Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 26th game of the season on Nov. 30, 2009.
Every time Calgary plays Nashville I feel like it should be an easy win. And if you stop to think about it, that’s the stupidest thing ever.
Nashville is very quietly one of the premier franchises in the National Hockey League and for a number of reasons, they never really get the credit they deserve.
Despite having a very small budget and no fanbase (the one, I’m sure being a result of the other in an infinite loop-type situation) the Preds have averaged 99.5 points per season over the last four. Right now they’re on pace for 102.
It doesn’t seem like that should be right, does it? They have no real "stars" to mention in a division full of them. Detroit has its Zetterbergs, Datsyuks, Franzens, Lidstroms and Rafalskis. Chicago has its Toewses, Kanes, Sharps, Seabrooks, Barkers and, yes, Campbells. St. Louis has its Boyses, its Johnsons, its Oshies. Columbus has its Nashes and… well okay it just has Rick Nash.
But who does Nashville have? JP Dumont leads the team in scoring with Shea Weber (who’s very good but not exactly a household name) close behind. Then it’s David Legwand. THEN it’s a bunch of mid-30s guys who may have been above average in their day but aren’t guys you’d feel comfortable having in your top two lines.
Every year they get bottom-feeding contracts on players no one else wants and turn the team into a playoff contender at the very least and threaten for the division far more often.
It’s really quite something.
The Calgary Flames (16-6-3 for 35 points. Tied for second in the West, first in the Northwest) and the Nashville Predators (15-9-1 for 31 points. Tied for sixth in the West, second in the Central).
6 p.m. Mountain time and 8 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should prevent a pirate attack.
Sommet Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
Calgary is 9-1-3 on the road this year, and haven’t lost on the road since Oct. 13. The Predators are 9-4-1 at home, and have won six of the last seven in Nashville.
What (to hate about the Preds)
Shea Weber — He was drafted 49th overall in that wonderful 2003 entry draft, and only 10 spots after Calgary selected noted NHL veteran of one game Tim Ramholt who is currently playing back in his native Switzerland. Oh well, we got Dion Phaneuf out of the deal so I guess I can handle it.
Nashville’s a goalie factory — Let’s look at the goalies that have played for the Predators in the past six or seven years: Tomas Vokoun (for my money the best goalie no one knows about in the league), Chris Mason, Dan Ellis, Pekka Rinne. And Vokoun actually has the worst career GAA out of all of them. How is that possible?
Barry Trotz — How does he do this every year? It’s mystifying.
Because three games in four days is perfect for you. Enjoy the game and talk about your love for the American South in the comments section.