After catching Tuesday’s Nashville Predators training camp morning skate with Jason Kirk, one thing became extremely apparent to me: man, I’ve really missed hockey. Judging by the crowds of fans that are showing up to catch a preseason glimpse of their team in action, I’m anything but alone. In fact, it got so warm with all the bodies in the Centennial complex that they had to turn up the refrigeration. Yep, Preds fans (and hockey fans across the United States) are definitely starved for hockey.
To the hockey fanatic there’s music in the game that goes hand-in-hand with its visual language. It’s one thing to see the poetry in a breakout or dump-and-chase drill executed with aplomb, but it’s an almost transcendental experience to be standing on the glass watching and listening to it all go down.
The rattle of the puck circling around the end boards provides the backbeat; the swish of blades on ice, the rhythm; the chatter of teammates calling to each other connecting passes and taking shots, the melody. The clack and clang of a snapshot rebounding off the post is like a cymbal crash at the end of a drum fill that’s just blown my mind. And like a bass drum resounding in your chest cavity, you can feel the kick of air around you when a player pinches in at the boards to hold the zone. It’s music.
I don’t mean to go all teary on you, but I can’t find any other way to describe it. It’s a beautiful thing, from the cold air that makes your nose run to the guys in the stands behind you talking stats and prospects. The squirt running up and down the aisle with a puck, yelling “Rock ’n’ Roll, Rock ‘n’ Roll,” now holds a special place in my heart. (That kid is, and most likely will grow up to be, awesome. Put some skates on him and get him started.)
With hockey back on now, I don’t want to get bogged down in politics. I don’t care who got hurt more by the lockout, the players, the franchises or the fans. I’m not going to boycott the team out of anger or some misplaced sense of justice. In the end, that would just hurt me. I just want to watch some hockey, because for a fan it’s an “Ain’t No Sunshine” situation when the game isn’t on. If there’s anything our guys can take away from all our excitement, I hope they know that we’re behind them no matter what the weather. In the esteemed words of Barry Trotz, “Let’s go, boys!”