San Jose Sharks forward Dany Heatley acknowledges the competitive nature of the Western Conference. It would seem that as each day passes, the Western Conference standings get more and more muddled with no obvious playoff picture emerging.
“I don’t know exactly what it is but there is different styles from the East and the West,” Healtey explained, “Top to bottom in the West you have pretty good teams, all the teams can skate, you are in for a battle every night. It’s definitely a tough Conference.”
Vancouver will win the Northwest Division and it is likely Detroit takes the Central. Edmonton will have another top 5 draft pick and the chances of Colorado or St. Louis making the post season continues to slip away. But positions three through twelve in the West are up for grabs.
On December 15th, the San Jose Sharks made their first of two visits to Bridgestone Arena this season. It was the first time Predators fans saw Antti Niemi since Nashville’s game six loss to Chicago in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Niemi helped the Blackhawks win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years, and in doing so became the first Finnish goaltender to hoist Lord Stanley’s hardware.
When in town to face Nashville in San Jose’s 3-2 loss last week, Niemi spoke with Predlines about just how difficult it was to play Nashville in the playoffs.
“I think all the series were difficult, but especially against Nashville. I remember the series being tied back in Chicago and us coming back [after trailing] at the end of the game without the goalie and winning in overtime. If we lost that game they would have been leading the series,” Niemi said before adding, “It was an extremely hard series for us. It was a great feeling beating them here.”