Tuesday, October 4, 2011
In the 12 seasons of the Nashville Predators existence, there has been one constant in the Central Division. Everybody is chasing the Detroit Red Wings.
The Nashville Predators have never won the Central Division in the history of the franchise. Detroit has won the division 11 times in the past 12 years, and the Chicago Blackhawks won it in the 2009-2010 season.
Winning the division is certainly a nice goal to have, but it doesn't necessarily determine the amount of postseason success that a team will achieve. However, the Predators would certainly love to win their first division title this year.
"You have little goals throughout the year, and that is one of the goals we always have," said Predators defenseman Ryan Suter.
This season, the Central Division is going to be a tough division to win. Detroit and Chicago are still great teams, and both Columbus and St. Louis got better in the off season.
"Everyone in our division got better for sure. There's not a team that took the summer off," Suter said.
Most of the experts have Detroit or Chicago winning the division this year. However, there are people who believe the Predators will be right in the mix. Ryan Lambert believes the Preds will break 100 points and challenge for the division title.
Anything can happen in the log jam that is the Western Conference. The difference between winning the division and missing the playoffs might be determined by a matter of about four points. It will be difficult for the Preds to do, but that's not going to stop them from trying.
"It's going to be tough. It gets tougher every year, and this year it's going to be just as hard," Suter said.
One way to make winning the division easier is by beating the teams in your own division. The Predators open their schedule with two divisional opponents on back to back nights this week. That's where the quest for Central Division supremacy begins.