Hey, first I want you all to know that we are here to hug it out.
The undeniable truth is the Nashville Predators were eliminated in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs by the Winnipeg Jets. After an incredible regular season performance, every fan struggled with the Predators on-ice performance from the moment the puck dropped against the Avalanche. But we can control how we react to the loss, and how we choose to present ourselves to the league and to our friends and family through the rest of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which a bunch of dumbass teams we all hate (except Dan and his love for the Lightning) compete for the greatest trophy in sports.*
With the Preds having disappointed us all in such resounding fashion, all we have left is ourselves. To make this pit of emotional tar more bearable, I would like to offer up a range of approaches for coping.
THE TRUE FAN
You are the True Fan. No one can fathom the depth of your anguish or appreciate the righteous anger you feel. Your one talent is being able to identify other True Fans. This talent allows you to create a world of us vs them. True Fans didn’t deserve the Predators in the first place. In fact, they probably voted for the disgraced ex-mayor who voted to kick the Predators out of Nashville. They are traitors.
THE EMPTY FAN
You are the Empty Fan. You probably cried as the Predators were getting eliminated. You might’ve cried at other points in the series as well. Feeling emotions is good and healthy. But now you feel empty. You were the Nashville Predators and now you have been eliminated. Sorrow has been replaced with nihilism. You feel compelled to smash airplanes on sight. DO NOT SMASH AIRPLANES ON SITE. Despite your hollowed out self you cannot fathom why other fans do not seem as invested as you were. “How can they just go to work? How can they eat a pulled pork sandwich? Why won’t people acknowledge how good Papa Turney’s bar-b-que is?”
THE SMART FAN
You are the Smart Fan. You are a hidden genius among children. You feel emotions like the Empty Fan, but they do not control you. Anyone who bothers to question you is a dullard. The team failed you. The team failed the city. And you know why. If the team had only listened to you, Coach Laviolette would have made the appropriate on ice adjustments. You also have faith. David Poile makes things happen. Wondrous things. He doesn’t always get it right, but no one is perfect.
You are the Analyst. The Predators have been doomed since half-way through the first round. Numbers don’t lie (except for the Vegas Golden Knights). The team had obvious issues regarding their systemic approach to the game, leaving them vulnerable to the exact style of hockey played by every other team in the Playoffs. You also have a chart to demonstrate why the same issue didn’t prevent the Preds from securing the President’s Trophy through the course of the regular season.
THE RATIONAL FAN
You are the Rational Fan. Your twitter bio reads “yeah, but…” You are happy with the President’s Trophy and the record setting season. You’re disappointed by the weak Playoff performance, but you know the Predators are stacked for years to come. You are broadly well adjusted, everyone hates you for it, and they will let you know. Everything’s fine unless you slowly evolve into the Rationalizing Fan (simply the Rational Fan but with a lot of pleading).
You are the Media. You lecture people. You are right. You have access. You want to drive attention to your content, so you need a compelling narrative and a sexy, hot take to sell. You also don’t want to piss off the wrong person in the Nashville Predators front office. That would be bad. There would be repercussions. Your identity is at stake. Better post an animated gif and move on.
THE JADED RETIRED BLOGGER
You are the Jaded Retired Blogger. You live in a state of zen apathy, even though you never stop talking about the Predators on twitter. You think you are better and smarter than a lot of the fans. You know you are better than the Media, even though they put in the work you never bothered to. That shouldn’t matter because your opinions and analysis should validate your existence rather than doing the basic stuff required of actual hockey journalists and analysts. The Predators losing was inevitable, you knew it, and you didn’t even pick the Predators to make the Conference finals. No one cares about esports.
THE BANDWAGON FAN
You are the Bandwagon Fan. Everything passes with time. A new team will finally win a Stanley Cup. The Predators will try to win again next season. Poile has already taken steps to restock the team, and the future is bright. Now go out and enjoy the sunshine.
All stats provided by Chris Link.
*This is a deeply absurd statement because the FIFA World Cup Trophy or the European Champion Clubs’ Cup both are probably more highly sought after, more difficult to win, and more internationally prestigious than the Stanley Cup.