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Scrimmage Key Part of Evaluation for Laviolette, Preds Staff

Nashville's Head Coach Has Plenty to Watch Leading to Exhibition Doubleheader

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

There's only so much time for Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette to prepare his team for a double dose of exhibition action.

Nashville will host the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena at 3:30 and 7 p.m. CT for a split-squad doubleheader, an exhibition that Laviolette calls the best way to evaluate his roster just days into training camp.

The Predators bench boss, who is entering his fourth season at the helm, used the first day of on-ice sessions to begin implementing systems and styles with his group - some of it refreshers, others new material - and it continued Sunday afternoon with an intrasquad scrimmage at Ford Ice Center. For Laviolette, the evaluations are always ongoing, no matter who is watching.

"It's a group effort," Laviolette said of his staff. "[General Manager] David Poile is out there, [Assistant General Manager] Paul Fenton, our minor league coaches are out there, all the coaches are watching. There's been a lot of conversations from my end, just with players, and players that maybe [outside observers] might not even be thinking about."

Video: Team Navy claims a 1-0 win during a camp scrimmage

On Sunday, it was the goaltenders who made positive impressions, with Anders Lindback and Matt O'Connor combining for a 1-0 shutout for Team Navy over Team Gold. Juuse Saros and Jake Paterson starred in net for the opposition, with Trevor Mingoia registering the lone goal on the day with a redirection in front.

Even if they didn't end up on the scoresheet during the scrimmage, there is still plenty Laviolette and company can take from what they saw and didn't see on the ice. And while Sunday's outing was mostly about those trying to make a name for themselves, regulars like Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Calle Jarnkrok and Matt Irwin also participated, with eyes in the sky keeping close watch.

"Everybody might have something to prove here," Laviolette said. "Even if you played a lot of games, if you were here last year, if you played in one game last year, everybody should be coming to camp to make a point. [They need to] show where they want to be and how much ice they want, how much positional play they want, situational play they want - for me, it should be competitive because of that."

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