Morning Skate Report: Oct. 14

Wednesday, 10.14.2009 / 11:49 AM / Preview
By Jena Smith  - NashvillePredators.com
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Morning Skate Report: Oct. 14
Head Coach Barry Trotz used Tuesday's practice to review strategy with the team and  also to talk about attitude.

“It starts with a great mind set and then everybody understanding where we need to go," Trotz said when asked if technique or attitude was more important at this point. "We are fooling our selves if we think we're on top of our game; playing the way we can. So I corrected a few things and (we'll) work things out.”

Trotz has been patient working his injured players back into the lineup through the early parts of this season, however in the last week of play both Joel Ward and Colin Wilson have rejoined the team. Even with this return of a few key players, Trotz does not feel enough is being done.

“We have people back, but not really doing a whole lot. More watching than engaging, so we tried to talk about where our areas of engagement have to be and where our support is system for that.”

On the positive side Trotz does not feel a major overhaul is needed to right the ship, rather a return to playing with more speed and aggression.

“We don’t need to make a lot of adjustments, what we need to do is execute and engage quicker and better. And if we do that our game will be much better. But we’re sort of being a little too passive.”

Preds captain Jason Arnott agreed that neither he nor the team played well on Monday night. But he stressed that it was way too early in the season to let one bad game affect their level of play. He went on to add that the team showed up to practice in good spirits and had a good practice Tuesday, and “that was the only way to get away from bad games like the night before.”

Heading into Dallas there are two areas of play that are getting a lot of attention, goaltending and the ability to score.

Dan Ellis is set to return to the net against Dallas. Ellis, 2-0-0 this season, made 38 saves in the season opener at Dallas 11 days ago. Ellis seems to always brings a little more emotion and drive to the game when facing Dallas, the only other NHL team he has played net for.

“I think whenever you play a past team that you have played with you always have a little extra emotion behind it. You always want to do well because it is a team that kind of let you go and you kind of always want to continue to prove your worth.”

When asked about the pressure to perform, especially after Monday night's performance against Edmonton, Ellis answered, “Well I think you just don’t want to lose three in a row. I think that’s the most important thing. It’s not the number of goals you let in -- or don’t let in -- it’s more important that you get two points. We started the season off great going 2-0 and now we have slipped back to .500 hockey, so we got to build on it.”

Just as important as stopping goals is a team’s ability to produce them. This far in the season all goals have came from Nashville’s top line consisting of Arnott, Steve Sullivan, and Patric Hornqvist. To jump start production from the other three lines, Trotz indicated that -- with the exception of the top line, forward combinations are likely to change for tonight's contest.

Arnott went on to add, “It’s tough when a team goes through a scoring funk, you got to mix things up to try and get a little more scoring chances and get the puck in the net.”

The match up in Dallas will be Game One of a back-to-back set as the Predators will return to the Sommet Center to face Chicago on Thursday. Arnott knows the importance in these games but ultimately hopes the play will help the team get back into a grove.

“Two real important games, two teams we are playing against are playing extremely well right now, so I think we have to realize we can’t play like we did [Monday] night or we will get barred again. We got to get back to the way we did in the first three games; bumping and grinding, being aggressive.

For the injury report, J.P. Dumont did skate on Tuesday with the team however did not make the trip to Dallas. Fellow forward Jordin Tootoo is expected to start on-ice workouts while the team in on the road.
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