Nashville’s fool’s gold
In his first season, Laviolette was a breath of fresh air. The Predators only had one head coach for its entire history – Barry Trotz. Every milestone in franchise history was a result of Trotz’s control. All involved (the organization, the media, and the fans) were sad to see Trotz go, but knew it was time. Laviolette was the product of the new school of hockey. He was all about offense, speed, and puck control. Trotz was about defense and goaltending. For the first time in their history, the Predators were going to worry more about offense than defense. The fans, although hesitant at first, embraced the new philosophy. That is the direction of the NHL today, anyway. More goals means more fans in the seats. It is exciting. It is something to cheer for. It means losing a heart-breaking 1-0 game is less likely.
The new system worked! The Nashville Predators jumped out of the gates in the 2014-2015 season. They had the highest percentage of points than any team by the All-Star break. That success led to Laviolette and his coaching staff behind the bench of one of the All-Star teams. The Nashville Predators faltered during the second half of the season, however, and finished second in the Central Division with 104 points. That second-place finish awarded them a playoff berth.
Their first round foe was none other than their nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs that year. The Predators lost the series 2-4 and exited the season early. As bad as it felt, there was hope. The Predators improved immensely from their previous season. The fans couldn’t wait until the next season.