The 2014-15 Nashville Predators officially took to the ice for the first time on Friday during training camp at Centennial Sportsplex. It was the first day for on-ice activities, and the first chance for new head coach Peter Laviolette to begin to implement his new systems into play.
There was a quick, up-tempo pace throughout the day, with three different groups of players, approximately 20 players in each group, taking the ice. Laviolette was pleased overall with the day, stating that the coaching staff pushed the pace and began to throw in some game situations and systems into drills.
As far as lines were concerned, Derek Roy skated alongside Colin Wilson and Craig Smith during their session, while Mike Ribeiro and James Neal were paired together throughout the day.
However, Laviolette was quick to caution that the combinations that were in place today are subject to change many times before opening night.
The club will be back at it on Saturday, with the staff continuing to frame what they envision the identity of the team to be.
Eric Nystrom, on the competition for roster spots:
“You’ve got to have that internal competition and have guys pushing you all the time. You can never be situated or complacent here because there’s always somebody coming to look for your spot. Somebody’s chomping on my heels and I’m looking to chomp on the guys heels in front of me. It’s healthy and that’s the way it should be.”
Mike Ribeiro on skating with James Neal:
“We had a chance to talk a little bit between drills. He’s a shooter, so most of the time those guys like to tell you what they want, where they want the puck and what they like and don’t like. It’s good that I know him. We’ve known each other for a while and he’s a quicker player with the puck with a quicker release. He’s just telling me what he likes, what he doesn’t like and it’s up to me to adjust myself to him.”
James Neal on his role with the team:
“I’ve worked my way through the NHL to become a goal scorer and to have that so pressure is good. To come here and take on a bigger role and more of a leadership role, it’s good. It’s what I’ve worked for my whole career. It’s a great fit for me here and coming in, I’m excited.”
Peter Laviolette on competition in camp:
“This should be one of the most competitive camps that I’ve ever been to as a coach. There’s a lot at stake and opportunities will be given. But, I don’t know how many opportunities, so it’s important that when you grab one of those opportunities that you make the most of it and try to show why you belong on this club.”
Shot of the Day:
Photo credit: John Russell