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Round 2

Stanley Cup Playoff postcard: Nashville

NHL.com's Shawn P. Roarke visits Vanderbilt University campus

by Shawn P. Roarke @SRoarke_NHL / NHL.com Director of Editorial

I feel smarter already.

I had a little time before the Nashville Predators had an optional practice on Monday, so I decided to explore the area around Vanderbilt University, which is between my hotel and the Predators practice facility at Centennial Sportsplex.

It was a perfect day for a walk, cool and breezy. So, first I explored some of the Vanderbilt campus, one of the most famous universities in the country. Walking along the edge of the campus, it was impossible not to see the history here. The school was founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shipping and rail magnate, in 1873.

I would have liked to see more of the campus but practice called and I had one more stop to make, so I crossed West End and headed for Centennial Park, which is across the street from the Sportsplex.

Video: Smashville is rockin' as the Predators eye the Cup

The park is beautiful, but it holds a hidden treasure that I was told about when I was here for the first round: a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. This Parthenon was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. These days, it serves as an art museum. But it was closed on Monday; just my luck.

Still, it is an impressive structure and well worth the trip, as is the rest of the park.

I'm always happy when I can learn new things as I go about my Stanley Cup adventures, and Monday was no different when I stumbled across a statue dedicated to James Robertson, the co-founder founder of Nashville. Robertson explored much of the area around Tennessee with Daniel Boone and settled the city of Nashville in 1779, naming it after the Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash.

Well, that's enough history for today. The game between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins starts soon. I'm off with a couple of co-workers to watch Game 3 of that series on TV at a local establishment here in the West End.

Until next time, keep enjoying the playoffs.

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