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Morning Skate Report: Oct. 15

by Jena Smith / Nashville Predators
As per the norm on the second half of back-to-back games, the Predators did not hit the ice this morning in preparation for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Instead a team meeting was held to discuses the steps needed to get back to "Predators hockey." After dropping the first two game this week, coaches and players alike know changes are needed both on the defensive and offensive side of their game.

“The goaltending could be better, the offense could be much better, and the team defense could be better too,” Head Coach Barry Trotz stated this morning when questioned where changes was needed. “We are looking at our whole game, quite frankly.”

Nonetheless, Trotz feels like he's seen some positives in the past two games against Edmonton and Dallas; it is just that the negatives have outweighed and have been more obvious on the scoreboard. He went on to give his goaltenders credit stating that some of the goals would have required the net man to be standing on his head to make a save. The key for team success is not allowing those types of situations to happen.

“When you have back-to-back games, when you’re down three or four pucks before your able to get out of the shoots, it really zaps the energy and the focus,” Trotz went on to explain regarding the past two performance.

Captain Jason Arnott also believes the loss of energy and focus coach is talking about makes the game even harder. Arnott is focused on the defense, he feels once the defense is back into the game it will give the offense a chance to improve as well.

“For now we have to worry about our team defensive responsibilities; giving up that many goals is killing us. It’s hard to come back when you’re down five to nothing, especially when you’re having trouble scoring goals at the same time. I think if we clean up our own zone, hopefully the offense will start to take care of itself.”

Coach Trotz is not looking to point fingers. He knows his team is better than their last two performances and is looking to the locker room and coaching staff to make a difference.

“There’s not a whole lot happening right now and the only guys who can fix it is us -- the guys in the room, myself, the coaching staff. It’s up to us. We could look and make excuses; we don’t have any excuses we lost 6-1 and 6-0 we got to win some hockey games.”

However with it still being early in the season Trotz feels like this could be a good challenge to see how good his team is and could become.

“This is where you learn, this is where you have a chance to come together or fall apart and that’s plain and simple. This is where you can become a really good team going through a little bit of hockey hell right now. That’s how you become a good team.”

As predicted, there were a few line changes seen in last night’s game in Dallas. It is expected that there will be some mixing around of lines once again tonight. Coach is looking for some combinations that will help the team out of the scoring drought.

“We are going to make some more (changes). It’s just not working and we will keep fiddling until we score a goal.”

A big part of the solution will return in the form of J.P. Dumont. Dumont was not expected to play in tonight game, however after the team meeting this morning Trotz had only this to say about Dumont.

“JP wants in, so he’s going to play tonight.”

Further the Preds shook-up the roster a bit, re-assigning rookie Mike Santorelli to Milwaukee and recalling AHL All-Star Cal O'Reilly (seven points in three AHL games this season) to take his roster spot.

With the addition of linemate Dumont and the need to come up with a win, Arnott describes tonight’s play nothing but desperate hockey.

“We have to come in desperate, we have to play desperate hockey. We can’t get behind the eight ball, we have to get back to .500 hockey and stay with the top of the (Conference Standings) and try not get too far behind.”

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Forward Jordin Tootoo is still recovering from his injury and is expected to be sidelined for at least the next three games.

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