“Did you see that? Did you SEE that?” Phone lines, the Twitterverse and the Predators’ message board stayed red hot with activity Monday night following a shot from Team Canada and Predators D-Man Shea Weber that had officials shaking their heads and perusing the playback while Germany’s goalie looked on in amazement at the burn marks where the puck had passed right through the net. The next night Weber continued to send waves of shock and awe through the hockey world as he, Rick Nash and the rest of Team Canada held off Alexander Ovechkin, who had been bringing his wildest and wooliest A Game to Vancouver.
All over Prednation, fans have been watching and marveling at the performances we have seen from the players who were chosen to represent their respective countries in this year’s Winter Games. The “That’s my boy!” feeling of that comes when an announcer mentions that Erat, Goc, Hornqvist, Sulzer, Suter and Weber are Nashville Predators is hard to resist. Now that we’re head towards the final days of the games and we have seen how amazing these players can be, there is a nagging concern, a question that will not go away: Why aren’t these kinds of plays happening when they wear Nashville laundry?
National pride is certainly a motivator, but there has to be more behind the differences in what we see in the regular season and what we have seen for the past week and a half. Why haven’t we been seeing the hits and the block and the sheer damned grit that has been displayed on the ice in Vancouver? The easiest assumption would be that that the players in question have been more focused on the prospect of Olympic Medals than winning the Stanley Cup. Some fans have suggested that it might be the simple reality that these are the best of the best so of course they are going to do better during the games.
There is no reason that the Predators shouldn’t be dominating the NHL with people like Weber and Suter on the team. So one other question remains, the one that I hate to ask more than any other, but there it is, the elephant in the room. What are Mike Babcock and Ron Wilson, et al doing that Barry Trotz isn’t to get those kinds of performances out of their players?
Whatever the answers may be, they should be explored before the next trade deadline hits and the UFA rumours start flying. In the meantime, I want to see Weber the beast on home ice. Leave Canadian Nice in Vancouver where it belongs, Mr. Weber.