More Like Smashedville, amirite!

It would be an understatement to say that Predators as a whole are feeling pretty frustrated.  This season the Preds have specialized in bursts of stunning play that excites the fan base and sends certain media outlets buzzing about Nashville being a true contender, followed by a series of crushing, soul-sucking defeats that leave Smashville feeling like we had been crushed by a grotesque, soul-sucking demon.  And around all of this hockey related emotional abuse has been a couple of concepts that strike me a tad disturbing.

The first that I want to address the now infamous Barry Trotz locker room tirade.  During an intermission for one the Predators uglier games Coach Trotz flipped out and ran the team through a verbal shit storm.  Obviously things were said and possible things were thrown.  Since then fans have frequently encouraged Trotz to release a similar form of motivation during games where it's obvious to even guys like Todd Bertuzzi that the players' hearts just are not in it.  I feel confident saying that similar such events have occurred since then, and Josh Cooper recently disclosed that Trotz again had to set the Predators straight.  Encouraging your athletes through a little ire and brimstone is certainly one way to force some jump into some soft skates and limp sticks.  What I'm worried about is if this year's Nashville team is becoming dependant on that sort of coaching approach.  Something that Washington Capital Brooks Laich (who I believe should be captaining that team) said recently about his own team.
"Rightfully or wrongfully, this all falls on Bruce, [people say] he's not motivating the guys, well we're professionals, paid a lot of money to play hockey. If you can't motivate yourself, you're in the wrong business. You don't need somebody telling you ,'Oh, you need to be up for this game.' We're professionals that love to do what we do. There's no problem with motivation.
 What happens to the Predators if they cannot or will not find that motivation in themselves?  Right now we're seeing bursts of effort following embarrassing losses, but those results aren't holding or even leveling off in anyway.  We end up seeing them drop off just a game or two later.  Trotz was at it again today, but will we see some fervor on against the Blackhawks?  If so, will that heart and grit last longer than a couple of games?

Just real quick: There is merit to the idea that what we saw last night was a battered and damaged team just trying to maintain some sense of a core.  Obviously losing Suter is blow, but I think that having Kevin Klein around to eat up more big minutes out on the ice instead of Suter somewhat exaggerates the absence.  And yes, Suter has been the skating MVP of season. I also admit to being a fan of hard-assed coaches like Laviolette and Tortorella as opposed to the player's coach style.

Now the second topic is certain to catch me from flak if the first one doesn't.

Is it just me or is there a lot more chatter about tv timeout standing ovations this season?  On top of that there have already been at least three of the standing ovations this season alone (estimation based off an informal and unscientific and quick survey).  That is out of an estimated seven or eight in Predator history.  What is the deal Smashville?  We've got our hands on a tradition for the team and fans that is packed with emotion and meaning.  It isn't country music goal songs, yelling "sucks" all the time (which I still love), or any of the little stuff.  The Timeout Standing O is something truly special that should be honored and respected.  When you're there for the event when it is sprung out of pure emotion and love for the game and for the team the feeling is unmatched.  It is getting to feel your first love all again, but surrounded by 17,113 other friends who are all experiencing the same emotional surge.  It embodies everything that Predators organization and fans strive to be.

So, you know what?  Cut it out.  Don't force it and ruin a beautiful thing.  To borrow a concept from the Blue Jackets, the TV Timeout Standing Ovation is our Death Star.  If you go around blowing up all the planets because it sounds like a lot of fun you're going to run out of planets.  Then you're stuck without any planets and no one to being an evil empire over.  Standing O's will happen, you'll get to be part of one, and it'll be awesome, trust me.  But like an old bottle of fine scotch, you don't drink that shit up in a year or two.  You have to make the good stuff last.

1 comment:

willn's said...

Yes its right, I would hate to be the one watching this instead
of cheering.:) Agree both players and fans have a role and yet it would be rather rude and the team might feel insulted if appreciation is not shown and vice versa recognition to the fans by taking part in preparations.