The Nashville Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Finals in 6 games to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. Creating a buzz in a city for a new sport is always tough, but creating huge fans in a city that will always be second to music has to seem almost impossible at times. Nashville has never been known as a sports city, but this Final birth might just be enough to begin a new time in the Music City.
The Predators have taken down two of the top teams in the West on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. First, the Blackhawks. Being the first team to sweep the #1 overall seed in the first round. Then after defeating a very good Blues team in the second round, they took on the Anaheim Ducks, the second seed in the Western Conference. A huge part of their electric run was the play of their young and upcoming studs. The best part about the whole thing is that most of the young talent is homegrown boys.
The Nashville Predators receive their talent from their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals have been contending for a playoff spot and have been in talks of Calder Cup contenders for years now, especially the last couple of seasons, even though they are usually one of the younger teams in the AHL. So moral of this story is… The Admirals are pumping out young talent.
After seeing the box score for Game 6 last night, I realized that the Admirals were well represented on the ice. Just look at the names that are making an impact on the ice: Pekka Rinne, Viktor Arvidsson, Colton Sissons, Roman Jossi, Pontus Aberg. I can go on and on. All of these young guys came right through the city of Milwaukee and all have one thing in common: Coach Dean Evason.
Evason had a respectable NHL career of his own, playing over 12 years with the Whalers, Sharks, Stars and Flames. He now brings a view on the game as a former player who can see the players side of any argument, but still beings the high expectations of a tough coach. If you look at the players that have come through Evason’s Admirals, you will be nothing short of impressed. He has been the coach for young players that have made huge strides and were ready for the bright lights of the NHL. Its about time that he starts to get the credit that he deserves when it comes to getting players ready for the Big Show while still contending for the Calder Cup year in and year out.
He is nothing but professional but is always a great guy. He is very well respected in his craft and always keeps his team’s mind on the prize of success, even at the AHL level. I would not be surprised of NHL teams begin to bring his name up for head and assistant coach openings in the very near future. He very much deserves it.