Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Roller Coaster Season Part I: All Aboard

The Nashville Predators were coming off the most heartbreaking of losses. Nashville had the Chicago Blackhawks at their mercy in game five, threatening to take a 3-2 series lead back to Bridgestone Arena. But the Predators had hit their glass celing once again. After giving up the tieing goal with only 14 seconds remaining in regulationn, Marian Hossa ended the game in overtime giving the Blackhawks a one game series lead. That one game series lead, however, felt like a four game series lead, and Nashville wasn't able to recover as they fell once again in the 1st round of the playoffs. The Nashville curse once again took hold of the Predators and yet another disappointing post-season lead to a pesimistic offseason.

Will the Predators ever get over the hump?

On June 25 in Los Angeles, California, the 2010-2011 NHL season kicked off (sorta) with the NHL Draft. With the 18th overall selection, the Nashville Predators selected Austin Watson, a right winger out of Ann Arbor, Michgan. Watson brings scoring ability along with playmaking ability. He compiled 34 goals and 34 assists in 68 games with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL in the 2010-2011 season.

Now of course Austin Watson had no impact on the 2010-2011 season for Nashville, but it did kick off the best season in franchise history.

Just a week later, David Poile and the Nashville Predators made a move that everyone hoped for but no one expected.

On July 2nd, Nashville signed free agent Matthew Lombardi. The former Phoenix Coyotes center brought the speed and skill that the Predators needed. Lombardi gave Pred Nation a reason to believe that the power play would be affective. A few hockey writers even gave Nashville a chance to make a deep playoff run or take the central division. Kevin Allen of the USA Today called the Predators a "legitamate Cup contender."

Respect had been hard to come by for the Nashville Predators and their fans but whispers of admiration were in the air around the 2010-2011 Nashville Predators.

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