Thursday, April 25th will mark the end of an era for the Nashville Predators. Next season's realignment will move the Detroit Red Wings to an inferior "Conference II" in the Eastern time zones where they will rekindle some of their own old rivalries. Us Preds fans though will lose the biggest rival this franchise has ever seen. I would like to take some time to say adieu Detroit Red Wings, I hope you hate the Eastern Conference, I hope you lose every game, I strongly dislike your organization, I will miss you. Here are some defining moments of the Predators and Detroit Red Wings history.
Starting fresh, let's not travel too far down memory lane to what was almost definitely the biggest controversy of last year's playoffs first round. The Weber Smash, often used to indicate one of the Captain's big hits, got a new meaning at the end of game one of the Western Conference Finals. In the last seconds, up 3-2 and killing a penalty, Gaustad wins the big draw back to the boards, where Weber gets between Zetterberg and the puck. Zetts lays into Weber, who takes offense and, allegedly, "Weber Smashes" Zetterberg's face into the glass.
This lead to a 2 minute penalty for Weber, but only a $2,500 fine after the game. The lack of suspension caused uproars around the league (although not many in Smashville). However what came after was the meme of Webering, where sports columnists took it upon themselves to mimic the glass smashing of the Predator Captain. It was even seen in practice when A. Kostitsyn was seen giving Weber a taste of his own medicine.
Things sorted themselves out in the next game though, when Weber accepted Todd Bertuzzi's fight in an effort to set things straight.
Nashville Thumps Detroit 8-0
This Biggest thumping in Nashville History was the 8-0 shutout win vs Detroit on February 28th 2009. Although Trotz Modestly said in post game interview that "Detroit played Friday night, it's not every team that gets to put 8 past the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The game featured a shutout for Rinne, Weber laying down a beating on Lilja (an absolute beating), a 5 goal first period, a hat trick for Jason Arnott, with other goals by Koistinen, Legwand, Pihlstrom, Ward and Weber; and all of it in front of the jubilant home crowd. What a night it was in Nashville, Tennessee/
The first 2 Playoff Wins in Predators history
In April 2004 the unknown. 8th seed Nashville Predators played against the team to beat in the west Detroit Red Wings. Only 5 years after their inaugural season, the Predators had their first playoff experience. No one was giving the Predators any hope in their first playoff series against a team that only featured many Legacy (Who the Preds actually chased, Cu-jo Started game 5), Nick Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Steve Yzerman, (NHL director of Playoff safety) Brendan Shananhan (you'll notice in game 4, Brett Hull, Henrik Zeterberg, Pavel Datsyuk,
The Preds followed the script on the road, going down 2-0 in motor city. But oh boy did that change. The Predator Fans in Smashville were loud, proud and giving the full support to the underdogs. Nashville tied it up on home ice. Game 3 featured goals from Adam Hall, David Legwand, Scott Hartnell while game four had goals from Steve Sullivan (on a sick breakaway), Orszagh, Johnson . Both featured incredible performances from Vokoun, one of which was a shutout, starting the tradition of Nashville Goalies stepping up in the playoffs. Also check out the Schneider boarding penalty on Tootoo (wearing 55) at 6 minutes in game 4. Crazy.
Nashville had no business being in this series whatsoever. This series sets the tone for 2008 and 2012.
Nashville Predators - 2 goals in 9 seconds
2004 set the scene for 2008, when 8th place Nashville again faced 1st place Detroit. They came home down 2-0. Game three saw the Predators go down 2-0, rally back to 2-2, go down 3-2 and then produce the Nashville Predators highlight clip that has lived on in infamy ever since. Down 3-2 with 4 minutes left in the third period, Ryan Suter slapped one passed Hasek. The crowd erupted at the tie game, but little did they know there was more to come. As the puck dropped, the pass went out to Arnott who found a bit of space to the left of Osgood and slapped it passed him. The goal was almost too quick for the camera that was still focused on Suter on the bench. The aftermath of this goal will also live on in Preds fame - for the worse. Stay tuned to the end of the clip to watch Radulov mug Arnott and give him a concussion that would keep him out of the remainder of the series.
Tootoo fights Dandenault
The best part of this fight are those sick Preds Jersey's. But who would have ever guessed the Jordin Tootoo, so often a thorn in the Red Wing's sides, would go to Michigan on his own free will. He's a video of Tootoo back in the good ole days, laying some fists in the right direction during a Preds Wings game in 2003
Datsyuk Roasted the Preds ... a lot
I'll leave you be with these two clips that made highlight reels around the hockey world. Pavel Datsyuk scores with 5 seconds left, and Pavel Datsyuk turning half the Preds inside out. I for one am honored that the some of the future hall of Famer's highlights have been against our great team.
I've surely missed some unforgettable Red Wings vs Preds moments. Let me know some of your favorites in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @CanadasPredsfan.