More Bargain Contracts From the Nashville Predators

There has been an ongoing series over at NBC Sports’ ProHockeyTalk where James O’Brien takes a look at each NHL team’s best bargain contracts. The only two players that made the cut for the Nashville Predators were Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter who next season will be making $3.4 million and $3.5 million dollars respectively. Clearly both of these are extremely talented hockey players. What is also clear is that they both only have a single season left on their contracts are due sizable raises when the 2012 offseason arrives. Those aren’t the only bargain contracts on the Predators roster, and I am hardly surprised that Mr. O’Brien overlooked some of Poile’s deft signings. 


Friday Music: Most of the good bits were about frogs, I remember that

I am so happy that the bulk of the Webergeddon (Weber Watch, Sheananigans) stuff is all behind the Predators now. But this has been a fairly shitty week as far as I'm concerned, so I'm just going to let the reviews take over.

Aficionado – Self Titled (iTunes Link)

I have to say that the energy and excitement surrounding this album drove me to make the purchase. I’m fond of the indie + punk rock sound, and from what I’d heard, that was exactly what Aficionado were serving. Right off the bat I’m going to let you know that the band’s eponymously titled debut is a good album. What it is not is a great album. That may prove to be fortuitous because Aficionado has a lot of room to grow and really wow people whenever they record and release a sophomore album. The thing I love most about the record is the guitar work. The entire album is packed with soaring guitar riffs that are just too energetic and alive to be compared to metal. I instantly thought of a less technical Fang Island, which makes sense with Fang Island being an instrumental band. I’m not entirely sold on the inclusion of the keyboard. Frequently the keys are used to support the melody and it sounds wonderful. Other times the keys try to make themselves known and it just sounds forced. The other thing is the flute. I saw all sorts of people talking about the flute. There is one song on the album with a flute part, and it is pointless. The melody during the bridge of “Everything Was Right” is wholly given over to the flute, and the flute sounds totally out of place and weak. It strikes me as being somewhere between a gimmick and pointless addition.

 I am found of the vocal work. Nick Warchol puts up some really great vocal work that is reminiscent of an American Frank Turner. Laura Carrozza sings what I guess you would call back-up vocals. She takes the lead on a few songs, but gets overpowered the second Warchol joins in. This could be due to a difference in loudness of the vocals or it could be due to the mixing, but it works. Laura’s more melodic tones are pleasant and contract nicely with Nick’s voice. Finally, the band really shines lyrically and compositionally when they slow things down. It may be because there seems to be a greater emphasis on the lyrics or possibly because Laura and Nick can play off one another better at a slower tempo. All things considered Aficionado put out a solid album, and I could see them having a bright future.

Aficionado:EOAYSDF from brighterlightsmedia on Vimeo.

Larry & His Flask – All That We Know (iTunes Link)

You can’t just sit down and write a review for Larry & His Flask. Every song that the band performs is meant to be heard and experienced in a live setting. When you record that music you lose an important element of what makes the band what they are. But I would in no one deny that “All That We Know” does not do its absolute best to capture the raucous spirit of the band. L&HF belong to the same general family as Old Man Markley and Mischief Brew. All of the band’s songs are punk-infused bluegrass romps paired with lyrics that are part Americana, gothic and part drawn from the diaries of free-roaming rapscallions. There is lots of shared vocal duties, but guitarist Ian Cook handles most of the leads. What the band can guarantee is that they will do their best to sweep you up in their stories and carry                
                                                      you dancing into the night.

Since I’ve had the privilege of seeing Larry & His Flask live I wanted to touch on the band in their element. They were touring with Streetlight Manifesto, and I have to say I’m grateful that they were first band on that night. If there had not been a buffer band between the two I think Streetlight risked getting shown up that night. The boys on stage were certainly a unit, it seemed like they could switch around instruments at will without losing a beat. Well, to be honest they did exchange instruments regularly without a drop in skill or intensity. Within the first thirty seconds the entire crowd was into the set, and for the last five minutes the band was into the crowd. Literally. The final song found the whole band intermingled with the crowed dancing, playing, and singing. It was a wild good time, and I imagine that the remnants of my memories of the show enhance my enjoyment of the album.

This song features Andrew Carew on lead vocals. The crazy bearded man with the guitar is Ian.

Call it What You Will - Larry and His Flask (Music Video) from Wes Coughlin on Vimeo.


Wouldn't You Want Out?

This blog is inspired by recent events and certainly this CBC Sports article from Elliotte Friedman. There are assumptions and speculation, and a surprising lack of humor, floating around this piece.

There has been a lot of talk about the Nashville Predators taking the next step. David Poile shocked Preds fans last offseason when they went out and grabbed one of the best players available through free agency Matthew Lombardi. The organization further shocked fans by going out and grabbing center Mike Fisher from Ottawa (replacing the Matt Lombardi), showing a commitment to spend the money needed to compete. Myself and other Predators fans were looking forward to an offseason where we could solidify our team around new captain Shea Weber and get the missing elements needed to make Nashville a real Stanley Cup threat. At this point any fan of the team knows that the offseason is not going how anyone envisioned it.

I can't verify that this Shea, but it could be

This offseason, the Preds have brought on board Brett Ledba, Zack Stortini, Niclas Bergfors, and Tyler Sloan. Wow, about the only thing that we can get excited about it Bergfors, a player that is basically this season’s Sergei Kostitsyn. What have we lost? Where to begin? Joel Ward, Mark Dekanich, Marcel Goc, Matthew Lombardi (who may never play again), Shane O’Brien, JP Dumont, Steve Sullivan and Cody Franson were all either traded, not invited back, or had their contract bought out. Any and all replacements are rookies that have never seen NHL ice or only played in the NHL due to last season’s injury woes. On top of all the player movements we had and error on the part of David Poile that almost cost the team O’Reilly, Halischuk, Kostisyn, and Spaling. So, here we are. If you were an elite defenseman, is this the commitment to winning that you want to see from your organization?

Your 2011-2012 Nashville... Predators?
What we’re left with is a team that has once again decided to work with what they’ve got. After clearing all sorts of cap space by buying out Dumont, trading away Lombardi’s dead fish contract, and passing on a new contract with Sullivan fans have seen nothing happen. No one can say whether the team is going to be better or worse next season due to the assumed influx of young, homegrown talent. The team has clearly adopted this very passive strategy in a division where we saw rivals make bold and numerous moves to improve their teams. And now think about Weber; a player that had faith in the organization and frequently expressed that he wished to remain with the team. He’s been watching this offseason unfold right along side, and as we grew more and more tense following the draft, we could assume that Weber was feeling that right along with the rest of us. He’s approaching that soft “prime” age of 27 years and he has to think about his future, his future holding the Cup above his head.

When I start thinking about things that way I can start to understand his point of view. Already this summer we have seen people argue whether or not Predators Hockey can even win the Stanley Cup, a brilliant blog inspired by the idea that the organization believes that the team can win on the merits of defense alone. Weber gets to see all of this first hand and has access to information for which bloggers and fanatics would practically kill to obtain. You take everything that has happened this offseason and that “sure thing” attitude of Weber might have taken a few hits. He may have just gotten fed up. And what about the agent change? The switch was made before even the draft had taken place, and like Patten over at Puck Scene writes about, the agent change may have created an even bigger mess out of this offseason. If he wanted to give the franchise one more shot then he could’ve set up a one-year deal before arbitration, but I agree with Elliotte Friedman that Weber may just want out at this point. The goal and dream of any NHL player is to win the Stanley Cup, and it is perfectly reasonable for Weber believe that such a victory is not within the grasp of this Nashville Predators organization.

Of course this is all speculation. My personal favorite theory is that Poile and Weber are just trying to help Weber’s new agent gain some experience at being a player agent.

Selfishly, I also don't want to have to work on new art for my sidebars for the 2012-2013 season. I really enjoy the ones that I have at the moment.... *Warning, lower resolution screen users may have no idea what I'm talking about*