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ILikeItILoveIt 03-07-2011 02:44 PM

That Feeling
 
That feeling. It eats at you. You try and rationalize it but the truth hurts. We’ve watched this team play well enough to make the playoffs for most of the year. We’ve made it 5 out of the last 6 years. We know what it takes. When you hit the last 20 games, there’s one more notch you need to hit. We’re at that point, and the brutal truth is: We’ve gone back a notch.

We’re not as good a team as we were a month or two ago. Pinpointing the reason is tricky. The overall answer is injuries and fading vets. We know the injured ones. Goc’s injury was the killer. Never really got to see a team with Goc and Fisher. Fisher has just become a replacement for Goc, with less scoring punch. The two fading vets (Sully and Dumont) have been our leading scorers at this stage of past playoff drives when healthy.

The replacements have had their moments but don’t have a track record for consistent performance, mostly because of youth. We are relying heavily on Wilson, Blum, SK, and Blake. Are seasoned vet forwards are what they are (Leggie, Erat, Toots, Ward, Smitty, etc). They will have their games and play a good overall game. Horny is a wild card. 30-goal scorer on a better team (last year’s). Can’t make his own shot so gets fewer goals without a better surrounding cast. Defense is our strength and Webs/Suts are the real deal. But we rely too much on our D to score. Bottom line, we’re not that good right now. Our newbies need more experience to take over the responsibility to win in a playoff mode while our fading vets faded faster than we anticipated. Who would have dreamed 3 weeks ago we’d actually be counting on Blum and Blake?
So, back to “the feeling”. I now watch each game defensively. I’m watching “scared” because almost everyone we play has better offensive players than we do. Every opposing rush is a disaster waiting to happen, leading to the dreaded goal putting the opponent ahead for good. When we get one of our few scoring chances, we don’t have a nose for the net. It’s a continuous tease. So close …. Keep your stick on the ice …. Posts …. Waved off goals …… blocked shots ….. missed nets from the point …… shots pinpointed into the chest of the opposing goalie. Watching games lately has been an exercise in survival. I find myself bargaining for one point as early as the 2nd period. It’s like watching boxing when your guy is the dancer/runner/counter puncher and the opponent is the heavy hitter who can knock your guy out with one punch if your guy doesn’t fight a perfect fight.

So, we’re a few points out with 16 to play. Mathematically, we’re squarely in the hunt. Psychologically, we’re wounded. Our guys know they lack the firepower. They talk like they have to play the perfect game. You can see it in their body language. They’re “hoping” to win, not expecting to win and dictating the outcome. YET, we can still make it. Why? Pekka Rinne. If he stands on his head, averages 2.0 GAA over the last 16, we will make it. If he averages 2.5, we won’t make it. It’s unfair, but that’s where we are. On offense, we have to score 3 or more goals in at least 10 of our last 16. To do that, we’re going to have to get lucky and have a few newbies play out-their-ass.

16 games to play, 1-to-2 points out. We’ve had 4 or 5 long winning streaks this year. We need one more. This stretch run feels more like 2003 than 2010. As low as it feels, we’ve become accustom to making the playoffs so it’s hard to imagine not making it. Hence, the tense stomach and the fragile approach to each big game requiring us to step-up. The Flames game was Exhibit A. Could not have been any bigger. Win and we’re in “the 8”, lose and we’re on the outside looking in. 4 point game against a team we know has more in the tank right now than we do, with players who rise to the next level. The outcome was the latest example of the Brutal Truth. We lost a game we had to have against a team who needed it as much as we did. I want to feel more confident but truth is I’m watching “scared” with each game potentially adding to the truth I know is coming. God I want to be wrong.

Of course, we beat the Sharks, I take back everything I said and lick my chops for the Wild on Thursday.

lstcyr 03-07-2011 03:11 PM

well said.

JohniusMaximus 03-07-2011 03:26 PM

I love when rational thinking appears on this forum. I'm going to bask in it now before craziness unfolds.

Nicely done.

101st_fan 03-07-2011 03:50 PM

It's a familiar situation. I'd love to see us have a spot locked up, but, that isn't Predators hockey. We always seem to be fighting for a position ... struggling to limp in with key injuries making it look like we'll fade away.

Situation normal ..........

BigFatCat999 03-07-2011 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 101st_fan (Post 31485099)

Situation normal ..........

You forgot the AFU part of the quote.

101st_fan 03-07-2011 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigFatCat999 (Post 31485165)
You forgot the AFU part of the quote.

It's only AFU if you expect something different, especially with the injury situation. This is a team that usually is in a fight for the post season under the best of circumstances which is maintaining that status quo without three of its opening day centers, a second pair defender, and an aging top six winger due to injury. Figure in Dumont's decline and we're essentially down two of what were expected to be our top three lines and one of our most consistent hitters on the backend. Yet we're still in the hunt needing 21-22 points over the last 16 games for a good shot at the post season.

The keel is lacking in the fan base. How many times do our "fans" write this team off in October and November after a losing streak. The sky falls, Trotz and Poile must be flayed, we're going to get a lottery pick, and on and on. The funny thing is how often those exact same people are the ones who are so sure the team is a lock for the post season if the team wins three in a row. Those ups and downs happen for all teams. Everyone gets bit by the injury bug.

I'm just waiting for this team to barely eek into the post season so the perennial one and done rants can begin again as though low seeds are supposed to advance far into the playoffs.

ThirdManIn 03-07-2011 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 101st_fan (Post 31494094)
It's only AFU if you expect something different, especially with the injury situation. This is a team that usually is in a fight for the post season under the best of circumstances which is maintaining that status quo without three of its opening day centers, a second pair defender, and an aging top six winger due to injury. Figure in Dumont's decline and we're essentially down two of what were expected to be our top three lines and one of our most consistent hitters on the backend. Yet we're still in the hunt needing 21-22 points over the last 16 games for a good shot at the post season.

The keel is lacking in the fan base. How many times do our "fans" write this team off in October and November after a losing streak. The sky falls, Trotz and Poile must be flayed, we're going to get a lottery pick, and on and on. The funny thing is how often those exact same people are the ones who are so sure the team is a lock for the post season if the team wins three in a row. Those ups and downs happen for all teams. Everyone gets bit by the injury bug.

I'm just waiting for this team to barely eek into the post season so the perennial one and done rants can begin again as though low seeds are supposed to advance far into the playoffs.

The line between reasonable and unreasonable never seemed clearer to me until I began chatting with certain Predators fans in various forums (both online and off). I have my fair share of pessimistic moments, but I don't think I've ever had unreasonable expectations for the post season... it makes those extra games more enjoyable if I can just sit back and appreciate it.

Excellent post. Hope all is well with you guys

nabby12 03-07-2011 11:48 PM

how bout putting Lindback in net? hes been the better goalie when called upon..

lstcyr 03-08-2011 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nabby12 (Post 31495037)
how bout putting Lindback in net? hes been the better goalie when called upon..

I think you have us mistaken for another team. I'm not ready to give up on the playoffs yet.

utmfisher19 03-08-2011 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nabby12 (Post 31495037)
how bout putting Lindback in net? hes been the better goalie when called upon..

Lindback played when the entire team was playing great hockey against weak teams. Rinne is by far the superior goalie.

hatedandproud 03-08-2011 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nabby12 (Post 31495037)
how bout putting Lindback in net? hes been the better goalie when called upon..

HAHA!!!! I think you should either watch more Preds games or stick to commenting on your own team.

Lindback is good, but Rinne is wayyyyy better.

Legionnaire11 03-08-2011 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 101st_fan (Post 31494094)
The keel is lacking in the fan base. How many times do our "fans" write this team off in October and November after a losing streak. The sky falls, Trotz and Poile must be flayed, we're going to get a lottery pick, and on and on. The funny thing is how often those exact same people are the ones who are so sure the team is a lock for the post season if the team wins three in a row. Those ups and downs happen for all teams. Everyone gets bit by the injury bug.

I'm just waiting for this team to barely eek into the post season so the perennial one and done rants can begin again as though low seeds are supposed to advance far into the playoffs.

This is the same for 29 other fanbases in the league, and what 122 fanbases in professional sports...

As for the expectations, since when has seeding mattered? This team was strong enough to sit in 4th through the middle of the season, you can talk about expectations of an 8 seed vs a 1, but what about the expectation that the team could ever actually step it up a notch down the stretch for once and not put themselves in that 8th spot in the first place. If there's no hope for a 7th/8th team, why even turn on the playoff games? just schedule a parade down Broad so we can celebrate just making the playoffs since that is apparently the best we can hope for.

Since the lockout, 15 times a 5-8 has pulled the upset in the first round and 25 times the 1-4 held up to advance. 7 of those upset teams rode the momentum to the conference finals, and twice in the five playoffs since the lockout a 7 or 8 has advanced all the way to the cup finals. Five times in five playoffs a 7 or 8 has pulled the upset. It happens, all of these teams are closely matched, it's why they play the games, it's why fans can have hope and lofty expectations.

BigFatCat999 03-08-2011 12:09 PM

This year was screwed but next year is interesting if Lombardi is back.

101st_fan 03-08-2011 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Legionnaire11 (Post 31501159)
This is the same for 29 other fanbases in the league, and what 122 fanbases in professional sports...

As for the expectations, since when has seeding mattered? This team was strong enough to sit in 4th through the middle of the season, you can talk about expectations of an 8 seed vs a 1, but what about the expectation that the team could ever actually step it up a notch down the stretch for once and not put themselves in that 8th spot in the first place. If there's no hope for a 7th/8th team, why even turn on the playoff games? just schedule a parade down Broad so we can celebrate just making the playoffs since that is apparently the best we can hope for.

Since the lockout, 15 times a 5-8 has pulled the upset in the first round and 25 times the 1-4 held up to advance. 7 of those upset teams rode the momentum to the conference finals, and twice in the five playoffs since the lockout a 7 or 8 has advanced all the way to the cup finals. Five times in five playoffs a 7 or 8 has pulled the upset. It happens, all of these teams are closely matched, it's why they play the games, it's why fans can have hope and lofty expectations.

Those lower seeded teams that did advance tended to come in healthy and hot ... something the Preds haven't done. The difference between hopes and realistic expectations is great.

101st_fan 03-08-2011 01:48 PM

Some more on expectations ...
This is a team that is missing it's projected #1 center, one of it's #2/3 centers ... the other #2/3 missed a stretch .... the #4 is out for the season with a broken leg .... Erat missed a stretch ... Sully is out again and appears to be out for the season ... on the back end Cube is out and Suter missed a decent stretch .... our #1 goalie has gone down .... with no proven depth to cover those issues. When we were occasionally bouncing up to #4 in the rankings, we were overperforming all reasonable expectations. This was a team that was expected to have trouble scoring even when healthy ... never mind missing that much of our projected top 6/9.

So once again when the team is exactly where expectations would put it (note I didn't say a thing about hopes) we get the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth. There is a reason why we have a thread where people said it was enough for them years ago.

hockey diva 03-08-2011 07:59 PM

And yet our depth was what was touted in the preseason. What we don't have is forward depth. And that is a drafting problem/money problem.

Most preseason polls had us finishing anywhere from 10-12th shame we let them be right for once.

What gets me is that they appear to play well enough to get our hopes up and then crap the bed when it really counts. That hurts.

dulzhok 03-08-2011 09:25 PM

I think we have a 60/40 chance of the playoffs. Certainly not ready to throw in the towel...

Getting out of the 1st rd will take a 1980-Olympic series of events, but I actually think we match up decent against Vancouver.

101st_fan 03-08-2011 10:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hockey diva (Post 31514597)
And yet our depth was what was touted in the preseason. What we don't have is forward depth. And that is a drafting problem/money problem.

Most preseason polls had us finishing anywhere from 10-12th shame we let them be right for once.

What gets me is that they appear to play well enough to get our hopes up and then crap the bed when it really counts. That hurts.

The team had enough depth to stay in the hunt with the prolonged loss of Lombardi, Goc, O'Reilly, Sullivan ... stretches without Erat, Legwand due to injury ... and a couple of months without Tootoo as he went through rehab. That's what, seven forwards out for 15+ games each? Just how much depth are you expecting?

cleangene 03-09-2011 12:42 AM

Suitcase open....time to pack up any hopes for the playoffs in so-called Smashville this season. I think we saw what a playoff team in a playoff mode looks like in the teal uniforms Tuesday.

Broom of the System 03-09-2011 12:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cleangene (Post 31526563)
Suitcase open....time to pack up any hopes for the playoffs in so-called Smashville this season. I think we saw what a playoff team in a playoff mode looks like in the teal uniforms Tuesday.

Yeah, we're a whole 1 point out of 8th place. Might as well forfeit the season.

OpenWheel 03-09-2011 01:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cleangene (Post 31526563)
I think we saw what a playoff team in a playoff mode looks like in the teal uniforms Tuesday.

Their 18 and 4 record in their last 22 games was sort of a clue.

Preds took a point on their ice. Not a disaster.

utmfisher19 03-09-2011 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cleangene (Post 31526563)
Suitcase open....time to pack up any hopes for the playoffs in so-called Smashville this season. I think we saw what a playoff team in a playoff mode looks like in the teal uniforms Tuesday.

we have a 50.5% chance of getting into the playoffs if we continue to play our average this season...

BigFatCat999 03-09-2011 09:29 AM

*sigh*

For a solid decade, the Preds fans scream and yell for Poile to make a move to help the team.

When he does nothing, there is screaming.

When he does something, there is even more screaming.


Fact is this; Nashville is facing a near biblical level of injury to one of it's most important positions, center. The level of injury that has occurred with this team is one par with the level of injury that occurred with Detroit a couple of years ago. Seriously, the injuries that have occurred have targeted right at the one point Nashville could not afford to lose.

But guess what, you are acting EXACTLY like every other sports fan in North America. Remember, I'm a transplant where 80% of my sports fan-ship is related to Boston and they do the exact same thing. Same as New York. Same as any other sports town.

Perspective helps a lot.

Nashville is currently 1 pt from a playoff spot with three teams in the opposing playoff spot I REALLY like Nashville's chances for in a playoff; Vancouver, Detroit, SJ. Nashville has played Vancouver and Detroit well this year and frankly, Nashville is due against SJ.

If they don't make the playoffs, oh damn, they traded their #1 pick in what is exacted to be a crappy draft. A draft so bad they have been talking about it for 2-3 years. And Nashville has the best prospect system in the league. My hope is that Poile does his thing, drafts long term projects and European fliers.

Next year, (IF Lombardi comes back) Nashville's center depth will be interesting. Lombardi, Fisher, Legwand, O'Reilly, Smithson, Spaling. You have guys who can play most of the line's roles and all Trotz has to do is find their complimentary wings.

Even if Lombardi calls it a career there is still Fisher, Legwand, O'Reilly, Smithson, and Spaling.

As for Weber, you know what? If he goes, Nashville could get that scoring wing they need and there is still Suter and the kids for the depth. If Weber stays, great the top pairing is set.

For every door that slams into your face another one opens up and there's usually a pretty nurse on the other side.

token grinder 03-09-2011 09:32 AM

two ways to look at this last week. We lost 3 out of four games on an important roadie vs 3 playoff caliber teams. Or we took four points int he four games on a roadtrip with 3 playoff caliber teams. At the start if you had offered 4 points in the four games with Van and SJ on it, you would have taken it.

Generaly a solid team will have a 60/40 mix on points in terms of home and away. We have 39 on the road so far with 3 games left on the road. @ Buffalo, @ Colorado, @ STL in the finale.

Problem is, we have only accumulated 37 at home. I would hope 8-4 is doable there which would give us 53 at home and maybe pick up 4 of the 6 points on the road which would put us at 96 points. Gotta remember we have faced our biggest scheduling adversity. Some of these teams have not.

Being said, Thursday is huge. Gotta get the homestand started off with a win. I don;t care if they get a point, as I still don't beleive Minnesota has enough on the back end to survive.

101st_fan 03-09-2011 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by token grinder (Post 31530136)
two ways to look at this last week. We lost 3 out of four games on an important roadie vs 3 playoff caliber teams. Or we took four points int he four games on a roadtrip with 3 playoff caliber teams. At the start if you had offered 4 points in the four games with Van and SJ on it, you would have taken it.

Generaly a solid team will have a 60/40 mix on points in terms of home and away. We have 39 on the road so far with 3 games left on the road. @ Buffalo, @ Colorado, @ STL in the finale.

Problem is, we have only accumulated 37 at home. I would hope 8-4 is doable there which would give us 53 at home and maybe pick up 4 of the 6 points on the road which would put us at 96 points. Gotta remember we have faced our biggest scheduling adversity. Some of these teams have not.

Being said, Thursday is huge. Gotta get the homestand started off with a win. I don;t care if they get a point, as I still don't beleive Minnesota has enough on the back end to survive.

The point total is the same as if we won in Edmonton and lost in regulation against the Sharks, but the way we gained the points hurts in the tiebreak scenarios with the one fewer potential win. Still, four points on that road trip is four points and about all that could be expected. Too bad it wasn't a loss to the Nuks and beat the Flames to really maximize the playoff scenarios ... but .... we're still in contention for now.


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