Friday Flashback:  Nashville Predators’ First Game

The 2016 Nashville Predators’ season starts tonight as a sellout crowd is expected for their opening night against the Chicago Blackhawks.  My wife and I attended the opening game last year and we were hooked.  We are Predators’ fans now.  People who are not from Nashville are puzzled that hockey has been so well-received in the Music City.  The games are often sold-out and the atmosphere is electric when you get to go to a game in person.  We found that out first-hand last year.

The Predators played their first game on October 10, 1998 against the Florida Panthers in front of a sellout crowd of 17,298.  The Predators lost 1-0.   The starters for the Predators were:  Andrew Brunette (LW), Greg Johnson (C), Sergei Krivokrasov (RW), Joel Bouchard (D), Bob Boughner (D) and Mike Dunham (G).

The Predators finished their first season with a record of 28-47-7.

Why are they called the Predators?

In May of 1971, excavation began at the downtown Nashville site of what today is the 28-story First American Center.  Construction workers drilled through 20 feet of solid rock before coming to a soft muddy area.  Further digging revealed a cave containing the nine-inch fang and a foreleg bone of a saber-toothed tiger which had been extinct for at least 10,000 years.  Tests revealed that it could have possibly been one of the last of its breed to exist.

The team released the logo for the franchise before a name was selected.  In a name-the-team contest to go along with the logo, the results narrowed down to Fury, Tigers, Attack and Predators.


Driving 101:  How to Merge Onto the Interstate

Since moving to Nashville I have been taken by surprise the number of people who think that traffic on the Interstate is supposed to stop to let them on.  These people are not just irritated but totally appalled that traffic will not stop for them to get on.  Merging requires responsibility of BOTH drivers on and entering the roadway but never does it state that drivers on the interstate are supposed to stop.  Here are the correct rules about merging onto the interstate:

  1. If you are merging onto the highway, make sure you are going the same speed as the traffic on the highway.  That’s why it’s called the “acceleration lane” so you can gain speed where you’re entering the highway.  
  2. Put on your turn signal.  I know it sounds pretty obvious but the signal will get the attention of other driver’s of what you intend to do.  However, keep in mind that as the person merging, you do NOT have the right of way.  Other drivers are not expected to move out of the way.  It’s up to you to adjust your speed.
  3. Look for a gap in traffic.  Merge when you find a gap to safely do so.  Some think you are supposed to use all of the accerlation lane before you get over.  The rule is to get over when it is safe to do so.
  4. If you are on the highway, be alert to merging traffic.  Don’t be a jerk.  Create gaps in front and behind you.   This isn’t a competition or NASCAR event.  Ease off the gas a bit is someone is trying to merge onto traffic or speed up if that is the safer option.

Merging traffic does not have the right of way when entering the highway.  Many drivers are unaware that drivers currently on the highway have the right of way over cars entering it.  It is not the job of cars already on the highway to make room for cars entering.  If you happen to be entering one those lanes where the same lane is used for both entering and exiting the highway, the cars exiting the highway have the right of way over cars entering the highway.

Team of the Week:  Western New York Flash

Most of us are pretty familiar with the United States Women’s National Soccer team but very few realize that there is a professional women’s league which has just completed it’s fourth season on Sunday.  The Western New York Flash from Buffalo, New York defeated the Washington Spirit 3-2 to win their first title.

The Flash narrowly qualified for the postseason as they edged out the Seattle Reign for the last playoff spot by two points in the standings.  Once they got into the postseason, they knocked off the top-seed Portland Thorns FC 4-3 in extra time in the semifinals then beat the Spirit in the championship game on penalty kicks.

Lynn Williams scored the tying goal with a header in the 124th minute to force the deciding penalty shootout.  They got three saves from goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo in the penalty kick shootout which set up Williams for the title-winning kick.

 The last title appearance for the Flash was in the first season when they lost the final to Portland 2-0.

Williams was the leading goal scorer this season with 11.  Forward Jessica McDonald was second with 10 goals.


Georgia High School Football Review: Week 8

Hurricane Matthew disrupted the schedule for many of the schools located in the Southeastern part of Georgia but a majority of the games went on as scheduled.  

Houston County teams in Warner Robins might be feeling that a hurricane ripped through their games as four of the five county teams lost this weekend.  In the much anticipated showdown between #1 Houston County and #3 Lee County the Trojans blew past Jake Fromm and the Bears 55-29.  Lee County intercepted Fromm four times.  Northside-Warner Robins was stonewalled by Valdosta 14-6 in a defensive battle.  The Wildcats recovered a muffed punt in the end zone and put together a 79-yard drive in the second quarter.  They Eagles never got on track on offense.  Warner Robins lost at home to Thomas County Central 33-22 and Veterans lost to Bainbridge 31-6.

This was the first time since 2008 that Warner Robins, Northside and Houston County all lost in the same weekend. In 2008 Warner Robins lost to Coffee, 37-20; Tift County beat Houston County 31-24 and Lowndes topped Northside 24-7. It was the first time since Veterans started playing in 2010 that all four teams have lost in the same weekend. 

Carrollton defeated Villa Rica 42-13 in what has been a rivalry game – at least for Villa Rica – but the Trojans have dominated the series 5-42-7 and has won the last eight meetings between the county foes.  It was their first meeting since 2007.  Villa Rica’s last win against Carrollton was in 1998.

Here’s this week’s top-ranked teams:

  • 7A – Roswell (6-0) beat Lassister 45-14.  Next week:  at Walton (3-3)
  • 6A – Lee County (6-0) beat Houston County 55-29.  Next week:  at Northside Warner Robins (6-1)
  • 5A – Buford (5-1) beat Johnson-Gainesville 48-0.  Next week:  at Cedar Shoals (3-3)
  • 4A – Cartersville (7-0) beat LaGrange 52-7.  Next week:  at Sandy Creek (4-2)
  • 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian (6-1) beat East Hall 69-12.  Next week:  Lumpkin County (2-3)
  • 2A – Benedictine (6-0) was off.  Next week:  Toombs County (5-1)
  • 1A (Public) – Clinch County (5-1) was off.  Next week:  at Turner County (4-2)
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (7-0) beat Our Lady of Mercy 49-0.  Next week:  at Strong Rock Christian (3-4)

Friday Flashback:  CFL in the United States

There has been discussion lately about St. Louis getting a franchise in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after losing two National Football League (NFL) teams (Cardinals and Rams).  A CFL franchise in a United States city?  Crazy right?   Oddly enough, it has been tried before when the CFL migrated south in 1993 by adding the Sacramento Gold Miners.  The following season, the CFL expanded to Baltimore, Las Vegas and Shreveport.  In 1995 the league added Birmingham, Memphis and San Antonio (relocated from Sacramento).  Although they expanded into cities without NFL teams (Baltimore had lost the Colts and before the Ravens), American fans were not as receptive to the Canadian version.   Most American football stadiums had problems adjusting to the larger Canadian football field dimensions.  

Personally, I thought the U.S. expansion would work, especially in cities that didn’t have NFL franchises.  The new teams had initial success but the different version and without a major television contract, the teams were not able to survive.  Another factor most think was that the CFL season runs from July to November which forced American teams to play the first half of the season in the heat – especially with most franchises located in the South – and the second half of the season competing with high school, college and the NFL.

Baltimore was the most successful US franchise and became the only American team to win the Grey Cup when they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 37-20 in the 1995 Grey Cup.  

Baltimore was an interesting story as they were initially known as the “CFL Colts” but the NFL went to court and successfully obtained a legal injunction against the team’s use of “Colts” in their name.  Their name was temporarily changed to “Baltimore Football Club” until they changed it to the “Stallions” before the 1995 season.

The “U.S. Experiment” ended when it was announced that the Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens in 1996.  That effectively terminated the most successful franchise along with Memphis and Birmingham folding.  

Many experts think that the CFL could have made it had they expanded closer to the border instead of the locations such as Shreveport, Birmingham and Memphis.  Shreveport?  Really?

It is doubtful that a CFL franchise in St. Louis could work but perhaps in cities like Portland, Milwuakee, Anchorage and Rochester.  

CFL in America

1993 – Sacramento Gold Miners (6-12)

1994 – Baltimore CFLers (12-6), Sacramento Gold Miners (9-8-1), Las Vegas Posse (5-13), Shreveport Pirates (3-15)

Playoffs:  Baltimore 34, Toronto 15 (Division Semifinals); Baltimore 14, Winnipeg 12 (Division Finals); British Columbia Lions 26, Baltimore 23 (Grey Cup Final)

1995 – Baltimore Stallions (15-3), San Antonio Texans (12-6), Birmingham Barracudas (10-8), Memphis Mad Dogs (9-9), Shreveport Pirates (5-13)

Playoffs:  San Antonio 52, Birmingham 9; Baltimore 36, Winnipeg 21 (Division Semifinals); Baltimore 21, San Antonio 11 (Division Finals); Baltimore 37, Calgary 20 (Grey Cup Final)

Team of the Week: Hershey Bears

As the start of ice hockey season approaches, I am featuring the Hershey Bears this week because they are oldest minor league hockey team.  The Bears have played in the American Hockey League (AHL) since 1938-39 making it the longest continuously operating team still playing in its original city.

Chocolate manufacturer Milton Hershey first established the “Hershey Hockey Club” in 1932 to manage pro hockey teams based in Hershey.    The colors of the team jersies are dark brown, medium brown, tan and white and often referred to as “chocolate and white”.

The Bears have won 11 championships – more than any other team.   Their most recent title was in 2010.  Last season, they finished 43-21-5-7 and lost in the finals to the Lake Erie Monsters.  

The Bears are the farm team for the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals.

The latest news for the Bears is that two longtime members of the organization have been elected to the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.  President and General Manager Doug Yingst along with former player and current front office executive Bryan Helmer have both been elected.

Hershey opens their 78th season on Saturday night at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Georgia High School Football Review: Week 7

Most teams are entering into region play where the games really count for the playoffs.  This means the games get bigger and the best teams will rise to the top.  Six of the eight #1 teams in each classification remained at the top while there were changes in Class 2A and Class 1A (Public).   

Benedictine regained the top spot in 2A with a 48-20 win over Bryan County and Fitzgerald’s 35-28 loss to Tift County.

Clinch County beat Atkinson County 49-14 to take back the top spot in Class 1A (Public) with Macon County’s loss to Northside-Warner Robins.

Lowndes trailed Ware County 28-21 at halftime but came out with a 28-0 third quarter as the Vikings went on to defeat the Gators 56-35.   Lowndes had 607 yards of total offense in the game.

The top-ranked team in 6A, Houston County was off this week but will travel to play #3 Lee County in a huge region game.

After a slow start, Rome is getting things together as they knocked off previously unbeaten Carrollton 45-28.  Rome had 470 yards of total offense and 27 first downs. 

Cartersville continues to roll as QB Trevor Lawrence was 11-of-18 for 152 yards and two touchdowns at the Purple Hurricanes rolled over Central Carrollton 59-9.

Brandon Thompson kicked a 24-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to give Crisp County a 16-14 win over Brooks County and remain undefeated.

Lincoln County beat their rivals from Washington-Wilkes 17-14 on a 25-yard field goal in overtime.

Top teams in Georgia:

  • Class 7A:  Roswell (5-0)
  • Class 6A:  Houston County (6-0)
  • Class 5A:  Buford (4-1)
  • Class 4A:  Cartersville (6-0)
  • Class 3A:  Greater Atlanta Christian (5-1)
  • Class 2A:  Benedictine (6-0)
  • Class 1A (Public): Clinch County (5-1)
  • Class 1A (Private):  Eagle’s Landing Christian (6-0)