Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Daily News Journal,
If we’re halfway intelligent about hockey, we must admit some performance demerits lie with head coach Barry Trotz, an average NHL coach who has been handed a championship roster.
Trotz has fallen short in getting his team psyched up. Too often, the Predators come out flat and stay that way.
The Preds also have a propensity to play stupid. How many times have we seen a Nashville player act like a knucklehead and take a needless penalty that killed momentum and cost his team dearly?
That is opposed to San Jose, which sent the Preds free falling into the off-season again. Trotz’s boys did not feature a creative offensive strategy, especially one that successfully utilized Nashville’s speed advantage.
from the Tennessean,
Owner Craig Leipold said Sunday the Predators have not decided whether to invoke a clause in their lease that could force the city to decide whether to pay for thousands of tickets at the end of next season or give the team a way out of its lease.
Leipold told The Tennessean the NHL team averaged about 13,500 in paid attendance for home games this season, which allows them to put the city on notice for next season….
One reason the Predators might invoke the clause is that beginning next season, the NHL is requiring teams to reach 13,200 in paid attendance to qualify for the league’s full revenue-sharing package. Teams must average at least 14,000 in paid attendance in 2008-09 to qualify for full revenue-sharing benefits.
from David Boclair of the Daily News Journal,
Following three straight first-round playoff defeats, many Nashville Predators’ fans are wondering aloud on radio and on message boards whether coach Barry Trotz ought to be replaced.
Somehow, general manager David Poile has been given a pass, but in many ways Poile did not give Trotz as much to work with as a year ago. In that way, Poile has had as much — if not more — to do with the current state of affairs as Trotz.
from Joe Biddle of the Tennessean,
“It’s very disappointing to play the way we did all year and then to finish the way we did. Very disappointing,’’ Vokoun said. “We just didn’t get it done. There were a lot of things we didn’t do.
“There was taking penalties, to not being able to score during key moments. It’s all kinds of things. It’s extremely hard. I’m a very competitive person and if I could have done anything to change the game … You don’t know how many chances you’re going to get like this against a team like that.’‘
The most glaring problem was the number of penalties the Predators incurred. It not only put them behind the 8-ball in Game 5, but most of the series.
It was a problem that never got corrected. Friday night they got hit with nine penalties worth 29 minutes.
from the Tennessean,
“You are a little bit (frustrated) in the fact that you added some pieces that you felt could get over the hump here,” Trotz said. “But for the most part the pieces that we have put in have had a better effect on this team, no question.
“San Jose might not admit it, but it’s a lot harder than they probably expected it would be based on the two teams and based on last year. They are fortunate right now … they have played very well.
“They are a solid hockey club and an elite hockey club, and I feel we are too. So we have to get a positive result, and if we do we will see what happens.”
From John Glennon at the Tennessean,
The Predators managed to thwart the normally potent San Jose power play yet again on Wednesday, holding the Sharks without a goal on five power-play chances.
But Nashville players and Coach Barry Trotz are starting to scratch over at least some of the calls that are sending the Predators to the box on a regular basis in this series.
Center Jason Arnott was particularly irritated by a somewhat mysterious hooking call on Jordin Tootoo in the second period. It appeared Tootoo had been impeded by Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo, but Tootoo wound up going to the penalty box.
Plus: A photogallery of the Shark/Preds series
From John Glennon at The Tennessean,
As the Predators look to square their first-round playoff series against San Jose tonight, they’re looking for the players who excelled in the regular season to do the same in the postseason.
That means more production from players such as Jason Arnott, Paul Kariya and David Legwand, less reliance on J.P. Dumont, Peter Forsberg and Alexander Radulov.
The former trio has combined for zero goals and four assists in the first three games of this series, while the latter has done the heavy lifting — combining for 12 points (nine goals, three assists).
From Victor Chi at the San Jose Mercury News,
Call it collateral damage.
The Sharks’ power play has converted only once in this opening-round playoff series, but it could push Nashville’s gas gauge toward empty if the chances keep piling up. Despite an 0-for-6 performance Monday, the Sharks wore out the Predators with a 41-20 shot advantage built largely on those six power plays.
from the National Post,
“I could very easily give you a printed picture of the whole incident that would clear it up for you,” Wilson growled at the reporter from Nashville.
“I’ve looked at a lot of tape, and I haven’t seen it,” the reporter shot back. “Do you have that picture?”
“Do you work for Nashville, seriously?” “Yes, I do,” the reporter said.
“Well, good for you,” Wilson said. “If you work for Nashville, you shouldn’t be in this room.”
from the Mercury News,
The NHL finally sent the proper message. It suspended Nashville forward Alex Radulov for his Game2 blindside hit on the Sharks’ Steve Bernier. The suspension should dissuade both teams from taking precarious liberties with each other.
Or, as Sharks Coach Ron Wilson said Sunday in more intellectual terms: “Hopefully, it will end the dirty crap going on out there.”
But there’s one more thing: The hockey will be much different this time around, too.
from the Tennessean,
Heading into tonight’s Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against San Jose, Forsberg has not only posted two goals and an assist in two contests, but he also led Nashville in a number of categories. The 33 year-old center has delivered a team-best 10 hits (including a memorable eight in Game 1), snatched a team-best seven takeaways and won a team-best 53.6 percent of his face-offs.
“I’m not saying you don’t play during the regular season or anything like that,’’ Forsberg said. “But I think you have to take your game to a different level come playoffs.
“This time of year, you’re playing for something — the Cup. These games are huge, every single one. Every single little thing can turn a series around.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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