The Nashville Predators training camp continues today at Bridgestone Arena. The team will open the house to the public from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., with free parking at the 6th Avenue parking garage while space is available.
M. LaVigne and I got out to the public portion of yesterday’s Nashville Predators training camp at Centennial Sportsplex, where the team spent the beginning of camp before deciding to make the move back to home ice. It’s the first hockey I’ve seen live since last April 20th, and even if it wasn’t an NHL game it was still great to see the team I love hit the ice. A few observations:
The sounds. It couldn’t have been more than three seconds after we walked into the rink that a puck thudded against the glass. The swoosh of snow spraying from a sharp turn, the crack of sticks on the ice, the ping of rubber against iron at ninety miles an hour…it was a symphony. My takeaway? Hockey is an important octave in Music City’s range.
Craig Smith. I’d forgotten just how fast this kid is. Don’t expect too many empty-net misses from him this season.
Ryan Ellis. He was only on the ice for a portion of the practice. You definitely notice his size disadvantage, but he’s quick and smooth with the puck. After 20+ games in Milwaukee, he’s noticeably sharper at the moment than some of the other guys who haven’t played during the “time off.”
Scott Hannan. Intellectually, I’ve known since the team signed him that Scott Hannan was a Nashville Predator. But the idea of him as a Pred became reality when I saw him on the ice at Centennial in the blue Preds practice jersey. I think he and Kevin Klein, whom I’ve come around to appreciating after undervaluing him in his earlier years, are going to make a solid second pair for Nashville.
Falling down. Totally unscientific observation of the day: I saw two players fall down during practice. Sergei Kostitsyn did it on the rush. Hal Gill tumbled in the corner and got some jeers and stick-tapping from the crowd at the other end of the ice before he got back up and hustled back to the play.
Chris Mason. Mase was working with Mitch Korn, taking one-timers from Victor Bartley, Brian McGrattan and a few from Nick Spaling when we arrived. Dude lifted his lid (which is pretty sweet) at one point and he had a serious mountain-man beard. It was just like the old days all over again.