The Row P Diaries: Drifters and Grifters

by J.R.

Me, the Mrs. and T-Murda take up three seats on Row P in Bridgestone Arena, Section 303. The six or eight seats immediately next to us aren’t season-ticket holder seats, so there’s always a mishmash of riffraff riding shotgun for us. French-Canadians, minivan moms, college kids, stoner Detroit fans.

Needless to say we meet some interesting folks.

Thursday against Calgary, a whole clan came to the big city to see the game. If I had to venture a guess, I’d guess West Virginia, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ve ended up down the wrong way on Rome Pike and seen some things too but there was a definite wild and wonderful quality about these folks. The Mrs says the patriarch’s hands were blackened as if the work he did was especially dirty. Coal mining. Auto mechanic. Latent fingerprint expert.

None of this to say they were ill-behaved or bad people. They got up and down a lot and consumed a pretty healthy level of concessions — including enough beer to make lesser people tumble down the precipitous staircase — but they were nice about their frequent sojourns and were extremely apologetic to the woman onto whom they dumped an entire tray of nachos.

Let me tell ya something, though, folks’ll surprise you. These were relatively knowledgeable hockey fans. They were talking about power-play strategy and the forecheck and Roman Josi’s development (they didn’t quite pronounce his name right, but neither do 70 percent of the league’s broadcasters and none of them can fix the fuel injection on your car if you bring it around after work and leave a case of beer).

Hardworking, hardliving, hard-partying, hockey-loving people. Real Conference III types, if you ask me.

Which brings us to T-Murda’s assessment of our visitors. It’s important to know that Predators’ CEO Jeff Cogen came to sports after working as a promoter for the circus and there are times he still gives off the vibe of a guy who worked for a circus, which makes sense, because he did.



“Well when your CEO is an old rail-rider, you get the drifters and the grifters. Somewhere, someone’s working the long con and both and his cover identity are saying ‘Hal Gill coming back should solidify the penalty kill.’

And indeed, old Treebeard, Savior of Owls is back tonight.