Choosing a hockey team, or any sports team for that matter involves various factors. Usually this includes location of team, the style of play, and success of the paticular team. Back during the lockout although the timing was rather strange I fell in love with hockey mostly in part to a hockey videogame (ESPN NHL 2k5). My friend was a huge hockey nut and we played the game constantly, the love of the game led me to obsess over real hockey and I decided I needed a team to root for. Even though I always casually followed hockey growing up I always despised the Red Wings, and New Jersey Devils so those teams were definelty out. I also grew up in Indiana with the closest team being the St. Louis Blues their was little interest in that team as well. Slowly I whittled teams down and low and behold Nashville was the obvious choice for a few reasons.
1) They were a team on the rise finally cracking theplayoff barrier and having a solid series against Detroit and with oodles of young talent and plenty of speed.
2) Barry Trotz always seems to play a close hockey game with lots of intense forechecking and consistently roled out multiple lines with balance.
3) Steve Sullivan is my favorite player I have always had great respect for smaller players in any sport, especially hockey he could play hockey both ways and was an absolute speed demon.
It seemed at the time they were a team on the rise who sometime in the few years after the lockout would make a deep playoff run. Frankly as a fan I'm still waiting for that push through the playoffs. As a fan Im still very passionate about the Pred's But always wonder realistically if playoff success is in our future. Obviously having a low salary cap salary does effect us But our core players we pay is equal or more than that of most NHL teams. I wont get into specifics of these players plenty of posts/ articles of been written on the validity of these contracts.
The best Predators team of this decade was very deep and balanced and included the likes of Paul Kariya, Peter Forsberg, Steve Sullivan, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell among many other soild NHL players. This team quickly got disposed in 5 games by the San Jose Sharks. Soon after this the team fire sale happened and we gave up lots of great players most notably Timonen and Hartnell to Philly and the notorious trade of Parent, and Upshall for Forsberg. The Predators to their credit seem to grind every ounce of talent out of every player and put them in to position to succeed, because of this they make the playoffs year in and year out But still have the same result a 1st round loss.
After the gut-wrenching loss to Chicago in 6 games I started to question if we ever will have the resources to actually compete for the cup. I'll admit giving such a battle and watching them win the cup gave me some optimism But the question is will we learn from it and get over the playoff glass ceiling or will we be forever doomed to good but not close to greatness. Regardless of what happens Im a Nashville fan for life i guess with a healthy dose of somewhat lowered expectations.
The question is then do Predator fans have a similar sentiment or is there far more optimism? I wanted to get the pulse of Nashville fans and see what your expectations were?