by J.R. Lind
This Week In The 'Drome: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
East Bank vs. West End: The Titans got their man in former Arizona Cardinals coach and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt (Note to everyone in the media: W-h-i-s-e-n-h-u-n-t) and Vandy seems oh-so-close in naming its new head coach to replace James Franklin, who Vandy fans have turned on so fast, you'd think he changed the menu at Jimmy Kelly's to feature Asian-Portuguese fusion.
With all the equivocating over whether Mike Munchak was going to be fired, forgive the fans of the Two-Toners if they were a little anxious about the success (and alacrity) of the Titans finding a new head man, but Whisenhunt is the right kind of guy to change the team (not everyone agrees, of course).
As for Vandy, the latest buzz is that Williams will bring in Derek Mason from Stanford — a Frankln-type who has seen success at an academically-challenging school.
It'll be new faces on the sidelines this fall and it looks like it'll be the two right choices.
There was little such stomach-upset on the west side, as Commodore fans trusted that David Williams — who after all plucked Franklin from the morass at Maryland after oh-so-nearly bringing in Gus Malzahn.
The Week Behind
I Hate To Say I Told You So: So James Franklin's "men of honor" bluster was just a hot wind. He's out there, doing his job, flipping recruits from Vandy to Penn State and, lo, are the Vandy faithful miffed.
This is the guy they loved, though, but wearing Nittany blue instead of black and gold. The take-no-prisoners, don't-back-down attitude that once endeared him to Commodore fans is now showing its flip side: that ambition, when exercised elsewhere, is often ugly.
Dub Steps In: Every time you think David Poile has lost his fastball, he goes out and blows you away.
The overpaying of bottom-six forwards was a mistake. Not having a proven back-up for an injured (and still out) Pekka Rinne was a mistake.
In one fell swoop, Poile fixed both problems at once, trading one of those contracts — Matt Hendricks, a 32-year-old who can't score on a four-year deal — to Edmonton for their goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has had a bad year but a league-average career.
Meanwhile, the Preds picked up five points in four games and are on a two-game winning streak after finally winning a shootout against Philadelphia last night with a three-point effort from Shea Weber, who, you might remember, once signed an offer-sheet with the Flyers. Flyers fans certainly haven't forgotten.
Shorthanded Goals: If Vanderbilt basketball finished .500, they should rename the school for Kevin Stallings.
Despite having to put a walrus and a pumpkin wearing a wig on the roster last night, the 'Dores beat a very good Missouri team. The heptarchy that makes up Vandy's squad may be plum wore out by the end of the month, but they aren't backing down from anybody and, to Stallings' credit, nary an excuse has been heard.
The Carter Hutton Adventure: Just watch —
The "Staff Reports" Byline Really Makes It: It's pretty standard issue for coaches (and often players) to take out ads in the local paper when they leave town, which is exactly what James Franklin did Thursday.
John Ward, vice president of sales for The Tennessean, said Penn State paid for the ad.
The update mentions that Franklin asked for the ad to be placed and will reimburse Penn State once it's invoiced, but, still, terrible optics.
The Week Ahead
Looking Up: If the Predators intend to claw themselves back into the playoff conversation, they'll need to make noise this week. The surprising Colorado Avalanche are in town tomorrow, sitting third in Conference III despite numerous predictions they'd finish in the cellar. The once-surging, now-sliding Stars are in Monday for a Chambers Pot tilt and then the Preds hit the road to western Canada, opening the trip in Vancouver Friday.
Nashville is going to have to pass two of those teams if it wants to be in the playoffs and taking points off them is a sure way to make that happen.
Emails to jrlind[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.