In the 2008-09 season, the Nashville Predators finished 24th in the National Hockey League in total goals for. In 2009-10, Nashville improved to 18th, but were still not up to par with the elite in the league. The Predators dropped back four spots in 2010-11. After the 2012-13 season, they finished dead last. And now this season, their goal scoring issues continue as they currently sit at 22nd.
It is safe to say in the fifteen seasons general manager David Poile has been at the helm of the Predators, there have consistent scoring problems.
Last summer, David Poile was named GM of Team USA's men's national hockey team and was given until January 7 to produce the best 25-man roster for their gold-or-bust run at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Once it was announced following the conclusion of the 2014 NHL Winter Classic, there were a few questions as to why this player or that player was not named to the US roster. The most popular snubs were forwards Kyle Okposo and Bobby Ryan and defenseman Keith Yandle. All three are notable scorers. Okposo is third among American born skaters in scoring with 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists), while Ryan is eighth with 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists). Yandle is second, to only Dustin Byfuglien (also snubbed), among US born defensemen with 38 points (7 goals, 31 assists).
The puzzlement amongst Americans was accepted after a while and we continued our "rah-rah nationalist spirit" for the red, white and blue on the ice.
The preliminary round matches began with defeats over Slovakia, Russia (in a thriller), and Slovenia. The team and the nation had high hopes of success after the round robin because of their ability to battle adversity. With the exception of Slovakia, the prelims were tough for the US side. They may have won, but it didn't come easy. It took a shootout to defeat a dysfunctional Russian squad and they were often outplayed by the Slovenians, despite the score. The challenge was good for Team USA heading into the quarterfinals with a bye.
After the Czech Republic was able to defeat Slovakia, narrowly I might add, the US found out they were to play a veteran Czech team, who were not to be taken lightly after their overwhelming domination against them since 1998. Yet again, offense proved not be an issue as USA came out victorious 5-2. Sometime between the final of this game and the beginning of their semifinals match against Canada, there had to have been a sense of arrogance since they were yet to be defeated through four matches.
Offense started having issues against Canada. Their lack of production couldn't have come at a worse time with the continent's eyes all glazed to their mobile device, television, or computer screens. The US were shutout by Carey Price on 31 shots in a 1-0 loss. Offensive zone pressure was hardly sustained for long periods of time as the Canadian defense shut down the likes of Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel and Zach Parise. Most of the plays were kept to the outside and their premium scoring chances were limited to just a few.
Scoring was unapparent, yet again, in the bronze medal match against Finland. USA was utterly embarrassed on the ice and made a fool of the nation in the 5-0 loss. Unlike their match against the neighbors north of the border, there was scoring opportunities. The two most premium chances came on a penalty shot off the hands of Kane. Unfortunately, he lost the scoring touch in the worst possible time as he missed the net on the first attempt, then hit post on the second.
Sure, you could blame the scoring trouble on Kane, who went without a goal in Sochi, but it can't all land on him. He does have to take some of the blame, but when other skilled players like Cam Fowler, Ryan Kesler, and Parise have just one goal, they have to take the burden as well.
But if there is one person who is taking more heat for the lack of success in Sochi, it is Poile. With an eye-patch over his right eye, he has to be thinking of what would have happened if Okposo, Ryan, and/or Yandle were there in Sochi. Certainly, their presence wouldn't have hurt the scoring statistic.
Poile's thought process of leaving them off the roster was so they can play a systemized style that would work for head coach Dan Bylsma. However, he failed to realize in an Olympic tournament, it is better to bring the most skilled guys as possible and put them in situations that are most comfortable to them. It is impossible to setup a system just two or three days before a tournament.
This was a roster decision only Poile would make.
(Photo by Jeff Goss/Getty Images)