Hey Nashville newspaper, your hockey inferiority complex is showing – Chicago Tribune
Oh, Nashville. Your inferiority complex is starting to get the best of you.
As if Jay Cutler moving back there wasn’t bad enough, Nashville now has to endure another close encounter of the Chicago kind: a playoff series with the Blackhawks.
The cover of Thursday’s Tennessean, the city’s fine newspaper, features a photo illustration of a saber-tooth cat with a mouthful of feathers – four feathers, to be exact, in a familiar red-green-gold-and-orange color combination.
“Predators, meet prey” says the main headline. “The Blackhawks are the clear favorites in the opening round series,” the sub-headline reads. “If Nashville can pull off the upset, it will be the greatest playoff series win in franchise history.”
Should we tell them it’s just the first round?
The Hawks and Preds have met only twice in the playoffs, in 2010 and 2015. Both times it was a first-round series, both times the Blackhawks prevailed and both times the Blackhawks went on to win the Stanley Cup.
But those series evidently left a mark on Nashville’s civic psyche. The city and the team clearly has a case of Chicago-phobia, as evidenced by their (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to keep out-of-town Hawks fans from buying tickets to games at Bridgetown Arena, the Predators’ snazzy downtown rink.
“The Nashville Predators season ends as an outright disappointment if they can’t upset the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs,” reads the opening line of Joe Rexrode’s front-page column.
Well, yes. Here in Chicago, any season that does not end with a parade is considered a disappointment.
The Preds were clearly hoping to avoid another matchup with the Hawks. At the beginning of the month, Rexrode wrote that the Preds needed to put on a late surge to finish third in the division instead of settling for a wild-card slot, which is where they wound up.
“Their chances of following up this up-and-down regular season with a meaningful postseason decrease sharply if it’s Chicago in the first round,” Rexrode wrote. “That should be plain to see.”
It is, Joe, it is.
In case you were wondering, the Predators logo is a smilodon, also known as a saber-tooth cat. Skeletal remains of this critter were found in Nashville in 1971 during excavation work for the construction of a “skyscraper” – that’s what they call a 28-story building in Tennessee, which is kind of cute.
The smilodon is obviously – and fittingly – extinct.