Some news and notes from today's practice session:
- Colin Wilson
and Martin Erat
both missed practice again today. Wilson is back home for his grandfather's funeral and is expected to return to Nashville later today. Erat worked off-ice, putting in a lengthy session on the work-out bike. Coach Trotz said Erat would be a game time decision for tomorrow night's game against Columbus.
- Steve Sullivan and Cal O'Reilly both participated in practice and stayed out on the ice after the general session for extended work. Coach Trotz was pleased with the progress both are showing in drills, indicating Sullivan could potentially be available for tomorrow night if needed. O'Reilly is also "real close" according Trotz.
- Steve Sullivan talked about the progress he's made in practice over the course of this week:
"I wasn't sure what was going to happen there, but it's responding real well. Conditioning wise it's great. I'm able to push a little harder, keep up with the guys. I feel a lot better today than Monday, not as fatigued as Monday. I feel a little bit more confident, a little stronger. It feels good; feels like practice is normal again."
- Coach Trotz indicated that tonight's Dallas/Colorado outcome could impact tomorrow night's lineup. "I don't want to mess around. We have to make the playoffs first before we start thinking ahead." A couple players have normal wear-and-tear from the long season; if the team has a playoff spot locked up, the coaches may opt to hold them out of a game to allow them extra time to heal up for the start of the playoffs. But at the same time Coach Trotz reiterated that the team still has a lot to play for, including potentially home ice advantage in the first round, so "just clinching a playoff spot" is not the final goal for the team.
-The Preds had two days between games earlier this week (playing Saturday and then not again until last night) and are in the in the midst of another two day break before closing out the season with a back-to-back games tomorrow y vs. Columbus and Saturday at St. Louis. With all the normal bumps, bruises, and guys playing hurt, the extra layoffs have been good for the team. "Our schedule's been pretty favorable down the stretch with limited travel," defenseman Kevin Klein
said. "We don't play on the last day of the season, so that's a potential extra day too for guys to get rested up and heal up (before the playoffs start)."
- Kevin Klein
talked about playing teams that are out of the playoff hunt and the extra importance of strong starts those games:
"You can discourage them a little bit. They don't have anything to play for other than pride, so if you can jump on them early -- as we saw last night -- that might discourage them and they might let up a little more than they normally would in mid-season."