The Nashville Predators are escaping the rain of Middle Tennessee, bound for sunny skies and a shot at two more points on Wednesday night. The club took off for San Jose Tuesday afternoon after a practice at Centennial Sportsplex, the last time they’ll be in the midstate for the next 10 days.
The Preds will play four games away from home over the next week and then some, as Bridgestone Arena hosts the annual Country Music Association Awards. The Sharks are up tomorrow night, followed by Los Angeles and Anaheim this weekend, before finishing up in Minnesota next Thursday.
Instead of lumping the California swing all into one, Head Coach Peter Laviolette is making it a point for the Preds not to get ahead of themselves.
“We’ll just go slow; we’ve got one big game coming up,” Laviolette said. “[The Sharks] are fast, they’re a dynamic team offensively and going into their building, we’re going to have to be sharp.”
With breaks on the trip from Wednesday to Saturday, and then again from Sunday to Thursday, the time exists for not only some team bonding over dinners and the like, but also just to switch things up a bit in general and test the road mantra.
“It’s a good opportunity to get away and too much of one thing is never really good,” Laviolette said. “You play a few home games, get on the road for a few and you’ve got to make the most of our time out there. I’d like to see us keep playing and building off of what we’ve been doing. We’ve played some good hockey, had some good periods and done some good things; [now we want to] just keep building and getting better.”
Lines and Roster Notes:
Forward Calle Jarnkrok, who missed Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh with an illness, as well as Monday’s practice, returned to the ice to his usual spot on the third lines. Forward Colin Wilson was the only skater absent on Tuesday, receiving a maintenance day.
Tuesday’s lines looked like this:
| ||Forwards || |
|Filip Forsberg ||Mike Fisher ||James Neal |
|Gabriel Bourque ||Mike Ribeiro ||Craig Smith |
|Calle Jarnkrok ||Cody Hodgson ||Miikka Salomaki |
|Eric Nystrom ||Paul Gaustad ||Austin Watson |
| ||Defense || |
|Roman Josi ||Shea Weber |
|Barret Jackman ||Seth Jones |
|Mattias Ekholm ||Ryan Ellis |
|Victor Bartley || |
Salomaki Getting a Chance with the Preds:
The Predators briefly reduced their roster to the minimum number of forwards following Saturday’s contest with the Pittsburgh Penguins by assigning winger Viktor Arvidsson to Milwaukee of the AHL. Monday morning, the club recalled forward Miikka Salomaki from the Admirals, giving the Finn his first chance to skate with the big club this season.
The forward appeared in a single contest for the Preds during the 2014-15 campaign, recording his first career NHL goal in a 3-2 overtime for Nashville over the Dallas Stars. Following Tuesday’s practice, Laviolette provided some insight into the thinking behind switching Arvidsson for Salomaki on the Predators roster.
“I don’t know if sitting out our young players for extended periods of time is really good for their game or their development, and we’re in a position where we can maybe move guys up and down and take a look at different players and different personnel. This gives us the opportunity to have a forward on the trip available to us,” Laviolette said. “Salomaki is a guy that came up last year and played real well for us, he brings speed and physicality.”
On Monday, Salomaki also mentioned physicality as a key part of his style that he would like to show off if given the chance to log his second game in the League.
“I want to bring a good, two-way game and be physical, throwing hits when I can. I also try to bring energy - that’s my game, and I’m not going to change it,” Salomaki said. “It’s good to be back, and I am excited to hopefully get into some games.”
World Series Winner?
This evening, America’s Fall Classic, the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals gets underway, and you can color the Nashville Predators predominantly indifferent.
“I’m going to be totally honest, I have no idea, I can’t name a player on either team. It’s like me asking you, who is going to win the Swedish championship in baseball?” Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm joked.
Even Long Island, N.Y., native Eric Nystrom was unaware of the opportunity to jump on the Mets’ bandwagon.
“No idea, I have watched zero baseball,” Nystrom said. “I just don’t know anything about it.”
More reflective than most of their other teammates on the other hand, Preds goaltender Carter Hutton and forward Filip Forsberg were willing to take a shot at making a prediction.
“I don’t know anything about the teams. Who beat the Jays? The Royals, right? They’ve got that pitcher… [Edison] Volquez...they’re going to win,” Forsberg said. “I saw one of his games, he didn’t give up a single hit. So they’re going to win.”
A resident of Missouri for the past 11 years, Nashville blueliner Barret Jackman says he has some level of invested interest in the matchup with his “heart” going with the Royals. Preds coaches Kevin McCarthy and Phil Housley were split on the issue with the pair picking the Mets and Royals respectively due to connections from being childhood fans. Housley, from Minnesota and a Twins supporter, said he wants the pennant to go to the American League’s Central Division; while McCarthy, counting back to days of once cheering for the Montreal Expos and a local minor league affiliate in Winnipeg, Man., chose the Mets as his victor.
So congratulations, Kansas City Royals, some of your “biggest fans” believe you’re primed to take home baseball’s crown.
|Kansas City Royals |
|New York Mets |
|No Idea |
|Filip Forsberg ||Carter Hutton ||Eric Nystrom |
|Barret Jackman ||Kevin McCarthy ||Mattias Ekholm |
|Phil Housley || ||Shea Weber |
| || ||Seth Jones |
Shot of the Day: