Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home and Home Heartbreak vs. Chicago

Wow, it's been awhile since my last post. Luckily the craziness of holidays in retail is over for another 11 months, so I will hopefully be able to update more.

What a heartbreaker of a home and home series. Last night's game was so disappointing. A sell out crowd, just waiting to go crazy, and the team looked like they were skating in sand. We were pushed around all night, only able to score one goal (that almost wasn't-thanks Toronto!). With only one shot on goal from our "big guns" (Arnott, Sullivan, & Dumont) we really struggled offensively. Even though we've been able to get scores from our other lines, as the "leaders" of this team, I just expect more.

Tonight we came out strong, scoring first and playing like the Predators of late. We looked alive, not just standing around watching the Hawks all night. But due to penalties, defensive breakdowns, and struggles in goal, we come up short again. This game was at least exciting up until the end (and after, thanks to Seabrook), but was more heartbreaking than the game last night. When it seemed we had given up, two goals in less than one minute breathed new life into our guys, and you could almost feel like you could breathe, that surely there was a chance. It was not to be. The Predators needed this game to stay close to Chicago in the division. Now, because of the compressed schedule, we have seen the last of Chicago for the regular season, and made it much harder on ourselves in what is probably the toughest division in the NHL.

Not to take away from the run we have had recently, but we have got to find some heart. Tonight, I saw some. Last night, none at all. This doesn't end our run at a playoff spot, but it does make it harder. We cannot afford to lose these division games. Chicago is a great team, but we have beaten them before, and could have again.

Some observations: I think we miss Tootoo and Smithson more than anyone imagined we would. Toots brings a certain energy to the game, and while he is not the best all around player, he has shown some changes in his game this season that have been for the better. Hopefully Jordin will return soon and bring some of that energy back to the team. Smithson has been a real surprise for me this season. He has been nothing short of a beast. Losing him has really hurt our penalty kill, and with as many penalties we have taken lately, it hurt to lose Smithers. Patric Hornqvist continues to impress, and my boy Spinderella has gone on a pretty good tear here recently. Goaltending has been questionable the last few games, and for a team that is known for being a "defense first" team, our defense has been awful. Suter has been pretty invisible this season, in my opinion, and Webs doesn't seem to be himself. Hamhuis and Klein? I think we've covered that in previous posts and really don't see the need in repeating myself. Boullion has been good, and Franson decent. Sometimes Franson looks scared to handle the puck, and then he turns around and plays like he did tonight. Sulzer hasn't played enough for me to get a good read on him. I am really worried about our defense.

So what do we need to do to get back to the style of play that has had the league scratching their heads and wondering where these guys came from? I wish I knew. Right now, I just want to go to bed and sleep off the disappointment and hope for a better outcome Tuesday night.

Until next time.....