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Practice Day Report: April 6

by Doug Brumley / Nashville Predators
The Predators had a medium turnout on the Bridgestone Arena ice at today’s practice, with several players taking maintenance days ahead of Nashville’s early afternoon flight to Colorado for the Saturday season finale.

With Anders Lindback serving as the only goaltender among the 17 participants, the pair drills and line drills focused around one goal, with the group switching ends part-way through at the request of head coach Barry Trotz.

Brandon Yip was among those on the ice today, and after practice the former Colorado Avalanche player said he was looking forward to the trip to Denver. Nashville claimed Yip on waivers from Colorado on January 19. “Definitely will go out for dinner with a few of the [Avalanche] boys tonight and catch up a little bit. It will be nice to go back to Denver and see my old place and take anything else I need from there.”

In Thursday night’s 2-0 win over Dallas, Yip assisted on Patric Hornqvist’s team-leading 26th goal. His play merited a Barry Trotz shoutout during the post-game press conference; without being directly asked about Yip, Trotz made a point to fit him into a response: “I thought Brandon Yip had a real solid game for us.”

“That's nice to hear,” Yip said when told about the praise. “I didn't know that, but it's definitely good to hear if the coaching staff's happy with you. I think [Paul Gaustad] has been doing a good job and [Jordin Tootoo] did a good job last night. We just kept it pretty simple and got pucks deep. That's what they need from us.”

As seedings fall into place in the regular season’s final days, the level of scoreboard watching varies around the locker room. Martin Erat said he pays no attention to what other teams are doing, and that he didn’t know any results from Thursday’s key games until teammates told him on Friday morning. Defensemen Ryan Suter and Roman Josi, on the other hand, have been keeping close track of NHL events.

“After the games, obviously you’re looking to see who’s winning,” Suter said, “because it’s so exciting. For us too. It’s exciting for teams that are battling for the last spot and for home ice.”

Josi said he was surprised by the play of two NHL teams in particular. “Washington’s kind of surprising that they just clinched yesterday,” he said. “I think they were struggling a little bit. … And probably St. Louis, [most people] wouldn’t expect them to be that high, but they are a great team. It’s just that before the season, probably a lot of guys wouldn’t have expected them to finish that high. But they’ve played really well.”

After practice, the Bridgestone Arena ice surface got a bit of a makeover. The official Stanley Cup Playoffs logos were inserted into the ice inside each blueline. If all goes well with the various playoff scenarios Saturday, the Predators could be skating atop those logos with home ice advantage as early as Wednesday, April 11.

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