The Nashville Predator’s preseason camp is in full swing as they prepare for Thursday night’s first pre-season tilt against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Sommet Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. A second home game is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Predators’s camp opened last Saturday with a grueling set of conditioning tests and drills designed by strength coach David Good. Defensive prospect Jonathon Blum said, “It is my least favorite part of camp. You dread that every time coming in.”
Sunday was the first day of full on ice drills involving all 56 players that were invited to camp. The players were divided into three separate groups each of which had full individual practice sessions.
Fans, starving for live hockey, filled the Centennial SportsPlex to get an early look at what this year’s team. Most preseason sessions are open to the public.
One of the Predators that everyone was excited to see in camp for the first time in three years was last year’s Masterton Trophy winner, Steve Sullivan. After missing over two years with a back injury, Sully returned last January to finish the season with the Predators.
On Sunday, one of the first things you noticed about Sullivan was that any tentativeness about his injury had disappeared. He clearly was one of the best two or three players on the ice.
When asked how it felt to be back in camp Sully said, “It felt great to get a in whole summer of conditioning and not just rehabilitation. It was great to get in the gym and really workout to prepare for the coming season.”
When asked about the coming season Sullivan said, “We want to get better. We didn’t make the playoffs last year and that was unacceptable. We are going to set the bar high this year. We plan to go out and try to win our division, work hard every night, and win games.”
Rising defensive star Shea Weber, who was awarded one of the Alternate Captain slots for this season, was even more emphatic about the team’s goals. Weber declared, “Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. It comes together with individual work but it’s really all teamwork and that’s what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.”
Notes… The Predator’s Rookie Team traveled to Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday and split a pair of games with the Thrasher rookies. Colin Wilson and Nick Spaling each had two goals and an assist in the series while Taylor Beck had a goal and two helpers. In the second game, Chet Pickard and Jeremy Smith combined for a shutout in a 3-0 win.
On Tuesday, the Predators and Fox Sports Tennessee announced the upcoming television schedule for the upcoming season. A total of fifty-five games will be televised over the regional sports network. Pete Weber and Terry Crisp will return for their twelfth season as announcers for Predator’s Hockey.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass and The Columbia Daily Herald