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Day 1 at Preds Training Camp

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
The Predators took to the ice for the first time at Training Camp on Sunday. The team was split into three sessions with the veterans practicing in the first two groups and the rookie team (the group that will play in Monday and Tuesday night's rookie games at Atlanta) skating in the third group.

It was a relatively quiet practice day with sessions consisting entirely of drills. Dan Ellis made the save of the day with a sprawling stop on Cal O'Reilly in the second session.

Milwaukee Admirals Head Coach Lane Lambert -- the coach of the rookie team on Monday and Tuesday -- talked about the importance of the rookie games tomorrow and Tuesday. He mentioned the opportunity available to the rookies to showcase their skills and make a case to get an extended look in the Preds Training Camp, noting that individual player performance will probably be more important to the scouts than the final scores. With Jonathon Blum, Ryan Ellis, Chet Pickard, and Colin Wilson, the Preds will have their last four First Round picks at the rookie games.

Both goaltenders, Chet Pickard and Jeremy Smith, will play parts of both games.

Nick Spaling will serve as the Captain for the rookie squad. Spaling impressed Lambert with his play in Milwaukee last season and he'll look for Spaling to provide leadership to the new members of the organization.

"He's certainly a guy we will be looking to lean on for his experience," Lambert said of Spaling. "He had a tremendous year in Milwaukee last season. He's a very responsible guy, a hard working guy, and I expect him to lead by example."

Barry Trotz reiterated Lambert's message and mentioned he was interested to see how the Preds top prospects matched up against Atlanta's best prospects.

"We like to build from within, so there's a pride factor there for the organization with these rookie games," Trotz said. "I want to find out who is deserving of staying in Camp a little longer and getting a chance to compete against the big boys."

Belak Shows Versatility
Wade Belak spent the day practicing with the defensemen. Coach Trotz said that Belak will likely practice at both forward and defense throughout Training Camp, mentioning that Belak's versatility could be useful for the team down the line this season. Belak was orginially drafted as a defenseman, but has spent the majority of his NHL career skating as a forward. Belak said it's been around two years since he's played defense in an NHL game, but didn't seem concerned about flipping between the two positions.

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