With just five days before the lockout-shortened season commences, the Predators hit the ice Monday morning for training camp with little time to prepare for games. It’s a challenge mentally as much as it is physically.
“There are a lot of guys here that haven’t played in a long, long time, so physically to get back to game speed – for me [the KHL] is a different league and speed and level of play,” Pekka Rinne said after a 90-minute practice. “For training camp I think everyone is going to try to get where they want to be physically, and at the same time mentally get prepared to start the season.”
The season opener is Saturday at home against Columbus, which doesn’t give the coaching staff much practice time to do what they need to do. Instead of working on everything, Barry Trotz is taking a different approach to this five-day camp compared to a normal three-week time period.
“If you try to cover everything you’re not going to be good at anything,” Trotz said. “Let’s get good at a number of key foundation things and then we’re just going to have to keep building.”
Monday’s drills may have offered a glance at what the opening night lineup may look like. The top line of Martin Erat, Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn stayed intact, while David Legwand was flanked by Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist on the second line. Colin Wilson was featured on a non-traditional line with Paul Gaustad and Matt Halischuk.
“I think everything’s in pencil right now,” Trotz said. “This was sort of the plan that we thought of in the summer with guys that we’d like to pair up, so that’s where we started. We’ll adjust it as we go along.”
Teams usually don’t focus as much on special teams systems on the first day of camp, but the Predators spent some time on the power play Monday.
“We’re just going through reps,” Trotz said of working on the power play. “We did a lot of film this morning. You can see guys are pretty familiar with the concepts. We’re working from the different sets that we have and different levels of attack that we can create. It’s just the first step.”
Here were Monday’s lines and pairings:
Erat / Fisher / Kostitsyn
Smith / Legwand / Hornqvist
Wilson / Gaustad / Halischuk
McGrattan / Spaling / Yip / Mueller
Weber / Josi
Klein / Hannan
Ellis / Gill
Weber / Josi / Erat / Fisher / Hornqvist
Ellis / Kostitsyn / Wilson / Legwand / Smith
A different face was at training camp, as the Predators officially recalled Victor Bartley from Milwaukee as an extra defenseman for training camp. Here is the press release:
Nashville, Tenn. (January 14, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Victor Bartley (VIHK-tohr BAHRT-lee) from Milwaukee (AHL).
Bartley, 24 (2/17/88), has appeared in all 37 of Milwaukee’s games to this point in 2012-13, posting 19 points (6g-13a) to lead all Admiral defensemen. The 6-0, 212-pound native of Maple Ridge, B.C., tied for 10th among American Hockey League defensemen, and second among AHL rookie defensemen in points (39) in his first season with Milwaukee in 2011-12 after signing as a free agent with the organization on May 24, 2011.