Morning Skate Report: April 11 (Game 1)
Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 3:06 PM
By Doug Brumley - Nashville Predators / 2012 Playoff Blog -- Conference Quarterfinals vs. Detroit
The Nashville Predators had an optional morning skate Wednesday, just hours before the puck drops on their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. Game time is 7 p.m. CT at Bridgestone Arena. The game will be televised on SportSouth in the Nashville area (Comcast Nashville channel 1676 (HD) and 26 (SD)).
Defenseman Hal Gill, who missed Monday and Tuesday’s practices with a lower body injury, was not among those on the ice Wednesday. Trotz confirmed at his post-skate press conference that Gill will be a game-time decision.
Regarding Gill’s possible absence from the lineup for Game 1, captain Shea Weber said, “We’ve got a lot of depth. I think we’ve talked about that. We’ve got guys that can step up and guys that have played well for us this year. So it’s no big deal if he can’t go, and we’ll be ready.”
Speaking of ready, players were even more anxious to get going than they were Tuesday. “Obviously it’s that time of year we’ve been waiting for,” Nick Spaling said. “It’s exciting. I’m sure there’s a little bit of nerves and that comes with it. It’s a game day, so now it’s time to focus in and it’s here. It’s time to be ready to go.”
“I think everyone’s prepared,” said Craig Smith, one of four Predators rookies. “We’re kind of composed right now and ready to jump into the game and let it all out. I think everyone’s got a lot bottled up right now. We’ve just got to manage that.”
Perhaps engaging in some head games, Detroit head coach Mike Babcock told media during his morning skate press conference Wednesday that he was glad his team was starting on the road, that it would allow the Red Wings to play the game simply, pressure the home team and watch as your opponent tightens up.
Predators forward Smith, for one, likes starting the series at Bridgestone Arena. “You’re somewhere where you’re familiar, and you’ve got a lot of fan buildup to give you some momentum right off the bat, which is going to be huge in this series,” he said.
Babcock also said forward Darren Helm will return to the Red Wings’ lineup for Game 1. Helm has missed almost a month with a sprained MCL.