Practice Day Report: April 14
Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 5:20 PM / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
By Doug Brumley - Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators ran through a quick practice Saturday morning before packing their things and heading to Detroit on an afternoon charter flight. Once again, Predators defenseman Hal Gill did not practice with the team. He has missed both playoff games with a lower body injury and told gathered media what it has been like watching from the sidelines.
“Hard,” he said, noticeably disappointed and choosing his words slowly. “It’s a lot easier when we’re winning. But it’s hard to watch. It’s hard to sit back and watch. I—you know, it’s tough.”
Asked if he might be able to return to the lineup for Game 3, 11 a.m. CT Sunday at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, he responded, “I hope so.”
Gill was the only defenseman who didn’t participate in practice. Among the forwards, Mike Fisher, Martin Erat, Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, and Alexander Radulov didn’t take the ice. Fisher spoke with the media after the session and said he was pleased with the chances that his first line—rounded out by Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn—generated in Game 2’s 3-2 loss. He said they just have to start converting those chances to goals.
The same goes for Nashville’s power play, which ranked first overall in conversion rate during the regular season but is 0-for-12 through two games in this series.
“We have to have finish right now,” Trotz said. “[The Red Wings] are doing a really good job on the penalty kill, but at the same time we did a really good job of breaking down their penalty kill [in Game 2]. We had A-plus chances. We’ve just got to put it in the net. We made slight adjustments. They made slight adjustments. That will continue.”
Defenseman Ryan Suter, a member of the first power play unit, was buoyed by his team’s overall performance Friday night, despite the loss. “You have to continue to improve, I think, throughout the playoffs,” he said. “For us, we’ve improved from Game 1 to Game 2. Now we have to keep improving.”
Trotz said that he is comtemplating “one or two” lineup changes as the best-of-seven series shifts to Detroit tied at 1-1. The Predators have never won a playoff game in Joe Louis Arena, but there was little concern about venturing into a hostile rink—one that will likely focus much attention on team captain Shea Weber after his Game 1 run-in with Henrik Zetterberg and his Game 2 fight with Todd Bertuzzi.
Trotz said Weber is well equipped to deal with any sour reception he might encounter during the road games. “When you’re a great player, which Shea is—I remember Hall of Famers like [Chris] Chelios coming in here [to Nashville] and he wasn’t exactly loved here. But at the same time you loved him for the fact that the other team does get bothered by you or your presence or you playing or whatever. So that’s the thing. You can use that to your advantage all the time. I’m sure he’ll be motivated by anything that happens.”
Friday’s practice lines (shuffled somewhat since not all players participated):
White jerseys: David Legwand centering Jack Maclellan and Brian McGrattan
Gold jerseys: Nick Spaling centering Gabriel Bourque and Patric Hornqvist
Green jerseys: Paul Gaustad centering Brandon Yip and Matt Halischuk
Purple jerseys: Craig Smith centering Colin Wilson and Jordin Tootoo