Now that Pred Nation has gotten their post-playoff primal scream out of their system, locker room clean out day has passed, exit meetings have occurred and the final press conference is in the books we might be able to take a realistic look at a Predators team that fell far short of expectations and we will do that over the next few weeks… but today… I want to take a few minutes to say thanks for a few folks…
Working as a part of the Predators game ops team is a joy in my life… the spectacular group of crazies that are responsible for the game presentation are an amazing group of professionals. From movie quotes to inside jokes, it is rare to work with a group that is so much fun to work with that care so passionately about the game and about putting on the best show in sports.
Our group is led by a man named Brian Campbell. Brian has been with the team since day one, starting out as a member of the Puck Patrol. I have always referred to Brian as a twisted genius… he knows how to read a crowd, knows what to play and when... more importantly, he know when not to play... and he knows that you always need to push the envelope. He creates an environment that allows us to be creative and fun and does an incredible job in herding the gang of cats that work as the game ops team. Brian is the heart and soul of the game presentation in Nashville.
I get to work with one of the nicest guys I know, the Senior Director of Broadcast and Entertainment, Bob Kohl. Bob’s knowledge and passion for the job is evident to everyone in the and I have learned so much from him and the from the opportunities he has afforded me.
One of the prime driving forces of the Nashville Predators organization is Sean Henry, the CEO of the organization. Sean is adept at walking in multiple worlds… but the one thing you can say about him is he is real people (despite being an insufferable Giants fan.) One of the more accessible business leaders I have ever encountered in my career, both in my day job and my gig with the Preds. He leads with and from his heart, encouraging us to do the right thing... and that is one of the highest compliments I can give to a businessman, Sean is an executive that should be emulated.
The team itself is a pleasure to work with… head coach Peter Laviolette is always friendly, always open and always has a good word. As I have met his family, you can see the type of man he is beyond that gruff exterior. The type of coaches he surrounds himself with also shows his character. The players, to a man, are just a lot of fun to work with… the regular pound from Ryan Johansen in pregame, the penalty box chats, the way they interactions with the fans and the way they have each other’s backs… This team just has an obvious love for each other… that came across clearly in the postgame quotes on Thursday and the clean out quotes from Saturday.
Ahhh… yes, a big thank you to Pred Nation. You guys are amazing. You brought it every night both inside and outside Bridgestone Arena. Sold out the season, sold out of season tickets, packed out the watch parties… and honestly make my job so much easier. You bring the passion, the noise and most importantly, the love every night. I am so proud of the Predators fanbase… there is no one… and I mean no one that comes close! Thanks for an awesome season.
One of the most important thank you’s goes to my family. They have gone all-in in their support of me and the team. The schedule is difficult and unyielding and their love and understanding have been constant and amazing… I am truly one of the luckiest people in the world to have such an wonderful partner in my wife Denise, my kids and their spouses are so understanding and supportive of this gig that takes me away from them a lot. I will be keeping some memories of this season very close, the group texts between my boys and I, getting to work on the radio show with my son, having my first grandson visit me in the box during pregame at his first hockey game, experiencing my daughter’s workplace with “The Jacket.” All precious, indelible memories of this season.
I will be spending the next couple of weeks breaking down the season, taking a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of a great regular season with a stinging disappointment at the end. We will talk about the draft and UFA Day. We will talk about the development of Preds prospects. There will plenty of words written… but for now… just one more seems appropriate…
The Playoff Tracker
… a daily update of the Stanley Cup Playoffs brought to you by Mark Lonsway - THE real estate professional for hockey fans!
This is the last off day, the last day with no hockey for the next few weeks.
Eastern Conference Final
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals – WSH leads 2-0 – Game three tonight in WSH
Western Conference Final
Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights – Series tied 1-1 – Game three tomorrow in VGK
SlapShot Radio’s tenth anniversary season is on. As the longest running hockey show in the region, SSR feeds hockey fans what they crave… intelligent, fun, entertaining talk about their favorite sport and we do it from the opening of training camp all the way through UFA day… the only local hockey show that does that.
We are on every Wednesday night at 7pm on the Predators flagship station, 102.5 the Game. Our next show is our annual playoff post-mortem.
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