Finally, it's time to play.

It's been 257 days since the Nashville Predators were eliminated from the NHL playoffs in Phoenix back on May 7. A lot has occurred since that 2-1 defeat: The Predators lost one of their best players to free agency, re-signed their all-star defenseman to one of the richest contracts in the sport's history, endured a 113-day lockout, prepared for the new season with a whirlwind six-day training camp and now must play 48 games in 99 days.

Despite all of the off-ice turbulence, tonight's opener at Bridgestone Arena sold out in three days. Members of the Predators front office say they understand their sport must work overtime to win back fan support.