Ahh yes, our noted rivals, the Nashville Predators.
Right; like most Western Conference teams that aren’t the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s hard to have a spirited rivalry with a team we only see twice a year. But as we’ve seen thus far during SB Nation’s Rivalry Weeks, you can find a reason to hate any team if you really believe in yourself.
So, Perds? Screw you guys. Here’s why.
They made everyone hate Paul Holmgren
We’ll start by taking it all the way back to 2012. It’s a story we’re all familiar with: the Flyers, reeling from the loss of Chris Pronger, trying desperately to put together a winning team in the shadow of the 2010 Cup run, trying to figure out how to get better — and get better quick. Homer was trying to cobble together something resembling an NHL defense after losing Pronger, and then Matt Carle to free agency. He traded James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn. He went hard after then-free agent Ryan Suter, eventually losing out to the Minnesota Wild on that front. Desperate times? Well, friends. Desperate measures.
Enter the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet tendered to and signed by Nashville’s superstar defenseman, Shea Weber.
Long-story-we-all-know short, Nashville matched, Weber was eventually dealt to Montreal in exchange for P.K. Subban, and Weber’s enormous contract is still giving the Preds’ front office fits in the year of our lord 2020. So like... technically, they did us a big favor matching.
Now everyone hates Paul Holmgren! After that offer sheet debacle no GMs would deal with him, all of them acting like little pissbabies because Homer had deigned to >checks notes< use a tool for player acquisition that was collectively bargained, totally above-board, and 100% within his rights as an NHL GM. I choose to believe that this made Paul Holmgren very sad. And he probably journaled about it. And thought about it a bunch at the cottage that summer. For shame, the Predators.
Oh my god we get it, you’re fun
You know, there used to be a time when the Wells Fargo Center, née the Corestates Center, was a building no one wanted to play in. It was loud, intimidating, and gave the Flyers arguably the best home ice advantage in the league.
For a whole bunch of reasons, this is no longer the case. But ask NHL players which building they hate playing in? Bridgestone Arena is going to be in the top three every time.
When a team makes the playoffs for 12 of its 20 seasons in existence, it is going to build a nice little fanbase. And when you throw in the honky-tonk-party-town atmosphere of Nashville, add in a little college-football-culture-rowdiness, and dead fish (that’s wasteful, you jerks!!!) thrown on to the ice, and you’ve got an in-game experience that both extremely fun for home team fans and extremely annoying for the out-of-town players. It’s loud and silly and it doesn’t really stop being both of those things for the entire 60 minutes of game play.
Does this make me jealous? Yes, duh. Jealousy is an excellent breeder of hatred. So there.
Yellow is a bad color
When the Predators came into the league in the late 90s, they came with a very nice deep-blue-with-gold-accents uniform scheme that was pretty sharp, especially paired with that badass sabertooth logo on the front.
As we moved into the mid-aughts, they lost the plot a little bit with a mustard yellow atrocity, that, blissfully, was short lived. They went back to that classic blue and gold before, in 2011, going all the way into yellow. Just... so, so yellow.
We have to wear bright, traffic-cone orange, sure. But yellow? There are like 14 people on Earth that look good in yellow. None of them are hockey fans. And it’s not even just that it is yellow, its SO MUCH YELLOW! The jerseys, the helmets, the socks... jfc boys you’re hurting my eyes here.
And finally, two words