Paging all Predators fans, it’s time to mark up your calendars! Not only does everyone need to prepare for the Predators’ FIFTEENTH season, but also the fact that it’s an Olympic year!
Now let’s bullet point this baby and check what the new season has in store.
* For anyone who trolls around the NHL site, the first news to bring up is the list of new names for the four restructured divisions. Good news for Predators fans – we are in the same conference and the same division as always: the Western Conference and the Central Division. We join the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, and the Winnipeg Jets (who are finally out of the southeastern division) for a rough and tumble new season.
* Next important point: what is up with the pre-season? Well folks I hope you’re looking forward to trips to Florida and New York for the pre-season, cause the Predators are heading to both. The Preds will head south to play the Florida Panthers in a double-header September 16th to kick off the pre-season, followed by ten days of eastern traveling to face down the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, and drop by the Washington Capitals. For the full pre-season breakdown, head on over to the Predators official site and take a gander.
Whew, sounds like a busy time! Now onward to the regular season schedule.
* The important dates for next season for the Predators (at least in my opinion) of course include the season opener, October 3rd at the St. Louis Blues, and the home opener, October 8th versus the Minnesota Wild. After the season opening fun, we fans of Nashville get to see a full season of hockey up until April 13th when all Playoff positions will be filled.
* Hold tight to your seats Predators fans, it’s time to look at those long home and away game stretches. The longest home stretch goes right through the Olympics, lasting six games from February 8th through March 8th. Alright, prepare yourselves. The longest away stretch is a seven game stretch from November 2nd through the 15th, starting out on the west coast before swinging east. Quick, go find what channel these games are on!
* As much as I love to watch every Predators game on the schedule and cheer on the rivalry games, there is always that set of games I want to keep an eye on. The team I have in mind doesn’t really have much of a connection to Nashville at all. So what games could I possibly be writing about? Well that would the five games the Predators will play against their new division rival the Winnipeg Jets. Nashville has not had many opportunities to play this team since relocating to Winnipeg, not to mention not playing the Jets at all last season.
* My closing notes on the new schedule have to do with something that is not technically in the schedule at all. From February 9th through the 25th, there will be a break for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Our boys in the NHL just got the go ahead today to play, so pick your team and spend those two weeks cheering on your country!