After a 5-0 win last night over the Atlanta Thrashers, the Predators hit the ice for morning skate at Centennial Sportsplex. Once again being split into two groups, the first group had a brief skate before heading to Carolina for the second preseason game, while the second stayed for practice. Many of the players that were not seen in last night’s game were skating in the first group and likely will be in the lineup tonight against the Hurricanes.
The players who did not skate in last night’s game voiced an eagerness to hit the ice and play in tonight’s game.
“The guys played really well last night. I just want the same thing; I just want to get out there and get Game One under the belt,” goaltender Pekka Rinne
Yet Patric Hornqvist
, who will likely be in the lineup again tonight, has complete confidence in his teammates whether they had a chance to play in last night’s game or not.
“It doesn’t matter if you played last night or not. Everyone here is in good shape. It may help you get into the game a little faster, but it really doesn’t matter. Everyone here is ready.”
Hornqvist is also well aware how important these preseason games are to the team, commenting on the importance in building confidence heading into the start of the regular season. “This is a big part of the season. Getting a good start here and good confidence in the group is key. Also getting some wins and everyone playing well will be good for the start of the season.”
However for a few players having the opportunity to hit the ice against another NHL team is something they have been looking forward to for some time.
After missing the final 15 games of last years regular season, Martin Erat
is excited to be able to get back into the game. “I feel great. It’s always nice to be back on the ice. It feels nice to just get back into the game, and feel no pain.”
For others like rookie Jonathon Blum
, this will be a chance to put on a Predators’ jersey and skate in an NHL preseason game. Blum gives a lot of credit to fellow defensemen Shea Weber
, Ryan Suter
, and Dan Hamhuis for the guidance and help they have provided him over the last week of practice. However Blum knows the importance of this game for his future with the Preds.
“You work so hard at camp practicing, it’s nice to get to play a few games and try to prove that you can play in this league and you can play on this team. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game” Blum stated after practice.