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Weekend Work Preps Preds For Early Gauntlet

Sunday, 09.18.2011 / 7:01 AM CT / Training Camp Central
By Bryan Mullen
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Weekend Work Preps Preds For Early Gauntlet
The Nashville Predators players are pumped about it.

The coaching staff? Well, not so much.

After only two training camp practices, the team will play three consecutive games. The first two are Monday in Florida at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The third will be Tuesday at Washington at 6 p.m.
“I do like it,” Predators forward Jerred Smithson said. “It’s always tough to go out there at training camp and battle against your teammates. You don’t want to go 100 percent and run over your own teammates. It’s good to get a few good skates in, get the pace, and then get right into games.”

Predators Coach Barry Trotz would rather have a few more practice sessions before facing other teams.

“You really don’t have any special teams play,” Trotz said. “You say, ‘OK, here’s the power play, you five guys, we’ll give you some structure in terms of what we want you do.’ There’s really not going to be enough time to work on that. So those are things we’re going to accept.”

Like if things are ugly early on.

“If we go 0 for 8 on the power play, don’t get too worked up,” Trotz said with a laugh. “We haven’t even worked on it. All they’ve seen is a little bit of film and we tell them, ‘Well, this is what we’re hoping you can do.’ Same with the penalty kill. If (Florida) gets five power play goals, we haven’t worked on it.”

Predators forward Jordin Tootoo shares Smithson’s sentiments about getting into the thick of things early on.

“We work all summer to be in shape and be ready for this,” Tootoo said. “I’m sure you’ll find out who did a little extra over the summer and who didn’t. It will be a challenge, but it is a good challenge for everyone.”

When asked about the two-practices-three-games scenario, goaltender Pekka Rinne smiled. “It’s different,” Rinne said. “We’re hockey players and it’s fun to play games. It will be interesting. I think the biggest thing with the three games is the coaching staff and scouting staff want to see how we do. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve practiced with the guys. You go out there and play. They are evaluating you. This has never happened before so it will be interesting to see.”

The biggest challenge will be for the rookies. Trotz said he spoke with Florida Coach Kevin Dineen and expects the Panthers to play more veterans than the Predators, mainly because Florida does not play the next day. Trotz, who is approaching the first two games with a more split-squad approach, wants to keep his veterans fresh through the three games. That means a large number of rookies will be going up against the older Panthers team.

“It will be a good test for our young guys and good for evaluation,” Trotz said.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Wilson 14 5 8 8 13
R. Josi 14 1 8 -6 9
R. Johansen 14 4 4 0 8
J. Neal 14 4 4 1 8
M. Fisher 14 5 2 -1 7
M. Ekholm 14 3 4 2 7
S. Weber 14 3 4 -7 7
R. Ellis 14 0 6 0 6
F. Forsberg 14 2 2 -11 4
M. Salomaki 14 1 1 2 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 7 7 0 .906 2.63
C. Hutton 0 0 0 .667 3.00