The Preds opened Week 2 of Training Camp with a practice session today. After a busy first week of training camp which featured two rookie games, an intra-squad scrimmage, and a 3-0 start to the preseason, things are starting to settle down as the Preds cut down to 34 players to open Week 2. For the first time in camp the full team practiced together in one combined session. Yesterday’s transactions brought the roster down to 34 players, making it possible to practice as one group.
Forward Jerred Smithson noticed a difference in practice today. “(The start of the season is) going to come quick. We noticed out there today, there are still a lot of lines but the bodies are dropping. It’s time to get excited.”
Smithson acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done, but with smaller numbers it is easier to focus on team systems and set plays.
Defensemen Ryan Suter
still feels numbers are high in practice but with every cut it does give the feeling of the season being near. “There are still a lot of guys. It’s hard to get into the flow of practice but that’s part of it. But you can tell the season is getting closer.”
Recognized by players and coaches alike, the intensity and way of practice is much more rigorous in training camp than what is done in the off season.
Suter explained that during the summer players usually skate hard every other day or – if they skate daily – only in short 30-45 minute sessions; now at training camp skating is hard every day for at least an hour and a half. The change in pace takes a toll on the body early in camp, but pays dividends during the season.
After practice this morning Coach Barry Trotz talked about why the injuries and soreness are being seen now after just over a week of training camp. “We have put on a lot of miles (in the first week of camp). You don’t put the miles on no matter how hard you train (over summer) like you do in camp. It’s more battles, more stop and start. I don’t think there is anything you can do to prevent it.”
As far as the number of players not skating today, Trotz did not seem concerned at all rather he voiced that this was a good time to allow them time for extra treatment; small injuries and soreness is not something he wants his players battling all season. “We have pushed them hard, they have skated and worked hard and now let’s get the soreness out so that they are not going against that all year.”
Trotz reported that Jason Arnott, Wade Belak, Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward, and Colin Wilson
are all likely to skate again tomorrow. Ben Eaves will probably return to on-ice drills tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest and Cody Franson should be seen on ice tomorrow. “We hope to get everyone back into the lineup for (the preseason games) Wednesday through Sunday” Trotz stated.