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Bass Enjoying Opportunity with Preds

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

The phone call Cody Bass received Monday afternoon may have delayed his nap, but the message on the other end was worth it.

Milwaukee Admirals Head Coach Dean Evason phoned the 28-year-old center to tell him his services were requested in Nashville. It wasn’t his first-career call-up to the NHL, but the feeling never gets old.

“Instantly your heart starts throbbing, and then I started making phone calls to the family and my wife,” Bass said of receiving the news. “It’s an honor to put on the jersey. I’m happy I was able to step in and extremely happy that we were able to win.”

Bass, who inked a one-year, two-way deal with the Preds on July 4, first appeared in a NHL game with the Ottawa Senators in the 2006-07 season. Career contest No. 50 came in Nashville’s 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday; Bass led the Preds with five hits and provided a physical presence, exactly what he’s expected to do.

“I try to play a simple game and play the body when I can and create some energy that way,” Bass said. “The biggest thing is that I was able to come in and the team was able to win. That’s all that matters is that we got two points.”

“He’s just a straight-line player; he’s physical, had a couple of scoring chances and did a good job in the face-off circle for us,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Bass. “I thought just his physical presence, he made himself felt just by the impact, [the way he was] skating and banging guys out there.”

Although he participated in a handful of preseason contests for the Preds, Tuesday marked Bass’ first official game in a Nashville jersey, an opportunity he relished.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s your first game or your 50th, it still feels the same way,” Bass said. “It’s an honor to put on that jersey and this rink, it was a loud rink last night. It’s louder than I remembered, and that’s a credit to the fans and credit to the team. I think we gave them something to cheer about, too.”

Bass is another example of a player coming to Nashville from Milwaukee and having an immediate impact. Laviolette says that’s a testament to the quality personnel in charge of the Preds AHL affiliate.

“The coaches down there, they do such a good job in developing these players, getting them ready, teaching them how to be professionals and teaching them the game - the rights and wrongs and how to play and what to do,” Laviolette said. “When they come up here, they’re ready to make an impact up here, so I think you’ve seen that with a lot of players.”

Part of being a professional hockey player on the fringe between the minor leagues and the NHL is the uncertainty. Bass never knows how long one chance will last or when the next will come; all he can do is make sure he’s prepared if called upon. Even if that call interrupts nap time.

“I signed here this summer looking for an opportunity. I knew my chances were slim at camp, but I think I’ve been around long enough where I try to have a positive attitude,” Bass said. “Going down to Milwaukee, the coaching staff is amazing, the training staff is amazing and it’s a good young team. Lots of skill down there, and we’re having some fun. The biggest message I try to get across down there is winning solves all the problems.

“I’m extremely happy I signed here. Whether I’m up here or in Milwaukee, I’m extremely happy.”

Jagr, Panthers Come to Town:

The Predators close out their current three-game set at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday evening when they host Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers. Now 43 years of age, Jagr is fourth in all-time scoring in NHL history with 1,820 points, 730 of which are goals. Jagr is just 30 points behind Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, for third in League history.

He may have lost a step at this point in his career – but with eight goals and 18 points this season – maybe he hasn’t.

“That guy is unbelievable,” Preds forward Cody Hodgson said. “He’s been an icon in the League for a long time, and he still finds the little ways to improve. It’s amazing to see him work at that.”

Laviolette coached Jagr during the 2011-12 season, when the Czech Republic native skated for the Flyers. On Tuesday, Nashville’s bench boss had nothing but praise for the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NHL Draft.

“He was just a great person to coach and work with,” Laviolette said of Jagr. “He’s smart, he’s in shape and he’s somebody that sets the right example for young players. Not knowing him at all prior to that, it was just a really good experience to work with him for a year. He had a big impact on our team that year.”

The Preds are hoping to limit the ageless wonder’s scoring touch alongside a Florida team who defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Tuesday night.

“We have to do the same thing tomorrow night that we did against Arizona,” Hodgson said. “This is a good team we’re playing and we need to be sharp right from the beginning.”

Roster News and Notes:

Forward Mike Fisher, who left Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury, did not practice on Wednesday and was placed on Injured Reserve. Fisher will miss the club’s next four games, against Florida, Detroit, Boston and Chicago, and will be re-evaluated next week.

Forward Paul Gaustad (Injured Reserve, upper-body) participated in Wednesday’s practice sporting a non-contact jersey. Forward Miikka Salomaki (Injured Reserve, upper-body) also practiced. Forward Colin Wilson, who missed Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury, participated fully in practice on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s forward lines looked like this:

Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Viktor Arvidsson Calle Jarnkrok James Neal
Cody Hodgson Colton Sissons C. Wilson/M. Salomaki
Eric Nystrom P. Gaustad/C. Bass Austin Watson


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