sets.  We ended up moving over to the shade on the visitors side.  It also seems a lot further away from downtown.  Last years’ Overton High School location was better but still too close to the interstate.  Let’s just say that I am glad I didn’t get season tickets.

Also, I was totally not a fan of the announcer and the music.  The music was almost unbearable and a terrible selection to play.  The Mario Brothers and Simpsons sound effects are totally outdated and would do better to calm it down.  Honestly, I almost left before the game even started because of the annoying loudness of the music.  

My observation after the first home game is that much improvement is needed on and off the field.  

Friday Flashback: Atlanta Braves’ New Home Openers


For only the third time since the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, they will open a new stadium tonight against the San Diego Padres at the 41,000-seat SunTrust Park located in Cobb County on the Northwest side of downtown.

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (1966-1996)

The Braves played their first game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 12, 1966.  A sellout crowd saw the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Braves 3-2 in 13 innings.    The Braves had threatened to win the game in the 11th inning when they loaded the bases against Pirates’ reliever, Don Schwall but Schwall got the last two batters out on a strikeout and force out at second base to end the threat.  Willie Stargell hit a two-run home run in the 13th to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead.  The Braves tried to comeback in the bottom half of the inning when Joe Torre hit his second home run of the game to cut the lead to 3-2 with one out but Schwall struck out Denis Menke and Lee Thomas grounded out to hand the Braves a loss in their first home opener in Atlanta.  The Braves went on to finish 5th with a record of 85-77.

Turner Field (1997-2016)

After the 1996 Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Olympic Stadium was converted into the Braves’ new home for the 1997 season.   The Braves opened Turner Field on April 4, 1997 with a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs in front of 45,044 fans.

Trailing the Cubs, 4-3 in the eighth inning, Kenny Lofton got on base when his ball was misplayed by Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston which allowed Jeff Blauser to tie the game at 4-4.  Two batters later, Chipper Jones hit a two-out single which scored Mike Mordecai to put the Braves in front, 5-4.  Mark Wohlers shut down the Cubs in the ninth to give the Braves their first win at Turner Field.

The Braves finished the 1997 season with a 101-61 record for first place in the National League Eastern Division.  They lost the National League Championship Series to the Florida Marlins.

Facts about SunTrust Park:

  • Highest percentage of seats closer to the field than any other ballpark in Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • Expanded protection from foul balls
  • New playing surface called “Seahorse Paspalum, Platinum TE which is similar to Houston’s Minute Maid Park and Miami’s Marlins Park.
  • Instead of a stand-alone Braves museum, the new park will have a Monument Garden.
  • Water feature similar to Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field.
  • 5,500 more parking spaces than Turner Field




Can Predators Repeat Last Year’s Playoff Magic?

NHL: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators

I will answer that question in the first sentence:  No.  They will not have the kind of playoff run they had last year when they stunned the Anaheim Ducks in seven games and pushed the San Jose Sharks to game seven before being eliminated.

The Nashville Predators open the first round series with the Chicago Blackhawks.   I simply don’t think the Predators are good enough to beat Chicago or advance any further this year.  Everyone around here is talking Stanley Cup but I’m just being real about it.  Yes, I am a Predators’ fan but I refuse to get my hopes and emotions ramped up.  I learned my lesson from the Super Bowl.  Last year’s playoff run was fun but it is not reasonable to think it will the same this year.

First, the Predators are not consistent on defense.  They have too many breakdowns and turnovers in the defensive end.  P.K. Subban has not been the defensive star that I expected him to be when they traded for him last summer.  He spends too much time trying to rip shots from the point than getting back on defense.

Second, the team is not consistent on offense either.  They have some players that can put the puck in the net but too many times they take low percentage shots or make poor passes.  I have found myself yelling to them too many times to “shoot it” when they hold onto the puck too long or make one too many passes.  James Neal, Filip Forsberg, Mark Fisher, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson can score goals but there doesn’t seem to be consistency.   The Predators will often outshoot their opponents but have nothing to show for it.  This could also be Fisher’s last playoff run.  It is expected that he will retire at the end of the season.

You also can’t expect Pekka Rinne to stop everything.  Eventually he is going to get beat.  The defensive breakdowns are killing him.

Throughout the season, the Predators have played close games.  No lead is safe with this team.  They know how to play close games but they often know how to lose close games too.

As far as this series with Chicago, I am predicting the Blackhawks to finish the Predators’ season in five games.



Nashville Sounds Begin 40th Season In Nashville


The Nashville Sounds hit mid-life as they enter their 40th season in Nashville.  Today they have their home opener at First Tennessee Park against the Oklahoma City Dodgers.  Sounds fans will remember that the Dodgers eliminated the Sounds in the playoffs last year.  The Sounds today’s home opener with a record of 2-3 after a season opening series at Round Rock.

The Sounds began play in the Southern League in 1978.  They finished their first season with a 64-77 record as the affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds.   In 1979, the Sounds went 83-61 and won the league title over the Columbus (GA) Astros.

The Sounds have won three league titles in their existence.  In addition to the 1979 title, they also won the Southern League title in 1982 over the Jacksonville Suns.  They won the Pacific Coast League (PCL) championship in 2005 over the Tacoma Rainiers.  The Sounds have reached the postseason 14 times and have won ten division titles and two conference titles.

They have gone through several affiliations with Major League Baseball (MLB) teams.  They have been affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds (1978-1979, 1987-1992), New York Yankees (1980-1984), Detroit Tigers (1985-1986), Chicago White Sox (1993-1997),  Pittsburgh Pirates (1998-2004), Milwaukee Brewers (2005-2014) and Oakland A’s (2015-2016).

Stump Merrill had the best winning percentage as the Sounds’ manager from 1980-1981 with 178 wins and 108 losses.  The Sounds had their best record in franchise history (97-46) in the 1980 season.

Some of the most notable players to have played with the Sounds and went on to Major League careers are:  Rob Dibble (Pitcher, 1987-88), Doug Drabek (Pitcher, 1984), Trevor Hoffman (Pitcher, 1992/2009), Barry Larkin (Shortstop, 1989), Don Mattingly (First Baseman/Outfielder, 1981), Willie McGee (Outfielder, 1980-81), Otis Nixon (Shortstop, 1981-82) and many others.

The Sounds have had two homes in Nashville.  They began at Herschel Greer Stadium and moved to the new 8,500-seat First Tennessee Park in 2015.   The new stadium is really one of the nicest minor league parks in the country.

Although some have hinted at bringing a Major League team to Nashville, I really don’t see that happening anytime in the near future.  I would like to see a better alignment in AAA where there weren’t any separate leagues but just one AAA league.  The Sounds are definitely a “big league” minor league team as they begin their 40th season.







Baltimore Blast Rallies To Win MASL Title


Trailing 6-3 in the third quarter of Game Two of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) championship and already trailing the series 1-0 playing on Soles de Sonora’s home turf, the Blast made an amazing comeback when Adriano Dos Santos tied the game with 11 seconds left.  Juan Pereira scored the game-winning goal in overtime, 9-8, to tie the series.

The teams then played the series-deciding 15-minute mini-game where Vini Dantas clinched the winner in front of over 8,000 fans at El Centro de Usos Multiples in Mexico.

Goalkeeper William Vanzela was tough for the Blast in both games and made a huge save in the mini-game on a shot from Sole de Sonora’s Gustavo Rosales with 1:08 left.

With their second consecutive MASL title, the Blast have now won nine championships in franchise history.  After losing to Harrisburg at home in the first game of the playoffs, they went to Harrisburg and rallied from a 3-0 deficit in Game Two before winning in a mini-game.  Against the Milwaukee Wave in the Eastern Conference final, the Blast also won in a mini-game to advance to the Ron Newman Cup final.

Baltimore Blast Championships:

  • 1984:  Defeated St. Louis Steamers, 4 games to 1.
  • 2003: Defeated Milwaukee Wave 2 games to 1
  • 2004: Defeated Milwaukee Wave 3 games to 0
  • 2006: Defeated St. Louis Steamers 2 games to 1
  • 2008: Defeated Monterrey La Raza 14-11 (One-game final)
  • 2009: Defeated Rockford Rampage 13-10  (One-game final)
  • 2013: Defeated Missouri Comets, 2 games to 0
  • 2016: Defeated Soles de Sonora, 2 games to 0
  • 2017: Defeated Soles de Sonora, 2 games to 1



It’s Time To Pay The Man

irsOne of my favorite episodes from the Andy Griffith Show was the one where Andy continued to tell Aunt Bee to call the repairman in Mount Pilot to fix the freezer.  Thinking it was too expensive, she tried to get others like Gomer to fix it cheaper.  Andy kept telling Aunt Bee to “call the man”.

Today, I have come to the day where we have to “pay the man”.   The man is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  I’m not real happy right now to pay the man.  I had our taxes figured out back in late January but was floored by the amount we owed this year.  It totally knocked me out.  I put it off hoping that something would happen to help us in paying this bill.  As of this moment, that has not happened.  It appears we will be making monthly installments to the IRS however they deem it to be.

A couple of bad financial decisions doomed us this year.  It wasn’t until we received the tax bills for those decisions that I realized the mistake and it was too late.

So I keep hearing the talk about tax breaks for the middle class.  Is this ever going to become a reality or yet more talk that politicians make to get elected?   Instead, we get taxed more and higher each year.

I will be honest with you here and tell you that I delayed in paying because I prayed about it and asked for divine help.  Something.  I wasn’t necessarily looking for a handout but extra money in some way to help.  I hate to admit this but that help never came and, as of right now, my prayer has not been answered.  I do still believe God will answer it even after I have filed the taxes and begin paying  the installments.  I’m certainly not going to criticize Him or feel stupid about praying about this.  All I can do is believe and do the next thing.  Right now the next thing is to pay the man.

The biggest lesson learned that I will share with you, if at all possible, never take money out of your retirement early.  You will suffer some serious penalties for doing so.  If you withdraw any funds before you are 59 1/2, not only will you get hit with 10% on an early distribution but the taxable amount will also be included in your taxable income.

If you take it out now, the man will get it later.

I hear that some people do actually get refunds.  I need to figure out how to do that.  Will my homeowner’s association allow me to have a couple of cows on the patio so I can get a tax write-off for agriculture?  Can I count our cat as a dependent?  She sure acts like a child and I’m always having to scoop her litter box and buy her cat food.

Taxes are extremely unpleasant.  They make our paychecks smaller and we have to fill out these ridiculous forms that we can barely understand and hope we don’t make a mistake.

I just hope the man is happy.




Dressy Sandals?


Okay, I’m a guy so what do I know about fashion right?  But when it comes to an office dress code for “business casual” what are dressy sandals?

That was the latest debate in our office this week when one of our managers reminded everyone of the office dress code.  When reminded that business casual is slacks, collared shirts, shoes and no jeans, t-shirts, shorts, sandals or flip-flops, it stirred up folks.  In fact, when people are supposed to be working, I walked into the mailroom to hear a heated debated about sandals and flip-flops.

The lack of common sense amazes me.

If you are working in a professional office, you should look professional.  I don’t think a lot of people get what “business casual” means.

Business casual NEVER includes jeans.  I will also add leggings in here too.  If the term was simply “casual” yes, but not BUSINESS casual.  As far as sandals or flip-flops, they shouldn’t be allowed.  I worked in an office once where my neighbor wore flip-flops daily and the “flip flip flip” sound drove me crazy.  Some say that dressy sandals are okay.  What exactly are dressy sandals?

To clarify the official dress code for business casual:


  • Long-sleeved shirts of conservative colors
  • Short-sleeved shirts such a polo shirts are acceptable
  • Ties are optional
  • Dockers or dressy khakis pants
  • Loafers or conservative footwear.  No athletic shoes.
  • No jeans, shorts or sweatpants


  • Tailored shirts, knits and blouses with solid colors
  • Long or full short sleeves
  • No tank tops or t-shirts
  • Skirts or pants.  Skirts should reach the knee while standing.
  • No jeans or leggings
  • Opened toed shoes as long as they do not veer into sandals

In a professional business environment, you have to be dressed appropriately because you never know when you will have to meet with a client at the last minute or someone walks in the door.  I am often amazed at what people wear to the office.  I am left wondering where are the adults?  This is work, not play time or time to hit the honky tonks downtown.  Always consider the nature of your business and consider your work environment.

I worked in an office several years ago where management had to spell out every detail of clothing that could and could not be worn as business casual.  When you have to remind the staff that they can’t wear jeans with holes in them or t-shirts with suggestive messages then something is wrong.  If you are a manager and you say something is not allowed as business casual then stick to it.  Don’t let employees debate it and wear you down to change it.  If you don’t think it’s appropriate in your business setting to allow sandals or flip-flops then stick with it.

Dressy sandals?  Are you kidding me?  Don’t leave your common sense in the closet.









Is A Gnome Teaching This Class?


My wife recently noticed a class at a local school that listed a class in “The Business of Book Publishing” which she shared with me in hopes that it would help me in trying to get my new book published.  I signed up, paid the fee, and was looking forward to any tips I could learn that would help me.

I attended the first class last night.  I won’t be going back.

The first thing that I noticed was the lack of any dress code by the instructor.  He was wearing a ratty shirt, shorts which were attached with bright red suspenders.  To complete the “instructor” wardrobe, he was wearing one red and one black garden clogs.  He looked like he had just came in from working in the garden.  If he had worn a pointy hat, I would have sworn he was a garden gnome.

Okay, so I am a little old-fashioned about this but if you are an instructor, I expect you to look presentable and, at least, look the part.  If you are teaching a class about the “business” of book publishing, shouldn’t you look business-like?

The biggest pet peeve of all for me was when he said we would wait a few minutes later for others to get there for the class.    I do not agree with waiting for people who are late for class.  What message is that sending?  These people are adults and they should be responsible for getting to class on time.  Yes, things happen and anyone can be late but don’t penalize those who are there on time to enable those who can wonder in whenever they feel like it.   If the class is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. then start at 6:00 p.m.   If people come in late then they are late.  I am paying the same amount of money for the class they are.

The “gnome” teacher then gave us his history in the publishing business but it sounded like to me that he can’t keep a job.  And this is the expert?   Maybe in gardening.

And, of course, in just about every class you are going to have the “know-it-all comment” person who sits in the front row and the “dumb question asker” who will always be off the subject and totally off-base with their questions.

One example:  “You can publish a book cheaper in China.”

Who cares?  This isn’t China.  The class has nothing to do with China. Of course, that made me what to get some Chinese food after the class.

Would you believe that one person even showed up over an hour late and then had the audacity to complain about how small the classroom was?  What is wrong with people?

The instruction was mostly about the publishing process and even the physical part of putting together a book.  These are things that a writer will not even see or think about.  Not sure how important that information was.  I just want to have my book published.  Tell me Mr. Gnome how to get a publisher to publish my book!

I called the office today and told them I was dropping the class and gave them the reasons why.  No, I didn’t call the instructor a “gnome” but I did tell them that he looked like he had just come from working in the garden and should look more presentable if he’s going to be an instructor.

I’m still sitting here shaking my head about the whole experience.  I suppose my expectations are set too high.



Obscure Sports Report


The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) took flight for its’ sixth season with 24 teams.   The Dallas Roughnecks began their title defense on Saturday when they opened with a 21-17 win over their in-state rivals, Austin Sol.  The Jacksonville Cannons scored 40 goals in their 40-23 win over the Nashville Nightwatch.   The Nightwatch made history in the game as Jesse Shofner became the first woman to score a goal in the AUDL.

Game one of the Ron Newman Cup Championship in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) will be played on Friday night at Royal Farms Arena when the Baltimore Blast will host Soles de Sonora.  The series will shift to Hermosillo, Mexico on Sunday.   The Blast will be gunning for their second consecutive title.

Here are the current standings of the Indoor Football League (IFL):

United Conference

  • Sioux Falls Storm (5-0)
  • Wichita Falls Nighthawks (5-1)
  • Iowa Barnstormers (3-2)
  • Green Bay Blizzard (2-4)
  • Cedar Rapids Titans (1-5)

Intense Conference

  • Nebraska Danger (4-2)
  • Spokane Empire (4-2)
  • Arizona Rattlers (2-3)
  • Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-4)
  • Colorado Crush (1-5)

The Florida Tarpons are 2-0 in the Arena Pro Football (APF) league after defeating the Coastal Outlaws, 70-26.  They will travel to St. Louis this weekend to play the River City Raiders.

Stephen Panasuk (High Country) leads the National Arena League (NAL) in total offense with 19 touchdowns scored in three games.  The Grizzlies destroyed the Dayton Wolfpack 94-6 last weekend.  High Country (2-1) will host the Jacksonville Sharks (3-0) this Sunday.

The Fort Wayne Flite leads the Central Basketball Association (CBA) standings with a 2-0 record.   The Flite are led by Ronald Lucas III who is averaging 16 points per game.   They will host the Middle Tennessee Storm (1-2) this Sunday.

Tyler Poythress from Wilson, North Carolina is the Top Ranked Cornhole player in the world.  He finished first with 25 points in the American Cornhole Organization (ACO) Cornhole Madness tournament in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.   Poythress has won 23 and lost 9 games in Cornhole Singles.