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Nashville Predators fans get their July hockey fix

The Nashville Predators Development Camp featured its first public on-ice session this morning, and a good-size crowd came out to the Centennial Sportsplex to watch the young stars of the future work through an hour-long skate under the watchful eye of Director of Player Development Martin Gelinas, among others.

As John Glennon notes, some of the drills got pretty physical, and in particular, I thought Ryan Ellis looked good maintaining his position and breaking up plays with this stick. Jonathan Blum, on the other hand, got pulled out of place by opposing forwards on occasion. Granted, I just caught 30 minutes of one practice, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

Check out the following video (caught by Twitterer @mikebarnes5, who was apparently standing right behind me!), and jump to the midway point (about 1:05 left) to see what I'm talking about with Blum. He (wearing gray) breaks up the forward's initial attempt, but when the puck goes to the corner, he over-pursues and gets beat coming back to the net:

It's amazing that this got caught (and published!) on video, as I made a mental note of this one at the time, along with a separate run of the same drill in which Blum lost his feet on the initial rush.

Some other notes? Zach Budish is a big boy, and plays like one. His development will be interesting to follow. Blake Geoffrion also uses his big frame well - the question with these two will be whether they can develop the speed and hockey sense to make it to the NHL. That stage is a long ways off for all of the guys on the ice this morning, but it was a pleasant glimpse ahead to the Nashville Predators of 2011 and beyond.

There's another public practice Thursday morning at 10:00, and Saturday morning at 9:45.