While a loss just adds a number to either the regulation or overtime/shootout loss column in the standings, not every loss feels the same to NHL players and coaches. Whether losses can be chalked up as good or bad is an unquantifiable statistic, but some of those losses stick longer than others.
On his weekly radio appearance on 102.5 The Game Wednesday morning, Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz admitted that he had some trouble sleeping Tuesday night following his team’s 3-1 home loss at the hands of the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Following Wednesday afternoon’s practice at Centennial Sportsplex, Trotz still had some lingering pains from Tuesday night’s loss, Nashville’s third consecutive defeat.
“That one was because I thought we lost the game in some of those battle and discipline areas and composure areas,” he said. “That one stuck with me because I felt we had an opportunity to get some points last night. I don’t know if we would have gotten two, but I felt that we should have left that game with at least a point.”
When asked if he feels differently following some losses versus others, Predators forward Eric Nystrom displayed his knack for always having the right words for any particular situation.
“They all suck equally,” Nystrom said. “Especially when they are close, those are tough. We definitely feel the same way. You’ve just got to get ready for the next game.”
From day one of the franchise, Trotz’s teams have never been the most talented, but they have achieved success by outworking their opponents. In Tuesday’s third period, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, Nashville’s nemesis from the 2011 Western Conference Semifinal series, converted twice to turn a 1-1 game into a two-goal loss for the Predators.
“When the game got real hard, a couple individuals backed off for me,” Trotz said. “Those things bother me more. I honor a lot of that will stuff that you have to fight through. That’s the intangibles that separate people that win and people that don’t. Last night, I felt that some guys let us down.”
Moving on from losses is easier said than done sometimes, but the cure for the losing blues is that next victory.
“You’re not happy, you’re sort of grumpy until you get another win and people respond,” Trotz said. “As coaches, we don’t have a lot of control. We have control of ice time, we have control over who we are putting on the ice, but other than that, we don’t have a lot of control. Once the game is going on, there are things happening that are in the hands of the players.”
For Nystrom, learning from the mistakes that lead to a loss is important, but dwelling on the loss itself is not something he likes to do.
“Once you come to the rink the next day, it is just kind of move on,” he said. “It’s always better when you have a game coming up right after just to clear the memory and get going again, so it will be good to play tomorrow.”
With the Carolina Hurricanes coming to town Thursday night, it gives both coaches and players the opportunity to move on from the pain of Tuesday’s defeat.