Regardless of whether you believe the Nashville Predators slow start is cause for long-term concern, I think we can all agree that the current lineup isn't showing much of that elusive "chemistry" right now, and that some form of change is in order. With trades being so difficult to make at this stage of the season, the only ready avenue for David Poile and his staff is to shuffle some players back and forth between Nashville and Milwaukee.
But who should go, and who should stay? Do you call up the hottest hand offensively and hope they can contribute at the NHL level (like Chris Mueller or Ryan Thang), or go with someone who you think could more effectively play close-checking, 1-0 or 2-1 games? Maybe someone like Zack Stortini could add an element of energy and competitiveness that has been lacking so far.
While some would call for more radical change, the prudent first step for the Preds will be to try and leverage their organizational depth to pull out of this early-season funk. But just how should they do that? Offer up your solution in the comments below, while reading your morning hockey notes...
Nashville Predators News
The View from 111: Trotzy's Tirade Goes International
We may chuckle at Barry Trotz's quotes sometimes, but over in Sweden, his "horrible" comment about Mattias Ekholm drew lots of attention. One has to wonder if this coverage would play into Ekholm's decision of as to whether he'd want to go back to the Swedish Elite League if the Preds want to cut him from their NHL roster.
Weekend Preview: Will Trotz lose it? Wings-Caps - CBSSports.com
Well, at least Trotzy is in mid-season form. The media are soaking up his quotes from Vancouver still.
The Smartest Spenders in Sports - Businessweek
We've seen several hockey-related analyses before pointing the Preds out as getting the most bang for the buck in the NHL, but this one brings MLB, the NBA, and NFL into the mix, too.
Lead by Example: How Shea Weber is Darkening the Path | The Predatorial
Jeremy implores the captain to stay out of the box.
Smashville 24/7: Smashville On The Glass - Mitch Korn featured
Ryan & Buddy chat up the Preds' goalie coach.
The 303:30 – Weber’s hearing, the losing streak and Preds blogger Ryan Porth | Section 303
Jeremy & Ryan aren't ready to criticize Barry Trotz or David Poile for how things are going, just hold until Mike Fisher, Francis Bouillon, and Patric Hornqvist are healthy.
Oh CANA-daaaaa! Admirals head to British Columbia for a pair of weekend games | hockeygalmilwaukee
The Admirals get their western road trip on.
Veteran F Dumont has agreement in place to join Bern - TSN
Bon Voyage, J.P.
O’Reilly’s groin better and notes - Predators Insider
It sounds like Cal should be available again soon...
Mattias Ekhom’s struggles lead to questions about his immediate future - Nashville Predators Examiner
Coach Trotz, or Colonel Kurtz?
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Peter Forsberg on foot issues: ‘I should have quit earlier’ - Puck Daddy
You don't usually hear a retired athlete say he shouldn't have hung on so long.
Analyzing James Neal’s Fast Start in Pittsburgh - The Hockey Writers
Is Neal bound to cool off? Certainly, but the Penguins have been fortunate to enjoy his hot play while waiting for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to return.
An Explanation: Replacing LW, R and C with F1, F2 and F3 - Backhand Shelf
Don't get so hung up on where guys line up for the faceoff dictating where else they should go on the ice.
Brawls ‘aren’t causing’ head trauma: doctor - National Post
An interesting counterpoint to much of the concussion-related talk from this summer.
Interview with LA Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell | Hockey Independent
Many people assumed that Willie Mitchell's time as a Top 4 defender was done after concussion problems dogged him, but he could prove to be a key cog for the Kings.
Why Ottawa Senators Should Send Mika Zibanejad Back to Sweden - The Hockey Writers
Ottawa, too, has a question about what to do with a sensational Swedish prospect.
Joe Thornton at 1,000 games: Are we watching Hall of Fame career? - Puck Daddy
If he were still playing in a major NHL market like Boston, we wouldn't even be seeing this question.
Please Get Buff Off of the Blue Line - Arctic Ice Hockey
Should Dustin Byfuglien play at forward or defense? I suspect his skating will be an issue no matter where he lines up.
Yup, he's dreamy.
WHL: Pats score with rapture-related ticket promo - Buzzing The Net
You've got to love minor/junior league ticket promotions...
CSSI Analysis: Red Wings 5 - Blue Jackets 2 - Winging It In Motown
Detroit takes its turn at dismantling the Blue Jackets.
Canes Fall in OT: Blues 3, Hurricanes 2 - Canes Country
Jason Arnott popped in his 3rd goal to help lift St. Louis to victory.
Sharks come back twice against Devils, win 4-3 in the shootout - Fear The Fin
Joe Pavelski tied it late for San Jose, allowing them the chance to take the shootout.