Nashville Predators: Starting in Playoffs Means New Beginning

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 16: Kyle Turris #8 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 16: Kyle Turris #8 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

There may never be a completion of the 2019-20 NHL regular season, but hopefully we’ll see the playoffs. How would the Nashville Predators fair in this?

The Nashville Predators are in the current playoff picture if the NHL season officially ended today. They have 78 points and are in the final wildcard spot based on point percentage.

It would be tough on other teams on the outside looking in to never see this full season finished out. In the case of the Nashville Predators, they’re in the field if the NHL decides to start in the playoffs rather than scrambling to figure out how to finish the regular season.

The NHL seems committed to crowning a Stanley Cup champion in some way if possible. That means the Predators will get a crack at it if that happens.

There’s also still hope that the regular season can be played out, even if it goes deep into the summers months and reaches August, per Nicholas J. Cotsonika of and comments from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

Extraordinary circumstances

We’ve never seen life as we know it come to a halt like this in modern times, much less the effect it has on the sports world. Professional sports is such a minor concern compared to what’s going on with the coronavirus pandemic.

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Once it’s deemed safe by the CDC and medical professionals to return back to normal life, I’m assuming that the NHL will do everything they can to have some sort of postseason to complete the 2019-20 season.

How will teams approach this? Many teams will probably return back to what was already working and already had put them in strong positions in the standings.

But what about those fringe teams like the Nashville Predators?

Players will need plenty of time to have a proper training period before the season resumes. I’m not a professional in the field of athletic training, but two weeks at a minimum seems necessary.

The Predators and Head Coach John Hynes will have a tough call to make. First off we have to learn about how much time teams will have to train and get ready for essentially a new start.

Again, we’ve never really seen anything like this to see a major sport’s season brought to a halt with the regular season nearly completed. The Predators have 13 games remaining, while some teams have as few as 11 games left to play.

No team has more than 13 games left to play to complete their season. Even with that small number, I don’t see how they logistically work out every team fairly completing their season.

Impossible to predict

Just throw your predictions out the window if the NHL decides to go with the current playoff field and try to vigorously complete this in the summer.

It will be exciting for the hockey fan to consume, but intense at the same time for players and coaches. They’ll be bursting out of the seams to get back on the ice, but it will be challenging to turn back on the engines and get ready.

Imagine skipping an entire regular season and going straight from an offseason to a playoff atmosphere. That’s how this is going to unfold, if indeed the NHL gets lucky enough to even do that.

When it comes to the Predators, they’ve got just as good of a chance as anyone. This levels the playing field and takes away any kind of momentum that some teams were building or had already built throughout the season.

The Predators never lacked the talent. It was them just not putting the pieces together through the turbulence of injuries, a midseason coaching change and top players not living up to their normal skill level.

There will be no way to know exactly how every team and every player will respond to the reality that the world is facing with quarantining and social distancing. It’s reaching to the average citizen all the way up to massive celebrities.

How does a world-class athlete like a hockey player suddenly suit up for an intense NHL playoff series?

Even playing field

Most of us already know that hockey has some of the most intense playoff journeys in all of sports. Multiply that by 1,000 if they start directly in the playoffs.

If the playoffs are conducted so that we have a Stanley Cup champion for 2019-20, then the Predators will first have to face the St.Louis Blues. A team that they already swept the season series from in four matchups.

You have to like those odds for the Predators, even if the Blues do eventually get a win or two against the Predators. But in terms of matching up with a team favorably, the Predators have a perfect draw here.

I want to see sports come back. Even the sports I usually care nothing about. I want normal life outside of sports to return even more.

When it comes to purely hockey, a talented team like the Predators who just didn’t perform up to their skill level during the regular season might benefit from starting fresh in a playoff scenario.

On the other hand, teams that were playing very well and consistently cruising through their schedules might stumble out of the gate in their initial playoff series. That might very well end in a lot of perceived “upsets” in the first round.

Sports and normal life will eventually return, and the Predators have just as good of a chance as anyone if the NHL decides to start in the playoffs. It will literally be anyone’s guess as to who comes out on top and hoists the Stanley Cup.

If they figure out a way to play out the regular season, the same rule still applies if you ask me. The Predators, and other struggling teams that were flirting with the playoff bubble, are getting fresh starts.

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Why not the Nashville Predators?

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.