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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
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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.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61