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Preds Prepare For Final Preseason Tune-Ups

by Jena Smith / Nashville Predators
Heading in to the final stretch of the 2009 Training Camp, the Predators will be kept busy this weekend with back-to-back games against Carolina and Columbus. The entire camp roster, down to 30 men, reported to the Sommet Center this morning for morning skate before tonight’s home game vs. the Hurricanes.

Head Coach Barry Trotz voiced early this week in practice that he wanted to take advantage of this weekend’s games. Trotz wants to use the back-to-back play to look at lines and pairings that would closely resemble those of the regular season. His focus this weekend will be on making sure the team is ready, on all levels, for the regular season start.

“We want to focus on our game, be it all three zones of our games, special teams, roles; we just want to put together six really good periods.”

The players also know the opportunity to play in back-to-back games with lines that are likely to be seen again can be a huge help in preparing for the regular season.

“I think you want to try to get use to your line mates and the more you play together the more comfortable you get with each other; you are able to gel together, better and read off of each other, and know where each other are going to be,” forward Jordin Tootoo explained.

Rookie defensemen Cody Franson also see this weekend’s action as a great opportunity to prepare for the season ahead. “I think [the back-to-back games] are important, especially with the break coming up before the first regular season game. It’s good to get everything in order right now. Playing back-to-back games helps get in to the grove of things.”

At the same time Franson knows there will still be a number of cuts before the start of the season and this weekend is an opportunity for him and the other rookies to make a statement to the coaches.

“This is our last kick at the can to try to stay here and you know us younger guys coming up from Milwaukee are going to try to make all the push we can. We are all fighting for spots. We are all looking to have good games to finish off camp.”

Preds newcomer Francis Bouillon is not scheduled to play in tonight’s game, but Trotz voiced that he would still like to see Bouillon play this weekend if he is physically ready. Forwards Wade Belak, Joel Ward, and Colin Wilson, all nursing injuries this week, will not be in the lineup tonight against the Hurricanes.

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