NASHVILLE -- On the Fifth Avenue side of Bridgestone Arena hangs a banner. On this sign is the chiseled stare of Shea Weber's face. Underneath the photo in big block letters it reads: "I'm in ... Are you?"
The Nashville Predators have clearly wasted little time to revel in their much-celebrated decision to match Philadelphia's 14-year $110 million offer sheet to their captain -- Nashville announced the move on July 24. The team release called it "the most important hockey transaction in franchise history." The Predators decided on an outdoor news conference one day later, so their fans could watch live and in person.
In small-market Nashville, it was clearly a watershed moment for the franchise. But Nashville's decision to match the deal also put the Predators on the financial hot seat in the immediate future and put a premium on making the playoffs next spring.