While I do try to take this in with a grain of salt, this city has never had an ownership figure come out and say what all the fans would love for an owner to say. The only thing we've seen/heard from Bud Adams in years was the finger to Bills fans. And with the Preds, *former owner who does not warrant a mention* just kinda putz'd around during the honeymoon era, then raced out the back door. Tom Cigarron seems to be a different type of owner, much more hands on with a group behind him. After the jump, I'll rant about this and such.
What he does mention in his radio address on 104.5 was the idea that increasing and bettering the team/assets will create more value for the franchise as opposed to just holding on to what you have so tightly you don't grab anything else. Take a look at the Blackhawks. Bill Wertz didn't want to spend a dime, he just wanted to turn a profit. His son Rocky had different ideas. Now you can't get tickets to a Hawks game even after they raised the prices. Wonder who turned a bigger profit there?
It's a nice little thing that he sits in the lower section (listed the section on the radio) and goes through the usher just like we do. And yes, I love that he mentioned about the fact I have to shuffle around my beer to show my ticket to the guy and try not to end up wearing Bud Light cologne the whole night. To the blue collar fan who doesn't get to go to every single game like myself (ME STRONG RETAIL WARRIOR!!!) it is nice to see someone coming from the same place. Maybe its a cheap play to the fans, maybe it's real, I don't know nor care. I need to remind myself and others that most of the fans in the arena are not members of the lunatic fringe. At least, not yet. Everyone's money spends the same, and if some guy thinks that makes a difference to him enough to buy a ticket, I'm all for it and everything else that prevents spilled beer and popcorn.
There are three things on my mind on where the franchise goes from here-
- Is this guy for real? The kool-aid tastes great and all, but I'm not finishing my glass until Weber is resigned. Hell, we pulled off the smartest free agent signing of the summer with Lombardi. I'm already too excited for words to describe for this season, but I just don't want to be let down by the ownership for promises they can't deliver. Dear Lord I hope he does, nothing that is not related to the divine return of my savior would make me happier. Seriously.
- The growing fanbase. Have a look at the UFC for a second, and rewind the clock some. In 2002, most people didn't know it was still going and having events. 2003/2004 the UFC lands a show on a newly renovated cable network, targeting a niche audience. What happened then was magical- people started watching and felt part of an exclusive following. Soon after, everyone wanted to join. Nowdays, you can't pump gas without seeing some tool in a Tapout shirt (available at your local Ross or Marshall's). The same thing can happen for hockey, and especially here. We're still the minority here.
- Perfect timing. The NFL looks like it's heading for a long battle between the NFLPA and the owners regarding the salary cap. As Charles Barkley said today on the Dan Patrick show, the NBA could be heading for it's worst stretch ever if UFA's keep banding together; "It'll make even more teams in the league unwatchable." (Um, the league itself is unwatchable to me... but whatevs) Hockey can be right there to fill the void. To the average guy, the lunch pale/grinder/tough guy persona that is cherished by the league (and that the Preds usually take on) is a nice contrast to the millionaire quarrels that stand to hurt both the other two aforementioned leagues.
In closing, it's a great time to be a hockey fan, especially here in Nashville. The front office may finally be able to use the same tools that the enemies have owned for years...
...and one can only wonder what David Poile can do with some real money. He's already proven how smart he is (ditching ArWon't, getting a prospect for him, signing a better, younger player for less money), having the capability to build and retain talent should keep that smirk on him for a while.
Maybe even Trotz will crack one.