Dwight D. Eisenhower famously said that “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” and it is time for the leadership of the Nashville Predators to step up. So much has been made of the “Big Three” in Nashville and their contract situations; the bigger issue at hand is their ability to get Nashville turned back in the right direction. I recently wrote in my article “Nashville Predators Face Daunting Eight Day Stretch” that much would be learned of the intestinal fortitude of this team during this run. So far, the team is 0-3 during this stretch and has one point in its last four games. I also noted that the team could slide from 4th in the Western Conference to 4th in the Central Division if things went badly. At the time of writing this, the team sits 4th in the Central Division, 4 points behind 3rd place St. Louis. The better part of the 8 days has been a total failure.
The Predators are facing very important back to back games against Edmonton and Calgary on Monday and Tuesday. Getting points from these games and in Vancouver on Thursday would keep this road trip from being a complete disaster. The ability to turn things around for Nashville sits squarely on the shoulders of the “Big Three”. During the recent 4 game skid, alternate captain Ryan Suter has had +/- rating of -2. In that same time frame team captain, Shea Weber has had a +/- rating of -3. The ugliest of the three, however has been Pekka Rinne, who’s had a save percentage of .872 during the 4 game skid. This is not the type of production that should beexpected from the teams’ leaders.
The core of this team is rooted in its defense. The three biggest stars are two defense men and the goalie. During the 4 game skid the team has averaged a goals against average of 4.25. This is unacceptable. It’s time for the captain, the alternate captain and the goalie to prove why they are the stars of the team and hold the responsibilities they have. Superstars and stars turn their team’s fortune around on the back of their sheer will and determination.
Leadership is easy when things are going well, but the true measure of leadership is the ability to guide the ship through rough waters. The water is incredibly choppy for the Predators at the moment. Those steering the ship need to ensure its safe passage to harbor. Unfortunately, now the Predators are a ship being tossed at the mercy of their opponents. Someone needs to grab the wheel and refocus this team. It is digging a hole, in a division, that will not relent. The Big Three need to lead, and lead now, or all may be lost.