It really became apparent to Colin Wilson
on Monday. The Nashville Predators were practicing at Centennial Sportsplex, going through some high-paced drills, 2-on-2 and 3-on-2 situation rushes. When they concluded, the forward had a moment to reflect.
“Everyone was going so fast,” Wilson said. “It’s very much game pace. You have to attribute a lot of that to the young guys, but at the same time everybody is battling for spots, whether it’s on the team or first line to fourth line. Everyone is going. There’s a lot of energy out there.”
It’s not just the battles that are producing speed. Predators Coach Barry Trotz said it is becoming a team trait through training camp. Through signings and the abilities of the prospects, a speedier team will continue to be evident as training camp ends and the regular season begins.
“I think we have a little more speed back, speed and energy,” Trotz said. “There’s a lot to be said with young guys bringing that exuberance into the room, and I think we got a little quicker with our overall speed.”
When the Predators made their Stanley Cup Playoff push last season, one of the positives players and coaches mentioned repeatedly was the pace of play they were playing with. It helped translate into the most successful postseason run in franchise history.
“I think in the NHL now, you want to have a quick transition game,” Wilson said. “You want to capitalize offensively off of that. That’s where I get most of my offense, to make a quick play while the other team is still going forward. When they think they’re on the offense, the quicker you can get to the net and make plays.”Liking what he sees:
There are still three preseason games remaining, and the roster still needs to be trimmed. But Trotz is liking what he sees, and even more so than at this point last year.
“The group is really good,” Trotz said. “Last year, I thought we had some holes that we were wondering if we had to fill. This year I don’t feel that way. Trust me, I won’t be able to make a bad choice. Some of the young guys are performing really well and I’m really happy with them. I look at it, and there are probably six lines that we feel comfortable with that can play in the National Hockey League and help us win. You’re going to need all those bodies as the season goes on.”Injury update:
Predators forwards Mike Fisher
(upper-body) and Blake Geoffrion (upper-body) are getting healthier, according to the staff.
“Fisher is a little bit questionable to start the season,” Trotz said. “He might get in right before. But he’s trying to catch the train. Trust me, he’s in great shape. It’s just the game stuff. (Geoffrion) is healing up and should be ready for the start.”One more move:
The club assigned forward Ryan Thang
to Milwaukee on Monday. Thang, 24, had one goal on one shot and posted a +1 rating in three preseason games. The training camp roster is now at 32 players (18 forwards, 11 defenseman and three goaltenders).