The Long And Short Of It
“Even if their centers exceed expectations, it’s tough to see this team making the playoffs.” “The Central division is loaded and the Preds will be in the draft lottery again.” “The franchise is at risk of losing its fragile hold of its fanbase.”
Anybody remember hearing this back in October? Is 7 months ago too much to ask of our memory banks?
Let’s get a grip people. YOUR Nashville Predators have exceeded everyone’s expectations this season. A new coach and new identity typically leads to pitfalls early on before players gel and learn the system. That didn’t happen with YOUR Nashville Predators. They came out flying and built themselves a huge cushion before the struggles of the last month allowed other teams to catch and surpass them. However, that doesn’t change the fact they are in a spot that 25 other teams would love to have. 25….also where many in the media had predicted YOUR Nashville Predators to finish in the standings out of 30.
Do any of you remember who the ‘hot’ teams were heading into the season amongst those pundits? Dallas and Columbus. Go ahead and pick up your jaws up off the floor. Now you can argue that Columbus has been completely decimated by injury and that’s a fair point. Dallas on the other hand was the choice du jour of dark horse teams that will make noise in the West. Was I the only person that noticed they didn’t address their Swiss cheese defense? I will argue that Trevor Daley is their only blue-liner that makes YOUR Predators roster, a back-end that leads the league in goals and points.
You can thank Coach Laviolette for that. He has proven in his previous tenures that he will turn a team around immediately, something else that the majority of national media failed to factor into their predictions. It’s also worth mentioning that he has never had a goaltender like Pekka Rinne. An under-whelming Chris Osgood, Garth Snow, Martin Gerber, Kevin Weekes, Cam Ward, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton are the names that have back-stopped Lavy’s prior teams. Those names don’t scare anybody, yet he won a Stanley Cup and got to another Final with that bunch.
The point is this. The NHL regular season is more than 6 grueling months long. Players get worn down and play with nagging injuries all for the opportunity to play 2 MORE months of tenacious hockey to hoist Lord Stanley’s silver. It’s a loooooooooooooong season folks, let’s not have such a short-term memory that we forget the expectations we had and how far this team has come from last year.