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Practice Day Report: Mar. 5

by Doug Brumley / Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators covered quite a few things in practice Monday at Bridgestone Arena, including breakouts, power play/penalty kill and the shootout.

According to head coach Barry Trotz, the shootout practice was done with his goaltenders in mind. “I think with the goaltenders it’s a little bit of a timing thing,” Trotz said. “We haven’t had [a shootout] for a while here. ... The shootout is way different than the game. So it was more for [Pekka Rinne] and more for [Anders Lindback], and then you get a chance to see some of the guys maybe pull out a move or two.”

As for personnel, defenseman Ryan Ellis was over the flu and back on the ice with the team. Forward Sergei Kostitsyn, however, was off the ice for a “maintenance day,” per Trotz. Brandon Yip filled the missing winger’s slot on the first line with Mike Fisher and Martin Erat. David Legwand, Patric Hornqvist and Andrei Kostitsyn skated together as the only other set trio. Eight other forwards were split over two remaining lines: Jordin Tootoo, Colin Wilson, Matt Halischuk and Nick Spaling were in gold jerseys; Paul Gaustad, Gabriel Bourque, Craig Smith and Brian McGrattan in green.

Afterward Gaustad praised Bourque’s speed. “He was flying out there,” the newcomer told members of the media in front of Bourque. Indeed, the practice was brisk, but the mood in the locker room was light. Spaling and Halischuk provided some laughs as they attempted to film a promotional spot for the Preds despite off-screen heckles from Brian McGrattan.

Monday marked the second solid practice the team had had in four days—coming at a time of the season when opportunities for such practices are dwindling and terms like “optional skate” and “off-ice workouts” are becoming more prevalent. So, is there anything else Trotz would like to have more time for his team to practice at this point in the season?

“You’re asking a coach,” Trotz said, laughing. “We’d practice all the time if we could. I think where we’re heading is we’re going to try and really focus on a part of our game a few practices and then move to the next. It’s almost doing a little bit of training camp over again, just to make sure that our details are a lot stronger.”

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