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Radulov, Kostitsyn’s absences aren’t the reasons why the Predators trail Phoenix 3 games to 1

The “experts” and the coach seem to be on the same page in this instance. TSN’s Bob McKenzie doesn’t buy the theory that Barry Trotz or Predators GM David Poile deserve “blame” for the Predators’ Game 4 loss because they chose to sit Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn…

While there will be a lot of pressure on head coach Barry Trotz and general manager David Poile for the decisions that they made, the guy behind the bench knows his team better than anybody else so I’ll generally err on giving him the benefit of the doubt. But the Predators are in a deep hole and if they are in deep, I think it goes back to those two players that put them in the hole and put them in the position of doing that.

You can criticize the coach or general manager all you want, but this one falls back on the players. I do, however, believe both Radulov and Kostitsyn will be back in the lineup for Game 5.

And Predators coach Barry Trotz told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that Radulov and Kostitysn are the least of the team’s problems:

“I don’t think I have to defend it,” Trotz said of his decision to not dress Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for a second straight game. “The guys had chances, we created chances. ... You could say the ‘What’s ifs?’ Maybe they could have made a difference. We’ll never know that. The guys that played, played well and created lots of chances. We just have to bury one of them.”

Having said that, I’d be shock if at least Radulov didn’t dress Monday night in Phoenix.

“There’s some guys I don’t think played particularly well today,” said Trotz. “They can play a little bit better. Yeah, there will be some changes. There will be.”

If for no other reason, the Preds need Radulov’s creativity back on their ailing power play. Make it two straight games without a sniff on the power play and overall just 5-for-37 for the playoffs.

“We’ve tried quite a few tricks already,” said Trotz. “You’re pre-scouted pretty well. It’s that cat-and-mouse game. It was difficult to make plays out there, I thought the building was little bit warm and the pucks were bouncing around. I don’t think it helps both power plays. ... But yeah, we’ve got to get production from our power play. If we’re not scoring, the power play’s got to come up and get us a goal.”

And so here are the Predators, the team most people picked to win this series, needing to win three straight games to get it done. It’s a daunting task against a mirror image of their team.

“I know at 3-0 the numbers don’t look good,” said Trotz. “But at 3-1, a number of teams have come back. The numbers are much better than 3-0. Our focus has to be on winning a hockey game. We won’t look past that.”

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink


RWBill's avatar

The Amazing Paul Gaustad

When Paul Gaustad was credited with that once a career, no-look backhanded goal off Brad Stuart’s skate, his only goal in two and a half months with the Preds, several knee-jerk Wings fans here emotionally railed The Franchise for not landing trade deadline pylon gems Paul Gaustad or Travis Moen.  At the time I emphatically disagreed.  Let’s let things speak for themselves.

At the cost of a first round pick, Preds deadline pickup Paul Gaustad is really putting his stamp on Nashville’s playoff run.

Facing going down 3-1 in the PHX series in the pivotal Game 4, Coach Trotz revealed just how much this vital pickup has added to Nashville’s arsenal by putting Gaustad on the ice for an impressive 5:03 even strength, 6:18 total time on ice.  Even that mindless penalty machine Jordan Tootoo played more minutes. 

NOTE:  That’s for the entire game, not just one period, when almost 40:00 ice time became available when two regular starting forwards were scratched.

Down that critical third period stretch trailing by one goal, Gaustad’s value to the Preds was confirmed by his two shifts and 1:08 ice time.

In the four game second round so far he’s put one shot on goal, cooling off from that blistering two shots on goal in the five game first round.

11:00 a game and a Minus -1,  indeed it’s difficult to understand the Wings not getting into a bidding war for this high-impact, deadline marvel.

It’s best to leave General Managing a franchise to professionals.

Posted by RWBill on 05/05/12 at 01:59 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The Preds are losing because unlike DET, PHX is taking shots from the circles on in, and at better angles.  And they’re also crashing the net.  There doesn’t need to be another explanation…

Posted by Primis on 05/05/12 at 03:27 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by RWBill from No hockey in April blows. on 05/05/12 at 11:59 AM ET

This is exactly what I would have said if I could go two sentences without calling somebody a dickwhistle.

Great job, dickwhistle.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/05/12 at 04:06 PM ET


Be honest, Smith has been a wall in the playoffs.  If the Preds don’t solve him they are gone.

Posted by 13 user names on 05/05/12 at 05:39 PM ET

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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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