Boclair: The Predator way

Monday, June 11, 2012 at 12:52am

When the Nashville Predators went public last week with their intention to cut ties with mercurial forward Alexander Radulov, they made perfectly clear the type of team they want to — and will — be.

Under the direction of general manager David Poile and coach Barry Trotz, this is a franchise that values its philosophy and its system — the “Predator way,” as they like to say — over talent.

The thing is, talent is what wins in professional sports.

No one with the Predators denies that Radulov is a talent. It was just a few months ago that Poile described him as the best player in the world who wasn’t in the NHL. The Predators were then fortunate enough to get him into the NHL, following a four-year break, but after just nine regular-season and eight playoff games, they’ve decided they want nothing more to do with him.

Unpredictability, it seems, just does not sit well with those making the decisions for this team. And as sure as he is talented, Radulov also is unpredictable — both in good ways and bad. True, there is no guarantee he will honor his defensive responsibility each time he’s on the ice, and his understanding of a curfew is questionable, at best. But there also exists the possibility he will do something completely unexpected to produce a goal.

In most places, that’s considered a fair trade. In Nashville, it is considered grounds to pursue a trade — to be rid of someone who is capable of taking the league by storm (assuming he decides to stay here rather than return to Russia’s top professional league).

The Predators’ brain trust once again has shown it is more comfortable with a first line that features Mike Fisher, a guy who never has scored more than 25 goals in 12 NHL seasons, rather than Radulov, who scored 26 in his only full NHL season … when he was merely 21 years old.

Fisher does many of the little things right most of the time, things that help keep a team in games all the way to the finish. Radulov can deliver the big moments that electrify crowds and change games, oftentimes for the better.

Together, they could make a potent combination. Instead, the Predators are quick
to walk away from the type of player teams simply don’t find every day.

Radulov is no saint. He has caused headaches for franchise officials and teammates in the time he’s been here, as well as during his self-imposed exile.

But it takes all kinds to form a successful team.

Just look at this year’s Stanley Cup finalists. The Los Angeles Kings got a boost with the trade deadline acquisition of forward Jeff Carter, who was considered a problem in Columbus. New Jersey relied heavily on Ilya Kovalchuk, who not that long ago — like Radulov — was routinely lambasted for his perceived indifference on the defensive end.

Winning cures a lot of those issues, and it takes that type of player — someone who has shown he can score somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 goals — to win in the NHL.

Say what you will about Radulov, but the Predators brought him back late in the season to provide more offense at a time when they needed it, and he did it.

He produced seven points in his nine regular season games, a point-per-game rate of .78 that was second only to Martin Erat. He tied for the team lead in playoff scoring with six points, despite the fact that he famously was suspended for one contest and held out of a second.

Doing the job apparently is not enough if it’s not done the “Predator way.”

It’s clear that Nashville wants to be good enough to make the playoffs almost every season. Thus far, though, there is nothing to suggest the “Predator way” makes a team good enough to win a championship.

11 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 6/11/12 at 4:49

I for one do not care if another ice hockey game is ever played in this city. What I do respect is the "Predator Way" I look at the apathetic Tennessee Titans who embrace every punk that comes along and they are still a loser.

If you are going to lose, then do it with some dignity. For this I salute the Nashville Predators.

By: gid on 6/11/12 at 6:08

If you dont care they why do you have to post in every article about the Preds?

If your going to be a jerk be like Rasputin72 its the best way

By: Rasputin72 on 6/11/12 at 7:03

GID........Since the Davidson County taxpayers are subsidizing ice hockey I feel quite justified in printing or voicing my opinion about ice hockey.

By: MusicCity615 on 6/11/12 at 8:00


The taxpayers would owe a lot more to pay off Bridgestone Arena's interest payments if the Predators weren't there 41 times a year as a main tenant.


Did you consider if Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, our captains, wanted Radulov?

By: cookeville on 6/11/12 at 8:52

So Mr. Boclair, what you are saying is that if a player has talent to spare and can get the team a Stanley, then the team should overlook all the baggage that comes with that player? The two Russians were playing in a must win playoff series. They had not shown any inclination toward being the best they could be up to that point in that series, and then they decided that their personal desires were to be valued over what the team needs. Yeah, ok. Regardless of the stats, the fact remains that we lost the first two games with the Coyotes, so where were the Russians in those games? Stats mean nothing when you fail to perform when you are expected to perform. And they failed to perform on several levels. Also, neither you nor we are privy to what all goes on behind the closed door of Poile's office. I suppose you are like most others-win at all costs, even if it means creating havoc in the locker room. We had that year before last with the Titans. We don't need it with the Preds. We will win without the Russians-count on it.

By: Rasputin72 on 6/11/12 at 9:54

MusicCity ......Only in your mind would that happen. You read too many press releases.

From my perspective which for 40 years has been based on profits. If the Predators did not want to pay a full lease and the concerts did not pay for the building I would either sell it or tear it down and sell the property to someone like myself who wanted to make a profit.

Believe me when I tell you that working for wages does not teach you about profit and business.

By: gid on 6/11/12 at 11:38

I have pointed out in other posts the figures involved w. Metro paying/not paying the subsizing the Preds. You never responded.
The tax $$ generated by the 700K fans each year far outweigh any $ paid by metro.

By: sharko20 on 6/11/12 at 12:49

If Ryan Suter signs with another team he will send the signal that Nashville is a pit stop not a destination.

By: producer2 on 6/11/12 at 1:18

Boclair has become just one more writer looking for headlines. The fact that all the snipers like Ovechkin, Perry, Stamos, etc. have long since been eliminated from the playoffs is proof that snipers don't win championships. Malcontents certainly don't win them. Next

By: Rasputin72 on 6/11/12 at 4:55

Gid.,,,,,,,When all of your figures are in the final result is that there is more money being given to the Predators than the Predators directly or indirectly pay Metro.

By: eamus-catuli on 6/11/12 at 6:57

I'm sorry but I don't agree with the author here. The Preds have consistency in their management and approach - you either fit in or you leave. Their methodology puts them in the playoffs almost every year and eventually they'll win it all. Look at teams like Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary who pack their stadiums every game - they don't have a successful gameplan like ours. Let's be thankful, were it not for Dave Poile and Trotz and their consistent leadership this team might have left three or four years ago. Let's stick to the plan!

"Make something idiot-proof and the world will build a better idiot"