There is no end in sight when it comes to the labor negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA, but that hasn’t stopped most of the Nashville Predators team from doing on-ice workouts. Anywhere from 15-20 players have practiced together this week at A-Game Sportsplex in Cool Springs, as they are not allowed to use the Predators’ facilities in Nashville during the lockout.
“It feels weird. We’re lucky, though; we have a really good set up here,” Pekka Rinne said of practicing at A-Game. “We’re lucky that we can use a place like this and the guys organized this really well. Usually when you get ready for a season and use your own team facilities you have that team feeling. Right now it’s just a bunch of guys skating together.”
Current Predators have welcomed former teammates to join them during these practices. Jordin Tootoo, J.P. Dumont and Alexander Sulzer have all been present this week at A-Game.
In all likelihood, players will have to continue to practice at the ice rink in Cool Springs (unless they individually decide to go overseas during the lockout). Training camp won’t begin tomorrow as scheduled and the NHL’s preseason games through Sept. 30 have been cancelled.
“It’s really disappointing,” Rinne said of the lost preseason games and training camp. “We are here to prepare for the season and every game we lose it’s disappointing. We’re talking about exhibition games so it’s not the regular season, but still it’s disappointing.”
Some players don’t like preseason games, but others take advantage of it to get sharp before the season officially starts.
“For a goalie you can practice as much as you want but nothing compares to actual games and game situations. I think that’s the most valuable thing before the season, getting two or three games under your belt,” said Rinne.
Martin Erat added, “Over the years [in preseason] I figure out what’s good for me, get into shape, what my weight is supposed to be, how I should [play] in training camp.”
Expect more preseason games to be cancelled in the coming days/weeks, which is a prelude to the likely loss of regular season games.
No formal negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA are scheduled to occur at any point in the near future.