The Nashville Predators made history of a minor sort last night by advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and Tennessee seems to be catching hockey fever as a result. Here's David Climer, writing in the The Tennessean:
OK, OK. I realize that right now they’re rolling their eyes about all this in Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and those other NHL cities that own multiple Stanley Cups.
To them, the thought of celebrating a first-round playoff victory is a punch line.
Note to all you hockey snobs: Stick it. Or high-stick it, if you will.
Things are different around here. The Nashville Predators franchise has a born-on date of Oct. 10, 1998. Its previous five playoff appearances were all one-and-done quick exits. Advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is a big deal. Get over it.
Well, some of us are rolling our eyes, but not in the way ya think. Here's Paul Kukla, writing in his blog:
OK, OK, David Climer, I gave you a pass yesterday when you mentioned Stanley Cup and Toronto in the same sentence, but today, you must stop. Do you realize when the Leafs last won the Cup, there were six teams in the league. Please, if/when you write about hockey, do some research and no, I am not a hockey snob. But understand, more hockey people than ever will be reading your columns, so be prepared.
One more thing, Montreal does celebrate a first round victory, all you have to do is follow the game to know that.
Point, counter-point (I ALWAYS see Jane Curtin when I write that); both well taken. Toronto used to be a hockey power... much as Rome used to be a superpower. Same-o, same-o.
As for me? I'm glad Nashville advanced; I'm even happier Dee-troit didn't have to face the Preds in the first round. Pekka Rinne seems to have the Wings' number as Nashville took four of six games in their series this year. We all know the playoffs are different, so I expect the Wings would triumph IF they meet Nashville in the next round, or even in the Western Conference Final. Neither scenario is beyond the pale...
Will Nashville meet Detroit in the second round? That depends. IF San Jose wins their series against El-Eh and IF the Hawks pull off the "who'd a thunk it?" Game Seven win over Vancouver, then yes... our second round opponent will be the Preds. But those are two humongous "ifs."
Game Seven. There's nothing quite like a Game Seven in the playoffs... nothing. We'll have TWO of 'em tomorrow night: the Flyers face the Sabres after their OT win in Buffalo yesterday and the Hawks play the Canucks after yet another OT win. About that Hawks game...
CHICAGO – There is still one final excruciating chapter to be played out in this story and there will likely be more twists and turns between now and the puck-drop for Game 7 on Tuesday night.
But know this. For all the intrigue and drama already generated by the two teams through the first six games of their Western Conference quarterfinal – and Game 6 on Sunday night was basically The Godfather, Gladiator and Avatar rolled into one three-and-a-half hour epic - the final act will define this edition of the Vancouver Canucks for the next five years.
All the promise, all the talk, means nothing now. It comes down to one game which will be remembered in this market for a long, long time; not that Game 6 will be easy to forget.