Monday, May 16, 2011

Report from Nashville: Game 6 and the Off-Season

Marie Meisel is a Nashville Predators season ticket holder and a guest contributor to Lisa's Lounge. Read along as she wraps up with the final Preds game this post season, and looks ahead to the summer...

by Marie Meisel

After the nail biter that was game 5, the Predators were welcomed Sunday May 8th by several hundred fans at the airport. It was great to see the guys smiling and enjoying their welcome home.

Monday was game night. Game 6, do or die time. We had our towels, we had our vocal cords and we had our passion for our team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and the Predators Magical Playoff ride ended in a 2-1 loss. We stayed for the traditional handshake and saluted our team with one last “Let’s Go Predators”.

It was sad to see the season end. No more trips to the arena, no more comparing notes with fellow fans between periods, no more overpriced concession stand pizza. All that was left was a round of hugs and wishes for a good summer to the various members of my hockey family.

But this playoff run was a huge step for the team and for us as a fan base. The team finally got over the first round hump. They took the best team in the regular season to 6 games, five of which were 1 goal games. Pred Nation finally received a measure of respect from many fans around the league for our passion and knowledge.

The Canuck fans who posted on our message board were respectful and appreciated our online version of southern hospitality. And many Canadians got to see what many of us already knew, hockey is alive and well in this part of Dixie. How about calling Nashville a new traditional market? We’ve borrowed a few traditions from other teams and put our own twist on them. We took Detroit’s octopus and made it our own by using a catfish. We have used the rally towel that Vancouver started. And we have our chants and the well known TV timeout standing ovation which are uniquely ours.

Now it is off season for the citizens of Pred Nation. We will enjoy the warmer weather. Get around to all those things that got neglected during the season. Get reacquainted with non hockey loving family members. For myself, I am in the process of buying my first home. I will be doing some traveling. I will catch up on my professional reading by going through the pile of nursing journals on my bedroom floor. I will drop by Lisa’s Lounge periodically to add columns on road trips and playing fantasy hockey. And perhaps even read a non hockey related book or two.

I will be checking various message boards though perhaps not as frequently. I will follow the playoffs as they progress towards the awarding the Stanley Cup. Good luck to Lisa’s Canucks. I will get together with my friend Robin to watch the NHL Awards show to check out the players all cleaned up. And see if any our guys: David Poile, Barry Trotz, Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne get an award.

Then the NHL Entry Draft in late June, though there is less excitement this year since we don’t have a first round pick. Wait to see what players are re-signed (especially our captain, Shea Weber) and who is let go. In July, there will be prospect camp. And as the calendar rolls around to August, training camp will start.

Until we meet again, in the words of Paul McCann our arena announcer...

Good night and good hockey!

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