Is there any other way to put it? A team that began the season with sky-high expectations came crashing down to earth in a six game first round flameout, dropping the series 4-2 to a Dallas Stars team that played their best at the right time. Let’s say this now… the Dallas Stars were the better team, they deserved to win this series, they had a book on the Predators and a plan, one they executed to near perfection.
There is plenty of time for analysis and tearing apart the details of what went wrong and why. I won’t go there right now. The wounds are too fresh, too deep but let’s be honest...
This one hurts.
Pred Nation is beginning to get an understanding of what Washington Capital fans went through before last season. They understand a little better how hard the trek to the top is, and so do the players. The post-game comments were object examples of that, the words disappointment, tough pill to swallow and one that surprised me a bit… love. Austin Watson mentioned it, Pekka Rinne mentioned it. The love this team has for each other and the profound sense of regret and lost opportunity was palpable.
You can see it in the fan comments as well… a primal scream of rage and pain. It’s easy for us as fans, to say well it they only did this, or why didn’t they do that, get rid of that guy or fire them all… but to see the pain and anguish on the players faces in the post-game gaggle. It brings the situation to a human level. I know I hate to be unsuccessful at my job and I could relate that to the players, knowing they have all summer before they have a chance at any kind of redemption and a year before they get the chance to truly wash the taste of this failure out of their mouths.
I fully expected to be at Bridgestone Arena tomorrow night, at least if it had ended there, we would have had a chance to say so long to our hockey family, that is a big missing piece to this lost season, an unfulfilled bit of closure before a long summer.
Plenty of decisions to be made in the next six weeks or so… two RFA’s and three UFA’s to deal with, prep for the draft, get ready for UFA Day… it’s been four years since the Predators have been bounced from the first round, only the second time in their last seven playoff appearances so David Poile and Peter Laviolette will have something they haven’t had in the past few years in May and June…
The Playoff Status
The Eastern Conference
(1) Tampa Bay vs (WC2) Columbus – CBJ Wins 4-0 – Next Up – Winner of BOS/TOR
(2) Boston vs. (3) Toronto – Series tied 3-3 – Game 7, tonight
(1) Washington vs. (WC1) Carolina – Series tied 3-3 – Game 7, tomorrow
(2) NY Islanders vs (3) Pittsburgh – NYI Wins 4-0 – Next Up – Winner of WSH/CAR
The Western Conference
(1) Calgary vs (WC2) Colorado – COL wins 4-1 – Next Up – Winner of SJS / VGK
(2) San Jose vs (3) Vegas – Series tied 3-3 – Game 7 – tonight
(1) Nashville vs. (WC1) Dallas – DAL wins 4-2 – Next Up – St. Louis
(2) Winnipeg vs. (3) St. Louis – STL wins 4-2 – Next Up – Dallas
- Milwaukee Update – The Admirals are down 0-1 in their best-of-5 playoff series with Iowa. Game two is tonight in Iowa. I would expect some reinforcements to be headed Milwaukee’s way.
- Stupid take – So apparently a local afternoon talk show host doesn’t know the difference between an injury and a healthy scratch. But then again, he doesn’t know the difference between a one year wonder and a consistent 30 goal scorer either.
- Get used to this team – There will be few (if any changes to the Preds lineup next season unless trades happen… Wayne Simmonds and Cody McLeod will probably not be back… I would like to see Brian Boyle back if he can be signed for reasonable dollars. Rocco Grimaldi and Colton Sissons are both RFA’s and should be back.
- Rookie – I have to say, Dante Fabbro did a very nice job in the playoffs. He’s going to be a good one.
- Game 7’s – I honestly want to take a break from hockey right now… but with two game seven’s tonight, that ain’t gonna happen. Leafs/Bruins at 6pm, Sharks / Knights at 9pm… strap in.
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