The Nashville Predators schedule was released in June, but back in June, we didn’t know exactly how the season was going to go. Of course, Preds fans had high expectations, but we’re definitely more poised to analyze the schedule now that the season is right around the corner. Here are some things to look for on the schedule this year.
Back to Backs and Travel Miles
The Predators will be traveling 36,971 miles to road games this year; the 10th-fewest miles of any team in the NHL this year. Last year, they traveled 42,096 miles, the 10th-most in the league. (All travel stats courtesy of Dirk Hoag’s Super Schedule at On the Forecheck). Travel miles may not seem like a big deal, but any slight advantage in travel time—which could be nothing more than an extra couple hours of sleep one night on a road trip—can be a huge advantage late in the third period of a division game. However, one disadvantage of playing in the Venue of the Year is that the Predators must take two additional road trips for the Country Music Awards Festival and the SEC Basketball Championship.
Another disadvantage of the schedule this year is that the Preds will play one more set of back-to-back games than last year. They went 5-6-2 on the second leg of back-to-backs last year, but hopefully will be more successful on short rest this year. Maybe the quality depth of Barret Jackman and Cody Hodgson that Nashville added this offseason will lead to a better-rested team and more success on back-to-backs.
There are some pretty sweet games on the schedule for this year. The Predators only gets the Blackhawks at home twice this year, but maybe that is for Patrick Kane‘s protection against bloodthirsty Smashville fans. The longest home stand this year is five games from November 7th-17th, including games against St. Louis and Anaheim. But the biggest change about home games this year is the new Golden Saturdays tradition, taking place at every Saturday home game.
The Predators will roll out a golden carpet (literally), announcers and staff will wear special gold attire, and the players will wear brand new golden helmets. That leads us right to the next section; here’s three home games to circle on the calendar, complete with family-friendliness ratings.
1. All-Star Weekend (January 30-31st)
Okay, I cheated. It’s not a home “game.” You guys trusted me and I already lied, on the first item of the fancy list. I let everyone down. But GUYS. The entirety of All-Star Weekend is in Nashville this year. That means watching Shea Weber compete for the hardest slap shot in history–and this is the year for him to break the record–as well as, maybe, Filip Forsberg in the accuracy shooting contest or the Shootout. And the game Sunday will surely feature a handful of hometown heroes.
Shea Weber is well-known for having one of the hardest slap shots in NHL history and competed in the Slap Shot Contest in the 2015 NHL All Star Game. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Family rating: Bring everyone. Bring your grandma. Bring your seven-month-old child. Bring your mother-in-law. This is the best chance to make new fans that we’ll have all year. It may be tough to find tickets but if you can find a way, you won’t be disappointed.
2. October 10th vs. Oilers
This is the first GOLDEN SATURDAY of the year, as well as the home opener. Bridgestone will be somewhere between “deafening” and “747 jet crashing into the sun.” Bring your family, but earplugs are recommended for all children under the age of twelve.
3. December 10th vs. Blackhawks
The first home matchup vs. Chicago comes in the first weeks of December, right as all the early kinks should be worked out. The players will be absolutely jacked up at the chance to get revenge on the hated ‘Hawks, who ended our season last year. DO NOT BRING YOUR FAMILY. Bring your bloodthirsty MMA-fan friends–the Predators have fought the Hawks more than any other team.
Let’s get attendance up into the top 10. It’s bound to be a great year for the Predators, at Bridgestone and beyond.
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