Kukla's Korner

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Next Year Nashville?

from Pekka Rinne at The Players' Tribune,

We lost. It was over. There was nothing there.

And then you got to the locker room, finally, where no one could see you or hear you, and all of that emptiness turned itself into emotion. Looking around at everyone — everyone who had fought with you all the way to a Cup final, to a Game 6, to a bounce away from a Game 7 — and it was hard to keep your emotions in check. They weren’t even all bad emotions. I was proud, for sure — both of this team and of myself. And I definitely wasn’t breaking sticks or anything. But I was still … I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to explain. There was nothing left to do, you know? So I just sat at my locker, and I looked at everyone, and I thought about everything, and I cried.

A lot of the guys did. A few of the guys talked, eventually. Mike Fisher got up first, and said some words. He talked about how proud he was to be a Predator, and how proud he was of this season. I think a lot of us were still too emotional to talk yet — so it was good of Mike to get up. After that, Joey spoke. Obviously he’d been injured, and was having to watch from the crowd, and wanting to be out there so bad — I know how tough that had to have been. And then P.K. spoke, and of course he was awesome — pure P.K. He talked about how fun this was. And about how glad he was to be here. And about how much confidence we should take with ourselves going into the next season.

It was a really good speech. They all were. But to be honest, that last part … at first, when P.K. said it, I think it was kind of hard to wrap my head around. “Next season” just didn’t really seem like it mattered much in that moment. Wait till next year — it’s a cliché for a reason, right? No one’s ever talked about “next year” while holding a trophy. And so I think I just sort of put it out of my mind. I left the arena, went back home, and had a nice, quiet night. My old goalie coach, my friends and family, my girlfriend — they all came over to keep me company. And we just enjoyed a little wine, shared some stories, had a few laughs. It ended up turning into a lot of reflection — a lot of looking back, and thinking about how I got to where I am, now, here in Nashville.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com