Predators Practice Report: Beginning of Week 2
It was another day on the ice for the Nashville Predators. Intensity is ramping up, as is speculation on a starting goaltender.
On The Ice
The biggest difference on Tuesday, as far as on-ice personnel, was the addition of a third goalie, Troy Grosenick of the Milwaukee Admirals.
Look who’s on the ice! #preds @OnTheForecheck @mkeadmirals pic.twitter.com/B3B2N6zq2c— Shaun C. Smith (@SCSOTF) July 21, 2020
Because speculation has been rampant, I want to point out that Grosenick’s presence was in no way a signal that Pekka Rinne nor Juuse Saros was injured or struggling. He simply rotated in with the goalies during their individual drills at the beginning of practice and then got some reps with the main squad during practice.
It makes sense, considering teams can bring a handful of goalies with them, that Grosenick would benefit from practicing with the full team. Is it possible that Connor Ingram will get the same opportunity? I would like to think so. Of course, if not, that would be a pretty clear indication that Grosenick is the go-to guy behind the main tandem.
The team worked on several different drills today. Up first, the goalies worked on an individual drill:
Goalies are working on defending shots from behind and beside the net. Those bumpers in the front help them simulate tap-ins and ricochets. @OnTheForecheck #preds pic.twitter.com/q7PBvWERYf— Shaun C. Smith (@SCSOTF) July 21, 2020
On the other side of the ice, the skaters worked on maintaining possession without shooting. No, it wasn’t Laviolette-era power play practice:
Skaters are working 4v4 at mainting possession in the zone (no nets). #preds @OnTheForecheck pic.twitter.com/AcD6es0Ukn— Shaun C. Smith (@SCSOTF) July 21, 2020
I believe it was during this session that Viktor Arvidsson (5’9”) dumped Jarred Tinordi (6’5”). This was the moment I noticed that the intensity level had been turned up quite a bit, which, according Head Coach John Hynes in an interview later, was intentional. However, later, the two found each other again. Now, I’m not insinuating that this was anything other than healthy competition, but the battle between these two highlighted just how intense and physical camp became on Tuesday:
Arvidsson and Tinordi have been battling hard all day. #Preds @OnTheForecheck pic.twitter.com/KH7VikoNwD— Shaun C. Smith (@SCSOTF) July 21, 2020
I’ll also point out that in the same video, Kyle Turris and Korbinian Holzer had a very similar intense battle. This type of physicality was on display all day. I have several other videos, but just imagine your two favorite players involved in an intense puck battle and I’d say it probably happened. And while I have no video evidence to prove it, I noticed Dan Hamhuis playing extra-physical hockey several times.
The remainder of practice consisted of 3-on-3 drills on one end of the ice while a lone goalie waited in a net on the opposite blue line. While the action raged on in the drill, occasionally, a skater would take the puck toward the lonely goalie and take a breakaway shot. The vast majority of these skaters voiced frustration when their shots were brushed aside.
Off The Ice
The media had the opportunity to interview newly-minted Norris Trophy finalist Roman Josi (via Zoom) after practice.
Josi, as humble as he is handsome, credited his teammates with enabling him to perform at a high level. I had the opportunity to ask him what quarantine experience or memory he would take with him to Edmonton. He had a great, heartfelt response:
Of course, John Hynes revealed that the extra intensity of practice was on purpose as the team was ramping up toward full contact in their upcoming scrimmage against the Dallas Stars and their eventual series with the Arizona Coyotes. He also offered high praise for the success of the other professional sports bubbles and found it encouraging as the Preds will soon be headed north.
Rocco Grimaldi had a lot of praise for John Hynes’s system and the way he was able to take the reins of the team mid-season:
Colin Blackwell revealed that he would be bringing some books and his XBox to Edmonton with him in order to keep himself occupied during his downtime, but he most interestingly gave a rookie’s perspective on serving under captain Roman Josi:
Camp continues today. Give me a follow on Twitter @SCSOTF for live updates from Bridgestone Arena.