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2012 NHL Playoffs Preview: Predators vs. Red Wings

Canvassing the Caucuses: An Election-Style NHL Playoff Preview during Election Season

PART 8

by Peter Nygaard (follow him on Twitter)

We’ve already taken a look at the Eastern primaries, so now let’s examine the polls out West.

Western Primary

Nashville Predators (4) vs. Detroit Red Wings (5)

[also see: St.Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks,  & Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings]

  • The Issues:
  • Criminal Rehabilitation — NHL refs must love officiating games when the Preds come to town. When opposing teams take a penalty, Nashville is quick to show them the error of their ways. True to their name, the Predators take advantage of powerplay opportunities better than any team in the league, scoring on 21.6% of man-up situations. Simply put, if you’re going to take a dumb penalty against the Preds, you’re going to learn your lesson.
  • Foreign Diplomacy — Nashville became league laughingstock in 2008 when ‘04 first-round pick Alexander Radulov left while under contract with the Predators to go play in Russia’s KHL. Four years later, it’s the Preds who are laughing. Radulov’s return late in the season has given Nashville’s offense a dynamic talent and gifted scorer. Nashville GM David Poile has taken care to avoid superstar scorers for the virtually unaffordable price tags they command, but with Radulov, one may have fallen right into Nashville’s lap.
  • Political Dirt:
  • Rumors have been flying that if the Predators don’t make a deep run into the playoffs, star defenseman Shea Weber will walk, and defensive stud Ryan Suter is likely to follow. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the Nashville Predators may hinge on how they do in this year’s playoffs.
  • Campaign Promises:
  • If elected, the Predators promise to continue their efforts to legitimize hockey in the Sun Belt. Southern cities love a winner, and attendance at Bridgestone Arena has steadily risen in the past few years. A deep run could have the Preds treading in unexplored waters: a season sellout.

  • The Issues:
  • Homeland Defense — The Red Wings were the NHL’s best team at home this year, posting a dominant 31-7-3 record at the Joe. That included a 23-game winning streak with only three of the wins coming via shootout. Detroit was in the hunt for home ice advantage in the first round heading into the season finale but was unable to get the job done. If the Wings steal one on the road, though, it will be tough for opposing teams to rally back.
  • Open Borders — Scanning the Red Wings’ roster, it’s easy to surmise where the team stands on immigration. Especially if the players are coming from Sweden. The Red Wings have 12 international (not from North America) players on the roster, including an eye-popping eight players from Scandinavia. And considering who some of those players are — ever heard of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen? — it’s safe to say none of these were diversity hires.
  • Political Dirt:
    For all the class and good will the players have built up, it’s hard to root for a team that willingly employs Todd Bertuzzi. If you’re intentionally reading this, you know why. If you somehow stumbled upon this paragraph and have no idea what I’m talking about, well… here.
  • Campaign Promises:
  • If elected, the Red Wings promise to maintain the status quo and never ever change anything about themselves, not now, not never.

Vote For: Nashville Predators in 7

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  1. April 14, 2012 at 8:34 am

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