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Saturday Morning Quarterback

Andy Reed • Jun 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Where’s Sandy Campbell when you need him?

With all the possible stories about the Predators and the Penguins cropping up, there’s one I’m surprised I haven’t seen.

One of Nashville’s famous landmarks is the BellSouth Tower, otherwise known as the “Bat Tower” or “Bat Building” with the two points resembling the ears on Batman’s cowl.

And any Batman fan will tell you one of his biggest villains is the Penguin.

I’m envisioning artwork with the Bat Tower, lights turned off with the exception of two strategically placed rooms where the eye slits would be. Dress the torso of the building in a Predators jersey preparing to spring a trap on the hockey team team from Pittsburgh with Public Enemy No. 1, Sidney (no longer the Kid) Crosby.

Campbell is a retired Democrat reporter who, much earlier in his career, was an editorial cartoonist in Nashville. I don’t have his drawing skills. Perhaps you do, and if so and are so inclined, I would love to see something like what I described above. And you can add your own tweak to the art. You may post to my Facebook or Twitter (@WilsonCoSports) pages or even email to areed@lebanondemocrat.com.

Of course, a real villain has been developed during the Stanley Cup Finals, and it’s Crosby, who appeared to get off scot free with pounding P.K. Subban’s head into the ice half a dozen times during Game 5. Both were sent to the penalty box. Crosby, and by extension the NHL.

Social media has been blasting Crosby and the league. Some apologists have said this is part of playoff hockey. If so, then the NHL should come under the same blistering fire the NFL is over the longterm health of its players.

Like most of you likely reading this, I don’t know much about hockey, but I know cheap shots when I see them (and that includes the one the Preds’ James Neal inflicted from behind in Game 1, helping to incur a 5-on-3 power play which the Penguins took advantage of). Some of us bandwagon fans in the South paying close attention to the sport for the first time are wondering just how much integrity the NHL has. From Subban’s waved-off goal in Game 1 to Thursday’s head-banging (yes, the Pengys thoroughly outplayed the Preds and earned the win), we’re left wondering whether there’s a conspiracy to support the home team, especially since Pittsburgh fans could argue calls went against their team in Bridgestone Arena (which we could call the Bat Cave).

The league, or it’s TV announcers, should do a better job of explaining this to Hockey 101 viewers instead of catering just to those already well-versed in the game. Preds announcers Pete Weber and Terry Crisp did this well when the franchise was expanded to Nashville 20 years ago, but many in the South are just now paying attention and if the league wants to keep the newcomers after this series is over, educating us while we’re paying attention is crucial.

I was asked why the series isn’t played on neutral ice. I was stunned by the question as all pro sports except football decides its championships on home turfs with the advantage based on seeding determined by regular-season performance. But when the home team wins all the games, I wonder it this tells us anything about who’s better. Perhaps Game 7 should be on a neutral site where the cacophony of noise from only one set of partisan fans can’t influence the outcome.

Some other tidbits I’ve come across while researching: Penguins eat fish. So throwing catfish on the ice is just giving food to the enemy.

Also, on Wikipedia there is a passage reporting in 2011 a penguin came ashore on New Zealand’s Peka Peka Beach, thousands of miles off course from Antarctica. Too many Penguins have been entering Peka Rinne’s net while in Pittsburgh, around 560 miles from Nashville. That must change or the Stanley Cup will be waddling around western Pennsylvania within a week instead of parading around middle Tennessee.

So what will happen when the dastardly Penguins return to the friendly confines of Middle Tennessee. Game 6 is Sunday night - same Bat Time, Same Cat Channel.

Get your brush and canvas ready, Sandy Campbell.

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