With the 2013-14 NHL Regular Season beginning on Tuesday, lots of hockey fans new and old are dropping by these days. Whether you're a first-time reader or a grizzled veteran, it's worth rolling out the welcome mat and giving you a quick tour of what you can find here.
In a nutshell, OTF aims to be your leading independent source of news, opinion and analysis regarding the Nashville Predators. This site has been around (in one form or another) since 2005, making it one of the older hockey blogs still going. We've been a finalist in the Tennessean's Toast of Music City Awards for the last two years in the Best Blog category,and have taken honors in the Nashville Scene's Best of Nashville awards as well.
So yes, this is a blog staffed by amateurs, but we do take our work seriously. Just this summer our site has been linked from ESPN.com, cited on television during a game broadcast, and shared by the KHL's official English-language Twitter account.
OTF isn't your typical blog, where a few writers spout their opinions into the ether. This is a community, where readers actively participate in the ongoing conversation around the Nashville Predators and the NHL at large. Whether you're a new fan or a lifelong diehard, you're more than welcome to speak out.
The main venue for that is the comment threads, which can get pretty lively (particularly when games are being played). In addition, there are two ways for you to create an article of your own here. If you find something that you want to share with the rest of the community, like a link to an article, a YouTube video, or a picture, you'll want to submit a FanShot (scroll about halfway down the front page of the site to see where you can do that). If you want to write up an article of your own, then FanPosts are the way to go. A well-written FanPost can get promoted to the main page at OTF, and potentially your headline can show up with any number of SB Nation's media partners, attracting readers from all over the web to check out your work - so check that spelling & grammar, OK?
The bottom line is that reader participation is not only welcomed here but actively encouraged. With that in mind, we do keep the language "Prime Time TV" in the comments, and our moderators will warn and/or ban folks who spoil the party. Insulting other readers or belittling their opinions is not tolerated.
Make sure to head over and read the OTF Community Guidelines for more background on how things work around here, as well as the OTF Glossary so you can better understand what some of us are blathering about at times.
What To Expect at OTF
As far as what kind of content you can expect to see here, there are a few regular staples which you can rely upon besides opinion & analysis pieces which are likely to pop up at any time:
The Daily Dump & Chase
Jason Zito (@NotJasonZito) brings you a bounty of interesting tidbits from Smashville and the NHL at large each morning, the perfect way to start your day with a bit o' hockey.
When news breaks involving the Predators, we'll scour the web to keep you up to date on the details, as well as set those events in perspective.
Live Preds Talk From Twitter
I've set up a special page here at OTF (which can always be found under the "Library" menu in the navigation bar at the top of the page) which brings you the latest Predators-related talk on Twitter. Whether you're on Twitter or not, you'll find it a handy way to keep with Preds players & staff, as well as the bloggers and media members who cover the team.
Jonathan Garcia (@JGarcia36) & I will split up the game preview duties. On game day mornings, we'll have all the basic details assembled to set that evening's contest in perspective, along with updates throughout the day as important developments emerge.
Follow along with fellow Preds fans during games in the Game Threads, which can often turn into a fast-moving roller coaster of emotions as the play shifts back and forth.
As quickly as possible after each game we'll have a recap posted, including advanced hockey statistics you won't find anywhere else to help describe the action in greater detail.
Deep Dive Analysis
Caroline (@Carolianne_) will occasionally take a particularly interesting play and dissect it using a frame-by-frame analysis that would put Kennedy Assassination conspiracy theorists to shame.
The Business & Politics of Sport
George Scoville (@OTFGeorge) is our man in Washington, who keeps an eye on the business & political scene as it relates to professional sports in general and the Nashville Predators in particular.
Questions That Need Answering
Jeremy Sargent (@Preducated), formerly of The Predatorial, is slated to take on some of the burning questions around the Nashville Predators and the NHL at large, by tapping into the wisdom to be found in the wide landscape of hockey blogs.
Milwaukee Admirals Coverage
The newest member of the OTF Crew is Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSabres), who has contributed at our SB Nation sister site Die By The Blade. Jack is a student at Marquette University, and will be our "boots on the ground" in Milwaukee.
Preds Opinion & Analysis
As for myself, I'll chime in on various topics as the mood strikes me (I'm notoriously disorganized, so who knows which way the wind is blowing from one day to the next). I've been a fan of the game since the pre-Yzerman days in Detroit, have been a crappy rec-league hockey player since before Ryan Ellis was born, and enjoy using the nascent tools of hockey analytics to help understand the game at a deeper level than you'll typically get from a box score or post-game quote from a player or coach. The goal here at OTF is all about broadening and deepening the conversation about hockey here in Nashville; moving past the tired cliches and talking about more than just the Preds, or which opponent is coming up next on the schedule.
I hope you'll find this to be your virtual water-cooler for hockey conversation, and if you ever have questions or comments about what you see here, feel free to sound off in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.