May 11, 2011
(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here are Arthur and Jen from the Anaheim Ducks blog Anaheim Calling, fondly recalling the 2010-11 Nashville Predators. Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)
By Anaheim Calling
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life...
Unfortunately, that goal has eluded Pekka Rinne(notes) and Shea Weber(notes) the Nashville Predators. Woops. I hear they prefer to be called the 'Smashville' Predators, and I offer my sincerest congratulations to Kindergartener Bubba Joe Bob Pritchard III for his winning submission in the team-nicknaming contest.
At this point, you may be wondering why it falls upon Jen and me, Ducks fans, to write this eulogy.
Well, until recently, it was assumed that a postseason draw against the Predators was the equivalent of a first-round bye, wherein one lucky team was granted free passage into the semifinals after playing some charity exhibition games in the South, where hockey was gaining a fad following (along with flossing and indoor bathrooms). The Predators' five straight first round exits, with a record of 8-20, certainly sounds like an AHL vs. NHL exhibition series, almost a tradition at that point.
This year, Anaheim played the requisite charity games, but was shocked SHOCKED to discover that the rules had changed, and Nashville, er, Smashville, was granted NHL status.
Also, and let's be honest here, no one wants to write the Predators eulogy. It is, at best, a research expedition into the mere existence of a professional hockey team in Tennessee, like "Ghost Hunters" on ice.
But we're happy to do it, and to be third on Wyshynski's list behind the two ECHL bloggers who turned him down, thus dodging the jury duty that is writing about the Nashville Predators' season.
And it was a great season.
Yes, the Predators made it to the second round for the first time — and I hear Barry Trotz' neck grew three sizes that day — but, more importantly, the team executed a blockbuster deal to acquire Carrie Underwood's husband.
His name? Who cares?!?! It's Carrie Underwood's husband!
You know how hard it is to book her for the National Anthem? Not surprisingly, Nashville General Manager David Poile received a nomination for GM of The Year for his acquisition of Underwood.
However, I've heard rumblings that further acquisitions of the husbands of Country Music stars have proven difficult, and the team will, in the future, attempt to marry its players to established recording artists, instead. Taylor Swift is currently in talks to wed Shea Weber, and Martin Erat(notes) has agreed to principal terms for a polyamorous union between himself, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.
Just give Poile next year's award, now!
Will a slew of Country Music stars ensure the team sees the second round again?
Probably not, but they'll get plenty of use out of that stage area in their arena.
... well, we've reached that uncomfortable part of the eulogy, where it becomes painfully obvious that I didn't know this guy all that well. I mean, it's a hockey team in Nashville. How closely did you expect me to follow them? How much material did you expect me to have on the Jamaican bobsled team of the NHL?
Jen has family in the South, so I'm going to throw it to Jen. She probably has some insight into the Predators' season.
Because the Predators are boring. They're the kind of team usually on the wrong end of a Sportscenter highlight. By the way, the FBI has replaced bin Laden on the Most Wanted list with David Legwand's(notes) dignity.
Sure. I'm a little bitter that Anaheim was knocked out of the playoffs by a franchise that hadn't won a first-round series in their existence. (For those of you keeping score at home, it took the then-Mighty Ducks only FOUR YEARS after their inception to get out of the first round.) With the way the Preds were celebrating, you'd think they'd just won The Cup, not achieved something that should be the goal of EVERY team in the playoffs — getting out of the first round.
Oh, how pundits around the league were celebrating the success of this "non-traditional hockey market" and how expansion is finally paying off. WOW! An area that HAS SNOW actually succeeding in a sport that takes place on ice?! What's next?? A team in Southern California, with sun 360 days a year, winning The Stanley Cup?
A girl can dream, but then again, Orange County will soon be known for its machine-like ability to create the next great hockey player.
While my spirit was somewhat shattered after the first round, and I cursed everything that came out of the state of Tennessee (yes, even you Dollywood; which I've been to ... twice!), I did watch the second round. It would only be right that after my team was beaten. I cheered hardily for the Canucks to destroy every glimmer of hope that pulsed through the veins of Trash...er...Smashville.
I got my wish, but little did I know it would come after the WORST show of a sense of humor displayed by a franchise in the history of sports.
What were the Preds most afraid of? It wasn't Sedin One and Sedin Two, or the Vezina-esque play of Luongo (first round, notwithstanding).
It was two green guys in spandex suits.
Yeah, you heard me — TWO GROWN MEN IN SPANDEX SUITS. The last time I was intimidated by grown men in spandex, it was summer break and my mom made me and my brothers go to her Jazzercize class with her, because our babysitter was sick.
The fact that someone (ALLEGEDLY) in the Predators' organization was paid their salary to file a complaint with the league over the Green Men and what they hadn't done yet, is laughable.
Oh Nashville, we hardly knew ye. Another year where you sneak into the playoffs, and thank goodness the Canucks beat you.
Last thing this League needs is a Nashville vs. anyone in the Stanley Cup Final. I take pride in the fact that the Ducks were the lowest rated SCF series. I don't want to be beaten by Nashville there, too.
This was written by Arthur and Jen of Anaheim Calling. We can't stress this enough.