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I turn my back for just a few days...

Well, I'm back at the helm after a few days at a conference in Las Vegas, but don't even know where to begin. Obviously I need to recap my picks from the conference finals (both duds) and look ahead to the Stanley Cup Finals, but when I flipped the radio on during my drive to work and heard about the impending sale of the Nashville Predators to Jim Balsillie, well, that was quite a kick in the nuts. This guy has no intention of keeping the team in Nashville, and money to burn through buyout fees or costly lawsuits to get his way.

This just underscores how disappointing the Preds first-round playoff exit was. A couple more home games, and they would have surpassed the 14,000 average paid attendance mark, and kept the lease buyout option off the table. Now, we're left with a deathwatch as a new owner takes the reins, undoubtedly makes some personnel changes that leave a diminished product on the ice, and loads up the moving trucks next summer for whatever market he can claim north of the border. Regardless of what the Canadian experts say, the hockey fan base is significant and growing here in Middle Tennessee, and today marks the beginning of a long, sad struggle. I was excited when I moved here 1.5 years ago to come back to a city with an NHL team, and I'm not at all happy about the prospect of losing that so quickly.