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Yet Another Status Quo Off-Season in Nashville?

May 18, 2010, 12:27 AM ET [ Comments]

After taking some much needed time off to regroup, rest, and re-gather my thoughts, it's back in the saddle again for me.

The question that is fresh on my mind is, after another 1st Round exit in the NHL playoffs, what's changed for the Nashville Predators in the last month?

Well... not much.

There have been a few minor re-signings, the biggest of which would be Wade Belak to another 1-year deal. While I truly like Wade as a person and have seen the locker room impact he has first hand, I don't think I can sit here and honestly say that is an improvement. Unless something unpredictable happens, it's not likely that the Belak Monster is going to add offensive scoring depth or better the man advantage percentage. Beyond that, nothing of note has occurred signings-wise.

The other news would be the Preds head coach Barry Trotz being named a Jack Adams finalist, along with Nashville's GM David Poile being a contender for the GM of the Year award as well. I think these nominations for Trotz and Poile speak more to their body of work rather than just this one season. In that case, the nominations are earned recognition of the franchise and market they've built. I don't expect either to win their respective awards (it would surprise me to not see Phoenix swipe both) but the recognition is deserved.

This of course brings me to the real reason for my return. Things seem to be status quo once again for the Preds this off-season. Therein lies an issue I have. So far, the results haven't been there to show keeping things status quo is improving the franchise. I've begun to wonder at what point does the core fan base say, "Enough is enough, 1st Round exits and being one and done in the playoffs are no longer acceptable." At that point, there could be a big problem brewing.

You see, sports is a business, and Nashville knows this. Their budget for the on-ice product reflects it. As we all know, playoff games = profit gains. In order to further the franchise, 2nd Round $$$ is going to be needed. Thus far, the results driven by status quo are going to achieve that.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that drastic changes are needed. However, some improvements must occur and it has been quite obvious to most who routinely follow this team for 2+ seasons now what those are. The team needs offensive depth and a drastic overhaul to their special teams. There are still plenty days left in the off-season, but the general feeling is not much will change. What I can't understand is why at least one coaching move has not occurred. There really is no need to spell it out because every true fan that is able to take a step back, remove the blinders, and evaluate things from a unbiased perspective knows what should be done. A simple change in an assistant coach position restores some faith for the fan base and at least shows a commitment to change.

For better or worse, change is needed. Status quo isn't working, and the results have proven that. At some point, the full season ticket holders will no longer feel like putting down their hard earned money for a status quo result.

Loyalty and a commitment to a stable foundation has merit there's no doubt. At some point, accountability must be thrown in as well. Right now, the Preds franchise is at a crossroad in my opinion, albeit the same one they've been at more than once recently. Eventually things have to move from being an expansion franchise to a real hockey market. True hockey markets are driven by results and improvements. Status quo is not acceptable for those markets. I believe there is a ground swell to make this big step and soon, otherwise the season ticket holders will call for big changes all around.

There are improvements to be made this off-season. The time for those is in the present. The next step for this franchise is again within their grasp. The question is will they seize the day or watch it slip away?

Either way, this is going to be an interesting off-season for Nashville.

Thanks for coming back and catching up with me. Hope it was worth the wait. Next column I'll actually take a step back in time and give my final analysis on the 09-10 season.

Till then, take care friends.

If you wish to reach me personally you can contact me via email at [email protected]
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