In this economy and these times, it's not shocking that other franchises...are having problems at the gate, too.
So, no, the Predators are far from alone, but in so many ways, the savvy management of the franchise has been amazing. General manager David Poile and [Coach Barry] Trotz have been like golfers trying to putt with the gallery screaming, given all the potential distractions and disadvantages. But instead of throwing a golfer's fit, they just putt out and plow on.Poile:
"We don't really have any excuses. It is what it is. We'll just have to find a better way to do it. We'll have to be better at drafting, we have to be better at developing, we have to have a team mentality and a culture, which we do have here, and keep building."
The Predators are the franchise I know second best, having gone to their prospect camp for several years, among other things. Their draft tendencies have been pretty consistent. They draft heavily out of the WHL and Europe. They haven't picked anyone out of the QMJHL since 2004 (Nick Fugere). Their Asst. GM Paul Fenton, who oversees the draft, and Chief Amateur Scout (Jeff Kealty) both reside in Massachusetts.
The Predators have a gritty team, but that grit comes mostly from their forwards. On defense, they tend towards offensive puckmovers. Their gritty style is reflected in their AHL affiliate the Milwaukee Admirals. You'd be hard-pressed to find a prima donna in the organization.
In goal, they find no-name guys who can stop the puck. Tomas Vokoun was an expansion draft pick, and became a star in Nashville.
Sound much like the Thrashers? No, they don't to me either.