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Practice Day Report: Mar. 1

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are in the middle of a three-day break without games; the team had yesterday off, today was an optional skate, and tomorrow will be back to business as usual.

Day of Rest: Forwards Martin Erat and David Legwand used the optional skate as a body maintenance day, along with defensemen Francis Bouillon, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber. Hal Gill used the break as a chance to head up to Montreal to grab more of his things for the stretch -run; Gill was on a road trip with the Candiens when he was traded to Nashville so he's only had his limited travel bag's worth of personal effects.

Today's Line Combinations:
   White: Spaling centering Bourque and Hornqvist
   Grey: Gaustad centering Tootoo and Wilson
   Green: Fisher with Smith, Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn
   Yellow: Halischuk, McGrattan and Yip
(note: lines could well be different tomorrow with Erat and Legwand back on the ice)

Injury Update: Defenseman Ryan Ellis, still recovering from a cold that hit him during his weekend stay with the Milwaukee Admirals, returned to off-ice workouts today. Coach Trotz expects that Ellis will be ready for full practice tomorrow and could be in the lineup Saturday night at Florida. Coach Trotz said defenseman Kevin Klein suffered a bit of a set-back in his injury recovery and will be out for Saturday's game.

Smith Moves To The Wing:
Rookie Craig Smith has been used at both center and wing this season sliding through different roles in the lineup, however with the addition of Paul Gaustad, Coach Trotz said Smith will be used primarily on the wing for the remainder of the year. Gaustad, Fisher, Legwand and Spaling will be used as the primary centers. "I liked his speed at center," Coach Trotz said after today's practice, "but right now for me, Craig has fallen off a little bit. It's a lot of games this time of year for a college guy. He's used to 30-35 games a season from college and we're now at the point of the season where he's double that this year. He needs time to recover as a college player, it seems. With the added options at forward on our roster now after the Deadline, he may be a guy where I pull him out (of the lineup) from time to time and give him a rest for the sake of giving him a rest."

The New Mr. Fix It: Coach Trotz has a growing comfort level with Gabriel Bourque's game. "He's emerging as one of those guys who you put him on a line and that line seems to go better. Which is a really good quality for any player, let alone a rookie."

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