With the start of the second half the season Tuesday. The playoff push will begin. We will hear from the local pundits and fans this fact. The Predators have made the playoffs four out of the last five seasons. I call this fact a "pacifier stat". A pacifier stat is: A fact that can not be disputed and is usually tossed out to shut the opposing view up. Often put out by sports talk show host when the conversation about the team is too negative. With twenty-one of the next thirty two at home. The Predators in my opinion are poised to do something they have never did before in the history of the franchise. WIN THE CENTRAL DIVISION!!! It is time and this year is the year. Barring a collapse in the second half, I as a fan do not care about how many points the team needs to make the playoffs. I want the Preds to finish first in the division and be in the top three playoffs spots. By winning the division the team will have home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Predators are only six points behind Detroit. They have four games against the standard bearer in the division. The goal of winning the division is obtainable.
I hear fans say "the Preds don't get the respect in the hockey media other teams do". I say to myself, we haven't won anything. If we want the team to get some respect from the hockey media then that is obtainable too. The Predators have five games against Vancouver(3) and Dallas(2). By aiming to win the division the Preds can compete for the top of the conference. By finishing first in the conference the Preds will face an eight seed team. There will be no easy teams in the western conference playoffs. Spots four thru twelve are only separated by six points. That eighth seed team will be easier though than playing a fourth or fifth seed team if the playoffs were to start tomorrow.
By winning the division it will give the franchise and us the fans a fact we can all love like winning the first road playoff game last year. It will signal a hurdle the team has finally crossed. It can be a celebration for the organization. They can pass out hats or t-shirts on the ice to the team the night they clinch the division. No sports teams hang banners declaring "four out of the last five years in the playoffs". They do hang banners for winning the division, conference or Stanley Cup Championships. It is time for the Predators to hang a banner.