As the first day of official on-ice practices commenced at Nashville Predators training camp, much was the same.
The familiar sounds of skates, sticks and pucks colliding with ice and glass, Head Coach Peter Laviolette pushing his players to give it all they have - that's what happens this time of year at Centennial Sportsplex.
But there are always changes, too, including some new faces on the receiving end of their coach's instruction.
Defensemen Matt Carle and Yannick Weber, who both signed as free agents in July, are two of the more recognizable names sporting the Preds logo for the first time as they look to become a trusted member of the blue line.
Video: Defenseman Matt Carle on joining the Preds
"Testing is over and now it's time to get down to business and just get to know the people, get to know how the coach wants to practice, get a little bit of systems in and get comfortable," Weber said. "Exhibition games are coming up pretty quick, and we want to get lots done. It was a good first day."
Carle knew what to expect on Saturday morning from the Predators bench boss, having played in Philadelphia when Laviolette was head coach of the Flyers. When Carle signed in July, he spoke of Laviolette's presence as a deciding factor in his decision to sign in Nashville. Even so, the veteran has been around long enough to know that just because someone is familiar with his game, he still has to make his mark.
"I do have some familiarity with the coaching staff, but I think at the same time, I know I have to earn every chance I get," Carle said. "I'm trying to approach it like any other training camp and I know nothing is guaranteed. I'm just trying to work hard and make this team better."
Laviolette certainly has fond memories with Carle on his bench, and he hopes to recreate that once more this season.
"He was awesome, I think he had a really good run in Philadelphia," Laviolette said. "I know he can play against the top players in the League, I know that he's still an effective player, and we're fortunate to have a guy like that."
Weber is also a guy the Preds coaching staff is happy to have on their side - someone who can fit into their style of activating defensemen into the rush and playing an up-tempo game.
Video: Defenseman Yannick Weber on joining the Preds
"He's a guy with a good shot, good offensive instincts, he plays an aggressive game and can help contribute to the offense," Laviolette said. "When you can be layered and have good defensemen every time you send them out on the ice and know you have some good players out there, that's a real positive for the club."
As is the case with most players who were once visitors to Smashville, Weber is looking forward to being on the home side at 501 Broadway. He's also aware of the potential within the Predators locker room, and wants nothing more than to be a part of it, and to join the occasional rush up ice.
"I was always really excited to come here," Weber said. "It's a really great atmosphere to play in Bridgestone Arena; great fans, great atmosphere, and what the team has done the last couple of years, it's really impressive. I think it's on the right track to something special, and I definitely want to take another step. It's fun to be part of this, it's a really good group, a talented group. I like the way they play and it definitely fits my style."
Defenseman Ryan Ellis, who has an upper-body injury, skated in full equipment before the main practices of the day got underway. Ellis is scheduled to be re-evaluated after the team's doubleheader on Tuesday in Florida.
The Preds will host an intrasquad scrimmage at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday at Ford Ice Center to help celebrate the facility's second birthday. Select Predators players will sign autographs after the scrimmage. For a full schedule of events, click here.