Home HockeyBuzz Register Login
"The Ten Minute Misconduct"
The last piece of the (rebuilding) puzzle, MO • 27 Years Old • Male

The Central Division

Posted 1:50 PM ET | Comments 7
Today, I picked up the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and saw a story about the competition in Rams training camp for the 3rd string quarterback position. So, I decided it was time to start writing about hockey, because I’m already sick of football and baseball. Since the Post-Dispatch isn’t going to satisfy my hockey craving, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. Today, boys and girls, we’re going to analyze the Central Division, because that’s where my beloved St. Louis Blues are.

The Central Division may have the most young talent in the league, but, for the time being, it’s not considered a particularly strong division. Most years, the debate is who will finish second to Detroit, and if finishing second will be good enough for a playoff spot.

The Detroit Red Wings

Hands down, the favorite to win the division. Although hated by everyone in the Central, almost all will begrudgingly admit that the Wings are favorites to win the Division and make some noise in the playoffs. The only question mark for this team is if Kronwall and Stuart are good enough to step up if an aging backline suffers injuries.

The Nashville Predators

The Preds almost always exceed expectations, due largely in part to the coaching of Barry Trotz, who seems to get the most out of his players. Despite his regular season success, Trotz has yet to make a meaningful post-season run with his team. The Preds don’t have many superstars, but they do have very good players in guys like Ryan Suter and Shea Weber on their backline. The Preds have a good shot at taking second in the division this year.

The Chicago Blackhawks

New ownership coupled with the emergence of Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews have reenergized the hockey fan base in the Windy City. The Blackhawks made a huge splash this offseason with the signing of Brian Campbell, showing the whole league that they are ready to make serious runs at a playoff spot. Cristobal Huet shores up the goaltending, and the young talent has another year of experience under their belt. Look for the Hawks to compete for a playoff spot along with Preds this year.

The St. Louis Blues

Although playoff hopes are uncertain at this point, Blues fans are excited about the season for three reasons: T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund, and Alex Petrangelo. Oshie and Berglund are expected to make the team, and rumor has it that Petrangelo will be given a nine game NHL season tryout similar to David Perron’s deal last year. John Davidson dumped Ryan Johnson, Jamal Mayers, Martin Ruchinsky and Christian Backman to make room for the young guns, and added Chris Mason, who will likely split goaltending responsibilities with all-star Manny Legace. Legace showed fatigue last year after the Blues backup goaltending imploded, forcing Manny to play in virtually every game without rest. If the Blues rookies do well, they could be a dark horse for the playoffs, but at this point, this season is about passing the torch off to a new generation of Blues talent.

The Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are a bit of an enigma. Though Rick Nash has superstar skill, it doesn’t seem like he brings it every night. Pascal Leclaire is a phenomenal goaltender, but he’s very injury prone. When those two are at their best, the Jackets are a formidable force. The additions of Raffi Torres and R.J. Umberger bring some depth to forward. The Jackets also have potential to be a dark horse if Coach Hitchcock can get his top players to bring their best game every night.

Well, there you have it. My look at the Central Divison. Feel free to praise it, blast it, critique it, or revise it. Love it or hate it, it’s preferable to reading about the Mats Sundin saga.
August 4, 2008 6:07 PM ET | Delete
Very fair assesment, especially since your a blues fan, and didnt try to convince everyone why the blues will win. Its a tough division for sure but I like that the divisional games have been reduced for this upcoming season.
August 4, 2008 7:46 PM ET | Delete
Nice work Jammer. I would agree that Columbus has the most ??? out of everyone in the central. Quick summary would be that Nash Leclair = Columbus. Basically they have to carry this team if they are to go anywhere.
August 4, 2008 8:27 PM ET | Delete
tough division to call after the wings. while i cant argue against your picks i can also see stl and cbj swapping and the same with chi and nas. injuries along with which teams youngsters grow the most will likely decide the issue.
August 4, 2008 10:56 PM ET | Delete
I could easily see any of "the other four" swapping positions, depending on performance, injury, etc. Each team has some legitimate strengths, a few obvious weaknesses, and a plethora of question marks. The resolution of those questions will likely determine the divisional standings.
August 5, 2008 9:32 AM ET | Delete
on paper 2nd thru 5th are totally up for grabs. I see it Wings, Hawks then a gaggle of Blues Preds and Jackets. Could be the first season in quite a few that we get 3 out of the division into the playoffs.HURRY UP OCTOBER! I need so real hockey getting tired of watching 08 and 07 playoffs on NHL Network.And Jammer you are correct too much Farve errrrrr Football and baseball. Boring
August 5, 2008 10:17 PM ET | Delete
great article way to go down the midldle and be fair with all the teams. If I wrote it I probably would have shown a bias. So a great job on the posting.
August 7, 2008 4:19 PM ET | Delete
A couple notes on the Jackets - a lot of folks here are excited about adding Kristian Huselius as well, and we're likely to have some significant fresh faces as well (pick one or two of Brassard, Voracek, Filatov). Other than that, nicely done. :)
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment.