If last Friday's reduction of the Predators' training camp roster to 48 players wasn't enough of a sign that things are getting serious, the week ahead should serve as confirmation. Following a weekend of practices, the two camp teams face off in what promises to be an entertaining scrimmage Monday. Practices are scheduled daily this week, but some members of camp will get this season's initial exposure to outside competition when they travel to St. Louis for the Predators' first preseason game Wednesday night. For Nashvillians, Friday night brings the welcome return of hockey to the Gaylord Entertainment Center as the Predators battle the Columbus Blue Jackets in preseason action. Following fast on the heels of that contest is a Saturday night exhibition rematch against the St. Louis Blues in Kansas City, and another home tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon. A total of seven preseason matches will be played before the Predators open their 2005-06 regular season schedule at home against the San Jose Sharks, 7:00 p.m. Oct. 5.