Smashville It's A Hockey City Too


In 06/25/1997 Craig Leopold announced that there would be an NHL branch for Nashville. Jack Diller was nominated the first president of Nashville Predators and in 07/09/1997 David Poile was announced as General Manager for the Preds (until today). Definitely, his impact was immediate when he brought none other than Barry Trotz (current Stanley Cup's winner coach with Washington Capitals) to coach the franchise and, since his debut with Preds in 1998, he remained the coach until season 13/14 when Peter Laviolette took on. In 1998's draft we choose none other than David Legwand, our greatest star that led the franchise in goals, assists and points with 956, 210, 356 and 566, respectively.


We had an inaugural campaign in 28-47-7, a period where other teams and any new franchise had initial difficulties. It didn't occur like Vegas Golden Knights that had a lot of perks and another big GM behind. He knew how to use this to set up an extremely competitive team. It was 5 long years until our first apparition on the Playoffs, during the 03/04 season. We finished in 3rd in Central Division and 8th in west conference with 38-29-11-4. The team had David Legwand, Martin Erat, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Steve Sullivan, Dan Hamhuis and keeper Chris Mason (current commentator of Fox Sports Tennessee). 2004 was also the year that Predators selected Pekka Rinne on the Draft. After registering the best campaign on that season, the following campaign was even better and during the 05/06, we kept growing with a novice that drew attention while playing 28 games, none other than Shea Weber. Weber joined to Timonen, Legwand, Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya and the kid simply noted 40P 17G 23A in 06/07 in a team that finished the campaign 51-23-8 which would be the best campaign of the franchise until last season. Unfortunately, we never got a great campaign in the Playoffs, but it was a great team that lived 4 following years going to Playoffs. If, during this season that already began, we keep playing like the post season, we will break this record. See the highlights of this period:

We achieved our first semifinal in season 10/11 and 11/12 on West Conference. The team already had Mike Fisher, Patric Hörnqvist, Jordin Tootoo e Pekka Rinne. The next two seasons were difficult but after Poile's decision to think about hockey in another way he brought Patric Hörnqvist and Nick Spaling. His first glimpse of names was the dynamic Peter Laviolette followed by Filip Scoresberg, James Neal and Calle Järnkrok. Nowadays, Laviolette is vice champion and Trotz is a Stanley Cup champion. Had we lost? Definitely not, because it’s an undeniable fact that since Laviolette's arrived the POV of Bridgestone's Arena rink is totally different and cheering. New faces were introduced like and Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala. After that, we said goodbye to Paul Gaustad and Mike Ribeiro (although he played very well…) and a new team was starting. We brought Ryan Johansen and with that we added balance, making the team stronger when Poile's daring was manifested again, when he trade P.K. Subban for Shea Weber in a 50-50 exchange with Montreal. Pointedly, Weber is much more technical than P.K., but look at what happened with the defenseman that was our captain for a long time. Since Weber is older than the others and his physical problems were evident, he had a compromised season while P.K. was growing up and turning out to be one of the league’s best defensive ofensive man. Defensive he is pragmatic and have a very incisive personality in the offensive zone, and the main factor: Subban only completed 29 years on the last May. And the beyond intriguing maneuver bringing Kyle Turris in an exchange involving three teams. We were then with an extremely balanced team, much younger and with half the cast possessing absurd potential. We said bye to Samuel Girard, and as seen in Colorado, the boy have much potential too: just see how he leads the puck to transition, today being one of the main defenders of Colorado Avalanche. But I brought Kyle Turris, who have the perfect chemistry for consistency of our second line with Fiala and Craig Smith, making Bonino play for the third line and the depth of the team has grown to a high depth to the point of making it difficult for Freddy Gaudreau debuting into the 2016/17 season’s Playoffs.


We have a person who leads this franchise in which we have immense confidence: our GM David Poile, that caused the Predators to turn into a fever in the country music city, making it a "Hockey City". We are going to our twentieth season and Poile has conquered the city's residents who today love the franchise, giving much return to the league. The Preds have 116 consecutive sell outs in the Bridgestone Arena and in this last season (2017/18), they have seen records of audiences, with a huge waiting list for each game. With 21 years, Nashville breathes Hockey and we make a lot of noise, you bet.

It is undeniable that the Stanley Cup finals in the 2016/17 season brought fans closer to the franchise. Everyone, children, adults, hockey fans or not, were crazy on Broadway and all over Nashville. Also, during these last two years, the number of children wanting to learn to skate doubled, growing among adults too: they’re looking for hockey lessons, skating, stick handling and puck control. We still have our children's school, and the demand has been fantastic.


With southern traditions not familiar to the NHL, how could country music "rednecks" fans (noting that country music even plays at Bridgestone Arena when the Preds score a goal), understand or like hockey? Doesn’t matter, because the fans already loved hockey and have now their own traditions: the famous catfish on the ice (making it clear to the radicals that the animals are already dead, they are just traditions) and The "Smash Car" tradition, which is a super creative and fun moment created by the fans. It's game-time madness at the Bridgestone Arena. It's arguably the NHL's hottest franchise. We are known to be on the side of the team at any moment, and the trust in our GM is enormous. In addition to everything Poile did to make Nashville breathe hockey, the Preds still hold community charities, that let every team envious: Making donations for hospitals, social campaigns and especially work against domestic violence and protection of women. All this brings even more passion for the franchise, and people wanting to get closer to the sport is always good for the brand.


All of this work by the Preds and our GM made us fans unite as one Predator, one body, unifying our chemistry, our twisted-franchise bond, city-hockey, citizenship. Yes my dear ones, you have real hockey in Tennessee, you have fallen in love with hockey in Nashvile, and above all, there's Nashville to be recognized as a major league center. Yes, our beloved David Poile, brings numerous returns to the NHL and in fact, we should have more recognition.


The regular season TV ratings of the team at Fox Sports Tennessee grew 160% year on year, from 0.8 to 2.1 on the market. In addition, the combined ratings of the Stanley Cup Playoff TV increased 62% in the first round from 5.5 to 8.9% per year, while the second round grew 34%, from 8 to 10.7. Regular season flows on Fox Sports GO rose 238%.


The Nashville Predators Foundation has distributed 149 grants totaling $ 607,639.32 (the largest single donation in Foundation history), surpassing the previous $ 515,000 high of nearly $ 100,000 for Nashville and Tennessee-based community services and charities.


The first round auction, during game 1 night, raised $ 20,000 for Humboldt Broncos (through the NHL Foundation). Rounds One and Two raised $ 12,493 through Smash Car and Jet for the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily. The Foundation also raised nearly $ 160,000 in nightly game auctions and nightly game sales, in addition to the two numbers above, for the two rounds of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Nhl.com/Predators had set monthly and annual page view records, exceeding the previous monthly high by 142%. We ended up in the Top Five in the NHL on page views, article readings, and screen views in the 2017-18 campaign. We have broken all previous records of page views, visits, video previews, and application downloads set over the last four years of high digital engagement with our fans. It was also in 2017 that ESPN chose the Predators as the number one franchise in sports, including values, experience with fans and online access.


After seeing a record 9 games on national television last season, the Predators have raised the number once again and will appear on NBC networks for 12 games in 2018/19. We will play one game on NBC and another 11 on NBCSN, the largest combined number of unique games allowed for a team this season. For the first time in the history of the franchise we had a pre-season game with FOX Sports Tennessee broadcast and another five with free broadcast at nhl.com/predators.


The Bridgestone Arena was named Arena of the Year by the International Entertainment Buyers Association. In addition, the home of the Predators turned around in 2017 Venue's Great Capacity Location of the Year of the Country Music Academy. and the Pollstar Arena of the year 2017 throughout the industry.


In a turnaround in this latest offseason, the Arena has received new 360 degree high definition LED tape plates, yet we have another incredible improvement with the new installations of ice edge glass plates never seen before. The glass will have incredible flexibility and can move up to more than 30 centimeters forming a ripple effect when a player hits the rim when giving or receiving a hit, which brings more safety to players.


The new feature was announced in this offseason by our Vice President of Operations Tim Friedenberger: "The safety of players is the first thing we consider when reviewing board panels systems. Among our hockey operations and facilities operations departments, we worked together to design this new system, totally customized for us. "


Such a feat and intelligence of our David Poile, the GM with more wins in the NHL and voted best GM in the 2016/17 season. In previous years we faced difficulties and yet he always had his feet on the ground, being always convinced in his work. I give myself the right to say that there is no Predator who does not like him. His job for the fans is to take your hat off. All his effort to make Nashville the hockey city it had become, even when being away from the great centers. We hope he can be with us for a long time. He does a behind-the-scenes job with excellent contract moves, smartly managing our cap.


David Poile will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the United States. The induction celebration will be held in Nashville at the JW Marriott on Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event will be on sale on August 13th. "When you're doing your work in hockey, that's what you love, and I do not think you ever think of some kind of recognition for what you're doing, but that's incredible," said Poile. "Being included in the US Hockey Hall of Fame is something I never thought of, and it's amazing to be included in every icon of USA Hockey."


Poile loves our prospects like no one else. The Preds Development Camp was crazy, kids looking for autographs of our boys, who paid their respects to the fans. Eeli Tolvanen, undoubtedly the most harassed, Grant Mismash, Häman Atkell and goalkeeper Tomáš Vomáčka. We have a fantastic body of scouts, just see our work for the last 5 drafts, and the exceptional eyes for defenders, in addition to Weber, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi are the fruit of this feat, and the work continues with Dante Fabbro, David Farrance, Filip Pyrochta and Vladislav Yeryomenko . We also got good eyes for goalkeepers, Pekka Rinne, Juuse Saros, our future, and names like the already mentioned Vomáčka, Milan Klouček and Miroslav Svoboda. Svoboda is already in Milwaukee at age 22, and many experts are starting to think of him as backing up Saros in a 3/4 year future. All this just to get an idea of ​​how good the work of our body of scouts is and also how Poile chooses people for each function.


Poile loves our prospects like no one else. The Preds Development Camp was crazy, kids looking for autographs of our boys, who paid their respects to the fans. Eeli Tolvanen, undoubtedly the most harassed, Grant Mismash, Häman Atkell and goalkeeper Tomáš Vomáčka. We have a fantastic body of scouts, just see our work for the last 5 drafts, and the exceptional eyes for defenders, in addition to Weber, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi are the fruit of this feat, and the work continues with Dante Fabbro, David Farrance, Filip Pyrochta and Vladislav Yeryomenko . We also got good eyes for goalkeepers, Pekka Rinne, Juuse Saros, our future, and names like the already mentioned Vomáčka, Milan Klouček and Miroslav Svoboda. Svoboda is already in Milwaukee at age 22, and many experts are starting to think of him as backing up Saros in a 3/4 year future. All this just to get an idea of ​​how good the work of our body of scouts is and also how Poile chooses people for each function.


And how not talk about the biggest offseason move he did at our affiliate of the AHL the Milwaukee Admirals. A new way of doing hockey, a new horizon for the Wisconsin sides and a sensational transformation to make a barn for our prospects to develop. There are no fewer than 15 prospects on the Admirals roster for next season. You can read this incredible transformation, Baby Preds in good hands.


Everyone today wants to go to Bridgestone Arena to watch the Preds. We had only 2,000 tickets available per game for next season, which were quickly depleted. Everyone wants to go, not because of the hockey that presented mainly in these last seasons, but for the love of the team, for love of the franchise. This season we broke public records to reach 17,594 spectators in the arena. We made a lot of noise and countless opposing players reported not being able to hear their coaches during the games. Yes, you cannot deny that the heat at Bridgestone Arena is unparalleled. 139dbs, this is Bridgestone Arena record recorded in the Western Conference Final of 2016/17 against the Ducks when Filip Forsberg drew the match in Game 4 of the series. During the regular season there was also a lot of noise there mainly in big games. In addition to being the best campaign away from home, we were the second best campaign, in fact that time passes and Bridgestone Arena becomes hotter, and a hellish place for opponents. My dream of one day being there stays alive, because I believe there is no place like our home, there is no cheer like ours. We are in fact the NHL's hottest franchise.

We are on a 45 degree rise and everyone sees that and there is no doubt that we are close to the glory, and David Poile said: "We really have something going on here.We are a very good team and we are very close. Would we have won this year? Could we have won last year? Yes. We just need to stay focused, and if we really believe everything we are saying here will happen ... Our players are confident, they are proud, they are committed and they want to win, all the time"


So we are going to our 20th season and in recent years we are growing a lot, although the expectation for last season has been to win the Stanley Cup and we have failed, we are still growing. Everything we've achieved in recent years, West Conference Champions for the first time in the 2016/17 season and reaching the Stanley Cup for the first time losing the series to Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games (4-2). This season we won the first title of the Central Division and Presidents Trophy which brings us two more banners to the Bridgestone Arena. We broke countless franchise records during the season, like winning 10 straight wins for example. Of course, the outcome of all this was disastrous, but we considered everything we did and the movements made by David Poile over the years. We do not have to go very far, coming back three, four years ago our centers were: Mike Ribeiro, Cody Hodgson, Paul Gaustad, Cody Bass; today we have: Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, Nick Bonino, Jänkrok Street. We are a very balanced team, we need to keep all that has worked and improve even more to get to the Stanley Cup, which is closer to SMASHVILLE! I emphasize again, we are in a 45 ° rise. #BelieveInSmashville and the Stanley Cup will come to the City of Music and Hockey!


(Special thanks to Nicoles Marques "Nikki", for a great help with the translate)


Original text from portuguese arctile translate writted in 10/6 - here


(Font: nhl.com/predators)

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