Local hockey fans are quietly humbled today after the Nashville Predators failed last night to reclaim their NHL Playoff tradition of being eliminated in the first round.
“It’s a little disheartening to see that we still aren’t quite back to normal” noted Clyde Johansen, a Murfreesboro resident and Predators season-ticket holder. “You come to know and love these local traditions, these rituals, and having them upset like this, it’s…. it just disorients you, going on to the second round.”
Since their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2004, the Predators have consistantly lost in the first round every year until 2011, when they accidently made it into the second round and managed to sucessfully lose to the Vancouver Canucks. Many had hoped that the Predators would step up and return to their usual Quarterfinal-round dismissal this year; however, the team was unable to accrue enough losses against the Detroit Red Wings, and sealed their fate of advancing to the semifinals in a last-minute 2-to-1 win against Motor City last night.
“It was so close, we were all holding our breath there for a minute” said Johansen. “We all kept hoping that they could pull it off, that they could stretch this out to all seven games and bring normalcy back. The Preds were really striving to get back to form this year, you could just see it in their eyes. But I guess that a win is just bound to happen sometimes, and you have to accept that and move on. You know, to the next round.”
The Predators will now move-on to the Stanley Cup Semifinals-round against an as-yet undetermined opponent. Tickets are already available, though the date, location, and opposing teams have yet to be announced.
In the meantime, fans like Johansen will continue to make-do and hope for some sense of stability. “If losing in the second-round has to become the new ‘normal’, we’ll all just adapt, but it’ll never be the same.”
(Image found at mauvaisgardiendebut.blogspot.com)