The Nashville Predators fell to the New York Islanders last night 4-3 in OT. I don't think a single member of the Predators organization could look a fan in the face and say, “We did the best we could,” in this game. It just wouldn't true, and they know it. The Nashville Predators made incredibly careless and costly mistakes that resulted in an Islanders win. Let me break it down for you.
1. Poor defense- The Islanders' first goal was created by Rob Schremp. Schremp made an excellent pass to defenseman Freddy Meyer who really ripped a shot that Pekka Rinne had a little chance of stopping. Meyer screamed down the slot, and not a single Predator was within a yard and a half of Meyer…that is how open this guy was. Someone, I don't care who, has to pick off a guy if he is right there in the slot! Give your goalie a chance for goodness sake. This is a fundamental element of hockey, taught to the youngest of players.
2. The Kicking Motion- The Predators thought they had a power play tally in the 2nd period when Patric Hornqvist got a piece of a shot from a point but accidently hit it with his skate. When you see the replay, Hornqvist is trying to move the puck to his stick, but he fans on the shot with his stick, allowing the puck to slip past Biron's five-hole from Hornqvist's toe. Hornqvist wasn't trying to kick it in; he was trying to play the puck with his stick. This should have been a goal, and if you watch the replay, I think you will agree. The Predators got a costly bad call here.
3. No Penalty on Sutton- After Joel Ward scored on his breakaway (his third game in a row with a goal), Andy Sutton decided to do his impersonation of a caveman beating a dinosaur with a stick. The goal was the unfortunate victim in this case. I thought the officiating was overall fair tonight, but they missed this one and the Hornqvist goal. This behavior clearly qualifies as unsportsmanlike and deserved a penalty. If a guy goes berserk on the goal post, he is putting his teammates in danger, especially the goalie. Remember Thomas Vokoun getting smacked in the head a month or so ago because of a bone-headed move by one of his teammates? This is inexcusable behavior for an NHL player. They should not be allowed to throw a temper tantrum like Sutton did last night, and if a player does, a penalty must be given to discourage others from doing the same. My opinion would be the same if a Predator pulled something like Sutton did so I am not trying to be a homer here.
4. Olympic Diving- Jordin Tootoo must have been warming up for the Olympics with an epic dive that would have made Alexandre Despatie proud. If you don't know who Alexandre is, he won the Silver in the Olympics two years in a row for Canada in diving.
5. Too Many Penalties- The Predators racked up 14PIM, while giving the Islanders not one, but two chances on the 5-3, 6-4. Guess what? The Islander's cashed in on the man advantages. I have to give the Islanders credit, for a bottom feeder team, they sure have a lot of heart and grit. They came to play tonight, and Nashville didn't. Plain and simple.
6. Colin Wilson- Hey, Mr. Wilson where were you last night? Riding the pine, that's where. The Predator's top forward prospect logged a grand total of 4:51 minutes, and wait for it… NINE shifts. That is inexcusable. If Wilson is healthy, he needs to be playing at least nine or ten minutes, not a paltry 4:51. If you call the boy up, the least you could do is let him play instead of wasting his talent on the bench. Perhaps the most disturbing note I made about Wilson's recent call up was a post I had on a message board three hours before game time “What is the over and under for wilson's TOI? 5 Minutes?” Allow me to pat myself on the back.
7. The Bottom Line- The Predators are 2-6-3 in their past eleven games. That kind of play is not going to get you into the playoffs pure and simple. Tonight's game against the Rangers has to be a gut check for the Predators. They need a win in the worst way, and if they fail to deliver, I don't think they will make the post-season. That is how crucial this game is to them. If Nashville is unable to secure a win, I think Poile has to decide if this team is a buyer or a seller come trade deadline time. Right now, I would say seller and it pains me to say that, especially because three weeks ago we were in fifth place in the Western Conference and playing like a team. The past three weeks have hurt the Predators in many ways, not just in the standings free-fall. They have to be wondering deep down if they are contenders. That lack of confidence isn't going to help propel them forward. My hope….leaders can come from the most unlikely sources sometimes. I don't know who is going to step- up and take on the leadership role for this team but as a fan, I just hope someone does and fast or the hockey season for this Predators fan will come to an end much too quickly.
About the Author
Written by Chris Rydburg
Chris currently attends my Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He hopes to one day be a high school teacher.