I'll try my best not to hype up tonight's game between the Preds and Hawks.
However, it does hold rather large importance for the Preds. Its their first game against a divisional opponent in the increasingly competitive Central Division. The team is also coming off two straight shellackings at the hands of the Oilers and Stars, respectively, while having lost 3 straight overall. This the last home game before they embark on a 5 game road trip against a group of teams that they have not performed too well against in the last year or two. The Hawks are scary good and if the Stars and Oilers can wallop this team so badly as they did, then what will the Hawks do tonight???
Since I haven't blogged in a long while, lets look at this team thus far:
What are the problems with the Preds?
Defence? - This team came into the season having lost 3 defenceman, 2 of those being seasoned vets, from last year's roster and replacing those 3 players with a smaller sized veteran and a rookie with no NHL experience.
Offence? - We've heard all the complaints about this team not being able to score consistently last season. Those should carry over to this season.
Here are some stats to ponder from this season so far:
- the Preds have scored just 1 goal total in their 3 losses
- they have totaled 6 goals in their 2 wins
- they have scored the first goal of the game in just one of their 5 games this year
- David Legwand and Martin Erat have combined for 0 points this year....count it...ZERO!
Goaltending? - The question is do the Preds have two starting goaltenders or two backup goaltenders on their roster? Both Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne have been decent. Not a whole lot of weak goals and they both are being peppered with shots game in and game out. This probably isn't the problem for the team because one of these two will emerge this season to be the frontline starter. Goaltending is never really a problem (in the negative sense) in Nashville.
Coaching? - In a blog this summer right here on MYHB, I said that Barry Trotz would not be with the team by the end of the Summer of 2010. We are seeing the end of the Trotz-era as we know. His style and staff have gotten this team very far. They've accomplished so much despite so little put on the table in front of them. However, we have seen some Trotz-like players leave or get jettisoned out of Nashville. These are players are grinders with good skating ability who will lay the body and defencemen who play the body and fearlessly lay themselves out on the ice to block a shot. Names like Hartnell, Fiddler, Nichol, Zanon, deVries, and maybe even Hordichuk are guys who are typical of the Trotz era in Nashville. Love em or hate em, these guys are gone and I still think Trotz will be gone too.
Management? - Too much has been said about this already. A shoestring budget takes a mastermind to make it work. I'm not entirely sure David Poile is that. However, he uses whats been handed to him financially and tries to make it work.
Are we making too much of a bad start? We probably are but the players have to be held accountable and so do the coaches and so does management.
Going back to tonight's game, the team can either right the ship or dive overboard against the Hawks tonight. Certain players with long and overpaid contracts have to step it up if anything is to come of this team offensively. I don't know what else to say. I really don't.