Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Predators Fail to Show Up in 6-2 loss to the Oilers

Let's say this: the young Edmonton Oilers are a talented team. Their young players are quickly blossoming into quality NHLers.

That being said, the Nashville Predators made them look like the Oilers dynasty of old as they absolutely failed to show up in a 6-2 loss.

You can find the terrifying box score here.

The fact is that the Predators were not ready to play this game. Edmonton came in and kicked dirt in the face of the Predators, took their lunch money, and kissed their girl.

The most disturbing aspect of this?

The Predators did not respond.

No heart. No fire. No grit.

Once again, the Predators had a first period that looked as if they thought the game started at 8:00 instead of 7:00. Out shot 13-3 and down 3-0, the Predators were dead in the water.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why this team is so sluggish in the first period. Throughout the first 20 minutes of the contest, the Predators stood around and watched the Oilers skate around them, by them, and though them. And the Predators did not respond.

Disappointing doesn't even begin to describe it.


Beyond embarrassing.

The fact is that the Oilers punched the Predators in the mouth and they just took it. No response at all. And this is troubling.

This team has got to understand who they are and play to their strengths. In the last two games, the Predators have veered from their character and their work ethic, and it has cost them. This team is a blue collar team that thrives on hard work and gritty play. Tonight, their were neither of those characteristics evident in their play.

I am still trying to figure out why the coaching staff has decided that putting their most potent offensive threat- Craig Smith- on a third line with Matt Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo. Nothing against those players, but frankly they are not the appropriate compliments to a player like Smith. David Legwand has been moved to the center position between Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson, and that line has been rendered invisible. Smith was moved back to centering the line of Wilson and Hornqvist in the third period, but frankly, the chemistry had been altered to ill effect by then.

It goes without saying that the effort in the last two games has been frustratingly disappointing. It is time for this team to go back to the basics and bring the intensity and grit that has made them successful. The failure to do this in the last two games has yielded horrific results.

Unfortunately, this team has stopped playing in front of Pekka Rinne, and he has been hung out to dry too often. Rinne was pulled to start the second period and Anders Lindback was inserted between the pipes. The truth is that this team owes Rinne an apology.

Continue to play with the lackadaisical attitude and effort and we will see more results like tonight.

My three stars:

No one from the Predators. Take your pick from the Oilers lineup.

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