I am putting myself on the record here. I really miss the frequent meetings between the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings that we had over the course of the Preds' first 14 seasons.
Nashville and Detroit were members of the same division for a decade and a half, so they played as many as eight regular-season (not to mention preseason and playoff) games during a single campaign. At the start, the Predators were decided underdogs. The Red Wings were two-time defending Stanley Cup champions when the Predators first took the ice. In other words, there were quite a few teams that didn't fare well against them.
The powerful Red Wings, with a $75 million payroll (in those days there wasn't a salary cap or floor) versus the $12 million for the Predators. The Red Wings power-play unit alone surpassed the Nashville payroll!
At the outset, it really was a David versus Goliath matchup. Former Preds Head Coach Barry Trotz was concerned that his team might want autographs from all of the Detroit Hall of Famers.
However, underdog or not, being in the same division meant there was the chance of playoff meetings - and they had three of them, including the first-ever trip to the playoffs for Nashville, and a Predators series win in 2012. Remember all of that?
We are now five seasons into being separated from the intense meetings. They're not only in different divisions, but different conferences as well. If the teams meet again in the postseason (unless there is further reconfiguring of the divisions/conferences), it will be in the Stanley Cup Final.
That makes this weekend all the more special - they have their two meetings in a span of four days, including the Predators' first-ever trip into the brand-new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, replacing the legendary Joe Louis Arena. I look forward to that, and I bet you do as well. Enjoy!