From the Front Row
Tuesday, 03.2.2010 / 10:54 AM CT / Welcome to Smashville
SmashvilleExpress.com Blog - From the Front Row
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Past Blog Entries: Jan. 19 | Jan. 29 | Feb. 11 | Mar. 1 | Mar. 3
It’s been a busy few weeks in Smashville—on and off the ice—and it’s gearing up to be an exciting time here. We hosted a slew of fan activities during the Olympic Break— from our public skate and GNASH appearances at local sponsor locations to our Hockey Tonk gala and free Preds Day at the Frist Center. We unveiled our MTA Smashville Express bus, which can now be seen rolling through the streets of metro Nashville.
And last week, we proudly announced an agreement with Bridgestone Americas, Inc. to become our new venue naming rights partner. Bridgestone is an iconic brand, a tremendous corporate citizen and a vital partner in this community. Expect many exciting things to come at Bridgestone Arena … beginning with the return to hockey in Smashville after a 15-day break in the schedule!
That break came to an end last night with a 4-3 win over the Oilers. Not a bad way to kick off a grueling stretch of 21 games in 40 days! With nine home games during the month of March and two more in early April, it will be crucial to pack the house and continue to make Smashville one of the toughest places in the league for a visiting team to play.
College Night is this Thursday vs. L.A. and our final Family 4 Pack game, presented by McDonald’s, is this Sunday vs. Vancouver ... two prime chances for you to Jump on Board the Smashville Express as we battle teams that we’re chasing in our March to the Playoffs.
Fasten your seats belts. It’s going to be an intense seven weeks of hockey! Hope to see you at Bridgestone Arena this week.
March 1, 2010
Congrats to the six Preds who laced ‘em up at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver – Shea Weber (Canada), Ryan Suter (USA), Martin Erat (Czech Republic), Marcel Goc and Alexander Sulzer (Germany) and Patric Hornqvist (Sweden). You made the residents of Smashville very proud. And if you didn’t like hockey before watching that tournament (particularly the gold medal game) and still don’t, you probably need to have your pulse checked!
Locally, the preliminary round and gold medal game matchups between Shea Weber and Ryan Suter drew some incredible (and well-deserved) media attention in Music City and around the globe.
Suter was a rock on the blueline for Team USA and their silver medal finish. He was on the ice for all key situations and led all U.S. players with over 31 minutes of ice time in the gold medal game. He also picked up four assists in the six games and tied for the tournament lead with a +9 rating.
Weber, who quickly became the talk of the tourney after firing a puck THROUGH the net in a game against Germany, ended up with two goals and four assists in Canada’s gold medal quest. He was also one of only six players named to the All-Tournament team.
The hockey spotlight now moves from Vancouver back to Smashville and a shift in focus from medals to Stanley Cup playoffs. Should be fun!
March 1, 2010
While most people have been counting Olympic medals over the past few weeks, here are a few other numbers that turned quite a few heads on Sunday …
Nationally, across the U.S., the 2010 gold medal game created quite a stir on the tube, drawing 27.6 million viewers on NBC. That made it the most watched hockey broadcast in the States since the 1980 Olympic gold medal game between the U.S. and Finland (32.8 million viewers) and the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game between the U.S. and Russia (34.2 million viewers via tape delay).
As one can imagine, the gold medal matchup became the most watched television broadcast in Canadian history, with an average of 16.6 million Canadians (about half the population) tuning in. Approximately 26.5 million people (80 percent) watched at least part of the game.
In a word … ‘Wow!’
February 11, 2010
A First-Timers Guide to Smashville
Smashville is home to the Nashville Predators, but it’s more than just a physical place on a map. It’s a spirit that no other NHL team can ever own or understand. To put it simply, it’s a one-of-a-kind Nashville entertainment experience that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re new to Smashville, we’ve compiled a Top 10 list to make any rookie feel like a grizzled veteran.
1. Meet the Nashville Predators
The players and coaches are the heart of Smashville. They embody the spirit of teamwork and community that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The synergy that makes this team special is incredible and it shows … both on the ice and in the community … and is what makes this team so respected around hockey circles.
Meet the team
2. Hey, look … there’s GNASH!
The Preds’ lovable and fun-loving mascot energizes the crowd during home games with stunts, spirit and a trace of spunk. And if you’re an opposing team fan, you better beware … Gnash is watching for that perfect opportunity to show you who’s boss! Away from the rink, Gnash is certainly a ‘Pred About Town.’ Whether it is a street festival, hockey clinic, hospital visit, school appearance or a birthday party surprise, you know this saber-tooth tiger is not far behind.
3. Bridgestone Arena
Bridgestone Arena is the epicenter of Smashville. Its doors opened in 1996 and the Preds quickly followed in 1998. The facility has hosted over 12 million guests for such events as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Tournament, SEC and OVC Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournament, as well as entertainers such as Garth Brooks, Elton John, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley and Martina McBride.
4. Seen in Smashville
Considered the ‘third coast’ to many, Nashville is definitely a place to be seen. Smashville is no different. Celebs from the big stage and the big screen can often be seen cheering for their favorite hockey team, including Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Vince Gill, Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Jimmy Fallon, Vince Young and a host of others. You never know who you’ll see in Smashville!
A closer look
5. “I Like It, I Love It!”
Country superstar Tim McGraw’s hit tune was creatively crafted into the Preds’ signature goal song when the team arrived in Music City and is surely music to the ears of fans. When the Preds ‘light the lamp,’ the official goal song of Smashville rings loud and clear to ignite a celebration. “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it. I try so hard, I can’t rise above it. Don’t know what it is ‘bout the Predators scoring … but I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.”
6. Fang Fingers
Whether they be flesh or foam, a Preds power play wouldn’t be the same without the fans of Smashville letting everyone know that it’s time to show their fangs and sink their teeth into the opposition. When a penalty is called on the visitors, the horror sounds from the Alfred Hitchcock movie, ‘Psycho,’ launch a symbolic ‘finger frenzy’ in the arena.
7. The Seventh Man
The fans of Smashville make this place one of the loudest and toughest buildings for opposing teams to visit. From the creative chants originating from Section 303 to the impromptu and electrifying standing ovations that the team receives during TV timeouts, the Preds truly do have a home ice advantage 40+ times a season. Smashville fans are passionate and appreciate a gritty, determined effort from their team—and reward the team with their unwavering support.
8. Tootoo Whistles
When Preds forward Jordin Tootoo hits the ice, you’ll often hear the sound of crushing body checks. But you’ll also be sure to hear the shrilling ‘freight train’ sound of Tootoo whistles. Sold in the arena concourse for a donation of $10 to the Predators Foundation, these whistles are a good indication that Smashville’s human freight train is on the prowl for that next big hit.
Meet Jordin Tootoo
9. Live from Smashville
Just because a period comes to an end after 20 minutes doesn’t mean that the entertainment comes to a halt. There’s a reason why they call this Music City. Appearing nightly on the Smashville Band Stage in-between periods are some the area’s top musical talents, spanning the spectrum of country, rock, Christian and pop genres and entertaining fans of all ages. It’s no wonder Music calls this city home.
10. Listen Up!
Last but certainly not least are the distinctive voices of Nashville Predators hockey. Pete Weber and Terry Crisp have shared the broadcast booth together for 12 seasons and comprise one of the most well-known broadcast duos in the NHL. Blending extensive hockey knowledge with refreshing personality, Pete and Terry can relate well to all hockey fans – old-timers and newbies, alike. Add Tom Callahan to mix of voices, in his second season with the broadcast team. Tom serves as play-by-play man on the Predators radio network while also contributing as a rink-side reporter for all games that are not televised.
Meet the trio
Hope to see you soon in Smashville!
January 29, 2010
So the Superbowl is set. Indianapolis and New Orleans. All the hype, all the talk, comes down to this… 11 minutes of action. 11 minutes? It’s something a lot of us have probably thought about at one time or another but no one ever really thought to actually track it until now.
According to a recent study by The Wall Street Journal of four recent NFL broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes. Are you kidding me? That is 11 minutes compared to 60 minutes of non-stop, on-the-edge of your seat action in a hockey game. Sure football is a great sport, especially when you enjoy drinking beer, eating and socializing during a game. Believe me, there is time for that when watching football. The study also found that an average NFL telecast devotes 56% of its time to replays, commercials take up an hour, and 75 minutes or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally standing around between snaps.
Speaking of commercials, hockey has three TV timeouts a period, at two minutes each, which works out to be about 18 minutes over the course of a game. Sixty minutes of hockey action is pure action. When the whistle blows the clock stops. And when the clock stops at a Predators game, the action doesn’t.
Nashville is known to have one of the most entertaining in-arena game presentations in the League. As soon as the action stops, something is going on to keep you entertained whether its GNASH entertaining you with a prank on some unsuspecting fan of the opposition or a skit on the megatron. Or live music on the Smashville Band Stage. There is always something going on.
Bridgestone Arena can be one of the loudest buildings in the league. One of the coolest things I’ve witnessed at a Preds game over the last nine years just started happening late last season. If Nashville is putting pressure on the opposition, staging a comeback or taking a cushy lead during the third period, Preds fans have started a tradition of giving the team a thundering ovation during the TV timeouts in the third. It’s not only something that gives you goose bumps and helps fire up the Preds, but it takes opposing players by surprise because it’s not something people have seen in other buildings around the league. It is truly the power of the seventh man.
Another great thing about hockey is the parity. No one goes into a game thinking they have the edge. Any team can win on any given night unlike football where often teams go into games as huge favorites and blow teams out. Last season, the Colorado Avalanche finished with the worst record in the Western Conference with 69 points (32-45-5), yet they defeated Detroit, the Western Conference Champions, three out of the four times they played them.
Of Nashville’s 82 games in 2008-09, 20 went to overtime, 11 were decided in a shootout and 38 were decided by one goal. Another great thing about hockey is overtime. No coin toss, just a face-off and five minutes of four-on-four action. And if it’s not decided in OT, then it moves on to one of the most exciting things in sports – the shootout. That seems a bit more fair than football. Doesn’t it?
So as it is an exciting time of year for football fans, my favorite part of the year for sports is just heating up. The race for the Stanley Cup playoffs and your Nashville Predators are right in the thick of things. Just like last year, it is sure to come down to the last game of the season for a handful of teams. Both conferences are so tight this year that I’m sure nothing will be set in stone as far as playoff match-ups until those final games are played on the last day of the regular season.
I’m a big football fan, but after next week football is over for the season and we start getting into the homestretch of the NHL’s regular season. So enjoy all the Superbowl commercials and the 11 minutes of action, but remember, your hometown team is in the midst of race to the playoffs and they need your help. So come on down to Smashville and experience 60 minutes of live NHL action. Jump on board the Smashville Express!
January 19, 2010
Welcome to "From the Front Row" the official blog of SmashvilleExpress.com, the official source for information, insight and updates on the Nashville Predators Hockey Club and a little place we call Smashville (also known as Bridgestone Arena).
Since I arrived here in Nashville six months ago, people have been talking about the excitement of Nashville Predators hockey. I’ve been to hockey games around the US and Canada and have been lucky enough to see some pretty incredible arenas and teams.
But when we dropped the puck on October 8th here versus Colorado, our home opener, there was something about this arena that just couldn't describe. It’s the passion. The excitement. The loudness of the crowd. The cries of the Cell Block 303. The way GNASH and the Dancers interact with the crowd sending them into a frenzy. It’s the band. The food. The game of hockey. But most of all, it's about the fans.
Smashville is made up of 17,113 of the most passionate fans I’ve ever come across. They come from all over Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and from all corners of the world. Thanks to these passionate fans, Smashville is a place that other teams don’t like coming to visit. Of course they love coming to Nashville and seeing all the Honky Tonk bars and eating some of the great Bar-B-Que here….but none of them like setting foot on our ice.
Since that day, this team has gone above and beyond all expectations. Currently we’re in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 61 points. That’s 29 wins, 17 loses and three ties. ESPN has us fifth in their power rankings posted on January 18th. While The Hockey News has the team ranked third that same week. We’ll be represented in the Olympics by six players who are currently playing here, including Shea Weber for Canada and Ryan Suter for USA. This year has brought us timely goals by Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand; hat tricks by Steve Sullivan and Martin Erat; big saves by our goaltending duo of Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne; strong leadership from JP Dumont and Jason Arnott, our captain; and big hits by the likes of Joel Ward, Jordin Tootoo and many more.
As you can see, we have some real momentum right now. The team is winning. The fans can smell victory. And we’re the talk of the NHL, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs fast approaching. So we’re asking you, the fans from far and wide, to get on board this bandwagon while there’s some room. Jump on board the Smashville Express.
You’re not going to want to miss out on a single minute of the action, excitement and entertainment Smashville has to offer.
And when you do come to a game, let us know what you think. Whether you’ve been a fan from the start or about to attend your first game, people are bound to have some great things to say, while others might have a few choice words based on their personal experience. Either way, we want to hear it! What do you think about Smashville? Do you enjoy coming to hockey games? Is there something you would like to see changed?
We’re looking forward to the second half of the season and seeing you in Smashville!
Chief Marketing Officer, Executive Vice President