David Poile can’t help but revel in the fact that his Nashville Predators eliminated the Detroit Red Wings from the playoffs.
“It’s the best so far, no question about it,” Nashville’s general manager said. “Right from Day One it was always Detroit. … They are the gold standard. Twenty-one consecutive years in the playoffs — who’s going to do that again in sports when you have salary caps and parity? That’s fabulous.
“… We cannot underestimate how big of a step that is for our franchise. We’re all very respectful of them but this time, this year we beat them. And we feel good about that.”
That next step has brought them face-to-face with the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that is largely the antithesis of the Red Wings. As of Tuesday evening, the NHL still had not released the schedule for the second round of the playoffs.
Phoenix is in a nontraditional market and boasts little tradition of note. Their victory in six games over the Chicago Blackhawks was their first in 14 playoff series dating back to 1987, when they were the Winnipeg Jets.
The Coyotes have an uncertain future in their current home and an unsettled ownership. The NHL, in fact, took control of the team in 2009, shortly after they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Poile, who has been with Nashville from the earliest days of the franchise, can relate.
“There’s a lot of similarties between Phoenix and us as hockey teams and franchises,” Poile said. “Their ownership situation is ongoing. There’s a lot of speculation their franchise isn’t going to survive there and is going to be moved.
“We’ve dealt with a lot of those issues.”
Poile’s hope is that with those things in their past, the Predators can look forward to even more postseason success.
“Sometimes once a team achieves their goals or whatever, they become more relaxed and the other team could be more uptight,” Poile said. “I don’t know who’s supposed to be favored. They have the home-ice advantage.
“… We know what their strengths are. I don’t think they have any weaknesses.”