Hockey rivalries are probably some of the best rivalries in sports. There's so much passion, fire, and hatred with rivals, that it puts a great product on the ice. (It doesn't hurt that they can actually fight it out either). The best rivalries are probably division rivals. I mean, think about it, some of the best ones are division rivals. Boston vs. Montreal, Chicago vs. St. Louis, and Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, just to name a few.
We're going around the Central division to compare the rivalries, starting with the
Atlanta Winnipeg Jets.
Record against Winnipeg in 2013-2014: 3-2-0
Let's be honest, there really isn't a rivalry here quite yet. It doesn't help that it feels like the Jets just don't care sometimes. Its a shame too, because meaningful games in Winnipeg would be great for the NHL. I do believe that this match-up has the potential to take off. The Jets finished only 4 points behind the Predators, and were pretty competitive against us. The only problem is that there haven't been enough games and years between these two teams to have bad blood. There are definitely a few players that can make this rivalry fun though; which brings me to my next point.
Most Hated Player
For me, there is only one guy that I could list here, and that man is Dustin Byfuglien. He has been terrorizing the Preds since his Blackhawk days. He plays everywhere on the ice, and frustrated opponents with his size. I mean, can he make up his mind on what position he wants to play. Is he defense of offense? He is just a menace who gets under the skin of players with his large stature and play. I, personally, can't wait for the day he moves to a different division.
Best Game From Last Season
The October 24th, 2013 tilt in Nashville. This game had everything. Back and forth play, great saves, and overtime. To top it off, the game gave us goals from Shea Weber, and an overtime goal by Craig Smith with 17 seconds left to play in OT. There was some sloppy play (as there is with any game), but for the most part a pretty good game.
The Moment That This Became a Rivalry
This moment has yet to be seen. I think that this could be a great rivalry in the making. I believe that we could potentially get this moment at some point this season. As long as we have Rich Clune in the mix, ruffling some feathers, I think anything can be possible. It will definitely be fun to see it play out.
For everyone's sake, Let's hope that these match-ups provide some exciting moments this season. If this rivalry does take off, we will have to worry about this guy (in the video below) sneaking onto the Preds' bus. Or even worse, coming to the streets of Nashville (wait until about the 45 second mark of the video).