Trotz made difficult decision in keeping Wilson out of Predators lineup
Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz has difficult lineup decisions to make every game when it comes to who is in and who will take a seat for the night. Nashville’s top two lines are set with Mike Fisher centering Sergei Kostitsyn and Martin Erat and David Legwand centering Andrei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist to round out the group that makes up the Predators top-six forwards.
While Paul Gaustad and Nick Spaling are sure to center the bottom two lines, who will be on their wings any given night is up for debate. If the scratching of Craig Smith and Colin Wilson Tuesday night is any indication, no one is safe.
Wilson has four goals in his last eight games as well as an assist for a total of five points. The line of Spaling, Wilson and Tootoo were also credited with a total of 12 points since February 19th.
Trotz said the decision to sit Wilson was a difficult one. “Colin Wilson was a tougher decision for me because of the fact that he has like 4 goals in 8 games. I want him to
play a little bit better with pace and detail. He’s a guy that can reset a little bit and I know he’ll respond well. I had to make a tough decision and I really wanted to get [Halischuk] and Yip in.”
While Trotz is looking for changes in Wilson’s play in regard to pace and detail, on 104.5 The Zone’s radio show The Midday 180, Wilson said “I’m 3rd on the team in goals, so I must be doing something right. I’m going to keep playing the way I have been.”
Wilson is tied for fifth in goals scored at 15 with David Legwand. He is seventh in points with 34, including 19 assists.
When asked how scratching Wilson Tuesday night compared to last year’s playoffs, Trotz said the two situations did not compare at all. Wilson did not play the entire Anaheim series and did not play in the Western Conference semi-finals until game four against Vancouver.
“It is the regular season. It is just a game right now. I think he learned a lot from last year. I think we have good communication. One of the things that young guys have to go through is how you handle adversity. Colin has made great strides in that. I think he is going to be fine. He is going to be determined. When we put him back in the lineup, he will be romping around and doing things he needs to be doing,” Trotz said.
Scratching Smith was an easier choice for Trotz. Smith is used to playing college hockey and not used to an 82-game campaign.
“I think Craig [Smith] has been a really good player all year, but he’s just not used to the grind. I thought he’s fallen off a little bit, so sometimes you give him a day or two to not be emotionally in that grind, and maybe get a little bit more juice back into his game,” Trotz said.
In his last 14 games, Smith has one goal and no assists.
Inserting Yip and Halischuk into the Predators lineup worked out well in Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Yip scored on his former team and Halischuk added an assist on Sergei Kostitsyn’s goal that gave the Predators a 3-1 lead in the last minute of the second period.
At practice on Friday morning, Ryan Porth from Smashville24/7 tweeted that Wilson and Smith skated on a line with Brian McGrattan which would indicate that the two young forwards may be scratched again on Saturday night against Detroit.
The Predators are set to match their attendance record for sellouts at Bridgestone Arena in a single season. The record currently sits at 20 sellouts. Thursday night, Bridgestone Arena was sold out for the 19th time this season when the Predators hosted Colorado.