The Predators had their full roster on the ice Thursday for the entirety of practice--a bit of a luxury at this time of the season when the schedule can wear on teams. After the 40-minute practice session, the team met with members of the media then quickly packed all of its gear for a 1 p.m. charter flight to Detroit. The Predators face the Red Wings 6:30 p.m. Friday in what is shaping up to be a battle for the Western Conference's fourth seed and an increasingly likely first-round preview.
The biggest news of the day was word that Roman Josi
, Martin Erat
and Jordin Tootoo
are all ready to return to the lineup tomorrow night. "Roman will be in. Toots should be in. Marty's going to be in," head coach Barry Trotz said after practice. "We'll get some people back."
Trotz said he believes that it's perfect timing to get these three assimilated into the lineup with five games remaining in the regular season. But the team's approach is to take things one game at a time as it closes out the regular season and approaches the first round of the playoffs.
"The priority is tomorrow night," Trotz said. "Then once that game's done, the priority will be Saturday night. It's just that playoff mentality. Whatever happens tomorrow night, we let it go and we move on, and we've got to get the next game.
"Our focus is on our game more than it is maybe Detroit or Chicago right now," he said. "It's how we
play. How we play will determine the outcome anyways."
While Trotz concedes there is room for improvement in parts of his team's game, the good news for Preds fans is that any necessary adjustments are minor.
"I think we can tighten up in a number of areas," he said. "The stuff that we need to tighten up, I think [it's] very fixable quickly. It's not [like] you're going to have to reinvent the wheel. You've got to--recalibrate is probably the best way to say it.”
Offensive lines at practice Thursday… White jerseys: Mike Fisher
centering Sergei Kostitsyn
and Martin Erat Silver jerseys: David Legwand
centering Alexander Radulov
and Patric Hornqvist Gold jerseys: Nick Spaling
centering Andrei Kostitsyn
and Matt Halischuk Green jerseys: Paul Gaustad
centering Gabriel Bourque
and Jordin Tootoo Purple jerseys: Craig Smith
centering Colin Wilson
and Brandon Yip Red jerseys: Brian McGrattan
, Jack Maclellan
Defensive pairings: Shea Weber
and Ryan Suter Hal Gill
and Roman Josi Francis Bouillon
and Kevin Klein Jack Hillen
and Ryan Ellis