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Predators open camp in Orlando

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

RDV Sportsplex
Photo: Doug Brumley
The Nashville Predators are using Orlando's RDV Sportsplex as their base of operation for the final week of training camp.
After nine days of work in Nashville, the Predators have relocated training camp to Orlando, Fla. for the final week. The change of venue is designed to help the team focus on refining systems and building interpersonal ties. For the next five days, the Predators will be based out of Orlando's RDV Sportsplex, home to the practice facility and corporate offices of the NBA's Orlando Magic.

Training Camp in Orlando, 9/25/06 (on-ice and workout)
(29 photos)

Training Camp in Orlando, 9/25/06 (ping pong tournament)
(23 photos)

Nashville's 27 roster players and members of the team staff arrived in Florida Sunday afternoon and toured RDV before enjoying a nice group dinner at a local steakhouse. Monday morning, they got down to business, following a daily structure that will last through Thursday. In the morning, the Preds kick off the day with a video session, then hit the ice for practice. RDV's Ice Den houses two rinks, and the coaching staff is beginning practice on the Olympic-sized rink before shifting to the NHL-sized ice sheet midway through the session. An off-ice workout follows, and after lunch the group attends presentations about mental and psychological toughness. In addition, the players have been split into two teams and a variety of competitive activities have been interspersed among the daily schedule.

Thoughts on Day 1 in Orlando:

Head coach Barry Trotz  (3:05)

Goaltender Chris Mason  (:59)

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis  (2:06)

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen  (1:21)

"In the morning we're doing hockey stuff," head coach Barry Trotz said Monday. "We're getting our game together in the morning. The afternoon has a little bit of an intellectual-type of session. We intertwine a competition in the morning and a competition at night just to keep things fun. The guys love to compete. That's why they're great athletes. We're trying to combine a little team-building, a little bit of everything. The No. 1 thing is we're getting our game in order and we're coming together as a group and understanding each other, which is, I think, really important for every sport."

Jason Arnott at ping pong
Photo: Doug Brumley
Predators forward Jason Arnott returns a volley during the Nashville Cup Ping Pong tournament at training camp.
On Monday, on-ice practice ended with a scrimmage between the two teams--one has goaltender Chris Mason as its spokesperson and the other is headed by forward Scott Nichol. In the scrimmage, Jerred Smithson scored the lone goal to give Mason's team an early lead in the weeklong battle. The afternoon competition was a ping-pong tournament played in a Ryder Cup format, with four tables going at once. The tournament, which was tied 10-10 after all scheduled matches, was decided in a final doubles showdown between the pairing of Tomas Vokoun and Marek Zidlicky and the duo Josef Vasicek and Kimmo Timonen. Vasicek-Timonen won the rubber match to give Team Mason yet another victory. The team games will change each day. For example, a Texas Hold 'Em tournament is scheduled for Wednesday.

"If your team's not good in one event, you've got to grind it through, find a way to win," Trotz said. "That's sort of the message. We're one big group but we're in subgroups right now and the subgroups are going at each other. We're having a little fun with it."


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