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

The most shocking Blackhawks news this week doesn’t exactly come out of Chicago and it won’t sit well with Predators fans. The NHL has a new video about what sort of behavior will not be tolerated by players and what example do they use? Duncan Keith splashing a fan with water during game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinal last year. It would have been real nice to have him suspended during that game 5—a game which ended in utter despair for Nashville. Check out the story, fully loaded with video, from Puck Daddy.

Last Thursday, Chicago gave a 3-year contract extension to Joel Quenneville– the Blackhawks coach since October, 2008. He was a mid -season replacement for Denis Savard. Quenneville has also coached for St. Louis and Colorado.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The big news out of Columbus this week is that goalie Steve Mason has signed a two-year contract extension through the 2012-13. The contract is worth $5.8 million. The cap hit will be $2.6 million in 2011-2012 and $3.2 million in 2012-2013. Mason is 22 years old and has a 2.65 goals-against average with a .908 save percentage.

DETROIT - APRIL 16: Steve Mason #1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is beat for a third period goal by Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings as Jan Hejda #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dan Cleary #11 of the Detroit Red Wings close in during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
(Photo: Yardbarker.com)

Nikita Filatov returned to Columbus over the weekend to join the team’s training camp. Last year, a month into the NHL season, the youngster bolted for Russia’s KHL.

Ken Hitchcock has returned to the Columbus Blue Jackets, this time in an advisory role. Hitchcock will help evaluate prospects playing at the major junior level in the Canadian Hockey League and in college in the United States. Hitchcock will also scout both NHL and AHL games. Hitchcock was the coach in Columbus from 2006 until February 3, 2010.

On the injury front, Blue Jackets defenseman Kris Russell sprained his knee at practice on Sunday. The 23 year old is expected to be out two to four weeks.

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit’s Kris Draper suffered a groin injury during a team scrimmage on Saturday. According to the team’s website, Draper’s spot on the roster isn’t guaranteed. He is fighting for a fourth-line role along with Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Darren Helm, Drew Miller and Mattias Ritola.

CALGARY, CANADA - OCTOBER 31: Kris Draper #33 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Calgary Flames during their game on October 31, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Red Wings defeated the Flames 3-1. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
(Photo: Yardbarker.com)

St. Louis Blues

Proof positive that it is a slow week for news for the Blues is that the leading, and only, story is that St. Louis released forward Nick MacNeil—a 21 year old over-aged junior invited to camp on a tryout basis. MacNeil spent the last five seasons with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

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