Nashville Predators Road Trip Blog: Game Day in Pittsburgh

Friday, 11.15.2013 / 11:51 AM
Jimi Russell  - Nashville Predators

Well, we’ve made it. Today marks the final day of this 17-day road trip, as the Preds get ready to face the Penguins tonight at Consol Energy Center.

After coming up short on the Island, the team had a day off in New York City on Wednesday. For me, the “day off” meant heading over to the NHL offices to shoot a feature with the League’s scheduling guru, Steve Hatze Petros.

After that, we headed back to the hotel to meet up with Mattias Ekholm, who was visiting NYC for the first time, to follow him around with a camera for a few. While we were out, Ekholm took in Times Square, the NHL Store and Rockefeller Center.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, the team’s Communications Manager, Kevin Wilson, took Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom over to NHL Live, as the pair joined the broadcast for a segment.

Our day wasn’t done though, once Wednesday night’s games got rolling, we headed back to the NHL offices to sit in with the Department of Player safety. It was a pretty fortuitous arrival for myself and the broadcast crew, as the Nazem Kadri hit on Niklas Backstrom had just happened moments before. As soon as we got everything set up, Brendan Shanahan walked in and began the process of review. It was very interesting to see the Player Safety team work together as the reviewed the hit. The end result of the discussion was released yesterday as Kadri was suspended for three games.

You can see all of the videos discussed above at nashvillepredators.com.

After our time at the NHL offices, we walked down to Hell’s Kitchen for a late dinner at Five Napkin Burger, which I highly suggest, before heading back to the hotel to get some sleep.

The team arrived in Pittsburgh late yesterday morning, and immediately headed to the arena for practice – a spirited, hour-and-20-minute long session, as Head Coach Barry Trotz took the guys through their paces following the day off in New York. After practice, we headed to the Renaissance Hotel here in Pittsburgh, just across the river from PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home field.

I hadn’t really realized just how long this trip was until Trotz was talking with the media following yesterday’s practice. Trotz noted that we’ve been on the road so long that, “we’ve had one guy get injured, go back to Nashville and come back. We’ve had a guy have a baby and come back. And we’ve had a guy go to the American Hockey League for four games and he’s returned.”

That’s a long time to be away from home…

Last night was another low-key night for this guy, I was back in the room by 8 p.m., and watch a movie before calling it a night. My night did include a trip to the famous Primanti Brothers Restaurant – a must on any trip to the Steel City. If you’ve never been to Pittsburgh, you really have to check it out when you’re in town, but if you’re a health nut, it may not be for you.

Tonight’s game, much like the last three games of the trip, will be a test of wills between two teams who have both lost three straight games. The Preds will need to bring home a win with a quick turnaround looming, as they face the defending Stanley Cup champions tomorrow night at Bridgestone Arena.

That’s going to do it for this year’s edition of the Renaissance Road Trip blog. I hope people actually read and enjoyed our little cross-country tour. While the results weren’t always what we had hoped for, the 17 days away from the Music City have allowed the team and staff to experience a lot and bond together.

Until next time,

JR

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