Things started out great for Daniel Carr.
After signing a one-year, one-way deal with the Predators on July 1, the reigning MVP of the American Hockey League was ready for his next chance to prove himself in the NHL, this time in Nashville.
He arrived in Music City earlier than most of his teammates from their summer vacations to get settled, and the 28-year-old winger made the Opening Night roster out of training camp. He had to wait until Nashville's fourth game of the season to hear his name called for the first time, but that was no problem.
However, after three games in the Predators lineup with no goals or points to show for, Carr found himself on a plane to Milwaukee, off to join the Admirals in a league he starred in less than a year earlier.
Mind you, he wasn't doing cartwheels to be back in the AHL, but he accepted the challenge - and then some.
Riding a 10-game point streak when he was recalled by the Preds on Monday morning, Carr was leading the Ads with 11 goals and 21 points - the latter of which was good for sixth among all AHLers - in just 16 games.
Now, he's back in Nashville, ready to prove he belongs once more. And then he tallied the game-winning goal in the shootout to help his club beat the Blues for the second time in 48 hours.
"You either keep playing and work at it, or you quit," Carr said of making the most of his opportunity in Milwaukee. "It's not really a choice, and it's one of those things. Unfortunately for me, I've [been sent to the AHL] a few times in my career, and you've got two choices. You either quit and you're out of North American hockey pretty quick, or you work at it, keep going and hopefully get another chance. I'm excited to be here."
Video: STL@NSH: Carr wins it for Predators in shootout
Carr got the call due to an injury to Viktor Arvidsson, a lower-body ailment that will see the forward miss 4-6 weeks. The loss of Arvidsson is less than ideal, but the Predators have successfully dealt with this before, and they intend on doing so again.
"He's a huge part of our team, he's a great player and we will definitely miss him," Preds Captain Roman Josi said of Arvidsson. "We'll have to have guys step up, but this team has always been really good about guys stepping up when guys are not playing, and I expect nothing else."
The Predators want Carr to be one of those options, as does the offensively gifted forward. While taking questions from the media at his locker following Monday's morning skate, Carr mentioned he had been working with a sports psychologist who gave him some quality advice.
According to his AHL numbers, it seems to be working. Then, he put the exclamation mark on Monday's triumph.
"One of the gentlemen I've worked with for a long time [gave me this line]: Slow down a lot in life to kind of speed up, if that makes sense. Since I did that, I've been a lot happier, and I've playing a lot better from it, too."