What was the biggest Nashville Predators story of 2009?

With the calendar year almost complete, it's time to reflect on the year that was for the Nashville Predators, and make your pick as to what was the team's Biggest Story of 2009. Once you go through the list, it's amazing to see how busy the year was.

After the jump, take a look at the contenders and make your vote...

Nashville storms to 8-0 victory over rival Red Wings
Has there ever been a better night of Predators hockey? A sellout crowd on a Saturday night gets treated to a whooping of Nashville's greatest rival, featuring a hat trick for the captain, Jason Arnott.

Predators achieve key attendance goal
Despite losing Alexander Radulov the previous summer and failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, the Predators averaged 14,190 in paid attendance, earning a full portion of NHL revenue sharing, a sign that the business side of the team is making progress under new ownership.

Predators fans "Tweetup" in Nashville
The burgeoning community of hockey fans on Twitter (where you can find me at @Forechecker) gathered together on the first night of the NHL playoffs, as Nashville participated in the network of Tweetups in cities across North America, hosting one of the largest events with roughly 100 hockey fans coming out to celebrate the sport.

All talk, no action as Radulov discusses return to NHL with Preds GM
Despite David Poile's meeting with Alexander Radulov at the World Championships, there remains little hope that we'll see the goal-scoring winger return to Nashville any time soon.

Boots Del Biaggio pleads guilty
The lingering bankruptcy of "Boots" Del Biaggio continues to hang over the organization, as his share of the ownership is held up in court. Supposedly Canadian investor Brett Wilson stands ready to buy into a minority position once this mess gets sorted out, although the team leadership insists it has no affect on day-to-day operations.

Predators make their mark at IIHF World Championships
While Alexander Radulov scored the gold medal-winning goal at the World Championships, many other Nashville Predators made an impact as well. Shea Weber was named the tournament's Best Defenseman for Canada.

2009 NHL Draft: Nashville Predators select Ryan Ellis in 1st Round
In a shock to most Predators fans, Nashville went with a defenseman in Ryan Ellis with the #11 pick in the 1st Round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. After seeing him in training camp, however, many can't wait to see what Ellis might be able to do on Nashville's power play in coming years.

Steve Sullivan re-signs with Nashville Predators for two years, $7.5 million
There was a bit of drama that got played out over Twitter as a misunderstanding over Sully's demands became public, but this story had a happy ending for Preds fans.

Nashville Predator Steve Sullivan wins 2009 Masterton Trophy
After nearly two full years away from the game, Steve Sullivan's return from back injury on January 10, and point-per-game performance down the stretch, earned him the NHL's 2009 Masterton Trophy. It was the first major NHL Award earned by a Nashville Predator.

Craig Leipold unloads on Balsillie and Rodier, alleges attempts to undermine the Nashville Predators
In a statement filed as part of the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy, former Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold alleged attempts by Jim Balsillie's legal representative to undermine the team as far back as 2005. It was a stunning expose of how elements of the Nashville media and city government were manipulated into nearly running the team out of town.

Nashville Predators new third jersey debuted in a surprising way
The Preds made a splash by getting country/pop music superstar Taylor Swift to debut the new 3rd jersey during the encore of a concert in Nashville.

Toronto gets Kessel
Preds fans were teased by the prospect of David Poile bringing a high-priced goal-scorer, but ultimately the Maple Leafs won the bidding for Phil Kessel.

Nashville Predators to no longer play in the "Sommet Center", sue Sommet Group over naming rights
A dispute over the non-payment of arena naming rights fees turned ugly when the CEO of the Sommet Group pointed out to the local newspaper that Preds principal owner David Freeman has a tax lien on his house. It turned out the Sommet Group had their own troubles, too.

Metro Sports Authority appoints financial liaison to work with the Nashville Predators
After stirring up controversy by questioning the team's finances during public meetings, the Metro Sports Authority assigned a liaison (the former CFO of Vanderbilt University) to address the city's concerns in a more professional manner.

Are the Nashville Predators a real Western Conference power?
Despite broad predictions that Nashville would miss the playoffs (including Ross McKeon of Yahoo calling for a #29 overall finish), the Preds have fought through injuries to key players to position themselves as a solid playoff team, flirting with Western Conference leadership at one point.

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