Welcome back to another installment of the soon-to-be-named Saturday article (send me your best ideas to my twitter @KrauseRobert37).
Tuesday, October 10, 2017, was kind of a ho-hum day in Nashville. The night that accompanied it, however, was GLORIOUS.
I will do my best to keep the gushing to a minimum, but this night was something I had not experienced in my 23 years.
So, without further ado, here is my review of the 2017 Nashville Predators home opener.
PREGAME: CUE THE TEARS AND CHEERS
(Photo: Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com)
I got to Bridgestone at 2 p.m. (I like getting places early, sue me), to partake in my second gold walk. The hockey gods literally rained on our parade. Those bastards.
As I took my place under the covered entrance of the gold walk (right next to the Ultimate Predator by the way. Hey dude!), I looked down the line and saw that the entire path to the arena was flanked by rabid Predators fans. At 2 o’clock. On a Tuesday. In October. You would have thought we won the Cup, not just the West.
The gold walk turned out to be a glorious example of how insane the night would get.
At 5 p.m., the doors opened and the legion of gold and white swarmed into Bridgestone Arena, collecting their replica championship banners on the way in. Chants of, “let’s go Predators!”, “we want the cup!” and “Crosby Sucks!” (he does), filled the air as the anticipation levels grew.
A little after 6:45 p.m., the voice of friendly neighborhood PA announcer Paul McCann welcomed the Loyal Legion back into their Home sweet ‘Stone. He then went on to introduce the opposing Philadelphia Flyers starting line-up, with, “Sucks!” chants reigning down from the Cellblock after every player.
After Paul finished introducing the Flyers, Paul went on to announce the entire Nashville squad, and folks this is where the chills begin again.
Name after name skated onto the ice, all leading to the newly minted captain, Roman Josi. The reaction Josi got, showed that the new captain had the faith of every Smashville citizen.
Then Pete Weber, the voice of the Predators, showed up, and in his glorious, golden voice, announced the return of the now retired Mike Fisher to Bridgestone Arena. This writer, teared up. This writer may have even bawled. May have.
Josi and Fisher had the honor of unveiling the Western Conference Championship banner, then joined in watching it rise to the rafters with 20,000 of their closest friends. A cacophony of noise drowned out the usually karaoke’d Predators’ pseudo-anthem, “Glorious” by the WWE Music Group.
Photo: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com
The cacophony never stopped.
Not when the Predators gave up five unanswered goals. Not during the intermissions. It never stopped being loud.
THE GAME: A LOOK BACK
The game itself was a story of three segments (appropriate for hockey). First, the Preds rode the wave of emotion from the pregame, scoring the first three goals (Smith, Hartnell, Bonino). Second, giving up five straight to the Flyers (MacDonald, Patrick, Filppula x2, Konecny). Lastly, the Preds came roaring back with the next three goals (Forsberg x2, Hartnell)- two of which came in the last 1:30 of the 3rd period.
The opener, now about a month old as of this writing, was a glorious example of how Jekyll and Hyde this team can be. They can play a tough, gritty defensive game against that team in red up North one night, and then turn around the next night and give up four goals to the Islanders.
Finding the proper second to fourth line combination that can be a consistent force in games, will propel the Predators to serious Central Division Championship contention.
Inconsistency in these lines, along with the goalscorers disappearing (I’m looking at you Craig Smith), will be the downfall of the Preds.
the Home Opener, for me, was more than anything I ever expected. The energy that I saw in that crowd was indescribable, the grandeur of the night lived up to every bit of hype. The game was a thrill ride even Walt Disney would be jealous of.
That’s it for this week, I will see you all next week for the first breakdown of the week that was in Tennessee sports. Tell me, in the comments and on Twitter, what was your favorite part of the Preds home opener? Have a good week, and remember: We are all HasBeens.
(Oh, and if you’re wondering where all the love for Samuel Girard is, do not worry loyal reader! He will be the subject of the first, longer, “focused” article coming in the middle of November. He’s earned it.)