Smoke and Mirrors [UPDATED]
Nobody around the NHL thinks the Predators are too good this year. And doubters have some arguments in the stats. The team is 21st in the league (out of 30) in goals scored, 27th in power play conversion, and a dreadful 29th in penalty killing. And yet, the team is somehow tied for first in the Central Division, is in 5th place in the Western Conference (the top 8 go to the playoffs) and tied for 7th place in the entire league with a record of 20-11-3. Go figure.
The Canadian media love nothing more than to taunt the Predators for both their boring play and their (lack of) fan base, and the futility of both as they see it north of the border. The Preds make a Western Canada road swing this weekend where I'm sure all of those creative reporters and pundits will dust off their old stories and try to make them sound like new discoveries.
Ron, I await your e-mails, and hope the stories begin: "Despite beating the (Canucks, Flames, Oilers) last night, Nashville is not very good." But it will be a tall order. Those are some tough buildings. 3 points in the 3 games would be a success.
[UPDATE: Preds come from behind and win the first game at Edmonton 6-3! Stay tied for first in Central, and now only 2 points behind first place in the Western Conference. Next 2 games are even tougher. Notice the Edmonton Sun reporter - calling the loss to Nashville "flabbergasting" gives essentially zero credit to the Preds, who suffered a 2-0 blitz in the first 5 minutes, switched goalies, then took over the game, dominating the ice for most of the rest of the game, especially 5-on-5. After the start, Oilers players thought it would be an "easy game" (after 5 minutes against a team 9 spots ahead of you in the standings!?), and believe they must have "rolled over" or been "complacent" to get beaten so thoroughly. Hopefully the winning streak and the underestimation continues!]