Braden & Fitz hosted “Predators: What is Next?” Thursday morning, covering all things Nashville Predators after a few days to reflect and think about the incredible run that took Nashville by storm the past couple months.
Discussion began with the pair’s favorite moments, which ranged everywhere from the intense to the hilarious. Braden, however, did make sure to explain that while the evolution of “Smashville” caught plenty of attention, it wasn’t something that happened on a whim.
“Outside of the city,” Braden said. “I don’t think people realize this was a bit of a slow build rather than an overnight thing. It’s not that they’re disrespecting us, they didn’t know.”
He went on to mention that much of the fanfare has built up since 2007, when the Preds were almost sold and moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and only grew with the hiring of head coach Peter Laviolette and the patient assembling of talent and experience.
Fitz focused more on the players and the impact of strong leadership. Many players stepped up in their own way this season, but Fitz thought that captain Mike Fisher became a pillar of support and unity, making a big difference in the Preds’ season.
“We like to question leadership in sports when things don’t go well,” Fitz said. “Well, it’s hard not to credit leadership when you have as many guys coming up from out of nowhere… The value that Mike Fisher brought this year is the ability to settle this team down as the season went and find that sort of a groove.”
However, Fisher’s contribution on the ice was as apparent as his contribution in the locker room. The 37-year-old saw time on the ice throughout the playoffs, but contributed the most during the final, notching four assists over the series.
Fisher spoke with Fitz Wednesday, highlighting the support and energy around the team, saying that it’s as good as he’s ever seen in his 21-year-career.
“Our fans are crazy and it’s kind of unbelievable, in a good way,” Fisher said. “We really took this whole thing to a new level and to be a part of that, to not win is obviously disappointing, but to be part of a run like this that I don’t think anyone will ever forget is pretty cool. It’s the best year I’ve had in my career as far as fan support and the team.”
The pair continued to discuss the best moments and players, but the impact it had on the city of Nashville was also a big talking point. For Braden, the Preds’ playoff charge showed the strength that the city has and how important the Predators are becoming to “Smashville.”
“You look at the economic ripple effect of this type of run,” Braden said. “How Nashville delivered on that. They took advantage of their moment in the spotlight. The city, the organization and the fans, and I think they capitalized on it in every possible way.”