Let it never be said the Nashville Predators have no pull with the NHL powers-that-be, for the team got at least one blessing from the schedule-makers this year.
The Predators will host five of the other six Central Division teams on a Saturday night at least once in 2015-16. The one team that won't make a weekend trip to the Music City? The Chicago Blackhawks, whose boisterous red-clad fans routinely make the trip from the Windy City, a habit that has prompted the Predators to implement numerous programs and restrictions in efforts to keep as much of the vermillion horde at bay as possible.
The Predators will host the Blackhawks on Tuesday Dec. 10 and Thursday Jan. 19, the last home game before a four-game road trip ahead of the 2016 All-Star Game festivities.
Other highlights from the schedule:
- The Preds open at home for the second straight year and for the second straight year will face an Eastern Conference opponent, taking on Carolina Oct. 8.
- The team appears to have abandoned, at least for one year, its Thanksgiving Night hockey experiment, which is something CEO Jeff Cogen had said the team would like to make a Nashville tradition. The Preds are on a five-game road trip during Thanksgiving week (one of two the team faces in 2015-16; the other is in March during the SEC basketball tournament) and return home to play the Buffalo Sabres the Saturday after Turkey Day.
- The Preds will play a full dozen sets of back-to-back games, up from 11 in 2014-15. Eight of those pairs are home-and-away, the other four are back-to-back road games.
- Because of the preparations for the aforementioned All-Star Game events in late January and early February, the Preds are on the road for nine games in the first month of 2016. The team is at home for nine games in December. The team also finishes with seven of its final 10 games in Bridgestone Arena, though the final contest of the year is at Dallas April 9.
- The Preds are content with the Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday rotation. Thirty-six of the team's 41 home games are on those three days (the other five are all on Mondays). Fourteen games are on Saturday.
- The annual late October/early November CMA road trip is relatively short this year — four games between Oct. 28 and Nov. 5. The first three are against the California trio (including a 3 PM Central start against LA on Halloween) with the closer at Minnesota, which will be the first Central Division game of the year for Nashville, nearly a month into the season. The trip will take care of the California swing for the team early. The most brutal road trip appears to be the SEC trip — March 5 to March 14, when the team will play at Colorado, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
- The team has three other afternoon starts, all at 2 PM: at Philadelphia on Black Friday, home against St. Louis February 27 and at Colorado March 5.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS