The family is moved, the boxes are unpacked and the pictures are hung on the walls, so things have finally settled down to the point where I can focus on real priorities, like writing about hockey again! Just when I started to get this blog rolling I had a great job opportunity come up that involved relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, home of the up-and-coming Predators.
Seemingly tailor-made for the "new" NHL, the Preds have been a streaky team so far. Eight wins to start the year were followed by five losses, then five more consecutive victories. Hidden within those streaks were a number of overtime and shootout decisions, however, so the highs and lows are somewhat exaggerated here. Nashville should place a comfortable second in the Central Division behind the Red Wings and cause some serious noise come playoff time. This is a team that has made steady, incremental progress over the last few years, and is adding just enough star power (in Paul Kariya and Steve Sullivan in particular) to be a dangerous opponent on any given night. The true test will be in seeing how all the young talent on this roster develops over the course of the season.
However it works out, I'm pretty lucky to have landed in an NHL city which has a team on the rise and is just starting to catch the sports fans' attention around here. In Tennessee, college football is #1 and #1a, but with the Volunteers' disappointing season and no bowl game to look forward to, along with the dismal performance of the NFL's Tennessee Titans, the sports spotlight locally should shift a few months earlier over to the Predators. I'm sure they're ready to load up the bandwagon with as many fair-weather fans as they can get, since (as we all know) once you get a fan into the building to see an NHL game, they'll see it from a whole new perspective and will likely come back for more.