It was shocking to watch the Predators floundering around on the rink as the Sharks ate them alive Thursday night.
It wasn’t that they lost a deciding Game 7 by a 5-0 score. No, it was how they were never in the game. They were flatter than a Victoria’s Secret model’s tummy.
How can you have a chance of being a franchise winning its second round in the Stanley Cup playoffs? It would have been the first time in Predators history if they had won.
But former Predator Joel Ward, ageless Joe Thornton, veteran Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture were Sharks that used the Predators as chum.
Can someone tell me why the Predators allowed the Sharks to bull rush the net so many times? They remained in Predators goalie Pekka Rinne’s line of vision until someone lit the lamp.
What kept the Predators from using the same tactics? I don’t get it. And don’t hand me the alibi that the Preds were weary from playing so many games. They were sleep-deprived from making so many long airplane trips.
These are young guns, most of them in their 20s and early 30s. They are the most well-conditioned athletes of any sport. You may challenge that statement and say it would be soccer players. But soccer players don’t have a hard rubber puck flying nearly 100 miles per hour at their head.
They are going to look back on this series and admit they let the big fish get away.
Look for some personnel movement before next season. What is the future of winger Colin Wilson? He has shown streaks of brilliance, countered with inconsistency and is not someone you can count on to produce when the pressure is on.
How much better can Philip Forsberg become? I think he is a star in the making and will be ready to step into a major role for the future.
They acquired center Ryan Johansen, who also possesses skills when it comes to scoring and feeding others. He needs to continue working hard and taking more of a leadership role.
This is a franchise that needs to take advantage of the potential it has built. They need to work harder in the off-season and be ready from the start.
Being hungry and prepared for war paid off for the Sharks in the second round. Meanwhile the Predators might as well have raised a white flag of surrender. They showed no interest in doing what it takes to land a first punch to the gut and keep their skates on an opponent’s air hose.
They were close enough to smell it after beating Anaheim in the seven-game first series and taking the Sharks to the final game in the second round.
The fan base had put the Bridgestone on fire when opponents dared enter the Bridge.
Did the Predators run out of adrenalin at the end? I don’t buy that.
They knew how high the stakes were. They knew they could be the first Predators team to make franchise history and perhaps beyond.
Their timing to pull a no-show could not have come at a worse time.
That is the next step the Preds have to take.
Joe Biddle is a wkrn.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame. Reach him at email@example.com.