The Nashville Predators continue to slide further and further out of playoff contention, most recently after a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bridgestone Arena.

While it’s easy to become numb to the routine, blase answers given by players in the post-game locker room, occasionally players will express more emotion in searching for the words to explain the product on the ice. We’ve heard plenty of “wake up calls” and cries to “be better” from this team, enough to make running jokes about how many times they are going to hit the snooze button on those wake up calls.

After Monday’s loss, Nick Bonino seemed as frustrated as he has been all season when talking with Fox Sports Tennessee reporter Kara Hammer.

“I thought we were good early and we were good late,” Bonino said after the game. “But consistently this year, those lapses have killed us. You know, twenty minutes, however many goals they got, they carried the play, and we just sit there and take it.”

“We all want to win, but we’re just searching for it right now,” Bonino added.

It’s the “just sitting there and taking it” that makes fans so frustrated watching this team. The Preds have a tendency of showing such brilliant promise, but then completely turning it off at the most inopportune times. Last night against Toronto was no exception as the Leafs skated free in the Nashville end, especially in the 2nd and 3rd periods, where they put up three straight goals.

“It just snowballed, they have a good shift, and we don’t. It turns into two, turns into three, turns into a goal. Then we’re chasing the game. More consistency we’ve been searching for, but the answer’s in the room, we’ve got to find it right now.”

Nick Bonino: “The answer’s in the room”

Nick Bonino’s ultimate answer for the Preds’ problems right now is that it’s the players, not the coaches or the GM or the fans, that are responsible. Given all the events that have surrounded the Nashville Predators as a team over the last couple years, I think Bonino nailed it with this analysis.

Last year, the power play was terrible and likely a reason for the first round exit to the Dallas Stars. The front office responded by signing Matt Duchene and hiring a new power play coach.

The results? The power play is still bad while Matt Duchene is under performing.

Then earlier this year, it became clear that Peter Laviolette’s message was not working in the locker room. David Poile responded by firing Laviolette and hiring John Hynes mid-season.

The results? The Predators have gone 3-4-0 in seven games under Hynes, repeating the same mistakes from early in the season: lackluster offense, leaky defense, and below average goaltending.

In the end, according to Bonino, it’s going to be the players in the locker room that will turn the ship around, not the front office or the coaching staff.

“Just being consistent. It’s what the good teams are, that’s what the Boston’s, Washington’s, right now the St. Louis’s, they’re consistent. You know what you’re going to get, you know they’re going to hit you, they’re gonna defend hard, especially. All those teams defend. When we do defend, we’re great. The lapses are hurting us.”

The season certainly appears to be collapsing in on the Nashville Predators. At this point, the only way it won’t is if Nick Bonino and the rest of the team’s veteran leaders can find the answers in the room.

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —