Nashville vs. Detroit: It’s all about context


First of all, let me just say that Nashville fans SHOULD be celebrating tonight. Yes, you pounded the Red Wings into submission. Congratulations. You got a well deserved victory and some much needed points to stay in the playoff hunt.

That said, let’s talk about a few things.

As I was scrolling through Twitter tonight catching up on all that is the NHL and CCHA (Congrats Michigan Seniors!), I happened to pull up a post from “On the Forecheck,” a blog that I frequent often and very much enjoy. ‘Forechecker’ does a great job of analyzing the game, the trends and the intangibles of the NHL, and especially his beloved Nashville Predators. So naturally, after tonight’s game, I hop on over there to take a peek and eat my slice of humble pie.

I was a bit surprised by what I read.

Before I continue, let me lay out this disclaimer: I understand that as a Red Wings fan, we are glutton for more punishment than almost every team in this league. We have a big bulls-eye on our back. When we lose a game, the fans of the team who won are going to let us know about it. This is all understood and is to be expected.

Now then, back to the matter at hand.

My man FC opens his post by stating:

You couldn’t have asked for a better script for this game; in the middle of a desperate playoff hunt, playing in front of a sellout crowd against the defending Stanley Cup champs and their greatest rival, the Nashville Predators came out with perhaps the greatest regular season win in team history, smiting the Detroit Red Wings 8-0.

 Some thoughts:

  • By better script you mean the Preds coming off a days rest after a Thursday game against the second worst team in the conference while Detroit pleayed the night before and caught a flight to Nashville at 1:00 AM? If I’m a Preds fan, I love that script too.
  • Greatest rival? What in the history of these two teams meeting has made this anything CLOSE to a rivalry? Detroit has won over 60% of the all-time meetings and have eliminated the Preds both time they have faced each other in playoffs.
  • Why is this the GREATEST regular season win in the history of the organization? Because you hung eight goals on us? In itself, this is a great feat, but Preds fans: would you rather beat a bad Red Wings team 8-0 or a good Red Wings team 4-3? Hey, I love beating up on teams as much as the next guy, but I am very aware when a team shows up and just doesn’t ‘have it’ on a night. It never tastes as good. The close games are what makes a rivalry. It leaves fans wanting more. Blowouts mean more money spent at the beer tent…for both sides.

The next paragraph is my absolute favorite:

In the final analysis, this result really came down to goaltending; Pekka Rinne is as hot as any goalie in the NHL right now, while the Red Wings might well be facing a crisis of confidence in their crease. Chris Osgood just came back Friday night from a team-imposed break due to his poor play, while their starter tonight, Ty Conklin, looked awful on a couple of these early Nashville scores. I’m wondering if Ken Holland started making some phone calls during the game.

  • Yes, Pekka Rinne is hot. He scares me. Very much. Come playoffs, I don’t want to see him. But…
  • The result came down to goaltending? Eh, I’d say intensity was the big key to this game, but if you want to say it was goaltending, then go for it. Yes, Conklin looked bad on a couple of goals, but on over half of them, Detroit’s defense was badly out of position and standing around, leaving the goaltenders on an island. Not much you can do when you just don’t have any support.
  • I’m assuming the Ken Holland line was a joke. If it was, disregard this next sentence. Yes, Conklin looked like Swiss cheese tonight, but he still has a 22-8 record this season and has been FILTHY good at home. And yes, Osgood just got back from his “personal time” but his record is pretty solid too at 19-5. I’ll take my chances come playoff time.

Look, the Preds deserve all the credit in the world for taking it to the Wings tonight. They wanted it and the Wings didn’t. But in all seriousness, celebrate what this game actually was and not what you want it to be. And to FC’s credit, he does that at the end of his post.

The Oilers are one of many teams battling alongside Nashville for one of the Western Conference playoff spots, so in the big picture, that game means even more than this one did. But for now, Preds fans can savor one of the most satisfying nights in team history, and look forward to what should be a very interesting week ahead…

This was a great win for a team that is fighting to make the playoffs and needs every point they can get. I just fail to understand how this can already be determined as one of the greatest moments in franchise history. If it sparks a huge run to the playoffs for Nashville, then yes, attach some extra meaning to it. But what if it doesn’t? What if you lay a huge egg against Edmonton? What happens if you miss the playoffs? Will you embrace that 8-0 win and hold on to it with a dead, lifeless kung-fu grip, while the Detroit’s and San Jose’s and Columbus’ (I can’t believe I just wrote that, FWIW) play for something more? It’s all about context. In an 82 game season, teams are bound to mail it in on some nights. Tonight happened to be the night the Wings did it.

It happens. Let’s move on. It’s all about context.

In the end, it’s like I have said throughout this post: this is a nice win for the Predators. Enjoy it. Savor it. But don’t make it something it isn’t or hasn’t become yet.

Just listen to your coach. He gets it.

“We knew they had played Friday night,” Trotz said. “We caught Detroit on a bad night for them. It is a gratifying win, but we have to keep it real. We can pat ourselves on the back for a night.”

FWIW, I hope the Preds keep the momentum going. I like them, their energy and their fan base. Just be careful what you wish for, Preds fans. You need every point you can get, but you have to come to the Joe twice more this season, and we all know how well THAT’S worked out in the past. Like I said, enjoy this one. But I sure would hate to see the Red Wings be the ones who eliminate you from playoff contention.

On second thought, maybe that would add to the ‘lore’ of this ‘rivalry.’

“We got humbled to say the least,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock. “I think we’ve got Nashville two more times. I’m sure we’ll remember.




1 Comment

Filed under This is a rant

One response to “Nashville vs. Detroit: It’s all about context

  1. I think this game was a wake up call! They played like garbage that night but since then they have been playing the best hockey of the season.

    Great recap of the game.

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