Photo: Daniel Meigs
By around 10:20 p.m. Sunday night, the crowd of thousands standing shoulder to shoulder amid the honky-tonks has cleared out, and a makeshift memorial appears. A catfish lies in the middle of Broadway beneath a discarded sign that reads, Go Preds.
A security guard, silhouetted against the glow of neon bar signs, aims his camera phone at the fish: Ive gotta document this.
It made for a pretty good picture, and not a bad one by which to remember this historic season for the Nashville Predators. One image would have been better, of course a bearded man in a gold sweater hoisting the Stanley Cup. But that wasnt to be.
Twenty minutes earlier, the clock had run out on the Predators season in devastating fashion, and the Pittsburgh Penguins had claimed the cup for the second year in a row. The crowd of gold-clad hollerin-and-swallerin hipsters and rednecks and suburbanites and city folks whod turned Nashvilles most famous street into its biggest backyard started trudging home. And someone left the catfish to lie in state some 150 yards from Bridgestone Arena. I stared at it, pretty sure Id kissed the same fish two hours earlier.