The simile prompted smiles from those within earshot.
“Up and down like a toilet seat,” is how Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene described the stretch leading up to his team’s recently completed nine-day break.
So, was that good or bad for a team that had won three in a row going into a hiatus that included the All-Star break and mandatory time off?
“Can’t really read into it,” Duchene said. “It was good timing because our schedule had been insane. We all needed a mental and physical break, for sure. There was some heavy stuff going on in terms of some tough losses. We had some big wins.
“You’re up and down like a toilet seat in terms of your emotions.”
The up part occurred when the Predators topped the Los Angeles Kings, Winnipeg Jets and New Jersey Devils – all three firmly playoff teams – in succession before the team jetted off to various vacation destinations.
Duchene said the escape allowed the Predators to “keep that (winning) taste in our mouth,” something they’ll need to continue if they have hopes of securing a wild-card spot. The Predators were four points out of said spot before the break temporarily slammed the brakes on the season.
The down part included a forgettable loss to the St. Louis Blues, one that prompted a team meeting that players and coaches alike have credited for a quick turnaround. Another down was a 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night, which ended that winning streak at three.
Predators coach John Hynes the break was good from a physical standpoint, allowing players to rest their bodies. He said it was just long enough to leave that “taste” Duchene referred to. He cited some players returning early to hit the ice as proof.
Q&A:7 questions with Nashville Predators GM David Poile, from retirement to Bill Haslam transition
GM SAYS:David Poile ponders future of these Nashville Predators in exclusive interview
“I don’t think it’s so much momentum,” Hynes said. “It’s more the actions and the way we went about our business is what’s going to get us back going. We went into the break establishing the standard that we need to play and gives us the best chance to win.”
The Predators have 33 more chances to win this season.
“We still have a lot of games left, but it’s more of a sprint than a marathon,” Duchene said. “However many games we’ve played, that’s in the rearview mirror. It’s what’s in front of us.”