Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pred Ramblings

The Preds just took another loss to the Red Wings, and there are some things that really irritate me about the way they have been losing lately. They are now 2-6 since the back-to-back wins in Detroit. And they are 9-13 since what I considered the biggest win of the season to that point at Calgary.

What is the deal? Well, look at how the Red Wings play and you'll see the vast difference between the two teams. This has become a common scene when watching the Wings play the Preds:

Sure, it's a scene a lot of teams see when they play the Wings. And, hell, the Preds are only 2-3 against them. But notice the face--it's Mathieu Schneider. This guy has scored 4 goals in 5 games against this team (the Red Wings as a whole have scored 15). I think I've seen every one of them. They're all from the same spot on the ice, to the left of the goal, wide open, with only Vokoun in front of him. And guess what? Vokoun's not going to stop him. He genetically cannot stop Schneider from scoring under those circumstances.

That means no one is attacking. I don't think anyone can accuse the Preds of not being a hard-working team, but against the real good teams in this league, they get bullied. Teams have put up 40 shots or more in a drinking-game number of instances against this team. That's too damn many--I don't think that's ever going to change. This will never be addressed. The other side of it is watching the Wings play defense. They sort of form a 5-man wall in front of Legace, they look like the 5-side of a di. And when the puck is loose, they always go after it and disrupt any kind of offensive momentum that a skater can get. There's always someone trying for the puck.

The way you get around that is do some disruption yourself. But all the Preds stand around on the outside of this wall, expecting to be able to get a good shot if the puck gets to them, and let me tell you right now, that's not happening. It won't happen. I've never played hockey in my life, but I do know the laws of matter. They aren't going to be able to shoot the puck through 6 opposing guys. Someone needs to get in the wall, get in front of the net, cause a penalty, whatever. Stop allowing teams to build walls! And when you play defense, stop allowing their guys stand 2 inches in front of the goal! This has been a Predator staple since 1998.

And this losing the lead and losing the game late has to stop, too. What's the fix? Is there a fix? Is Legwand the answer? A healthy Walker (at this point, I'm not seeing either of those two ever being available for a whole season)? Whatever it is, they're going to have to find it. This team will make the playoffs, but they're also not going to face the Chicago Blackhawks, sorry to say.


At 2/09/2006 10:30:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I couldn't agree more. What a disappointing loss tonight. In these last two games we've shown that the Wings are clearly the better team; they are better coached, and have more talent. We're lucky to play Columbus, STL, and Chicago eight times each. Right now, we're playing like the old Preds, hoping and praying we can make the playoffs.

At 2/10/2006 10:41:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

I agree as well. I don't know what the answer is, though. There are nights...when they come out looking and playing great. But those are not as frequent as I'd like to see (though more frequent than any previous season).

I do think both Walker and Legwand--and them being on the ice together--will help. Walker is hustle master, and he's good. Legwand is (as I've now said several times) way better than people give him credit for. Trotz said publicly he's very happy with David's play. He's EVERYWHERE. He's not only fast, he's smart about where the puck is going and where it's going to be. He steals a lot of pucks. He makes and receives good passes. He creates...he sets the table.

We do officially need to go buy that free agent defenseman the team's been talking about. A big-ass guy who will clear the freaking front of the net and slam people. A good one. I know they can't afford Adam Foote...but a guy like that. Foote-lite. Now.

If that happens...and Leggy and Walker are both back shortly after the Olympic break...I think we can be the team that steps up and steams into the playoffs. We need more defense to stop the crazy shot totals. And yes...we can think of Legwand as a third defenseman who also plays wing. He is a great defensive-offensive player.

Done ranting. Good post, Chris. Sure hope we beat Columbus heading into the Olympics.


Post a Comment

<< Home