Some news and notes from today's morning skate session:
- Coach Trotz talked about Colorado and what they've gone through this season
"They have dynamic players still in Stastny, Hejduk, Duchene and on the back end Liles. They're a good young team. They were hit with injuries all year or they would be a team in the mix for sure. Being a young team and losing so many man games to injury depleted them. (Head Coach) Joe (Sacco) always has them prepared and they work hard."
- Goaltender Pekka Rinne
talked about the team's mindset coming in to tonight's game:
"They have a scoring touch. They have a bunch of young guys, fast guys, so defensively we have to be ready and respect their offense. I know they've been struggling, but we have to remeber that tonigt is our biggest game of the year and we need to be prepared for them."
- Rinne talked about preparing to face teams that are already eliminated from playoff contention:
"These are such big games for us, so there's no room for any mindset like that. We just have to be ready for the game. I think we've been doing a pretty good job in the last couple of weeks when playing teams below us in the standings. We need to focus on us and making sure we do our part."
- Coach Trotz was impressed by the way Jon Blum has been able to make the transition from the AHL to the NHL, admitting that Blum's contributions have probably been overlooked a little bit. But Trotz credited the way Blum approached his time in the AHL for helping the smooth transition.
"A lot of his success comes from the maturity in his game. He played at a high role in the American League for a long time. He had to do it in Milwaukee for a year and a half before he got his first chance here. He had to earn it down there and develop pro-maturity, pro-poise. So he's used to that part. Now he's adjusted his game to the NHL level and he's done a good job. There is a value -- to the player's development and the organization -- to that patience (in the development process) and we're seeing the benefits of it now in the heat of a playoff race. He has a lot of maturity to his game, a lot of maturity as a person."
- Cal O'Reilly's brother Ryan plays for the Colorado Avalanche; Cal was disappointed he and his brother didn't get an opportunity to go head-to-head this season. Cal was injured in the January 2 game, two and a half weeks before the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
"It's too bad; we both were hurt for a couple of those games. I think my parents are the most disappointed. They were really excited to see us both play in the same game. But I'm working hard to come back and hopefully we'll get chances (to play against each other) next year and beyond."
- Cal O'Reilly continued his on-ice workouts back in Nashville this morning. O'Reilly, who has skated every day since last Wednesday, said he's making progress and has noticed big improvement from where he was just last week and is eyeing a return to game action this season.
- Coach Trotz touched on the progress of injured forwards Cal O'Reilly and Steve Sullivan:
"They're both skating and if they get in before the end of the regular season is probably questionable. But they're ramping it up. Over the course of a long playoff run every team is going to have injuries, so what we need from them is to continue to keep ramping it up as high as they can so when the opportunity arises they can come in and contribute."