Nashville can overcome its history

Predators believe they have the talent to get past the first-round hump

Updated: April 13, 2011, 11:37 AM ET
By Josh Cooper | ESPN Insider

Shea Weber's playoff beard gained life in early March -- that was when the Nashville Predators captain decided the postseason had begun for his squad. Since then it has grown dark, thick, scraggly and, well, gross.

"It's pretty nasty, but I figure it's a big tradition in hockey to grow a playoff beard," Weber said. "I started mine early, and hopefully it gets a lot longer."

It might just be wishful thinking for Weber. His franchise has never made it past the first round of the playoffs. This year he is banking that his beard and a team built on defense, goaltending and two-way forwards can finally break the hex and get the Predators into May.

"You just never know what it's going to take to get over the hump. We're sure hoping this is the year," general manager David Poile said. "We have a really good team, good people, good chemistry. The care level is there all the time, the work ethic is there all the time. I like our chances."