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Preds Gaining Confidence from Scrimmages as Training Camp Nears End

No Detail Too Small as Predators Run Through Game Situations Ahead of Phase 4

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

Prior to their scrimmage on Wednesday, the Predators took a traditional, 16-minute warmup, just as they would prior to a normal game. They were outfitted in their traditional uniforms - half of the players in white, the others in Gold.

The team then retreated to the locker room so the Zambonis could do their thing. Bridgestone Arena's FangVision played an introduction video as the team returned to the ice. The national anthem even played prior to the opening faceoff, and at the first whistle past the 14-minute mark, the ice shavings were shoveled, just as they would be on any given night.

Oh, and the scrimmage began at noon local time, the same moment the puck will drop for Game 1 in fewer than two weeks' time.

No detail is too small to overlook in this setting, especially when none of the scrimmage's participants have played a game in more than four months.

Wednesday's session was just about as close as the Preds can get to the real thing, which will come a week from Thursday, an exhibition outing against the Dallas Stars in Edmonton, the Western Conference's hub city.

The goals, the saves, the hits and everything else don't matter in the record books, but for those on both sides of the bench, the scrimmage on Day 10 of Predators Training Camp Presented by Vanderbilt Health had plenty of meaning.

"I would credit the players again [on their effort level]," Preds Head Coach John Hynes said following the session. "You can do all these things and try to set them up the right way, but the effort level, the intensity of effort, the attention to detail by the players was good and that's what makes these days productive."

One of those who produced on the scoresheet was forward Kyle Turris who tallied twice for Team Gold in their 4-1 "victory" through two, 20-minute periods of play.

Video: Turris speaks on increasing the intensity

"It feels really good," Turris said of putting the puck in the net. "A really nice pass by [linemate Matt Duchene] there on my first goal, and a really nice pass on the break and entry on the power play by [forward Craig Smith] on my second one. We're just trying to gain chemistry, get comfortable with each other and just grow and be ready for the first game against Arizona."

Smith scored on the power play for Team White, while Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons also found the twine for Team Gold.

The scrimmage also allowed for another opportunity to ramp up the physicality, something that has been apparent during the second week of camp. While no one really likes to get hit, it's a necessary step to becoming game ready, and it's one the players embrace.

"It's a really important part of the game," Turris said. "We can't avoid it, and especially in the playoffs, it's a lot more physical. It's good we're doing it this week, because you have to be prepared for that. Not having done that for four months and then jumping into playoffs or a play-in series, [you would be] putting yourself at a disadvantage. So, the fact that we're doing it this week is really important to up the intensity in the battle drills, in the battle level and we're definitely moving in the right direction. It's exciting getting back into it and getting physical, and it just means we're getting close to the start."

For those game-like details, it's not as if the players forgot what it was like to slip on the jersey and go through their routines again, but it certainly doesn't hurt to have a runthrough in a familiar setting.

After all, at this level, everything matters - especially when the Stanley Cup is the prize at the end of the line.

"The attention to detail on these things is important," Hynes said. "You're coming in, there's a meeting, there's a warm-up, there's an ice cut… We're just trying to control what we can control, and what we can control is how well we prepare, try to leave no stone unturned and give us the mental and physical confidence when you come in that you're prepared. There's nothing better than going into a high-level competition, an exam, an interview where you're prepared to put the work in, you feel like you've left no stone unturned and now you just go let it rip and play."

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