Monday, January 19, 2009

Predators, Trotz Face Crucial Test

The Nashville Predators close out the pre-All Star game portion of their schedule against the New Jersey Devils tonight at the Sommet Center. This may be the most crucial game Nashville Coach Barry Trotz has faced in his eleven year career.

The Predators as a team played one of the worst games before the home crowd in the last several years on Saturday night as they lost to the lowly Atlanta Thrashers 7-2 on Saturday night. The team was booed off the ice at the end of each period and more than half of the sellout crowd had hit the doors by the final horn.

In his post game comments, Trotz was almost surreal in his humility as he spoke directly to the Nashville fans saying “I think the number one message was that I want to apologize to our fans for that performance. That was not a good performance. We all take responsibility, myself and the team, and I think that we’re embarrassed."

The players were equally outspoken. After a 15 minute closed door players only meeting, Captain Jason Arnott confessed “It’s embarrassing when you have a sell-out crowd and we put on a performance like that. I’m surprised they didn’t leave after the first period. We had a talk after the game and we know what has to happen, and now is the time to do it."

Trotz is the only coach in the Predators franchise history and has withstood four straight first round playoff exits. This situation is different since the Preds have sunk to 13th place and are showing no signs of a turn around that will get them back into the playoff picture.

With an eight day break after Monday’s game there will be plenty of time for GM David Poile and his staff to meet and acess the team’s current state. A strong performance against a talented New Jersey team tonight may be what it takes for Barry Trotz to survive as the Predators coach for the rest of the season.

Shanahan Returns… Predator killer Brendan Shanahan is slated to play his first game for the Devils tonight. He is the all time goal scoring leader against the Predators, mostly from his time spent with the Detroit Red Wings

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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