Atlanta Needs a Cellblock
Smashville was definitely well-represented at last night’s game against the Thrashers at Phillips Arena. Members of the Hockey-Tonk Angels joined the Cellblock 303 roadtrip to Atlanta to help cheer on our very own Nashville Predators. Section 204 was occupied by about 75 Preds fans (as well as about 100 more scattered throughout the arena), jumping at any chance to drown out and take over any Thrashers cheers. If you tuned in last night you no doubt heard us, and in my opinion that is definitely something to be proud of, even if we weren’t able to snag that 2nd point.
This being my first away game (although it had quite a few elements reminiscent of a home game), I came to the harsh realization that not every arena is as fantastic as Bridgestone in Nashville, and that I have been taking for granted how great the Preds fan base really is. Now this is not to trash the Thrashers — or their fanbase, as they’re some of the nicest people around — and they’re still one of my favorite teams to see our guys play against, but sadly Phillips Arena was only at about half capacity, and 175 Preds fans were able to drown them out. Their video montages were random and disjointed, and there didn’t seem to be a real flow to the night. I was even more shocked to see them play the news during an intermission. THE NEWS? Nothing is more of a downer at a sporting event than watching the news.
However I think the thing they really lack in “Blueland” is their own Cellblock 303.
They need a group to lead the rest in chants, they need their own unique crowd participation, and most of all they need a group to get the entire crowd to feel as if they are one entity. At Predators games, there is a distinct storyline to every game. The intro video and the introductions by Paul McCann get everyone pumped up and shouting together; if a goal is scored, or there’s a penalty, there’s a chant for that; the boys are welcomed back to the ice loudly every time; and whether we win or lose, we all leave the arena feeling as though we were a part of something bigger.
My favorite moments of last night:
- The reaction from the players about how many Preds fans showed up
- Tootoo & O’Brien spontaneously posing for our camera during warm-ups
- Preds fans taking over any attempt at Thrashers cheers
- Filling the arena with classic 303 chants, and even going so far as to sing the melody before “Hey, you suck!” after a goal
- Knowing that the rest of Smashville could hear us loud and clear on TV, and getting props from Pete & Terry for our efforts
Unfortunately, the Wilson and Sullivan goals in the first period were not enough to bring home 2 points. It hardly needs pointing out, but our 4-on-4 hockey and our face-off percentage could use quite a bit of work. The loss doesn’t fall on one player alone, because you cannot expect to quit after the first period & just hope the other team doesn’t want the win more than you do.
While an OT loss is disappointing, I am so glad that I joined Cellblock on this roadtrip to cheer our guys on away from home.
Brush it off, learn from last night, and let’s bring home 2 more points. GO PREDS!
What our friends had to say: