As the Predators prepare for tonight’s match-up against the Buffalo Sabres, Head Coach Barry Trotz said he had to prepare his men to play against a more familiar style of hockey.
“We are similar on so many things. I said it on the ice to our players, we are going to mirror each other in a lot of ways,” Trotz started to explain the similarity between Nashville’s style of play and Buffalo’s. “Everything from the color schemes of the uniforms to the way we play. We have some guys that can get under your skin and they have some guys can get under your skin, they have a lot of good pieces and we are very similar. We both rely on a team concept verses individuals. From that standpoint it should be a heck of a game.”
Trotz feels that even though tonight’s competition will be different from what the Preds have seen in their first two games, due to the similarities it will make for a great match up.
Trotz did mention that both Joel Ward and Pekka Rinne
will make their season debut tonight. Ward, after missing the first two games of the season due to a groin strain, is excited but anxious about his return.
“I am looking forward to it. It should be fun, I haven’t been on the ice in awhile so it’s going to be really exciting to be out there and with the guys,” Ward states. “I’m just looking forward to getting in the game. I might be a little nervous at the start however I think things will feel a lot better once the game goes along.”
Coach Trotz is also eager to see Ward hit the ice again for the Preds and intends to play him primarily on a line with Marcel Goc.
“Joel will really help us. He will help us on the penalty kill and with the routine stuff. He’s a guy that can move anywhere in the line up and seems to make that line a little bit better.”
As for Rinne, after watching Dan Ellis shine in the first two games of the season, the second year netminder is preparing for his first action by staying focused on the job at hand.
“I don’t want to think to far ahead, it’s my first game, so I just want to focus on my own job and give my best out there, and hopefully it’s enough” Rinne declared. He went on to say, “I love the fans here. They are such a big support for us and it they make my job easier; they give you a little extra emotion and energy.”
On the injury front, J.P. Dumont, Jordin Tootoo
, and Colin Wilson
remain sidelined for tonight’s game.