NASHVILLE PREDATORS 2012-2013 SEASON PREVIEW:
The Nashville Predators' 2011-12 season was one of the best in team history, and the squad finally broke through and made some noise in the postseason. After finishing with a 47-26-8 record and notching the fourth seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Predators shocked the NHL world by knocking off the heavily-favored Detroit Red Wings in the first round, but were then surprised by the Phoenix Coyotes and fell in a five game series. What seemed like a very promising offseason for the Predators soon turned sour, as the team lost a series of important role players like Ryan Suter, Jack Hillen, Francis Bouillon and many others. General manager David Poile has reworked the roster from top to bottom and the Predators still have enough talent to return to the postseason.
Offensively, the Predators' blue line is lead by winter Martin Erat, who posted 58 points a year ago and 39 assists. Along with center Mike Fisher and fellow winger Sergei Kostitsyn, the Predators have a front line that's as good as any in the NHL. While the team will certainly miss Ryan Suter's production, the Predators have a wealth of younger players who are ready to step up and play significant minutes, such as Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand. With a bit of luck and some lucky bounces of the puck, the Predators certainly have the talent to repeat their postseason performance from a year ago.
Defensively, the Predators feature one of the best defensemen in the game in Shea Weber, who supplied 30 assists and 46 points overall during the 2011-12 season. While most fans would think there would be a steep drop-off in talent after Weber, the Predators do have a group of promising young defensive players like Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Jonathon Blum who should see increased playing time. At goaltender, Pekka Rinne and his .923 save percentage is one of the best in the business, and the team also went out and signed Chris Mason to act as a backup goalie during the upcoming season.
Looking ahead to the coming 2012-13 campaign, the Predators will open up on the road against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, October 12, in what is expected to be a pivotal matchup for both teams. The next day, the Predators will have their home opener against the St. Louis Blues, another playoff team from a year ago. While the Predators have suffered their share of losses on all ends of the ice, they still have a talented depth chart and should be among the better teams in the Western Conference.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS EXPERIENCE:
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Stadium: Bridgestone Arena
Conference: Western Conference
Division: Central Division
The Nashville Predators play in the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Nashville Predators were formed in 1998 as part of that year's NHL expansion. Nashville's first 5 seasons kept them out of the playoffs as they struggled to win, a common experience for expansion teams in any sport. The Nashville Predators made its first playoff appearance in 2004 reaching the Western Conference quarterfinals. The Nashville Predators reached this level of success again in 2006 and 2007. Among rumors of a re-location, fans this year will fight to keep their team in Nashville and support them to improve their winning percentage and the depth of their playoff run.
The Nashville Predators play their home games at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The arena has a hockey seating capacity of just over 17,000. A game at the Sommet Center is a wonderful experience for any hockey fan. You'll see the traditional throwing of catfish on the ice after the first goal scored. You'll also hear the raucous Cellblock in section 303. The Nashville Predators fans are rabid about their young team's recent success, and they show it! Buy Nashville Predators tickets now!
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