Hawks don't have many natural predators, but on Friday, we learned of a new one: the Nashville Predators.
How rough have things been for the Predators at home of late? Even leaving the state is problematic for them all of a sudden. As the team charter attempted to take off from Nashville for Washington on Friday afternoon, it hit a hawk and had to turn back around.
At least I think that's what happened. It's tough to understand Rich Clune's tweets sometimes:
Our plane got hungry kids and it ate a hawk now the hawk is in birdie heaven our flight is delayed Keanu Reeves and Jesus have the same DNA
— Rich Clune (@richcluneshow) December 6, 2013
(Clune also pointed out that this wouldn't have happened if he was the pilot, as per his original contract demands.)
It was a fitting end to a terrible four-game home stand that saw the Predators drop all four games, dragging just one, a shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, into the land of loser points before doing so. The team now sits dead last in the Central and 13th in the Western Conference -- which may as well be last place, since the Oilers and Flames no longer count.
It's enough to make one wonder if we might be seeing the last days of coach-for-life Barry Trotz.
The season is still young, of course, but it already looks like this edition of the Predators will be finishing outside of the playoffs, something that would be a rare feat for this franchise.
Missing the postseason this year would mark the first time the Predators have done so in consecutive seasons since they made their playoff debut back in 2003-04.
In other words, it would be the worst stretch of Predators hockey in a decade. If that's not enough to get Barry Trotz dismissed, one wonders if anything will.
The muttering has begun in earnest among Predators fans. Here's Jason Zito from On the Forecheck:
Something has to change…we can agree on that, right? From a fan perspective, are we finally in agreement that the "system" is not a winning one? And that it's also awful to watch? Sadly, I think this is likely to continue indefinitely. When you have the same leadership for 15 years, clearly you're not in the business of making a change. But it needs to be done. This particular brand of "stability" sucks.
I also quite liked Zito sniping at Trotz's explanation following the 5-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes that ended the homestand. "The Preds weren't committed enough to the 'chip and chase. Or something," he writes.
I don't think Zito is alone in being somewhat exasperated with the Trotz-led Predators, especially since they don't appear to be going anywhere fast. Heck, the Trotz-led Predators don't go anywhere fast anyway. It's not a system reliant on speed.
This is the biggest issue with the Predators. There's no arguing that they're a well-coached club, that they have a rigid system and they play it well, that there's total buy-in throughout the roster. Barry Trotz has yet to lose this room, and that's amazing. They're playing hard in the absence of Pekka Rinne, which is a tough hurdle to overcome.
Trotz doesn't deserve to be let go because he's doing a bad job, or because his system has stopped working. He's not and it hasn't.
The argument is whether that system is a winning one, and the dearth of wins as they near the 30-game mark suggests it isn't. And now you're begin to lose the fanbase, one of hockey's best, both because the steam is spinning its wheels and the hockey is boring in the meantime.
It's time for something else in Nashville, for the first time ever.
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