It wasn’t what Predators fans wanted to see, but today their season ended at home. A lot of people are going to have things to say about this series. The play of Chris Osgood and Dan Ellis will be prominent topics, as will Jason Arnott’s celebratory techniques. The search party for J.P. Dumont’s game also looks to be busy all summer.
However, what should be taken away from this series is how well Nashville responded to a team in the playoffs. Yes, they have been a fairly successful team over the course of their decade in the league, but it hasn’t been until this year that the city really seemed to embrace the prospect of playoff hockey.
This was the storyline last summer, and the franchise has been mixed up in ownership struggles and contract shedding ever since. However, the team that was expected to move north of the border looks to be locked into a city that suddenly loves hockey. Sure, it felt… different watching how that crowd reacted to goals or penalties or pretty much anything, but maybe the team staying in Nashville is for the best. This series could be the springboard for a strong surge in attendance, making Nahsville something more then just a football town.
There are a lot of things critics can throw at Gary Bettman, but the one thing he can be commended on is that his franchises stay put. He worked hard to keep the Sabres in Buffalo, made sure Ottawa was never in jeopardy with their bankruptcy, and did everything he could to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. With Hartford his only flaw, you really have to hand it to Bettman in his commitment to the cities currently housing NHL teams.
Not every league seems to be so lucky.