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One step closer: Preds’ training camp begins

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The prospects had their time last week, but now the real fun begins.

Celebrities Attend The 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
It won’t be much longer before this cat will be making his next grand entrance.
Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images

Training camp officially opened for the Nashville Predators on Saturday, with practices split into two groups for a pair of 90-minute sessions.

It was a welcome return to the grind after what was the shortest offseason in franchise history.

Quick notes

Filip Forsberg was missing on Saturday, though he was listed on the roster for the second session. As it turns out, he was a bit under the weather:

With the split groups, there’s no need to worry about line combinations and defensive pairings.

Nick Bonino did some work on his own before the second group came out, and then was a full participant with Group B. Encouraging given it was initially thought he could miss the entire preseason.

Head coach Peter Laviolette offered no hints toward who the next captain might be during Saturday’s media availability. Roman Josi and P.K. Subban led stretching lines in their respective groups, for those who are into that sort of thing.

Quotables

Laviolette on the plan for the first day:

“The first day of camp, for me, you’re trying to put some of your systems back in place. Some of it’s new, some of it’s refreshers for our guys. You really just want to get out there and move them up and down and not stop the pace too much.”

On Tuesday’s exhibition games with Florida as an evaluation resource:

“I really like the double games because we get to see a lot of our guys play in competition, and for me that’s a real good evaluation of where guys are.”

Josi on the captain situation:

“There’s a lot of guys that are part of the leadership group, and I feel like we have a pretty strong leadership group who’ve been here. With Mike (Fisher) leaving, there’s a lot of guys that have to step up and probably take on a bigger role. It was the same situation last year with (Shea Weber) leaving and everybody just has to step up.”

Austin Watson on learning from last season:

“You use the experience, and for everybody it’s valuable learning experience. It was a great, memorable time, but it’s something we want to continue to push to get to that stage, take the next step and win.”

Mattias Ekholm on defensive changes with Ryan Ellis’ injury:

“You just have to really respect the process that it takes to get a new (defensive) partner and to build that chemistry that me and Ellis had and that I had with P.K. It doesn’t go overnight. I played a few games with Yannick last year and I think he’s a great player. He’s easy to play with and he’s very vocal (on the ice). Whoever it ends up being on opening night, so be it.”

What’s next

The Preds will hold a intrasquad scrimmage at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ford Ice Center, part of the facility’s third birthday celebration. The scrimmage is only open to Preds full season-ticket holders.

Nashville hosts Florida on Tuesday for two preseason games at 3:30 and 7 p.m.