Another April, another disappointing playoff series.
But this time, this team was the most talented in the league, had the most individual season ticket holders in the NHL, was playing against a team that they matched up well against during the season, and was favored by some to win the Stanley Cup. And lest we forget Peter Forsberg, who came here because he thought we had the best shot at the Cup.
So let's look at the major constants through the Predators three playoff appearances.
David Legwand- not healthy enough to be a major factor, but the team spent most of two of the last three years without him in the lineup.
Kimmo Timonen- stop hogging the mary jane if you think he's been anything but help for this team.
Marek Zidlicky- generally a force offensively and a bit of a defensive liability, but not enough to drag the whole team down.
Brent Peterson and Peter Horachek- the assistant coaches. The PK has been great so Peterson is not to blame. The PP has been consistently devolving, but teams can overcome an average power play.
And then there's Barry Trotz. 4-11 in NHL playoff games. Has never won an NHL playoff road game. Has never gotten a team out of the first round of the playoffs. Is in charge of keeping the players motivated and keeping them at the top of their game. Has shown a consistent trend to shy away from some of the more physical aspects of the game, as well as the so-called "big game".
I find myself coming to one conclusion over and over again:
Barry Trotz MUST BE REMOVED FROM THE BENCH.
I like Trotz. He's a good coach, and he's helped turn this team into a contender. But he's not a "great" coach in the vein of the modern standouts such as Ted Nolan, Lindy Ruff, John Tortorella, Jacques Lemaire, and Andy Murray. That's the kind of coach this team needs right now.
Or, even better- get the ghost of Ed Arbour to coach the team. Terry Crisp, Claude Noel... whoever Poile brings in, it's time for a change at the helm before the Preds have their window slammed shut.
Part 3 of the "What the Off-Season Holds for the Predators" series has been cancelled... because there's just too much information to compile into one column.
Okay, I have to get this off my chest.
I am disgusted by the NHL's officiating. There is no uniform standard for penalizing players, whether it be for a spear to the groing or a slash to the throat. They also scrutinize some teams(such as Nashville), whereas some teams are, well, not so scrutinized(San Jose is a decent example).
All partisanship and homerism aside, we all know this is a serious problem in the NHL and it needs to be addressed before anything else over the summer. I, for one, don't want the NHL to turn into the NBA on ice. Have the officials call only the obvious penalties, and stop calling a plaer for hooking when he just takes his stick off the ice in the vicinity of another player. And as for suspensions, other than in extreme cases, there should be an established, uniform suspension for each major infraction.