On the ice Nashville has declined steadily since its 110-point season of 2006--07. That the team's been competitive on a shoestring is thanks to G.M. David Poile and coach Barry Trotz. But it lacks a prime-time star on offense and, aside from Weber and his partner Ryan Suter, has a middling group of defensemen that was weakened by the loss of lunch-pailers Greg de Vries and Greg Zanon. As the Predators try to claw their way to the playoffs, what may really be at stake is whether the NHL's Nashville experiment can last.