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These Predators mirrored the 2000 Titans

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Our fine city’s pro-sports peaks are now parallel:

A surprise season that fell just short of a championship; A spectacular regular-season follow-up that created massive expectations; A failure to live up to them; And a franchise absent the Lombardi Trophy and Stanley Cup we anticipated would arrive.IMG 8664

Music City remains a “new’ entry in the NFL and NHL, with teams that started out here in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

We’ve hardly got the tortured existence of some franchises or cities.

But the way the 2017-2018 Predators lost a second-round series to the Winnipeg Jets after a Presidents’ Trophy regular-season closely mirrored what unfolded for the 2000 Titans. 

They were linked last night as Eddie George joined Sheryl Crow to wave the gold towel and get the crowd amped.

That Titans team followed up a Super Bowl appearance with the NFL’s best regular season and a first-round bye, then bombed at home in a shocker of a loss to Baltimore.

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Guest column: Record-setting Predators failed when it matters most

Party Fowl Online Ads 01By John Glennon, guest columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the end, maybe it was fitting that this utterly unpredictable playoff series ended on the strangest of all notes.

Who could have predicted, for instance, that the goaltender likely to win the Vezina Trophy this summer would have melted down in the opening period of Thursday's Game 7 loss?IMG 8671

Who could have guessed the Predators team that busted its collective backside for half a year – all in the name of capturing home-ice advantage – would drop three of four second-round games in Nashville to the Winnipeg Jets?

The only thing that made perfect sense by the time Winnipeg completed its 5-1 victory over the Predators was this: The better team was moving on.

In their own way, the Jets were more convincing beating the Predators in seven games in a conference semi-final than Pittsburgh was in beating Nashville in six games in the Stanley Cup Final last season.

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YAZOO podcast stripeNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We've got a quiet Titans stretch right now, with rookies arriving in Nashville Thursday and media getting our first look at those guys on the field on Saturday.

BlevinsPodcastMusic City is very much in hockey mode right now, with the Predators hosting the Jets in Game 7 of the second round Thursday night with a spot in the Western Conference Final on the line.

So Madison Blevins and I discuss just how big the city's first Game 7 will be and delve into the limits of fan faith and the tendency for it to bleed into super positivity. As you well know, if you want all positive all the time, I am absolutely your guy.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, is available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

We always welcome your feedback.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line.

This is also the fashion edition of the pod, with a review of The Met Gala and what I am misguidingly going to refer to as Blevins'"Red Wedding jumpsuit." 

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Why do you care that I don't have blind faith in the Nashville Predators?

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the most part, when it comes to sports, I’m most emotional about being unemotional.

I root for the Yankees and U.S. Soccer, and beyond that I tend to be detached. Certainly from the Titans and the NFL, which I cover twofold here and on The Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone.PredsStand

The Predators put me in an awkward spot. I want them to do well. I’m a Nashvillian for over 20 years, I love a good story. They are a likable team with a generally enjoyable style of play.

But on the radio, I’m never going to get carried away with excitement over a local team. It just isn’t my approach. Maintaining some sort of distance from a team allows me to observe and analyze in a different way.

The flow of response to any pessimism about the Nashville Predators during their second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets has been truly remarkable.

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Guest column: First line earned Preds their first home Game 7

Party Fowl Online Ads 01By John Glennon, guest columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When last we saw the Predators' first line prior to Monday night, the trio of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson was trudging out of Bridgestone Arena following a Game 5 whipping at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.Forsberg

As much as anything else, Winnipeg's win last Saturday was about the Jets' first line – Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler – going to toe-to-toe with the Preds' best and simply battering them.

 The Jets' big three finished that night with a combined eight points and a plus-seven rating, compared to a combined one point and a minus-six for Forsberg, Johansen and Arvidsson.

But it took all of one minute on Monday for the Predators' top line to make a statement that Game 6 would be different.

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Five-man line can be periodic pass-rush boost for Titans

mdi construction barNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Picture a five-man line: Derrick Morgan, DaQuan Jones, Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo and Rashaan Evans.OBrien

The offensive line across from those five have no choice but to start off singled up. Any help is coming from a tight end or a back.

That’s how the Texans lined up at time while Mike Vrabel was a defensive coach in Houston, and it’s sure to be part of the Titans’ new scheme.

That alignment basically winds up forcing those offensive linemen to have to pass set to the player in front of them.

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Pickers mailbag: How did the Titans know someone else wanted to trade up for Rashaan Evans?

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Welcome to a new edition of the mailbag. If you missed the big Periscope Friday, no problem. Here it is.

On to your questions.

Miracle

PK: We know Pittsburgh wanted up for Evans. Say the Ravens learn that, because Pittsburgh called them or a friendly team tipped them off. Of course you try to shop it to someone else. You want to see what the market has to offer. In this instance, you have a good sense, perhaps, that Evans is the target.

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Guest column: Surprise sub Scott Hartnell brought Predators much-needed nastiness

TicketsBar2By John Glennon, guest columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- He was never the fastest skater in the league to begin with, so it's safe to say that 17 seasons into his storied career – at the ripe old age of 36 – Predators forward Scott Hartnell isn't going to blind anyone with his speed.

StanleyCupPlayoffsBut the player who almost two decades ago earned the nickname “Baby Bull” still has plenty of bite to his game. That's exactly what the Predators needed heading into Game 4 of this Western Conference semifinal series.

As close as this series has been, the big, bruising Winnipeg Jets were clearly winning the physical portion of the match-up through three games, in large part because of the colossus known as Dustin Byfuglien.

The Jets' 6-5, 260-pound Byfuglien had been doing a pretty good impression of the Abominable Snowman in the first three contests. He'd

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