March Madness has come & gone. The Nashville Predators are where they have been most of the season: on top of the Central & unsure of their fate. We look back at the madness.
Three games are left in the 2018-19 regular season and pretty much everything is up for grabs. After an up & down 7-6 month, the Nashville Predators sit tied atop the Central Division with the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets own the tiebreaker while the St. Louis Blues sit two points behind. Nashville can be the one, two or three seed after the first week of April shakes out.
This season has definitely been tough to figure out. The Predators looked like world-beaters for about a month. They’ve shown glimpses of that from time to time. They’ve also looked like one of the worst teams in the league. March featured games from both ends of the spectrum. Just when you start to get excited about the Predators’ potential, they lay an egg.
Let’s take a look at some of the best & worst of March.
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Best Fox Sports Tennessee gimmick: Reuniting Pete Weber & Terry Crisp for 90s Night
I mean no disrespect to Willy Daunic or Chris Mason. I enjoy the Nashville Predators’ television coverage immensely. Daunic & Mason have shown good chemistry as an announce team. Lyndsay Rowley & Kara Hammer’s contributions to the coverage are also much appreciated.
However, Nashville fans grew up on Pete Weber & Terry Crisp. Weber & Crisp served as the main Predators television announce team for the first fifteen seasons of the franchise. Many Nashville fans learned the game of hockey through their commentary. While their replacements have proven competent, we still miss Weber & Crisp.
It was 90s Night at Bridgestone Arena for the Predators/Maple Leafs game on March 19, and Fox Sports Tennessee celebrated the occasion by having Weber & Crisp return to their old gig for the evening. It brought back fond memories hearing them call the game together like it was the old days. Here’s hoping this becomes an annual event, a little something to change the mood once a year.
Predator We Need More From: Kyle Turris
Let’s be honest: there are certain Nashville Predators we don’t expect too much from. Youngsters like Rem Pitlick, Matt Donovan & Dante Fabbro are just getting their feet wet on the top level. We know what to expect from the likes of Freddy Gaudreau & Rocco Grimaldi…not much in the way of points, but a ton of energy & solid play on the lower lines. Guys like Matt Irwin & Yannick Weber eat up minutes & give the top defensemen a breather.
There are some Predators that need to step it up in April if Nashville is going to be a postseason hotspot. Heading into this season, Kyle Turris was seen as the second center that would anchor a strong line featuring Kevin Fiala, Craig Smith and himself. While Smith still found his way to twenty goals, Turris was a tremendous disappointment whenever he was able to get on the ice. A foot injury kept him out of action for seventeen games, and Turris has never really gotten on track since coming back.
Maybe he’s still banged up. Unfortunately, it’s resulted in Turris’ worst season since he was on his rookie contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. Peter Laviolette even benched him a couple of games in March to try & get Turris out of his funk. It didn’t work, as he’s been outside the scoring column since his return on March 19. One of Nashville’s most important players has become a non-factor.
If the Predators are going to make a run, Turris needs to be a part of it.