Central Division Shakedown

Every Tuesday, Predlines will be bringing you the latest news and analysis from the Central Division. Because the Predators success largely depends on the failures of our divisional opponents, we need to track their every move throughout the regular, post and off season. If we’ve left something of note out, contact us at [email protected]

Chicago Blackhawks

With the summer winding down, expect news to heat up in the coming weeks as training camp stars, but until then the news out of the Blackhawks camp isn’t too exciting.

The team announced they hired former NHL defenseman Steve Poapst as an assistant coach with the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs. Since 2006, Poapst has been the General Manager and Head Coach of the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel. He was named the USHL Coach Of The Year in 2008.

Duncan Keith sure gets around the sporting circuit. A few weeks back he told the NASCAR drivers to start their engines and now he’s throwing around baseballs at Wrigley Field.

Keith and Dave Bolland sang Take me out to the ballgame at the Cubs game on Sunday. Here’s a video posted on Youtube. Watch at your own risk. You can’t see (or hear, obviously) the boys… but you can hear what amounts to a couple girls signing loudly.

The Norris winner also had the honor of throwing out the first pitch. Blackhawks tv did a little story about it. You can catch it here:

Columbus Blue Jackets

The only news to come out of Columbus other than Mike Commodore and Steve Mason helped paint the ice surface at Nationwide Arena is that new head coach Scott Arniel has no intention of placing a lot of unreasonable expectations on a team that finished 14th in the Western Conference last year and has to play 24 games against its incredibly talented Central Division opponents. No easy wins there. You can read the feature here.

Detroit Red Wings

It might be old news, but now that it’s official, it warrants another mention. Chris Chelios has hung up his skates after an amazing 26 years in the National Hockey League. He made the announcement last week.

Chelios holds the record for most games played by a defenseman at 1,651.

The Red Wings organization has hired Chelios as an advisor to Hockey Operations. Apparently this means he will do a little bit of everything. According to the Red Wings press release, Chelios “will work closely with Detroit’s front office and coaching staffs, providing insight on a wide range of on-ice issues while helping to develop and mentor young players within the organization. He will also assist on the business operations side of the team, appearing at games and other functions to interact with fans and potential business partners.” Read the entire press release here. It provides a nice summation of the 48 year old’s career.

In other Chelios news, he has two sons lacing them up this year at Michigan State University.

St. Louis Blues

I’d be wrong to not start by mentioning Jaroslav Halak was in Montreal over the weekend signing autographs for charity. According to accounts, a few thousand showed up and Halak stayed for a couple hours after he was supposed to leave. Class act right there.

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