Some news and notes from today's practice:
- After wrapping up a back-to-back weekend series -- and completing a three-games-in-four-days set -- the Preds had the day off on Monday. The coaching staff was in the arena running through scouting reports and getting prepared for this week's games.
- Coach Trotz described this weekend's action as a playoff preview:
"I thought it was an extremely physical game on Saturday. And it was emotionally taxing game. Both teams went at it real hard. And then we had the quick turnaround. The biggest thing was probably emotionally; we were so high emotionally going through that Detroit game and then to have to turn around less than 24 hours later and playing someone we didn’t have as much emotionally invested against (with the out-of-conference match-up). There were twists and turns in that Buffalo game, too; to win in overtime after being down two goals that late in regulation -- it showed some maturity in our team the way we handled the weekend. That to me is what the playoffs are all about: the momentum swings, playing until the end, still believing, and finding ways to get it done. We had all of that this weekend. It was all encompassing what playoffs are all about, from the speed to the physical play to the momentum swings to the feeling of defeat to the exuberation of finding a way to get it done. It was a roller coaster weekend."
- Coach Trotz expressed a little bit of concern about tomorrow night's game as a potential trap game after the physically and emotionally draining games against Boston, Detroit, and at Buffalo. "We’ve had so many big games here against top teams like the Boston game and then the Detroit game and then the Buffalo trip on the back-to-back. Now we’re trying to find a way to re-energize and our next game is against a team in Edmonton that is not going to make the playoffs, but they have a lot of young faces in their lineup. So it is a trap game. But we can’t look beyond it. All I know is these two points against Edmonton are worth the same as the two points we earned against Detroit and against Buffalo. They count as much and to me it’s a huge game. Win tomorrow night -- move to the 88 point level with eight games left to go -- and we put ourselves in the position to get there."
- At the same time Coach Trotz hoped the season series results against the Oilers will help the coaching staff grab the team's attention. "I think it does. You look at the last two times we played Edmonton we lost 4-0 and 2-1 in a shootout. So they’ve beaten us twice in the last two meetings. And then the time we beat them, we beat them in a shootout. So I hope that past history will grab our attention and benefit us as we focus on tomorrow night’s game."
- Blake Geoffrion's weekend went without saying. Geoffrion is getting a lot of much-deserved national recognition. The confidence to play him on three shifts in the final 2:46 of regulation -- two of which led to Preds goals -- speaks more loudly than any quotes.
- Coach Trotz noted that some of the team's best players yesterday were the younger players who spent time in the AHL either this season or last season -- like Jon Blum, Blake Geoffrion, Nick Spaling
-- pointing to the familiarity AHL players have with condensed three-games-in-three-days schedules on the weekend.
"It’s a little bit of a mindset and I think those guys are able to do it because you’re mentally conditioned to go through it pretty regularly in the AHL."
- With regard to Jon Blum, Coach Trotz was pleased with his rebound performance this weekend. After a little bit of a blip Thursday against Boston, Blum rallied with a pair of solid showings this weekend, including logging 20:00 of ice time on Sunday with a +2 plus/minus rating against the Sabres -- the back-end of the back-to-back set. Coach noted that ups-and-downs are part of the learning process for younger players; which leads to challenges when coaching young teams (9 of the 21 healthy bodies on the team's active roster are under 25 years old). But he was very complimentary of Blum's ability to step in and be a differencemaker for this team during the playoff stretch run.