Friday Face-Offs, 5/20/2011

The season is over.  It’s time to both look back and to look forward.

2010 – 2011: A Season to Remember

The Predators and their fans will always remember this season as a season of growth.

The fans, and we in the media, were able to witness a team young in both history and players advance a round in the playoffs for the first time.  We were all able to witness the team not only win in hostile territory consistently, but to do so by winning in overtime for the first and second time in their playoff history.

Many players endeared themselves in the hearts of Nashville fans as well as fans across the NHL for their clutch and gritty play.  The world got to see why Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are elite players.  The world also got to see the heart and effort put forth from the top of the order like David Legwand, Joel Ward, and Mike Fisher down to the third and fourth lines like Jerred Smithson, Jordin Tootoo, and Nick Spaling.

For the players and coaches, their hard work and effort were rewarded with the fans showing their appreciation after the final handshake.

On the business side, this was the first year for new CEO Jeff Cogen and COO Sean Henry.  Dirk has done an excellent job detailing the business successes for the Predators this season.  It’s a remarkable turnaround to the trends, and it occurred during a time when the country’s economy is still reeling.

Many fans around the league will mock the Predator fans, the city, the market, and the successes we celebrate because they can’t understand what the big deal is about winning a playoff series or the attendance growth we’ve seen this season.  They won’t understand what the Predator fan has had to endure over the years.  They don’t understand what it means to not only go through the trials and tribulations of an expansion team, but an expansion team in a non-traditional market.

There are times that I pity those fans that love the storied franchises.  A Nashville fan has a special bond with their team that most NHL fans don’t get to have.  We’ve witnessed our team being born, gone through the growing pains with the team and are now (hopefully) seeing the team ready to flourish.

Work to do for 2011 – 2012

While it was a season of growth, it ended with some lingering feelings of what could have been and a lack of satisfaction.  That’s a good thing.

The series against Vancouver felt like it was there for the taking as Vancouver consistently struggled to score against Nashville.  If it were not for Ryan Kesler, Vancouver likely would have lost.  Kesler was the ultimate “difference maker” in a series where both teams played great in net and great defensively.  Contributing to Kesler’s ability to be the difference in the series, however, was Nashville’s inability to consistently generate offense 5-on-5 and, more importantly, in power play situations.

David Poile and Barry Trotz go into another offseason seeking to add offense and improve the power play.  Next week we’ll look further what lies ahead from a personnel standpoint for the Predators.

Ken Campbell (The Hockey News) Skeptical About Nashville

Finally, I’ve got to give my $0.02 regarding Ken Campbell’s recent article in the printed edition of The Hockey News.

All of us in the media today have an agenda at some level that comes through in our opinion pieces.  Most of us strive for integrity in our work and try not to twist facts and statistics when they so obviously do not support our opinion.  When we make the occasional mistake in our efforts, we attempt to be quick to own up to those mistakes.

Unfortunately, however, there are some in the media that are so focused on their agenda that they put aside any integrity and ethics to both push that agenda and pander to the worst in people.  Ken Campbell’s last article is not-so-shining example of that.

Fortunately, in the age of new media, for every writer like Ken Campbell that tries to purposely deceive and misguide his readers, there are many other excellent sources available.

And for those that want the real picture of the state of hockey in Nashville, read the Nashville bloggers and local beat writers.  They are not hard to find as the Predators have embraced the blogging community and have credentialed many.  They obviously have an agenda of wanting to see Nashville succeed, but they also tell it like it is.  If Nashville starts to decline, no one will be quicker to chronicle the situation and offer reports from the management, players and coaches of the Predators.

Those guys and ladies are on the ground practically every day to bring the news to you and, like Paul McCann says, Ken Campbell isn’t.

David Singleton

You are invited to follow me on Twitter (@SingletonPreds).  For game recaps of all Predators games as well as great insights on the Predators and the NHL, check out my HockeyIndependent colleague, Mark Willoughby (@TheViewFrom111).

 

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About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.

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