As Gandalf once famously said (at least on film), "It's the deep breath before the plunge." That's really what the past week has been, as we celebrated the return of the NHL only to see training camp pass in the blink of an eye. This past week has been the deep breath before the plunge into the all-out madness of a 48-game schedule completed in just 99 days. If fans have been hockey starved, they're about to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.
The Jackets and Preds renew acquaintances in Nashville, a place in which the Jackets have won just once in their last 20 tries (last year during the Season of Tears, ironically enough). Can the new-look Jackets shake off that stigma? After all, there are plenty of new faces, and most of them don't know or care about how bad it's been for Columbus in that building.
Will the Jackets be tougher to play against? Will we see a ful 60 minutes of effort? Is everyone in good enough condition for that? How much did Ryan Suter *really* mean to the Predators' defense? Do the Jackets possess a goaltender capable of stopping a puck?
All of these questions--and many more--will be answered tonight! Lace up your skates, strap on your pads, and tape up your sticks! It's ON!