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Who Are The Nashville Predators?

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07-18-2006, 08:37 PM
  #1
David Singleton
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Who Are The Nashville Predators?

Over at the "other" board, Pred303, Trig and I (initially, others are joining in the fun) have are having a good conversation regarding the identity of the Predators.

There are some good posters over here that don't visit the other site, so I'll start the conversation here as well. 303 and Trig, please feel free to jump into this conversation as well if you like.

I believe that for a team to be truly successful, a team should establish an indentity and always play to it as opposed to playing a style dictated by the opposition.

Last season, this team had a tendency to play horribly for the first two periods digging themselves a hole that they'd have to climb. In the third period, they quit trying to match-up to the opposing team so much and start playing more aggressive. It's telling that they were pretty successful in climbing out of that hole by playing aggressive as opposed to playing matchups.

When you look at this team, the talent seems to favor a fast, physical, puck-moving, aggressive team. When the team is being aggressive they take far fewer penalties as well.

303 made a good point in the other thread. He mentioned the fact that, especially at home, the Hall-Johnson-Hartnell line typically started the game against the other teams top line. Trotz tried too hard to matchup his "checking" line to the opposing teams top line. That line rarely played aggressive and usually were pinned in our zone praying for the puck to be cleared so they could get a line change. I believe that was a huge contribution to the way the team seemed to play extremely flat periods. This team seems to thrive on energy and passive nature we played when attempting to matchup too much brought the team down.

So, what is the identity of the team and how do we structure the lines to maximize that effect? Well, I have already mentioned the identity: aggressive, fast, physical, and smart movement of the puck. Keeping with our new identity, we scrap the normal "checking" line in most circumstances in favor of 2.5 scoring lines and 1.5 energy lines. The lines will be constructed to have at least two speedy forwards, at least one physical/gritty forward, and at least a couple of good two-way forwards. The final aspect is to allow these lines to gel and stop flopping line members all over the place (injures excepted, of course).

The first two lines provide stable and consistent scoring.

Kariya- Arnott- Erat
Sullivan- Legwand- Hartnell

The third line will be a scoring line as well as an energy line.

Tootoo- Vasicek- Upshall

The fourth line is pure energy with good defense.

Hordichuk- Nichol- Smithson

Fiddler is a reserve. I believe Hall is the odd man out.

The opponents top line should be countered with a combination of the fourth and third lines. Those lines are there to aggressively forecheck to create scoring chances for us, or to draw a penalty.

For a PK situation, I'd pair Sullivan with Legwand and Nichol with Smithson.

All of these lines have the ability to play aggressive hockey and take our style to the opponent. Playing "reaction" hockey does not fit the talent that we have. We need to establish our style and not deviate from it. If we can do that, we'll always be playing to our strengths and everyone will always be on the same page.

Thoughts?

David


Last edited by David Singleton: 07-18-2006 at 09:32 PM.
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07-18-2006, 09:26 PM
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handtrick
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David

I like your idea about the changing of the philosophy of the lines....and with the new NHL, I have heard GM's talk about the changing roles of the 3rd and 4th lines.
With less fighting, the fourth line has the potential to be more than just an "energy line," but a line of specialist.....PP and PK specialists.
With that in mind....Hall may get more time than you think in a "revamped 4th line role" on given a given night when Hordi might not have a worthy adversary, and Hall could be mainly a PK specialist, with gaining some "energy time" which granted last year he did not show much knack for.
Hordi has seen the light, and he knows that he has to round out his game if he wants to survive in the new NHL, and from what I have observed he has been working quite hard at doing that.
Don't get me wrong....I thought the Hordi/Smithson/Tootoo line was the best 4th line in the NHL for a while last year....but the role of the 4th line is in a transition period throughout the league....the question is how much Trotz will embrace it.....


Trotz was really intrigued by the Tootoo/Kariya line experiment....he found that most teams didn't know what to think of Tootoo out there and played tentative, opening up Kariya some space....he told me that Anaheim was the only team that had an answer for it by putting Fedorek on the line to neutralize the "Tootoo effect"
Trotz thinks outside the box more than he is given credit for.....I expect us to see Tootoo in a wide variety of roles this year....

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07-18-2006, 09:31 PM
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Darth Predator
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I have to agree here. especially with the flip-floppping of lines. I have said that before and i firmly believe in it. Of course injuries are going to happen, etc, like you covered. That being the one case where you would flip-flop around. All in all i think you pretty much hit the nail on the head.

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07-18-2006, 09:33 PM
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David Singleton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handtrick View Post
David

I like your idea about the changing of the philosophy of the lines....and with the new NHL, I have heard GM's talk about the changing roles of the 3rd and 4th lines.
With less fighting, the fourth line has the potential to be more than just an "energy line," but a line of specialist.....PP and PK specialists.
With that in mind....Hall may get more time than you think in a "revamped 4th line role" on given a given night when Hordi might not have a worthy adversary, and Hall could be mainly a PK specialist, with gaining some "energy time" which granted last year he did not show much knack for.
Hordi has seen the light, and he knows that he has to round out his game if he wants to survive in the new NHL, and from what I have observed he has been working quite hard at doing that.
Don't get me wrong....I thought the Hordi/Smithson/Tootoo line was the best 4th line in the NHL for a while last year....but the role of the 4th line is in a transition period throughout the league....the question is how much Trotz will embrace it.....


Trotz was really intrigued by the Tootoo/Kariya line experiment....he found that most teams didn't know what to think of Tootoo out there and played tentative, opening up Kariya some space....he told me that Anaheim was the only team that had an answer for it by putting Fedorek on the line to neutralize the "Tootoo effect"
Trotz thinks outside the box more than he is given credit for.....I expect us to see Tootoo in a wide variety of roles this year....


It might not be natural for Trotz to accept that, but I think he has the capacity. I also think that Poile may be forcing his hand too.

You may be right with Hall taking Hordi's place on the fourth line, but you're also right in that he needs to show more energy and aggressiveness. He would be a much better defensive player than Hordi though.

David

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07-18-2006, 09:40 PM
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Stars-Preds
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I like the idea of an energy line with Upshall - Vasicek - Tootoo. That could be a very interesting combo.

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07-18-2006, 09:42 PM
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golfmade
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Very interesting read. I really like that we have so many options and can try different lines to see what works best.

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07-19-2006, 12:50 PM
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The first two lines provide stable and consistent scoring.

Kariya- Arnott- Erat
Sullivan- Legwand- Hartnell

The third line will be a scoring line as well as an energy line.

Tootoo- Vasicek- Upshall

The fourth line is pure energy with good defense.

Hordichuk- Nichol- Smithson

HUMMMMM! Just what I've been saying, Hall could play for Hordichuck if situation dictates less rough guy. Smithson can bang with the best of them!

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