Saturday, March 31, 2007

Just Throwing It Out There

This might be an unpopular idea among L & N Liners and Nashville Predators fans, but if the Preds are going to play like this against good teams all the time and especially if they lose again in the first round...isn't it time we say goodbye to Barry Trotz?

Forget emotions, forget that he's been the guy since 1998, forget that he's done a great job...maybe the next level isn't possible under him, or maybe he's not able to go to the next level with this organization. To watch, or listen to, this team get completely outplayed by the good teams has worn on me as a fan, I don't know about you guys. And it's not like the Preds don't have good players.

Maybe it's the young defense making mistakes that is mostly to blame. I haven't gotten a chance to watch many put it more accurately, I've seen only one and that was in person. But I've listened to a great many; probably more than ever. Games like tonight's 4-2 loss to the Stars (again) have a familiar rhythm: mistakes on defense which are almost always turned into goals by the other team and take your pick on offensive blunders: either the players don't have the ability to evade a defense or someone is missing a wide open goal. Every time I hear Kariya's name now I associate it with shooting wide or over the goal. But I think the most frustrating thing about listening to these games is that they never seem to be the aggressor. They never seem to be in control, even when they're ahead. How many times has a lead vanished in the final minute of a period?

Maybe getting some more of their guys back will be the factor. Maybe getting Hartnell, Erat, Sullivan, and Nichol back is the key. But I'm not so sure. The Preds have more than enough guys to be able to compete and they aren't.

Some stats: They are 15-20 versus teams either in the playoffs or still alive in the playoffs, including 1-3 versus Dallas, 2-6 Detroit, 1-3 Minnesota, 2-2 washes against Anaheim and Vancouver (both teams won the last game), and finally two winning records: 3-1 against San Jose of all teams, and 3-1 versus current eighth seed Calgary (who won their last meeting). Against Colorado, still in the mix and with one game remaining in Denver, the Preds are 1-2.

Here's what I'm saying: In any sport, adjustments need to be made when things aren't working. The current way the Preds play isn't working. We can't even look on the bright side here and say, well, they just need some pucks to find the net because other teams are making some lucky stops. This is not the case. It's time to stop pretending or else it will be another early exit and potentially, a move out of Nashville.


At 4/01/2007 09:00:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Wow. Well, several points.

-It's totally valid to rip their record against playoff-bound teams. We do lose to them at a higher rate, and it's been a common burden in recent seasons. I agree that it seems to be a theme and that it worries me.

-However, I think Forsberg is intended to help push us over the top in terms of that attitude...that confidence, knowing you're going to beat a team regardless of who it is. Of course, we just lost a few games to good opponents. Maybe his influence takes time. I did just hear Trotz the other day on the radio talking about how Peter's finally meshing and found his rhythm. I hope his presence helps.

-I also don't think a team has to be the most dominant team in the season to put together a run. Do I think our chances are better if we'd beaten a few more of the top-tier teams? Yes. But I still think we can blame injuries to a certain extent over the last month or two. Once Hartnell and Sully and Erat (I hope) are back...maybe there will be more oomph. Maybe I'm an optimist.

-I'm worried more about the seeming trend of playing horrible for the last week or two of the season.

-I'm also worried more about the goaltending. Not that either guy is playing bad. Just that Vokoun hasn't found that high gear again. Yet. Worries me. 'Cause I think Trotz is sticking with Vokoun out of principle.

-I wish we'd beaten a few more Detroits and Anaheims and Dallases, but I can't be too upset about the fact that we were competing for the top spot in the league or actually holding that spot for the last three months.

I hope the team will do well in the playoffs, and I think they can. But it feels like we're going in the wrong direction right now, and we have only three more games to figure it out. That's one fewer game than our first round playoff series will be. Not much time at all. So I'm with you. I just hope it doesn't mean anything. 'Cause I'm an optimist.

At 4/02/2007 05:44:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I don't follow hockey very much at all, so I'm just looking at this as an overall sports fan. Many teams in all sports have fired coaches in the past because while they could get them through the regular season with a sterling record, and they couldn't do anything when it came to the post season. Look at Tony Dungey's career in Tampa Bay which was nothing less than stellar in the regular season. They get rid of him, and win the superbowl one year later with Jon Gruden, and there are many more cases where this has happened.

However, Trotz has worked his ass off to get the Preds to the level they are at now. And so my opinion is even if he doesn't get them all the way this season, I think he deserves at least one more chance, but if we see more of the same next season, then I think it's a valid option. Something obviously would have to change.

At 4/03/2007 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Yeah. I think any coaching change for the Preds would clearly be about "bringing in new blood" as opposed to "firing Trotz because he did a bad job." Trotz is the man. Brought us from zero to hero.

It just may take another coach to take that next step. I hope not. But I don't think anyone in the organization would ever say Trotz was doing a bad job.


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