While most of his teammates had already arrived to their respective exotic locales by Monday evening, Colton Sissons was touching down in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The shores of Lake Michigan aren't exactly primed for lounging at this time of year, but Sissons isn't there for rest and relaxation during Nashville's bye week. Instead, the Predators forward, who hasn't seen game action since suffering a lower-body injury two days after Christmas, was assigned to his former home city on Tuesday for a conditioning assignment with the Admirals.
"It's been a minute," Sissons laughed on his return to a town where he spent three seasons before becoming a Nashville regular. "It was weird touching down in Milwaukee last night, but I'm going to go to a couple of my old spots, so it's nice to be back."
It's all part of the recovery process for Sissons, as he continues to work his way back from the injury that kept him out of the NHL Winter Classic and has now prevented him from partaking in a practice under Preds Head Coach John Hynes.
Sissons has still been putting in the work, however. The versatile forward has been skating on his own, and he's been viewing those practice sessions from the bench, as well as sitting in on video sessions and meetings with Hynes and his staff.
"So far, so good," Sissons said of what he's seen from Hynes. "It's been tough not being around the guys much lately, but from what I've seen, the practices on the ice and being in meetings, I really like his message, and I think the guys have responded pretty well. There's absolutely a few different angles when a new coach comes in, but I think the guys have done a good job, and I think it's going to be great for us."
Simply being a bystander in practice, as opposed to actually partaking in drills are two very different things, but Sissons doesn't expect too tough of a transition, especially with how much he's been able to learn already.
"I've been watching games, and especially paying attention in the D zone, systematically, just to get my mind as ready as I can for when I come back," Sissons said. "There's been slight changes, nothing too dramatic, but just something different and a bit of a new look. It's a different process, but once I get a practice or two in, it'll be like I've been doing it the whole year."
Sissons wants to get a couple of good practices in this week in Milwaukee, and if all goes well, he's looking forward to slipping on an Admirals sweater for the first time since 2016. From there, it will be back to Nashville to rejoin his team for the final 10 weeks of the regular season, as the Preds make a playoff push.
And although he wasn't there in person, Sissons was still blown away by Filip Forsberg's lacrosse-style goal last week in Edmonton.
"It was pretty amazing," Sissons said. "It got me off the couch at home."
Josi Headed to NHL All-Star Weekend:
There aren't any Preds games to speak of this week, but Nashville's captain will still be on the ice.
Roman Josi has been named an NHL All-Star for the third time, and he'll represent the Preds at 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis.
Josi will walk the red carpet and join his fellow All-Stars for the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills on Friday night at Enterprise Center. The defenseman will then skate for the Central Division on Saturday night during the 2020 NHL All-Star Game.
Both events begin at 7 p.m. CT, and the Skills may be seen on NBCSN, while the game will be shown on NBC. Heading to St. Louis for the festivities? Click here for more information.
And, of course, stay tuned to NashvillePredators.com all weekend long to follow Josi in The Gateway to the West.
Duchene's Hockey Tonk Making Memories:
It's easy to see what Matt Duchene does on the ice, but he's making a significant impact off of it too.
Duchene's Hockey Tonk, a suite inside of Bridgestone Arena, gives a CHD Warrior - and just as important, their siblings - a night out to enjoy a Predators game and hang out with a country music star.
In case you missed it, check out this piece on the endeavor, and enjoy a video feature below.
Video: Duchene's Hockey Tonk
Tomasino & Afanasyev Starring in OHL:
Preds prospect Philip Tomasino continues to tear it up in the Ontario Hockey League.
You'll remember hearing about Nashville's first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft in last week's Scope after he was named OHL Player of the Week, but he hasn't stopped there.
Since being traded from Niagara to Oshawa at the OHL Trade Deadline, Tomasino has scored eight goals and notched 15 points in just six games, a torrid pace that has helped him slot third in the entire league in scoring with 72 points, just six back of the league leader. Tomasino also has four shorthanded goals on the season, tied for third among his peers.
While we're at it, a quick check on Tomasino's friend and fellow Preds 2019 draftee, Egor Afanasyev, who skates for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL:
Selected by Nashville in the second round last summer, Afanasyev has points in all but 11 of his 41 games played this season and has tallied 19 goals and 46 points on the campaign. The 6-foot-3 winger has really heated up as of late with points in 16 of his last 19 outings, including a four-game goal streak as the calendar year turned.
The Predators liked what they saw from both skaters during their summer visits to Tennessee, and they haven't disappointed back in the OHL either.
The addition of Sissons certainly won't hurt Milwaukee's chances at keeping their top spot in the American Hockey League.
The Ads own a 28-8-4-2 record good for 62 points on the season, seven higher than the closest challenger. The group dropped their most recent outing, a 4-1 decision to the Chicago Wolves, but they had won four-straight prior to that, including three-consecutive victories over the Rockford Ice Hogs.
Daniel Carr leads the group with 15 goals and 32 points, followed by Cole Schneider with 30 points and Yakov Trenin with 26. Trenin has 14 goals on the season; Rem Pitlick and Anthony Richard have 13 goals apiece.
Goaltender Connor Ingram has a 2.09 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage; while netminder Troy Grosenick has posted a 2.13 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.
Ingram, Trenin and Alexandre Carrier have all been named to the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic to be held on Jan. 26 to 27 in Ontario, California. Admirals Head Coach Karl Taylor will be behind the bench of the Central Division squad by virtue of Milwaukee having the Division's best record through games played on Dec. 31, 2019.
Goal of the Week:
Video: NSH@EDM: Forsberg scores lacrosse-style goal
Assist of the Week:
Video: BUF@NSH: Smith tips Turris' shot past Ullmark for PPG
Quote of the Week:
Pekka Rinne, on the bye week, following Saturday's win over Buffalo:
"I'm very excited, but at the same time I'm already eager to get back playing. Hopefully, it's a good time for us. It's going to be so important for us when we come back. Hopefully we can use this win to enjoy the break, but at the same time come back refreshed, energized and ready to go."
Shot of the Week:
…and there's more where that came from.
Preds at Oilers Photo Gallery
Preds vs. Ducks Photo Gallery
Preds vs. Sabres Photo Gallery
The Week Ahead:
Monday vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee Radio: 102.5 The Game
Predators Official Podcast:
Predators Head Coach John Hynes sits down with the Predators Official Podcast for the first time. His interview delves into how he's trying to turn the team around and how he balances hockey with his interests away from the rink. Plus, Thomas Willis and Brooks Bratten take a look at the Preds' positioning, as the All-Star Break looms and chat lacrosse-style goals.
Upcoming Bridgestone Arena Events:
Looking for more than just hockey at the home of the Preds? Here's what's coming to Bridgestone Arena.
This Week's Shows:
Miranda Lambert - Friday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m. CT. Click here for tickets.
Harlem Globetrotters - Saturday, Jan. 25, 2 & 7 p.m. CT. Click here for tickets.
Pearl Jam - Apr. 2, 2020. Tickets on sale Friday at 10 a.m. CT.
Nickelback with Stone Temple Pilots & Switchfoot - Aug. 21, 2020. Tickets on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. CT.
Week in Review:
Recap: Preds Head Into Bye Week with Satisfying Win Over Sabres
Duchene's Hockey Tonk Provides Unforgettable Experience to Those In Need
Predators Reassign Three to Milwaukee
Recap: Preds Disappointed with Loss to Ducks
Forsberg Pulls Off Lacrosse-Style Goal, Wows Teammates
Pete Weber Named Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year for Seventh Time
Nick Kayal Joins Preds as In-Arena Host
Recap: Forsberg's Amazing Goal Not Enough as Preds Fall to Oilers