Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/05/12 at 03:34 AM ET
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.”
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