• PRINT
  • RSS

Players Respond to Early Season Schedule Quirks

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 7:39 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
X
Share with your Friends


Players Respond to Early Season Schedule Quirks
It seems more like weeks – not days – since the Nashville Predators played a regular season game.

In reality, when the puck drops Thursday for the Predators’ home opener against Phoenix at Bridgestone Arena, only five days will have passed since Nashville’s win at St. Louis. But in hockey time, that’s forever.

There are positives and negatives when a layoff that long takes places in the NHL. It can hurt momentum when a team is playing well (Nashville is 2-0-0 after coming off back-to-back road victories against division foes Columbus and St. Louis). On the positive side, the break can allow for some rest and healing after such a grueling start.

The Predators are going with the latter.

“We feel good about ourselves after those first two games,” Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne said. “We want it to carry over to the next game. There has been a little bit of a flu bug going around and it has allowed us to get healthy. That’s been a good thing. We’re also getting extra work. We’re improving on things that we didn’t do very well in the first two games. I think those are the positives.”

For most of the Predators players, the layoff has them amped up even more to get back to playing games.

“Everybody is ready to rock now,” Predators forward Patric Hornqvist said. “We’re all looking forward to the game. When there are a couple of days between games, you have to make sure you stay in game shape. But I feel like everybody is going to be jumping around. The coaches are going to come up with a good game plan.”

As the schedule progresses, so will the frequency of games. Consider, in the first 15 days of October, the Predators will have played four games. In the final 16 days of October, Nashville will play eight games.

“We’re rested up for that and that’s exactly what we want,” Hornqvist said. “We’re ready to play every other night. Everyone is healthy and ready to have a good stretch here.”

After playing the next two games at home, the Predators will head out on a three-day, Canadian road trip. Then they return to Nashville to play three home games in five days.

As with most NHL clubs, the schedules offers some daunting stretches, and the Predators will experience at least three of them in the first month. But the players and coaching staff are relying on the confines of Bridgestone Arena to help make it work to their advantage.

“Our fans are so boisterous,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “There’s good energy in the building and it’s going to be fun (on Thursday). It will bring back some good memories, but we’re starting new memories. That’s the key. We have to get our home-ice dominance again. We’ve been pretty good at home in the last seven years.”

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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33