GUESTING FROM THE PERCH – Mike Barnes: Time for change…

guest blog by Mike Barnes
edited by Jeremy K. Gover

As I sit here thinking back on the past week of Predators hockey, I wonder what should have been and also what should be coming.  If someone were to look up the word insane, one would find several definitions.  One definition that I’ve heard over the years goes something like this: when someone expects different results without changing any of the components, one is said to be insane.  With that in mind, I bring in the Nashville Predators and their recent on-ice play.

Like most Predators observers, I believe that change has to happen because, like I pointed out earlier, something has to change to get different results.  Now, where those changes happen can be a very sticky subject, just read the @PredFans group on Twitter.

Let’s start with a couple of individual players, especially a couple that are making the big bucks.  What would I do with Martin Erat?  For starters, I’d tell him “no circle spinning or you’ll miss your next shift.”  The next thing I’d tell him to do is to be more selfish; that shooting puck is a good thing.  The last thing I’d tell him is to play more sound defensively.

The next big bucks player is David Legwand.   Now unlike Erat, Legwand’s defensive game is pretty sound, he even blocked a shot from the point off the stick of the reigning fastest shot champion Zdeno Chara recently.  But like Erat, Legwand needs to shoot the puck more often.

Again, shooting the puck is not a bad thing. 

Some people agree that players play the game on the ice and therefore, the players should be punished and/or rewarded for their play.  However, I am under the belief that, although the players do play the game, the coaches put players onto the ice to carry out their plan for victory.    The Nashville Predators current coaching staff, Barry Trotz, Brent Peterson and Peter Horachek have been together since the 2003-04 season.  In that time the Predators have had great players, such as Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg.  This current team doesn’t have those star players.

As Terry Crisp once said, “You have to coach to your personnel.”  This team relies on those middle-of-the-line players.  Putting it another way, this roster is not going to “wow” anyone with their offensive prowess.  This is a grind-it-out type of team.  This coaching staff has to change their plan of attack with the change of the talent level.  The coaches, and fans for that matter, should not expect Wayne Gretzky moments from players that do not have the talent or skill level of a Gretzky. 

Bottom line is something has to change or everything will remain the same.  If the coaches are not going to scratch the players that are not producing, then it’s time for the coaches to be scratched.

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