Predators grinding through a brutal March
The most notable effect the Olympic break has on the NHL season is how the league is ‘forced’ to pack the games into a much more condensed schedule. Of course the NHL could alter the season a bit to ensure that teams don’t get burned out at all, but that would just be giving into the ‘evil’ IOC and their dastardly Olympic Games.
In any case, the Nashville Predators are finishing up a month in which they played 17 games in 31 days; a brutal schedule for anyone, but especially for a team that is hoping to ramp it up for the playoffs. The Predators have been one of the more underrated teams this season while they just continue to win and win, but lately it seems like the brutal schedule may be getting to them. From John Glennon of the Tennessean:
“You go through some stretches where it comes easy and then you just get away from some slight fundamentals,’' Predators forward Steve Sullivan said. “If you’re just going to shoot from 60 feet out, goaltenders in the NHL are going to make those saves. We have to find ways to create some traffic in front of the net, take (the goalie’s) eyes away from him and just take better shots.’'
Just another notch on the argument against the NHL taking part in the Olympics, as it’s painfully easy to see how the break has affected some teams. Some went into the break looking great and ready to make a run then come back from two weeks off and fell flat on their faces. Not every team has had the same problem, so it’s just a matter of adjusting it seems and some do it better than others.
But a tough schedule like what the Predators went through? They’ll make it to the playoffs just fine, but they’ll have no gas left when they get there.