David Poile does not want anyone associated with the Nashville Predators to sleep well.
Not now in the wake of a second straight season without a playoff berth. Not during the offseason, when personnel changes are made at all levels of the organization. Not in the fall when they return for the start of training camp.
The architect of the franchise does not consider the decision to fire head coach Barry Trotz a change of one person. He expects everyone to have a different view of things going forward.
“This is a wakeup call for everybody in our organization,” Poile said. “It’s a wakeup call for me. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s going to be different here. There’s going to be a different coach in charge. Practices are going to be different. Don’t take for granted your ice time [or] who you’re playing with. It’s going to be a different voice and a different direction.”
The question is whether it will send them in the right direction.
After all, it’s not as if the Predators are at rock bottom. They’re only two years removed from their last playoff berth and they went 9-1-2 over their last 12 games, which lifted them to within three points of the final Western Conference playoff berth. They are currently scheduled to pick 12th in the first round of this summer’s draft, pending the results of Tuesday’s draft lottery.
“It’s exciting to think about something new and a new direction,” captain Shea Weber said. “But it’s still tough right now because it’s fresh that the only head coach I’ve known here is gone. … You don’t really know what to expect. You trust the organization and the direction they’re ready to go in with the search for a new coach. But there’s uncertainty as well.”
Poile said there is no timetable for when he will hire a replacement and no specific criteria he wants for his next coach.
He also couldn’t say exactly what it was that prompted him to make this change after 15 seasons. All he knows is that he wants things to be different.
“It’s just a combination of a lot of things,” Poile said. “I can’t pinpoint anything because it’s an organizational thing. … I’m taking responsibility. We have to make some better decisions on certain players. Our scouts have to draft at a higher level – we’re doing OK but we have to do better. The coaches have to do some things better and the players have to take some responsibility.
“…Hopefully the foundation that Barry has presented here for the next coach will take us to a higher level.”
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