The question was put to me: “What do the Predators broadcasters do to pass the time on a marathon road trip like this?”
I would love to tell you that we visit museums and art galleries, attend symphony performances, study foreign languages and take correspondence courses. I would love to tell you that, but it would be, for the most part, untrue.
In actuality, there is no simple answer to the question. One day in Winnipeg, the conversation turned this way (I will not identify the individual speakers here in order to protect the potentially-guilty parties):
“What coaches or managers would you (not) want to see naked?” (This seems to be the sort of question Captain Oveur asked of Joey in the movie “Airplane,” doesn’t it?).
The responses were varied.
Names from the world of hockey, basketball and baseball were brought up, all bringing about different levels of squeamishness.
Not all conversations went that way, but it’s safe to say that we weren’t spending a lot of time on the elections that were upcoming as the trip began, and then passed as it continued. (OK, maybe the talk of wine soon being available in Tennessee grocery stores was covered).
As you might have guessed, there were a lot of hockey discussions, among our group, and also involving some with the coaches and personnel from the Predators and the other teams over the course of the trip. Game strategy, officials’ calls and supplementary discipline were all covered.
With a day between each game of the trip, that left time for us to follow the NHL and the other sports. The World Series finished before we left Nashville. That still left the football season – and the search in Vancouver for a place to follow the Tennessee-South Carolina game. In the days before satellite television, that might have been a lost cause, but Willy Daunic found a place and the remarkable comeback and overtime win by the Volunteers was seen.
I won’t try to speak for anyone else, but in addition to the work we do to prepare for “the next game,” (and isn’t there always one of those), I tried to catch up on my reading.
While on this trip, I started and finished reading two hockey books (Bruce Dowbiggin’s Ice Storm – the Rise and Fall of the best Vancouver Canucks Team Ever, and Bob McKenzie’s Hockey Confidential). I recommend both of them, by the way. I spoke with Dowbiggin in Calgary about his book, which is in many ways a “Moneyball comes to hockey” story, but that is too simplistic. McKenzie’s title is a little misleading, but it is a collection of human-interest hockey stories I thought were fascinating.
Since it is a 12-day trip, I have also begun reading another by an old friend from Buffalo: ex-goaltender Clint Malarchuk just released A Matter of Inches: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond.
One thing about this season’s Country Music Association awards trip is certain, when we get home early Sunday morning – there will be a lot of laundry to do.
Then it will be time to get ready for the next game – Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena against the first team faced on the trip – Edmonton!