After the Nashville Predators were eliminated from playoff contention last night in Dallas, team captain Shea Weber was so angry he actually gave interesting quotes to Tennessean beat writer Josh Cooper regarding the Preds' elimination from playoff contention.
"It sucks. I hate it. Everyone in here hates it, and it's not a good feeling. Something's got to change. We have to get better, and we have to find a way to get into the postseason."
For a guy who usually regales us with a string of lifeless cliches, this is a refreshing change of pace. Make sure to follow the link above and read the whole bit, I'll wait.
OK... you're back?
The next question for Weber, however, is critical: what has to change?
- Are some players not giving their best?
- Has the coaching staff failed to maximize the on-ice talent?
- Did the front office make the wrong choices last summer?
- Has ownership meddled with the decision-making process, or held the team back?
I don't expect that we'll hear Weber get into specifics, but these are important issues which need to be addressed if the Predators are to return to the playoffs in 2014-15. The Central Division won't get any easier, as Chicago and St. Louis look like enduring Stanley Cup contenders, while Dallas looks like a team on the rise. Colorado & Minnesota may take a step backwards next season, but will still prove tough to overcome.
At least we can always count on the Winnithrashers, right? Somebody has to play doormat now that Columbus is gone.
Anyways, there is some serious work to be done at 501 Broadway this summer, and it's good to hear the captain openly venting his frustration over the team's performance. Who knows, maybe he could wield his considerable clout to try and recruit some free agents to sign with the Predators over the summer.
One change in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL's owners and players declares that teams can talk with unrestricted free agents starting the day after the NHL Draft, which this year means that teams have June 29 & 30 to make their case before the free agency period officially opens on July 1st and guys can start signing contracts.
If Shea Weber is serious about wanting to take the Nashville Predators to a higher level, he should plan to play a big role in that effort with team management, personally appealing to players such as Thomas Vanek or Paul Stastny as to why they should come to Smashville.
Somebody has to jazz up the sales pitch, right?