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Training Camp Update: Sept. 22

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
Daily Recap - Monday, Sept. 22 - Training Camp Day 4

With the rookies preparing for a rookie game tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers, the veterans practiced in one grouping today. The coaches ran players through drills for the first half of practice and then the back end of the practice featured an intrasquad scrimmage.

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 • Preds Training Camp Central Mainpage
Our Team Rally Mainpage (Sept 23)

Lineups were sitched up from yesterday's scrimmage.

Team Blue: Arnott, Dumont, Fiddler, Hornqvist, Nichol, Peverley, Pihlstrom, Tootoo, Ward; Sulzer, Suter, Weber, Zanon
Team Silver: Bonk, Erat, Grant, Gratton, Legwand, McKenzie, Peters, Ryan, Smithson; de Vries, Ford, Hamhuis, Klein, Koistinen.

For the second consecutive day, Team Blue and Team Silver tied their scrimmage. Much like yesterday, Team Blue held an advantage in puck possession, but also similar to yesterday Team Silver grabbed the early lead. Radek Bonk scored with 8:40 remaining in the scrimmage. Patric Hornqvist netted the equalizer with just 0:12 remaining, beating Pekka Rinne with an off-balance shot in transition into the upper corner.

The goaltenders rotated with each one playing around 20:00 of action. Dan Ellis posted a shutout in his action. Drew MacIntyre and Rinne each allowed one goal.

The line of Arnott, Dumont, and Hornqvist was the most effective offensive combination of the scrimmage ... Nichol, Tootoo, and Pihlstrom formed a high-energy checking line ... Bonk and Erat were an effective offensive pairing for Team Silver ... Erat created the scrimmage's first scoring chance with a creative hop-step move less than 5:00 into the scrimmage. Bonk scored Team Silver's goal later in the session.

Head Coach Barry Trotz
"It's a little bit different in some aspects. We know what we have and we know some areas we need to look at. Guys are going to get an opportunity to play at a higher level. Maybe it's a Vern Fiddler, maybe it's a Tootoo, or a Hornqvist, maybe it's a Jones, Mike Ryan. I could go down the list. Really it's a good competition. There's a lot of back pressure on the defense right now. Really the first couple of days I like what I see in Sulzer and Laakso and Jon Blum, Cody Franson, our young defensemen. Those four are really putting a lot of back pressure on some of the more experienced guys. So those are good things that you want. There a lot of competitive depth in our organization right now that are forcing the level to be higher."

On the forward competitions...
"I think you have to be an open mind about that. Some of the young guys can do that. At the same time, there's been some good development in some of our older guys -- who are in their mid-20s if that's old -- but you see guys like Jordin (Tootoo), who has gone from three-to-four goals a year to 10-12 goals a year. Can he get it to the 20-goal level? That's what we have to find out. There are a couple of guys in that situation. The cream always rises to the top once you start playing against other organizations in exhibition games, you start to filter things out and the best come to the top."

On Pekka Rinne...
Goaltending wise, I think Pekka's done everything you can do in the American Hockey League. He's been an All-Star at that level. He's been a key cog in Milwaukee the past few season. He's playing great. I thought he's looked large. Sometimes big goaltenders don't "look" large in net, but he's a big goaltender who "looks" large. Guys are coming back to bench and saying, 'I just can't see any of the net.' That just tells me he's got really good positioning, he's focused, he's tracking the puck. That's good to hear. Our goal scorers are saying they can't see any of the net the way Pekka's going right now. He's had a much better start this year than he did last year."

On the Nichol, Tootoo, Pihlstrom line combination...
"You talk about three guys who can play with a little bit of an edge. They're not the biggest guys on the ice, but they don't play small at all. And they  can probably be a lot of sandpaper. They can be a tough group to play against if you have to play against them all night, because they don't give you much space. You know they're going to hit you ; they're going to chatter at you. And all three of them can back it up. They're not scared of much. So they are sort of a very harsh line to play against."

Forward Scott Nichol
On the first few days of Training Camp...
"They've been good. It's been nice to get back on the ice, doing some competitive drills, getting the brain working again, reading some plays. It's nice to get back going. It will be nice to get into the exhibition games."

On playing with Pihlstrom and Tootoo...
"It's good. I think we just have to channel our speed in the right directions. All three can skate. I think if we give-and-go, chip the puck in and really back our opponent's D off with our speed, we're going to have lots of success. I think it's when maybe we try and get too cute that we get in some trouble. I think maybe we can take a page out of Detroit's book, where the late guy comes in and with all our speed create some things. I think we'll be an exciting line. All three of us can skate and forecheck, so we just have to finish the play off with a goal here and there."

On facing Pekka Rinne in practice...
"He's a big man in there. When you shoot, the coaches are always harping on us when you're in close get it upstairs. It's tough against him. He just covers a lot of the net and reads the play well. With both our goalies, Dan Ellis and him, it's going to be a real good combo this year."

Goaltender Dan Ellis
On entering Training Camp with a one-way contract for the first time in his career...
"Pekka and I were talking the other day about what a difference it is when you come into Camp knowing where you are going to be that season. A lot of times you're coming into Camp fighting for a spot and you're more focused on what other people are thinking than maybe on what you are doing. So this camp, both for Pekka and I, I think we've really been able to focus on our own games and really just try to fine tune some things before the season starts. It's not about making an impression; I think we've already established some of that. Now it's just about building the confidence of the coaches and our teammates and getting our game where we need it to be for the season."

On entering his second season with the Predators...
"I think this year our team is pretty set. We have a lot of the same guys returning. I think we can build off what we did last year. We're going in with the same attitude of trying to prove people wrong. We're trying to get off to a big start."

On the younger goalies approaching him and asking him for advice during the first days of Training Camp...
"It's funny to have a guy with one year experience be the most experienced. You don't see that too often. It's an opportunity where I just try to talk with the younger guys and give them some advice on things that I've maybe learned along the way. Some of them are here knowing they might be going back to Junior, but it doesn't change the importance of camp and the importance of making an impression on the coaching staff and management. So you want to try to talk with the them, establish relationships, because you never know, you might be playing with them some day."

On how he's preparing to make the jump to the No. 1 goalie...
"I just really want to try to build my game, continue to improve, never rest on what I did the season before. Realize that it's a clean slate again and I have to go re-prove myself every year."

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