Here's a brief look at both what went right and what went wrong for the Nashville Predators during the 2011-12 season:
Three things that went right:
• Worth every penny: Goalie Pekka Rinne certainly didn’t rest on his laurels once he signed the richest contract in franchise history (seven years, $49 million). The day he signed it, Nov. 3, he shut out (of all teams) Phoenix. By season’s end he led the league in wins with a franchise-record 43.
• Radulov’s return: Say what you will about his off-ice antics during the playoffs, Alexander Radulov’s decision to play in Russia while under contract with Nashville was a black cloud over the franchise for four years. Now that’s gone.
• Home sweet home: The franchise not only sold more tickets and enjoyed more sellouts than ever, those who came through the doors enjoyed a lot of happy times. Nashville had the league’s sixth-best home record at 26-10-5. It was the most home wins in five seasons.
Three things that went wrong:
• Young get younger: Last offseason, the Predators made a commitment to youth in some spots. Key to their thinking were players like center Blake Geoffrion and defenseman Jonathon Blum, neither of whom played up to expectations and eventually were sent to the minors. That meant younger, even less-experienced players were brought in to take their place.
• Shooting blanks: Nashville was not exactly potent in shootouts. It converted just six times in the 10 times it went to the tiebreaker (29 total shots) and had the third-worst success rate in the league. Somehow, it still won half of the time, and those five points were worth two spots in the division and conference standings.
• Still climbing: The Predators finally finished ahead of the Detroit Red Wings in the Central Division, yet they still failed to claim their first division title. The St. Louis Blues, who finished fourth and an average of 11 points behind Nashville over the previous two seasons, jumped to the top this time.