Twas the week before Christmas and all through the land, the Predators were dealing with injuries in the band. Try as they may and try as they might, there simply was not a single win in sight.
The road has simply been a Grinch for the guys in gold. In the last 10 road games, they’ve simply gone cold.
They’re 0-8-2 since their 8-0 start on the road this season, and the holiday break is badly needed right now.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours, and I wish I could bring more good tidings to you, but the ghosts of Preds present haunt the halls as we speak.
The Fast Money Round
Monday: Ottawa Senators 4, Predators 3 (OT)
The first period in Canada’s capital was the worst period of this trip. The effort improved enough to get to overtime, but a horrible turnover let a second point slip away.
Tuesday: Chicago Blackhawks 2, Predators 1
Bad loss number two came in the Windy City. Kevin Fiala gave Nashville what turned out to be its only lead of the entire week, but despite Pekka Rinne’s best efforts, it didn’t stick.
Thursday: Philadelphia Flyers 2, Predators 1
Scott Hartnell was the best thing about this game, and he’s retired. With Carter Hart in net, one could honestly see his performance coming given the Preds’ recent play.
Saturday: Boston Bruins 5, Predators 2
Things looked up after Lawrence Feloney struck again and helped wipe out a Boston goal, and it was tied for a while. But the mistakes mounted and the Bruins’ chances counted.
Player of the Week
Favorite Thing of the Week
P.K. Subban’s annual Holiday Surprise doesn’t disappoint:
Trust me... SOUND ON for this one! Holiday Surprise 2018 is here! Thanks to my #BluelineBuddies @ryanseacrest @ryanfoundation @lilyaldridge @kingsofleon @rjosi90 @ABitetto7 #FilipForsberg @predsnhl @predsfoundation @hopitalchildren @vumcchildren @PKSF1 & everyone who supported! pic.twitter.com/RZDHdf3rSH— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) December 21, 2018
Concern of the Week
Aside from the first period in Ottawa, the effort wasn’t bad. But this team can’t keep making the mistakes it’s making and rely simply on Rinne to bail them out, because the firepower is still on the shelf. Here’s the thing about the current depth: it’s good enough to keep them competitive, but it’s not good enough to beat teams that are healthier.
Suppose you have a seven-layer cake and you slice off the top two layers. Put it up against another seven-layer cake and it doesn’t stack up. It doesn’t look awful, but it’s looking up at the opposition. That’s where the Predators are right now until Filip Forsberg, P.K. Subban and Viktor Arvidsson return. The cake doesn’t stack up.
Question(s) of the Week
First up, power play deployment (as if we haven’t harped about it enough):
Switch is the operative word here. Teams that are predictable are teams that don’t succeed. When you pound point shots into the pads of penalty killers, you pretty much take away any chance of scoring. Also: net-front presence. The Preds have none. As for coaching, unless a philosophy change happens, maybe a coaching change does need to happen after the season (assuming the Preds don’t win the Stanley Cup). In terms of personnel, here’s one change: stop sending out Nick Bonino.
Piggybacking off of the previous question, someone with a netfront presence. Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds immediately comes to mind, and if you want him early, prepare to part with at least a first, a prospect and someone like Craig Smith (simply because he’d be under team control for another year). This team needs to score gritty goals (yes, I meant that) and maybe Gritty can help provide help in that area.
Now, for our question of the week (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can coordinate your prize):
I want to go a couple of steps further. Let’s see: one each for the four key players out, one for the road woes and one for the bad juju on the power play. So that’s six sacrifices necessary. Where would you like to start?
This week’s grade
Merry Christmas. Here’s coal for the stocking, and I’m not sure this team even deserved that after losing to three bad teams and Boston. They do, however, still deserve support at home games, unlike what one commenter suggested during Saturday’s game thread. For that, you’ll get nothing and like it. This week’s grade: F
Your turn: How are you spending the holidays without hockey?
Do you want to give someone the Player of the Week honor for Week 11?
This poll is closed
Yes (tell us who in the comments if you do)