When the sting of defeat begins to fade away and the Crying Jordan memes latch on to its next victim, the Nashville Predators and fans will realize the progress the franchise has made this season. The 5-0 drubbing in Game 7 wasn’t how it was supposed to end. This almost sports documentary worthy campaign deserved a better conclusion, but life rarely works out like your favorite movie.
The Predators’ season concluded similar to your long term significant other breaking up with you over text. It could have ended in such a more respectable way. However, despite the gut punch feeling you eventually realize the entire experience made you a better person/hockey organization.
Nashville changed the franchise’s outlook both on and off the ice in the 2015-2016 season. From the widely successful All-Star Weekend to the incredible playoff atmosphere at Bridgestone Arena, the hockey community had no choice but to recognize Nashville as a viable hockey market.
The acquisition of the team’s first top line center for years to come accompanied a franchise record point streak, and the longest journey the Predators have experienced in the postseason. The first home playoff overtime win. The first Game 7 appearance and victory. These franchise firsts allowed the organization to begin to break through figurative barriers that stand between Nashville and the top of the mountain.
The young talent that is prevalent throughout the roster allow the climb to the NHL summit to avoid being rushed. It’s not sexy, but small steps in the right direction are better than running down the wrong path.
The team enters the offseason without a glaring need. Sure, another accomplished scorer is like having another beer. No one is opposed to it. But the usual sharpening of the pitchforks towards David Poile to acquire a playmaking forward will quiet down. The majority of the team will be back in a gold jersey equipped with knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the playoffs.
All of that goes in one ear and out the other for a lot of people right now. The wound of defeat is too fresh. It hasn’t even stopped bleeding yet. When you hear the postgame quotes from Pekka Rinne in San Jose, a bucket of salt is dumped on the cut.
Once the time comes to take a deep breath and reflect on the past eight months of Predator hockey, a sense of acceptance and excitement for the future should take over.
Something else to keep in mind. If this season’s story was forecasted in the middle of January, there’s not a soul in Nashville that is disappointed.
The Predators’ opponent that stuck the knife in their playoff run provides Nashville with a valuable lesson. The Sharks have endured countless heartbreaks over the last decade. Likely more than any franchise deserves, but crushing defeats eventually provide the building blocks to becoming a winner. For the most part, you don’t find your soulmate on the first date you go on, and you don’t take home the Stanley Cup the first chance you are given.
With that, I want to thank all of those that read and followed along this season. It was more fun than I could have ever imagined. While this site doesn’t provide as much content and articles as some of the other amazing blogs that cover the team, I hope to always provide the readers with quality, thought-provoking posts for a long time to come. Thank you again.