As Nashville’s training camp enters it’s third day with only two more remaining, the venue changed to Bridgestone Arena and so did the focus of the on-ice activities. While most of the previous two days have been filled with skating drills and 5-on-5 scrimmages, today’s focus turned to Nashville’s bread and butter: special teams.
Barry Trotz stressed that, while the foundation of the team was still being worked on, the foundation of the special teams was just as important.
“We need to do a little more, we’re a little rusty and that’s to be expected, but at the same time we’ve accomplished what we have wanted to do [on special teams] so far,” said Trotz.
Nashville’s Penalty Kill, ranked 5th in the league during the regular season last year, has been said by some that it will take a hit with the departure of Ryan Suter. However, the coaching staff brought the focus back to the basics during today’s sessions.
“[Lane Lambert] has done the job with the penalty killers, and it was some good work,” said Trotz. “They were taking away a lot of things they know we do on a regular basis. They blocked a lot of shots and they took a lot of the passing lanes away with their sticks.”
Hal Gill, the only Predators player on the team that has won a Stanley Cup and a veteran of 1,180 NHL games (regular and postseason), didn’t seem too concerned about the current special teams chemistry, but knows that more work is still in store.
“I think everyone’s played with each other before, so we know what to look for. There’s not too many moving parts for us,” Gill said. “I think it’s everyone picking up that there are different holes to fill and different jobs available. For the most part, we know what to do and we know how to play, but it’s still coming together.”
Even with the pressure of special teams work being the focus of the day, the players still know that a compressed schedule has to be taken in a different approach.
“You can’t really have those [losing] slides, that’s what the biggest concern is, to get off on the good foot and you have to bury things behind and move forward. It’s similar to playoff hockey where you’re playing every other day and you just go,” said Gill. “Even if you played AHL/KHL/Europe, the NHL is at a different speed, it’s a different game. Everyone is going to have to get up to that speed, so the sooner you do that the better.”
Day 4 of training camp’s on-ice sessions is set for 10:00am to 11:30am tomorrow at Centennial Sportsplex.
Noted line pairings for today’s session:
Wilson/Gaustad/Halischuk (Gaustad swapping out with Mueller)
Yip/Spaling/Clune (Clune swapping out with McGrattan)
Rinne and Mason in net
SPECIAL TEAM LINES:
PP A – Hornqvist/Fisher/Erat/Weber/Josi
PP B – Wilson/Legwand/Smith/Ellis/Kostitsyn
PK A – Spaling/Gaustad/Blum/Gill
PK B – Yip/Halischuk/Klein/Hannan
Interesting note: Loving the new “Committed” slogan that the Predators are plastering everywhere/anywhere in the locker rooms and t-shirts/etc. Really nice looking logo and really great message.