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Predators Win Some Respect

From Stu Hackel at the Red Light at SI.com:

Yes, it has taken the Predators 13 seasons and five trips to the playoffs to win a round. But what they won on Sunday was more than a fourth game over the Ducks. They’ve finally won some respect and heightened relevance in the hockey community.

The Preds have for too long been an afterthought among fans and the media. That’s not surprising considering their southern location in a culture that still looks oddly at where a team plays its home games. And in this case, Nashville’s identity remains so wrapped up with the Grand Ole Opry, cowboy hats and big hairstyles that fans have had lots of material for derisive jokes. But the days of a half-filled home arena are gone. Jim Balsillie and Boots Del Biaggio are a distant memory. The Predators play in front of a packed house with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan base.

Still, as long as playoff success eluded the Preds, the hockey world could afford to ignore them regardless of how well they did during the regular season.

The fact is, they’ve done well.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Nathan's avatar

Actually, I think the astute pundits and fans in the “hockey world” have long given lots of credit to the Predators, especially Poile and Trotz, for a consistent level of play in spite of the turmoil surrounding Balsillie, Boots, Leipold walking out, the lack of corporate support in the area, and a shoestring budget, both pre- and post-cap.

All they’ve done is continue to draft and develop good hockey players (probably better than any other team in the league—and I say this as a Red Wings fan). They take guys off the scrap heap or late in the draft (Rinne, Hornqvist, just as a start) after they are forced to trade talent on or let it walk.

Look at the players that have come through Nashville on the blueline that they’ve survived the attrition from. Timmonen, Hamhius, Zidlicky, even a guy like Zanon… these are really good D.

And how about the goalies? Dunham, Vokoun, Mason, Ellis, Rinne, and Lindback. And how good did any of those guys do after they left Nashville? They’ve got a smart system.

This might be their first series win, but under the circumstances, has there ever been a season in which you could say the Preds underachieved? Or hell, not exceeded expectations? The only season that comes close to them missing expectation for my money is the year they saddled up and traded for Forsberg.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/25/11 at 05:43 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Nathan is correct.

While a nice milestone, given enough 1st round chances eventually a team will win and move on.  Trotz gets a lot out of not much, and they sure know how to teach d-men to support their goalies to make them look better than they probably are.  It’s no small feat.

But really?  All this does for most is make us yawn and expect a they’ll be clobbered by the happy end of a hammer in the 2nd round by a more-experienced, deeper team.  Because that’s what generally happens.

Nothing has really changed—NAS is still not a contender.  When they truly become a contender (one that is a contender form start to finish)... then they’ll have finally achieved something more.

Posted by Primis on 04/25/11 at 06:54 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

hit the nail on the head primis.
Hope they eat up this round 1 victory, cause x2 is coming their way…
Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/25/11 at 05:59 PM ET

Although…a Wings/Preds WCF would be nice to see.  No SJ.  No Van.  No little brother.  The next best would be LA as long as I didn’t have to listen to their commentators.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 04/25/11 at 07:03 PM ET

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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.

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