The story behind those ‘Stanley Cup champion Nashville Predators hockey team’ signs inside arena

For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators won a playoff series last season. That led to respect nationally, buzz locally and, if one were to judge the content of the following sign, delusions of grandeur:

That image was tweeted by Nashville Predators beat writer Josh Cooper of The Tennessean on Feb. 14, and it sparked immediate befuddlement and concerns about bad karma.

So what was this? A misprint? Unabashed hubris? Some kind of psychological experiment to see if repetitive positive reinforcement can trick Weber and Suter into re-signing?

Actually, it's a mission statement. One fans weren't really supposed to see.

"They're primarily around the event level. It's not something that's posted all around where the public or patrons are going to be," said Kevin Wilson, manager of communications for the Predators.

"It's a mission statement."

The statement comes from Predators President Thomas Cigarran, who made it at a press conference and has repeated it over the last two years; like when the Predators' ownership group refinanced its credit facility in Jan. 2011:

"It will allow us to focus on pursuing our real goal: elevating Bridgestone Arena to the premier sports and entertainment venue in the country with a Stanley Cup Champion Nashville Predators hockey team as its centerpiece."

The statement has two parts: First, envisioning that Bridgestone Arena is the No. 1 venue in the U.S., after ranking No. 4 in Pollstar's third-quarter evaluations in 2011.

Second, envisioning the Predators as Stanley Cup champions. Even if it reads like a declaration.

"We're committed to spending more and making this a Cup contender," said Wilson. "Taking us to the next level."

Cooper's tweet caused some confusion to that end -- were these signs, like, at the concession stands?

Wilson said the signs are no different than you'd see in a locker room, asking players to picture themselves as champions. Hence, they're on the event level of the arena — near the coaches offices, and other places where team employees frequent — and not around the concourses where fans can see them, he said.

"It's not like you're going to walk through the front doors and they're going to slap you in the face," he said.

They also aren't being taken down, karma be damned.

"I don't think we need to explain our internal goals," said Wilson. "This was a quote. Everybody here knows what it means, and that's all that matters to us."