Welcome to the weekend. Not that we want to bring up things that may make Nashville Predators fans upset, but today is Chicago Blackhawks day.
Predlines asked Keith Schultz of Blackhawk Up three simple questions to better understand the mind of a Blackhawks fan.
The Chicago Blackhawks had 8 picks in the 2013 NHL Draft. They selected five forwards and three defensemen. I asked Schultz what he thought of the Blackhawks draft. He said “You never know for a few years, but Bowman has done a good job in the draft so only time will tell.” He may be right, but I have to wonder if the addition of so many forwards is a way for the Blackhawks to try to replace Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in the future? Both Kane and Toews’ current contracts expires after the 2014-2015 season. Just tossing that into the mix. From a Predators stand point I’d be okay with that.
Last years Stanley Cup Champions did not seem to have very many short falls. However, Keith did point out one of them. When asked what needs to change for your team to improve on last year; Keith’s response was the Blackhawks Power Play. ” The power play can only improve, it was horrible last season and definitely the weakness on a team that had very few.” In fact the Blackhawks power play was ranked 19th in the NHL last year (16.7%)
The NHL needs rivals, and they need new ones to form. I know that’s nothing new and I’ve said it before, but, this season the Predators took measures to “Keep The Red Out”. The new ticket policy will no doubt add a bit of tension when these teams meet. I asked Keith what he thought of the new playoff format, his response was simple. “I like that 2 vs. 3 in each division play in the first round which makes it feel old school, and it should help in the rivalry business.” In keeping with the new rivals aspect of the NHL, I asked Keith what “new” rivalries are you hoping to form? Again the answer was direct, and to the point. He thinks “Rivalries cannot be manufactured they build up through the years and especially after several playoff meetings so going old school should help create rivalries and make them thrive.” I love the thought of an OLD SCHOOL NHL, don’t you?
The Blackhawks will face off vs. the Predators on November 16th, December 17th, March 14th, and April 12th. . I’ll go out on a limb and say Nashville comes way with 5 out of 8 points.