Today as many of you are pulling on your lucky socks or pressing your favorite shirt, you realize that you’re just going to be absolutely worthless at work. Unless, you happen to have a job that involves talking about Nashville Predators hockey.
Coming from a town that even despite having won a Stanley Cup, the local media wouldn’t know a slap shot if one hit them in the bridge of their nose. Here, the media has embraced Smashville and <gasp> on top of that, they’re knowledgeable.
But, back to what has me already antsy. I told Penalty Box Radio’s editor, Justin Bradford, a week ago that this town was about to take the ride of their lives after eliminating the St. Louis Blues to compete for their first Western Conference title in franchise history. It’s intangible, and as has been the case with Nashville raising the bar every single time (see the noise levels and TV ratings as the series against Anaheim has progressed), I attempted to paint a picture that illustrates the magic that surrounds a conference final.
For one, you’ve got two teams that are typically a little more familiar with one another rather than your cross-conference teams whom you only play twice. Couple that with the post-season history between the Preds and the Ducks, and you’ve got a cauldron that is ready to boil over. In fact, these first 5 games have easily been the nastiest (and toughest) Nashville has had to face this post-season.
But as you pull into the parking lot at your office and begin the agonizing countdown that starts from hours down to minutes, it slowly begins to become a reality, that tonight…in the bowels of Bridgestone Arena…there’s a special guest in attendance. He’s 49 years old and stands probably not much more than 2 1/2 feet tall. Grown men fight, bleed, sweat, and go to the depths of hell to meet him and when they finally do, hardly extend their hand to him.
Monday night, the Clarence Campbell Bowl, awarded to the winner of the Western Conference Final, will be inside of Bridgestone Arena, and he can very well make an appearance sometime later that night (or early in the morning).
I’ve stated my history before. I’ve seen a Stanley Cup won, I’ve seen it lost, and I’ve seen Conference championships lost. The latter, I’m here to tell you, hurts the worst. But we’re not going to talk about that. We’re here to get you through, at the time of this being drafted, the next 12 hours.
Tonight, Nashville, is your grand stage. This is it. Sure, if bounces don’t happen to go your way tonight, you can still meet Mr. Campbell on Wednesday, but you don’t want to tempt the hockey gods. They’re fickle like that. Besides, you want to meet Mr. Campbell tonight. You want to see the glimmer and the sparkle. Honestly, he doesn’t care if he’s touched tonight.
He’s your key…to something…magical. Something that hockey fans and players as kids go to bed dreaming about. She’s even more beautiful. She’s taller and slimmer (but she’s a little more heavy). She has notches of every man she’s ever been with, yet she’s as pure as a priest on Easter Sunday (though she’s got some stories that would make a priest blush).
The hockey world will cast it’s eyes on you tonight, Nashville. I hope the calls for a Guinness World Record “tracker” or whatever their official title is called will be heeded. You were a fraction of a decibel away from breaking the indoor sporting noise record on Thursday.
Don’t hold anything back tonight. Clarence is not startled by loud noises. Besides, if you meet Mr. Campbell tonight, you’ve got a full week until you can make plans with Lord Stanley.