Nashville Predators fans have been through the ringer these last few weeks.
It all started on Halloween night, when the Preds blew a three goal lead to the Calgary Flames. From there, the Preds lost 8 of their next 9 games, including four home games and three games to Central Division rivals.
The team went from 2nd in the division, and closing in on the leading St. Louis Blues, to struggling to stay out of the Central basement next to the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks.
To put it simply, it’s been a rough month for Preds fans. These are folks who pay good money to support the team at Bridgestone. Folks who spend good money in downtown Nashville on Saturday nights. Folks who pay good money for brand new, expensive Winter Classic jerseys.
Which is why it makes it even worse to watch what is happening with the team’s 4th highest paid forward Kyle Turris. He’s been scratched three straight games and looks headed for his fourth tonight against the Blues.
Jarnkrok skating with Forsberg and Johansen.
Carr skating with Duchene and Granlund. The other two lines are the same.
Turris appears to be the odd-man out again.
— Robby Stanley (@RStanleyNHL) November 25, 2019
Turris being scratched on Monday would be a step beyond just “lineup decision” for Laviolette, seeing as how Viktor Arvidsson was just knocked out for four to six weeks after being assaulted by Robert Bortuzzo. Surely with Arvidsson out, Turris would slot back in to the lineup?
Instead the team recalled Daniel Carr from Milwaukee in what can only be seen as 10% a vote of confidence in Carr’s play in Milwaukee and 90% a middle finger to Kyle Turris.
With the team in a tailspin, what sense does it make for the team to have shelved Kyle Turris, who by the way was playing just fine in a middle six role this year? What is it that Turris did to deserve this treatment? How can fans feel like the team is progressing through normal growing pains when one of the players tasked with helping the team win games is a healthy scratch every night?
Turris explanations weak
The explanations regarding Kyle Turris have been almost non-existent. In response to Paul Skrbina’s question regarding Turris not playing last Tuesday, Peter Laviolette simply said it was a “lineup decision.” Hardly a meaningful explanation from Laviolette there.
In addition, the team has put out no information regarding a possible injury or trade request from Turris. It would be highly unusual for the Preds to hide an injury to Turris, plus he has been skating at practice.
Trade requests are also unusual from hockey players, though Turris has made them before. And his comments to NHL correspondent Robby Stanley last Wednesday suggests he does want to be here, though if you read between the lines, it’s clear he doesn’t think he’s being supported or given a chance to succeed.
Preds fans deserve more than this
And I’m not just talking about the slumping hockey team.
Look, losing streaks happen. This is hardly the first time the Preds have been through a bad stretch. And I think they will climb out of this one and return to looking like a playoff team. They made steps towards that on Saturday with a big 4-2 win in St. Louis.
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) November 24, 2019
But Preds fans are among the most loyal and loudest in the league. At some point, they deserve answers for why a $6 million forward is little more than a practice dummy.
Think of it this way: if Mike Vrabel, head coach of the Tennessee Titans benched new slot receiver Adam Humphries (who signed a four-year $36 million contract in the off-season) or former 1st-round pick Corey Davis for four straight games with no explanation, Titans fans would riot. Especially if the Titans had only a four game losing streak to show for it.
If there is a trade in the works, and there very well could be, that would be a fine explanation. David Poile doesn’t usually show his hand with trades, and so it is possible he’s still weighing options. After all, Turris’ contract is a lengthy one. There could be some hangups in trying to get teams to take it on.
But the point remains: at some point Preds fans deserve an explanation. If it comes in the form of a trade announcement, hopefully it comes sooner rather than later. If it doesn’t come at all, then the front office and coaching staff have just cashed in some of their fan capital to no one’s benefit.
— Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports —