It really dawns on you once you actually have a face to face meeting with pred players of why they like nashville so much. they can have random conversation and encounters with local citizens and not have them recognize them, even if they have seen everygame the past 10+ years......my quick story
went to the zoo today. it was pred day there, they had some inflateables and crap my three year old loves, so we went. went to their little thing wasn't much. some games for kids, they were selling tix, belak and dumont and gnash were supposed to be there. under a tent, there were tons of people waiting for autographs, a little meet and greet, i dunno. we didn't go....
on our way out, we (me, wife, 2 kids-3 year old and 5 month old) stop at the restroom. wife takes three year old and i take the baby, sitting on the bench. dude in a beanie sits next to me while his preggo wife takes two girls into the bathroom (where my wife was) i am playing with my baby girl and the dude is cracking up because avery (mine) is laughing at practically nothing. we exchange pleasantries and then avery hit me with projectile spit up that hits me and him. dude laughs at it with me actually grabs some napkins for me and says, at least it wasn't poop. to which i reply, "good thing, that would be some stinky ass breath." we laugh and he tells me a story about his girls and we talk about baby vomit and baby poop and other fatherhood things for a good 5 minutes before he says "i don't need a gym, they run me around enough to keep me in shape." it wasn't until that moment, the lightbulb went off in my head that i was talking to guy with a funny accent (which i really wasn't paying attention too) and it was jp dumont. so we talk about another minute and then both my wife and his come out of the bathroom talking and i just tell him good luck this year which got a simple thanks. my wife then gets excited and says "you know that was dumont's wife in the bathroom? " she didn't realize i was talking to him, lol.
so today i realized that normalcy is why players love it here.
post your own stories if you have them, baby vomit or not. and yes, my kid threw up on dumont today if you didn't catch that part.
I was at Kmart on Nolensville Rd a couple of weeks after Trotz was named coach and I come out of an aisle and almost run over him. I don't know who was more shocked; me for running into him or him for being recognized already. I welcomed him to Nashville and wished him luck, he just kind of grinned and thanked me as I walked away.
That's such a wonderful story, and soooooooooo "J. P." I was there mainly to get him to sign a softball he threw into the stands when he played in the celebrity softball game in June. While waiting in line, I noticed how very, very accomidating he was to EVERYONE who got an autograph, then told them "my pleasure" (not to say Wade Belak wasn't friendly, but J.P. just stood out). CONGRATS to them for their "hat trick" child coming into the world- didn't know that another was on the way. He's ALWAYS just acting so happy to be a dad when I've seen him at events with his daughters.
Ran into JP at the zoo a few years ago. He was there as a patron, not a Preds thing, and it was interesting to see him standing there, pushing a stroller, pointing out animals to his kids, just doing the same thing as everyone else. I was the only person that recognized him, and talked to him for a minute, had my son come up and meet him. Very comfortable to be around, seems like a really nice guy. He was gracious and polite, and I can't say enough good things about him. Also think/hope he's going to have a monster season.
Sorry, Token (Ryan?) this story isn't near as interesting as yours. Vomit stories always get top billing.
These stories work both ways, too. I think this type of thing underscores why hockey should really connect with the regular people here in Tennessee...These guys are truly wonderful people in addition to great atheletes.
I've made this point before that the HOF's of sports encompass the personality of the game. It makes sense, you ask an architect to build a sport HOF and they will think about a building that encompasses the character of the game. Hockey's HOF is a bank vault, very humble and quiet but once you break through the stone facade they will give you EVERYTHING.
Most Hockey players tend to be blue collar and humble. (Most I said, most) I'd like to see a commercial where they asked hockey players what they would be doing if there wasn't any hockey. I think most of the answers would be working production.
We know what some of the PREDS (and now former PREDS) would be doing thanks to that "PREDATORS Snapshot" program that aired about 700 times before games on FSN. I remember J.P. and Leggy saying teachers and arnott said some kind of law officer. It would be great if somehow the PREDS media could produce a SERIES of being the scenes shows to preceed t.v. games instead of doing the 1 canned program to run all year.
My son used to participate in the goalie camp over at the Sportsplex. I'd see Vokoun, his wife and daughter sitting at one of the little tables enjoying a cold drink and a little together time--just like any other family that might be there. He always threw his goalie gear in with all the other goalies' gear, piled in a huge mountain by the door. I'd guess that would be unthinkable in some cities because it would be snatched up as memorabilia.
I saw Sully jogging/walking outside of the Sportsplex on the first morning the public was allowed into training camp back in 07. He looked to be in a lot of pain, so I just sort of let him walk past me. I know, right? Seeing a Preds player at training camp. Ridiculous.
Also I was in a neighborhood in the Brentwood/Franklin area doing some landscape work for a former boss of mine when JP and his family drove by.
Trotz played in the men's league at Southern Ice during the lockout. He was great. He would come to our bench and talk to us instead of going to his own bench between periods.
Vern Fiddler played in a game during the summer a few years ago. I told him that our team would offer him more money to play for us. He laughed and responded, "Yeah, I guess I'm a free agent down here."
Me and my buddies were at Eddie George's after a game when the Preds just picked up Jim McKenzie. He was waiting for someone who wasn't there yet. We recognized him as he walked past us, so he hung out with us until the other person arrived. As excited as we were to talk with him, you could tell that he liked having people to talk to while he was waiting (in a new city).
I'm a pharmacist and work for a chain pharmacy in the area. I get players in from time to time. They are always willing to talk hockey and don't appear bothered at all.
Once I had a young player (high draft choice making good money) complain that his prescription was $65. It made me laugh because many Americans pay that much and don't make near the money that he was making (This was pre-lockout. The players now have great prescription insurance).
I have a Tootoo story from his rookie year that I'll have to post later...
My heartwarming family friendly story is that I was fairly roasted a couple hours after a Pred game and met Legwand and a buddy of his from Detroit in a small bar/music club near downtown. His buddy invited me to sit with them when he heard me talking about the game. (I hadn't noticed them) While sitting there being drunk, I told Legwand that when contract time was up (this was a couple years before he signed the big deal) that when Detroit offered him five mil a year and we could only offer three, to sign with the Preds anyway. He laughed politely at the idiot and said that he would. When I got up to get another beer someone mysteriously took my chair.
I've seen Erat and Tootoo at work before. Tootoo talked whereas Erat didn't really. I saw Chris Mason and Hamhuis and Tin Roof 2 in Cool Springs a few years ago. Mason was really nice and let us have his table when he was done because it was really crowded. Hamhuis didn't say much but then again I know he was kind of a quiet guy in the first place.
When I was with the Panthers I was told by someone that Vokoun was kind of a jerk. Which completely caught me off guard and was something I refused to believe because he didn't seem that way here. Of course this came after the season had just ended and he was signing sticks on a table for like 2 hours. He was probably ready to get the eff out for the year.