When I last spoke of the Nashville Predators on this blog, we were playing like possibly the worst team in the National Hockey League. Bad formations among the defensemen, allegedly the strength of this team, were causing us be without the puck most of the time. An under-performing Filip Forsberg that left us unable to take advantage of opportunities even when we had the puck helped not one bit.
That was October. Things have changed since then. Although there’s some tough games coming up to close out the month, we currently have a barely winning November record and are almost in the Wild Card picture. Yes, we’re still under .500 (for now) and the odd nature of NHL seeding allows teams with losing records to get by running up the score in their few wins (would you believe that there have been multiple Stanley Cup winners with losing regular season records), but this early part of the season has been so disappointing that I’ll take any solace that I can get.
What has caused this kind of/not really turnaround? Well, the defensemen have been playing better so we’re not getting beat in the struggle for the puck all the time. Pekka Rinne’s not being worn out having to make so many saves, though Marak Mazanek’s dismal play is making games in which we have to rest Rinne terrifying. I’ll talk a bit more about the ineptitude of Maz later.
Is our house in order? Compared to hype surrounding the P.K. Subban trade and the pundits that had us winning the Central Division, f*ck no! We’re still only playing .500 hockey. Trending up to be sure, but still not high enough.
Of course, we still don’t know how much this team will improve. On the other hand, I do remember us rebounding after the All-Star break, peaking in time for the playoffs, eliminating one great team and forcing a game 7 against another.
Do I see this happening again? I’m afraid not. Again, Maz sucks grizzly bear balls! Every time he has to start because Rinne is tired, we need to shoot for 4-6 goals! That’s too much! Not addressing backup goaltender in the offseason will be our vampire’s stake this season.
So yeah, the team’s playing better. But I can’t see us advancing beyond Wild Card seeding with Maz creating a large number of bet the house losses. Without ever having starting home ice, I doubt we’ll last long in the playoffs, if we even get there. Welcome to Smashville!