Things are starting to get busy here in Nashville as the start of NHL season is just two days away. Think about that for a moment: less than two weeks ago it looked like there might be no season at all, and in just two days the Preds will be playing the Blue Jackets. It’s not exactly like nothing ever happened, but isn’t it great to have hockey back? Here’s a quick tour around some Nashville Predators news.
Training camp continues at Bridgestone Arena
Training camp continues today for the Nashville Predators. After starting the week at Centennial Sportsplex over by Vanderbilt University, the Preds moved to Bridgestone Arena yesterday to begin getting a feel for the home ice they’ll have to defend in just two days. Thursday’s practice will be open to the public from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., with free parking at the 6th Avenue garage.
Here’s Coach Barry Trotz talking to the media about yesterday’s sessions, why the team moved back to Bridgestone, and some of the things he’s doing to get these guys quickly back into a game-day mindset:
Preds Prospect Sissons Setting Records
Nashville’s second-round draft pick from last summer, Colton Sissons, is having a good season in the WHL with 14 goals and 18 assists in 31 games. His Kelowna Rockets tied a franchise record for consecutive home wins last night with a 5-3 victory over Spokane. Sissons, the team’s captain, led the way with a goal and an assist as the Rockets won their 18th straight on home ice.
Ex-Nashville Predators On The Move
David Poile made his first post-lockout personnel move by picking up Richard Clune on waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, but some former Nashville Predators players have also already found themselves with new homes. Former Preds first-round draft pick Ryan Parent signed a one-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks. And Matthew Lombardi, who played in just two games for Nashville before sitting out a full season with a concussion and eventually being dealt to the Maple Leafs, was traded by Toronto to another of his old teams, the Phoenix Coyotes.
Tim Connolly has been a disappointment in Toronto. The Leafs are already stacked with forwards. And as James Mirtle writes, the media narrative has turned against Connolly and could prove hard for him to shake there. If his poor showing last season was an anomaly in an otherwise productive career – possibly one brought on by playing under the microscope in Toronto – might Connolly be a good fit with the Nashville Predators? Between Mirtle’s piece and Tim Bayer’s profile of Connolly at Editor In Leaf, Connolly sounds like a guy who’s capable of putting up good numbers, who can hold his own defensively, who doesn’t take a lot of penalties, and who can play in most situations (power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5). He also sounds like he feels stifled by a Toronto team that doesn’t know how it wants to use him.
David Poile said he wanted to look to the east for trades – perhaps Toronto be where he needs to settle his gaze, if not in the early season then perhaps toward the trade deadline when he’d only have to pay a prorated portion of Connolly’s $4.5 million salary. Poile could make the Leafs feel good for shedding what they see as a bad move from the Brian Burke era, and the Preds could get some veteran offensive depth in the deal. I could see Connolly playing between, say, Colin Wilson and Matt Halischuk on the third line.
Seinfeld Night in Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate, are having one of the best promotions ever. Next Wednesday is Seinfeld Night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, with special guest Larry Thomas. You might know Thomas a little better as “The Soup Nazi”:
Thomas will be on hand to help promote a soup drive benefiting Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin. Anyone who wears a puffy shirt gets in for free, as do candy bar fortune heiresses and anyone in a bro/man-zier. Maybe the easiest way to get in free is to be the master of your domain…on second thought, scratch that.