So here I am, the morning after the final matchup between the Preds and Blackhawks for the 2015-2016 season. I'm up early working on a discussion about Copyrights for one of my classes. Finally, I work up the courage to open up my phone a sift through the text messages, only to see the obnoxious text messages from Blackhawks fans. I'm contemplating responses, mainly trying to find ways to bash the Blackhawks, or trying to come up with some clever excuses as to why the Predators got their rear ends handed to them. Unfortunately, nothing comes to mind. There's nothing new I can say. It would be repetition and the same excuses I've been making all year to opposing fans and to Predators fans wondering why the Preds aren't performing. I hate to be a pessimist and I'm going to try my best to stay positive through my rambling, but I'm coming to the conclusion that this might be our reality for the remainder of this season. That's not to say that our boys won't bounce back, but at this point it seems unrealistic. So I'm going to express my opinions, and remember these are just my opinions. I'm no expert and I don't claim to be. I'm expressing my thoughts and my opinions to what myself and majority of Preds fans are seeing.
1: Goaltending. More specifically Pekka Rinne.
We all love Pekks, he's such an amazing human being and has been one of the faces of this franchise for quite a while. I'm not here to bash him, I'm just trying to find the answers and face the possible reality. I keep hearing all these excuses made as to why these goals are getting past him. Sure there are certain instances where there's nothing Pekks can do. That's all fine and dandy except for some reason, last year and the year before that, we wouldn't even have to make these excuses for him. He was stopping damn near everything that came his way, performing with super human capabilities. He would single handedly steal games for us when the rest of the team wasn't performing. In my opinion I think it's time to come to our senses and realize Pekka might be past his prime. Ok, so you say well it's our defense that's turning the puck over too much, and your right, sorta, but as a starting goalie you are expected to find ways to stop the puck. Guaranteed almost every time an opposing shooter goes one on one with Pekka, he will be scored against. Like I said, last year and the year before that wasn't an issue. We would just sit back and start to giggle at the opposing shooter, knowing that Pekka would shut them down. That's not the case anymore. Pekka Rinne is literally at the bottom of the barrel in the NHL for goaltending. Goals against average, and save percentage is the lowest of virtually every goalie in the league.
It's time to start looking at the future. Start playing Carter Hutton more, in my opinion he's been an absolute game changer. Maybe it's because teams are just so used to shooting against Pekka Rinne and know how to work him and teams aren't familiar with Hutton's goaltending. I've been saying it all year on our podcast and when we do put Hutts between the pipes, he finds ways to stop pucks. Sure he's lost games as well but at least he's taking us into overtime and changing the momentum to at least get us a point in the standings. 1 point is better than no points, especially at this point right? Also what else do we have to lose by putting Hutton in net? Absolutely nothing. We are already out of the playoff running (Not to say we can't get it back).
Start working in Juuse Saros. Saros was a top goalie prospect and is absolutely killing it in the AHL for the Admirals. We've already seen a glimpse of him at the beginning of the season and he played pretty great despite the loss. The only way he can better himself is by getting ice time in the NHL against the professionals. All I'm saying is, we need to start looking into the future of goaltending for this franchise. Pekka just hasn't been cutting it and I just want to see the Preds succeed.
Fans, remember don't give up on our team just because they are losing. Don't forget we almost lost this team years ago because fans weren't showing up. Wear your gold and blue proud, win or lose. Let's show the other teams that no matter what, this is our town, our hockey club and we are damn proud of them no matter what!
Episode 7 of the Podcast is available now on iTunes and TuneIn. You can subscribe below. Please share your thoughts, tell your friends, and please hit subscribe so we can keep this podcast going. Please send us questions to our email at email@example.com Thank you all for the support and everybody cross your fingers as we get ready to head into the All-Star break and let's pray that our boys find a way to get themselves back into the playoff running.