Friday, November 26, 2010

Preds Season at the Quarter Pole

Hard to believe we are already 20 games and 25% done with the regular season. Also hard to believe after 8 games I blogged that the Preds were at the top of the conference standings and had more points than any other team in the west. Now only 12 games later they are 13th in the western conference standings, due to 3 wins, 9 losses(1 in a shootout) across that 12 game stretch.

Don't lose heart Preds fans. We are getting guys back from injuries and have played more road games than any team in the NHL. Things should start improving soon. Here are my major reasons to keep hope alive going forward:

* The power play will improve soon. It can't get any worse. A hot streak is coming.
* Top free agent signee Matthew Lombardi has played in 1 game. Concussions are tough to know when healing will happen, but each day is a day closer to his return. Once he returns and the Preds have the 4 centers they planned to use all season, the lines will improve, gain consistency and productivity will be there as well.
* Historically 20 or more goal scorers 25% into the season- Steve Sullivan 5 goals, David Legwand 2 goals, Martin Erat 1 goal, J.P. Dumont 3 goals.

Preds are due for a hot streak with 3 games in 4 days upcoming. I think the season turns starting today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Preds Snap 5 Game Losing Streak

In the ultimate definition of much-needed-win, the Preds pull off a nice comeback and defeat the Blues 3-2 in a shootout last night in St. Louis. With Suter, Erat and Lombardi still out any points are good at this point. The 5 game losing streak was snapped and the Preds have 1 home game before hitting the road for 4 games. That will close the brutal 15 game stretch where 12 were road games. Considering the injuries and the difficult schedule recently, the Preds' drop in the standings was predictable.

Other points to ponder:
* I have said it before and I will say it again. The Preds are best when Jordan Tootoo is causing havoc and drawing penalties. Even with the injuries he should be on the 3rd or 4th line. Keep drawing the 2 penalties per game from the opposing team and pitch in 10 goals here and there. His offensive potential doesn't outweigh the power play time he draws.
* Kudos to Patrick Hornqvist. He stuck his nose into everything last night and took many cross-checks, elbows and slashes that went overlooked by the refs. He really bothered the Blues and gave the Preds a big time lift.
* Coach Trotz knows his stuff and so much more than I will ever know hockey, but I don't understand the line selection philosophy. At the first of the season, all 4 lines were clicking, had great chemistry, and knew their roles very well. The rash of injuries required adjustments and that is understandable. But instead of juggling 3 of the 4 lines, why not keep 3 in tact and juggle the 4th line. Maybe I should call Charlie from Farm Bureau Insurance, he has all the answers.

All for now. The Blackhawks arrive tomorrow night. Hope we go to 2-0 versus them this year.