Tag Archives: Nashville

Binder Power

Baseball has its dog days of summer, but so does hockey. The Canadiens haven’t played a game since losing 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators on May 9 in the opening round of the playoffs, bowing out four games to one in the process.  If my math is right, that’s 64 days ago.

It’s been a long time, and it’ll be a while yet before the puck is dropped for real again. And I’ve never come to grips with losing the Expos. It still hurts, and I’ve tried to revert to my childhood team, the L.A. Dodgers, but without Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, it just hasn’t been the same.

So I go to my binders and start pulling stuff out.

My brother used to be the bass player in country singer Michelle Wright’s band. He and Michelle ended up living together and had a place in Nashville, although things, as they tend to do, came to an abrupt end and my brother now has a wife and daughter and moved on a long time ago from those days.

Michelle would sometimes send me things, and today I found this as I was going through old binders.

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Nashville – Bad New Memories For the Habs, Good Old Ones For Me

From time to time during the telecast of the “Nastiness in Nashville,” the cameras panned on a few spots around the city. It was a nice relief from what was going on at ice level, and it reminded me of a trip I took there once. There was no NHL team in Music City then, but there was a lot of nightlife. guitar

Lots of nightlife. Perfect for a bunch of athletes to have fun and break curfew in.

Just trying to make sense of how a team can allow 55 shots on goal.

I was in the depths of despair when I went to Nashville. It was a time when my marriage breakup was only a few months old, and my brother and his girlfriend, who lived there, invited me down and tried to raise my spirits somewhat.

My brother was the bass player in a band, and his girlfriend, Michelle Wright, was the lead singer of the band that bore her name. She was a rising star in the music business, had several top-selling albums, and she and my brother lived in a beautiful home on the outskirts of Nashville. She had also just bought a brand new Mercedes not long before I arrived, that we rode around in and I felt like quite a bigshot at the time.

Nashville’s an odd place, old yet vibrant, but not once did I get the impression that it was a hockey town. It’s a music place, as we all know. Although my brother took me into the arena that was there at the time that housed a minor-league team. But other than the arena – like I said, it’s a music place.

Michelle and my brother showed me around, and I even got to see her lay down some tracks in the studio, an experience which can be long, tedious and fascinating. The producer and engineer invited me to sit beside them in the control room, and afterward, all of us went for dinner where I found out by talking to the producer that he had been in a successful band in the sixties called the Beau Brummels, and had played the Ed Sullivan Show, a show I had grown up watching.  

On another night, my brother and I went for beers and live music at a place called the Bluebird Cafe, and we saw John Prine, a longtime favourite of mine, sitting alone at the bar. We let him be, of course, because it’s not my style to bother these people. But you must know, if you’ve not heard of John Prine, that he’s one of the greatest folk/country songwriters of all time.

In another honky tonk, legendary pool player Minnesota Fats was handing out stamped autographs. Maybe he couldn’t write, I’ve no idea. Eddie Shack, early in his career, used to do the same thing.

Michelle Wright is a tremendous woman with lots of style, and she had dozens of lit candles scattered throughout their house. She cooked and laughed and sang and she was wondrous. We had a long talk one night about writing, and she got on the phone and made a call and before I knew it, I had a new gig as a freelance writer for a music magazine.

She and my brother, (who are no longer together), made me smile at a time when smiles were seldom to be found on this mug. and this is a little thank you now to the two of them while using the pathetic display by my hockey team as an excuse to do it.

Michelle-Wright-Shut-Up-and-Kiss-Me

Habs Win In Phoenix With 8000 Missing In Action

There was something slightly odd about the Habs-Phoenix Coyotes game tonight. Four goals by the Canadiens was odd, although the last was in an empty net, and the Habs stifled the Coyotes 4-2.

But even odder was seeing a game in Phoenix. We’ve just spent the past six months being bombarded by all the goings-on between Jim Balsillie and Gary Bettman and moving the team to Hamilton and not moving the team to Hamilton. And tonight, there it was, in living colour, the team that was almost a Hamilton team, playing in a half-empty building.

The Canadiens won on this night and is a welcomed relief, a nice alternative to losing. But it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty. It was a quiet night, the type of game spectators might have wished they’d saved their money and watched it at home instead. Hey, 8,000 did stay home. Attendance was 10,064.

The Jobing.com Arena in hockey-mad Glendale/Phoenix holds 18,000.

But there were some highlights, most of which can be labelled “Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri.” Both speedsters did an outstanding job, creating chances, sending others in, with Cammalleri scoring a goal and adding an assist, and Plekanec with three assists. They were flying, especially Plekanec.

Unfortunately, a few others took the night off and continued their lacklustre play. But I’m tired of naming names. So I’ll just blame Andrei Kostitsyn only.

Random Notes:

Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist, and Glen Metropolit also found the back of the net.

Carey Price was in goal, and it’s nice to see him there when the team wins.

Jaroslav Spacek hurt his foot in the second period, so another defenceman may or may not have bit the dust.

Next game: Saturday in Nashville. Maybe Martina McBride or the Dixie Chicks will sing the anthem.

A few teams that are nice to see lose, lost. Boston, Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Vancouver all leave the buildings with their tails between their legs.