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Morning Skate Report: Feb. 27 vs. Los Angeles

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are facing the Los Angeles Kings 7 p.m. tonight at Bridgestone Arena, wrapping up a four-game homestand that has seen the Preds collect five of six available points.

Judging solely on the media questions following Monday's morning skate you wouldn’t have known about the game. The topic du jour, of course, was the trade deadline and Nashville’s morning acquisition of Andrei Kostitsyn from Montreal for second- and fifth-round picks in 2013.

The first player that the media descended upon after today’s morning skate was Andrei’s younger brother, Sergei, who came to the Predators in a trade from Montreal in June 2010. Sergei said he had yet to talk to Andrei, but would be calling him soon. “I think he’s going to be more happy here and I think his production is going to go up,” Sergei said.

“You won’t get the smile off Sergei’s face this morning, that’s for sure,” said Predators alternate captain Mike Fisher, himself a February acquistion by the Preds last year.

The brothers played on the same line some in Montreal, but don’t look for that to be the case in Nashville—at least not at first. With the Predators’ top line of Fisher, Sergei Kostitsyn and Martin Erat clicking, Andrei will fit somewhere else in the lineup, according to head coach Barry Trotz.

“[Playing the brothers together has] not even crossed my mind,” Trotz said after Monday’s skate. “I won’t even do that, I don’t think. I wouldn’t break up the top line; it’s gone too well. I told Sergei, ‘You know, don’t worry about your brother coming in and playing in your spot or anything like that.’ The first line’s going good.”

The elder Kostitsyn’s size and shot were the two elements of his game that were praised throughout the Preds’ locker room. Defenseman Hal Gill, who was acquired by Nashville from Montreal ten days ago, shared what he knew of his 6-foot Belarusian teammate.

“Andrei’s a big guy,” Gill said. “He can control a game in the corner, he can cycle, he’s got a heavy shot. They’re different players. There are a lot of different strengths for both of them.”

With all of the trade talk at Monday’s skate, one wonders how much the players are distracted from preparing for the Los Angeles Kings.

“I think it actually is a little bit of a rallying point because at 3 o’clock [ET, when the deadline passes] everybody will go, ‘Phew, it’s gone. This is our team. Let’s go,’ ” Trotz said. “And they’ll be energized. No it’s not going to be distracting."

“It was distracting this morning before [the morning skate], because everybody’s watching the ticker and doing all that. But we talked about it. That’s a good hockey team that we’re going to face. We need to get points. Our goal is not to be satisfied. Our goal is to move forward. Right now, right in front of us [in the standings] are the St. Louis Blues. So we’re going after the St. Louis Blues, and to get to them we’ve got to go through the L.A. Kings.”

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