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First camp scrimmage has "good pace"

Wednesday, 09.14.2005 / 9:16 AM CT / News
Nashville Predators
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First camp scrimmage has \"good pace\"

Wingers Scott Hartnell and Alexander Radulov clicked as linemates Wednesday, leading Group A to a 6-3 scrimmage win over Group B. The game was the highlight of Day Three of the Predators' 2005 Training Camp, currently underway at Centennial Sportsplex. The spirited affair was the first of three such round-robin matches that will continue on Thursday and Friday and pit all three training camp teams against each other.

"It was actually a pretty good pace," Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz said following Wednesday's scrimmage. "I love the aggressive mentality [the players] have in terms of” and when I say aggressive, I mean just a lot of pressure on the puck ”you had to make some quick decisions."

One of those aggressors was forward Darcy Hordichuk, who delivered some nice hits to his Group B opponents. "I was just telling one of the other guys it's probably the first time I ran around and hit a few guys in about a year," Hordichuk said. "So it's good just to get adjusted to the speed out there and get back with the new rules and hitting the guys."

The game, which featured two 30-minute, running-time periods and a five-minute four-on-four session before concluding with a shootout, incorporated the new rules and rink dimensions that the National Hockey League will be implementing this season. That included ignoring the red line to allow for longer up-ice passes and observing a much stricter policy against obstruction, hooking and holding.

"I like the way guys were understanding some of the new rules, in terms of stretching people and finding holes," Trotz said. "I also liked the fact that we were consciously ”we took a lot of penalties, but we were consciously not trying to obstruct people and trying to get body position and create separation offensively. So there were a lot of good things today."

The mix of NHL regulars, minor-league players, and training camp rookies made for some ragged plays as well as some interesting combinations. Radulov, for example, is in his first camp. He admitted to being nervous for his first two shifts Wednesday, but said he was fine after that. Seven minutes into the scrimmage, the 19-year-old ”Nashville's first-round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft ”zipped a pass from behind the net to an open Hartnell in the slot. Hartnell's high shot over goaltender Chris Mason's shoulder gave Group A a 1-0 lead. Hartnell scored again roughly 15 minutes later, converting on a penalty shot to answer Libor Pivko's goal and give Group A a 2-1 lead.

The Hartnell-Radulov pairing was matched with different centers throughout the game, and the resulting lines managed to control play in the offensive zone on several occasions.

"I haven't seen him play before," Hartnell said of Radulov. "What I saw today was really good. He's a quick, skilled forward who likes to make plays, so it was kind of exciting to play with him and it seemed like we did really well together."

Trotz saw the connection too. "What you find is sometimes you can put some high-skill players together and nothing is really generated from that," he said. "Then you get a mix ”you get a guy that drives the net like Harts and a skill guy like Radulov who's got really good hands ”there's a chemistry there. That type of thing is what we're looking for and we'll see what best suits these rules."

The line combination of Steve Sullivan, Yanic Perreault and Scottie Upshall were also clicking for Group A. The trio created many good scoring chances, and along with defensive pairing Marek Zidlicky and Greg Zanon applied sustained offensive-zone pressure on Group B for a stretch near the end of the first 30-minute session. Zidlicky also hit Sullivan with a long breakaway pass that wasn't converted.

Defenseman Danny Markov and center Stanislav Balan each netted goals for Group A in the second session, and center Randy Robitaille tallied for Group B in the five-minute, four-on-four period. Friends Greg Johnson and Paul Kariya were paired together throughout the scrimmage for Group B, but were kept relatively quiet until the shootout.

"Paul's getting ready for the season and adjusting his game, and adjusting to his new situation," Trotz said of the Predators' early August free-agent acquisition. "He's dangerous. When he got the puck everybody tried to close his time and space down."

The shootout featured five shooters per side, with Scottie Upshall and Kris Beech scoring for Group A and Kariya beating goaltender Kyle Moir high to the far side for Group B. For this scrimmage, those goals were added to the regulation tallies to arrive at the 6-3 final in favor of Group A.





1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33