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The Off-Season You’ll Always Remember, but Want to Forget


From the standpoint of fans and non-fans alike, many have asked me about the Predators off-season and most recently about the tragedy of Wade Belak. All I have been able to say while bowing and shaking my head is that “I just don’t understand.”

Now news has come out of Russia about the plane crash that took the lives of 44 individuals connected to the KHL hockey squad Lokomotiv. Former Nashville Predators Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek, and Robert Dietrich were among those lost in the crash alongside many former and future NHL’ers. Their deaths are a grim reminder of how much we take for granted the gifts, talents and longevity of these individuals and their love of the game that we in turn love to watch them play.

It was many a career cut short all too soon yesterday morning. Once again, this writer turns his heart and prayers towards the families and loved ones whose loss can never be measured. I feel for every person who has been affected by the events over the last year with the passing of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak and I may never understand why these people were taken way too early because my worldly mind can’t wrap my head around such loss to the community, the ice, the fans and the world.

The foils and snares of the off-season of the Nashville Predators now seem petty and irrelevant considering what has truly been lost over the last year. We’ve all had our differences of opinion when it comes to the almost fire sale that Poile has orchestrated over the summer.

We groaned when yet again Poile did nothing to fill some of the glaring needs of top six scoring when free agency rolled around.

We moaned about the Weber situation and the resolving plan that involved arbitration.

We gnashed our teeth when we almost lost our RFA’s to free agency all because of a clerical error.

But, through it all, even in the midst of grumble-filled comments and not-so-subtle barbs thrown at Poile, the ownership group and Trotz we still have our team. As rag-tag as this bunch may be that appears at training camp next week, in the end, we still have a team.

We fought through our own relocation troubles and we still have a team.

We fought our way into the second round of the playoffs and we still have our team.

We may have lost some soldiers along the way, but I know I feel a lot better knowing that they are looking on from higher perches at the fact that we still have a team. Never take for granted the time you have, it is almost always less time than you can imagine.

To all the players out there that have been called home, always know that we remember you, love you and hold you in our hearts and you will always have a team.