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The Handshake Line - WCQF 2011 - Nashville

The history books will tell you that Canada's English settlers instituted hockey's traditional handshake line, hoping to imbue the rough and tumble game with an air of sportsmanship. However, I prefer to believe, as I do about fighting, that the practice has its roots in the lacrosse tradition. Tribes would settle their disagreements on the field in ferocious competition, but the field is where the disagreement stayed. You battled as hard as you could, but you accepted the final score, if not out of respect for your opponent, then out of respect for the game.

We respect the handshake line here at Anaheim Calling, and we would like to continue the handshake tradition we started in 2009.  So, Daniel, Jen, Robby, walking through the line of Predators players and the Predators coaching staff, what are the positives beyond 'good game' that you would like to express?


[To Barry Trotz]
Congratulations on a phenomenally coached series. Your ability to get your team focused and keep them on task is probably unparalleled in the league. Year after year you perform a thankless task and guide a small market team short on superstar talent to the postseason. It's tough when your market simply can't support the financial strain of top line talent. However, after watching this series, it's clear why you continue to find success. It's a travesty you don't have an Adams trophy in your case.

[To Pekka Rinne]
I hate you. Honestly, I think that's the best compliment I can give you. No matter how many goals you gave up, you kept battling for the next save. Before this series started, I would have given you the nod for the Vezina. I stand by that opinion. You might have given up a few, but you came through in a big way in the opening and closing games of this series.

[To Weber and Suter]
It took you until games 5 and 6, but you shut the top line down. Shea, you even managed to contribute key goals that were absolute daggers to our post season. Without a doubt, you are the top pairing in the league.

[To Jordin Tootoo]
I might hate you more than Rinne, but only because you remind me so much of Corey Perry. You're a pest, and a damn fine one. More importantly, you showed up when your team absolutely needed you and delivered a clutch performance. So, as all good pests have, you have earned my hate.



[To Mike Fisher]
Love your wife. She's adorable. I had a great parody of "Jesus, Take the Wheel" going for your team's eulogy. It is useless now. Anyways, congrats on getting yourself traded to a playoff team. We all believe that it had nothing to do with Carrie (wink wink). Also, thanks for deciding to turn it on this season during the playoffs. You definitely have earned whatever mention US Weekly is going to give you this week for making it to the second round.

[To Shane O'Brien]
See you in Newport over the summer. Lets go for a dive in the Pacific.

[To Jordin Tootoo]
All jokes aside, good for you for taking care of what you needed to during the season. You had a great playoffs and shut our big guys down. You're annoying, but dammit, I respect you.

[To Shea Weber]
If you think Nashville is a nice place, you should try Southern California. I hear there will be a couple openings on the blue line for a particular Orange County based team. Also, how long have you been growing that beard? You are a large, terrifying, lumberjack of a man.

[To The Rest of the Predators (I could only name the couple guys above)]
First, since I have no power of magumbo to deal with, nice dive at the end of the game (and throughout the series). Paul Kariya would be proud!

I should hate you (and really, right now, I kinda do), but you played one hell of a series. I've never seen a team shut down our two top lines for a majority of the game. With a few exceptions, the Ducks looked lost and completely unable to get sync'ed. From one "non-traditional hockey market" to another, best of luck in the next round. Maybe, by the end of the playoffs, I'll learn more than five guys' names.



[To Pekka Rinne]
You made some big saves when you needed to, and you did a great job of moving the puck back up out of your zone. You really did a phenomenal job of reducing the amount of prolonged offensive zone possessions Anaheim received. If you can do a better job of controlling your rebounds in the next series, teams are really going to struggle to get one by you.

[To Barry Trotz]
I tip my hat to you. You managed to keep your team fired up for almost every game this series (they did sort of leave you hanging in Game 4), and you negotiated one of the most potent offenses in the league while managing to squeeze every bit of scoring you could from your lineup. You deserve any and all recognition you get.

[To Mike Fisher]
You outplayed our top center, and it showed. You made all the little plays, and you handled your first postseason series with Nashville well. Thanks for dropping the gloves in Game 3, most players shy away from fighting Ryan Getzlaf, but you stood up to the challenge.

[To Shea Weber]
You've got a hell of a shot, and you never seem to be out of place. I can't wait to watch you crunch forwards on some other teams, and I'm sure you'll make the next goaltender duck at least once. They make you captain, and you take your team to the second round. Nice ROI, I'd say.



[To Ryan Suter]
Don't ever let them call him your better half.  You were steady in this series, and on top of Ducks forwards, and Anaheim couldn't get you to deflect one into your net as hard as they tried.

[To Shea Weber]
I don't know if you have to break a goalie's hand to have your slapshot certified by Al MacInnis, but I'll go ahead and say that's a hollow point .45 coming off the end of your stick.  Give it to Shea and get out of the way, indeed.

[To Barry Trotz]
You clinched a matchup coach by exposing his young players, both home and away.  The games weren't as low scoring as you may have preferred, but as Randy Carlyle tried experiment after experiment to get his team going, you were Michael Faraday night in and night out.

[To Maritn Erat]
I hope to see you again, and soon.  I hate to see any player go down, especially on a fluke hit.  This team will need you, and maybe that's the best thing anyone can say about you while you're out.

[To Jerred Smithson]
Diving may not be an art, overtime goal scoring may not be an art, but a player who does both is contributing in ways that no team or coach can ever take away from him.  Don't even let them try to take it away from you.  The great playoff teams need Jerred Smithsons to finish a seven game series.