Sunday, December 25, 2011
Monday night will mark the third meeting of the season between the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings, with each team winning one game so far. It's sure to be another intense game between two Central Division rivals, who seem to be continuing to develop a rivalry that is sure to grow from here on.
We contacted Matt Saler of onthewingsblog.com to get a sense on how this rivalry is viewed from a Detroit perspective. Here's what he had to say:
Hockey Night in Nashville: In Nashville, Detroit is considered the biggest rival in the league. That's not the case in Detroit, but how much do you think the rivalry with Nashville has grown over the years?
On the Wings: The rivalry with the Preds has grown over the years as Nashville has become better in terms of competition. Included in that is the playoff series in 2007-2008. You read all the time how the playoffs solidify rivalries and that seems to be true in this case. The Preds making the playoffs and making that series as difficult for the Wings as they did made paying attention to them as a threat in the Central a necessity. The games themselves are generally physical, which helps increase the sense of a rivalry from a fan standpoint. A guy like Jordin Tootoo sets that kind of tone. The Predators have grown from a typical expansion team to a team to watch out for in the Central. If they continue on this trajectory, the rivalry is only getting started.
HNIN: What kind of an impact do you think the proposed conference realignment will have on the Detroit/Nashville rivalry?
On the Wings: The realignment plan is going to enhance the playoff effect on the rivalry, as the Wings and Predators will be much more likely to meet in the playoffs by keeping the first two rounds in the conference. That playoff format is the main reason I'm looking forward to the plan being implemented. There's going to be that much more interaction between the teams in the emotionally-charged atmosphere of the playoffs and that's going to do more to enhance regional rivalries than the old divisional incessant regular season play idea did. It's taken years of regular season games plus two playoff series to get where we are in this rivalry now. Put the two teams together in a series potentially playing for the conference championship and the right to move on to the final four and it's going to skyrocket.
What are your thoughts on the Detroit/Nashville rivalry as it stands today, and what kind of an impact do you think conference realignment will have on the rivalry? Sound off in the comments below.
(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)