Everybody’s working for the weekend.
Day three of Nashville Predators Training Camp has been completed, with the sessions featuring a similar, up-tempo atmosphere as Friday and plenty of healthy competition to go around.
Coach Laviolette & Co. worked on a number of breakout drills to start things off, transitioning into some shooting exercises, including two-on-none opportunities, followed up by shots from the blue line with opportunities for tip-in goals.
One-on-one rushes were next, pitting forwards against defensemen to start, then defensemen challenging forwards, with an ultimate end goal of putting the puck in the net. These opened the door for some of the first body contact of camp, with defenseman Anton Volchenkov looking extra stingy on individual competitions.
As opposed to Friday, full-ice, five-on-five breakouts were also implemented instead of some of the more individualized, half-ice drills that split forwards and defensemen up on day two.
Offensive zone work was also prominent on Saturday, with things gradually progressing through three-on-one, three-on-two and finally three-on-three clashes.
Coach Laviolette was quick to caution on Friday that the line combinations that are together at the present moment do not necessarily mean anything moving forward. However, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro continued to see time together up front on Saturday, as well as the trio of Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Derek Roy. Olli Jokinen, Viktor Stalberg and Filip Forsberg made up a line and Shea Weber and Roman Josi continued to be a consistent defensive pairing.
And one unique nuance that was overheard on the ice today: While explaining a drill to his players, instead of uttering the words, "Take a shot," Laviolette said, "Score a goal."
Poile on Ellis:
Predators General Manager David Poile addressed the media on Saturday, speaking publicly about the ongoing contract negotiations with defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is currently not attending training camp.
“[We’ve had] conversations with nothing resolved,” Poile said. “It’s a typical negotiation that unfortunately has gone past the time of when you’d like to have something done and have [Ellis] here for training camp. There’s nothing really much to go into. It’s very simple: there’s a difference in dollars. We’ve talked shorter-term contracts and we’ve talked longer-term contracts and unfortunately at this time, we have not agreed yet on what they think and what we think is fair compensation. What we [both have] realized is the sooner we get it done, the better for us and better for Ryan.”
Tendy’s & Tablets:
The goaltenders got in some early, on-ice work, accompanied not only by coaches, but technology as well. A tablet computer was utilized to catch the goaltenders on video, enabling them to go back and get a look at their techniques, angles, etc. Goaltender Carter Hutton is fond of the extra piece of equipment, saying that he and the other goalies will receive clips from the coaches that can be used to fine-tune their tendencies.
“We have an app where it’ll break [the video] down and give us some pointers,” Hutton said. “There’s pros and cons that [the coaches] send us and it helps seeing yourself too. Sometimes you might not feel like you’re [positioning is] right, or you feel like you’re doing it right and something was a little off, so it’s very good to have that other angle where you’re seeing what the shooter sees. It helps a lot… Video is something that really helps to develop our game.”
Tomorrow’s scrimmage is not expected to include the entire training camp roster, but rather players that the coaches and management would like to see in a game situation prior to next week’s preseason matchups.
“The players that are going to play in the [scrimmage on Sunday] will be guys that have an opportunity to be depth players,” Poile said. “We’re going to see all the guys we need to see, we have all our scouts here… [Players like] Kevin Fiala or say Colton Sissons, they’ll be in that game. It’ll be important to see how they do in order to get the coaches’ eye in terms of getting some preseason games.”
UPDATE: For information on Sunday's scrimmage, including full rosters, click here.
Poile on Pekka Rinne being healthy:
“That takes everybody up to a new level. When Pekka is in goal - it’s the cliché of all clichés - he gives us a chance to win every game, but it’s true and we play differently. Right off the bat, we’re better than we were last year [with Rinne healthy.]”
Victor Bartley on getting body contact in drills:
“Anytime we’re doing the two-on-two or three-on-three down low, you’re bound to get roughed up a little bit. It’s good, it gets you sharper, [and gets] your shoulders, your body and your core ready for the actual games that are coming up here.”
Laviolette on guys making the most of their chances:
“The exhibition games have a lot of meaning this year. Guys are given opportunities and there aren’t a lot of exhibition games, so if you’re given a game, you’ve got to make the most of it. You’ve got to show what you can do and we sent that message early on that, if you get that opportunity, don’t hope for the second one. Make sure you earn it.”
Shot of the Day:
Photo credit: John Russell