Photo credit: www.predators.nhl.com
After taking most of the summer off from all things hockey-related, I spent a good chunk of my weekend in the frozen comfort of the Centennial Sportsplex. And, I have to admit that I was less than familiar with quite a few names on the roster. A lot of things changed over the summer and I am still trying to come to terms with what the team looks like without the Jason Arnotts, the Dan Hamhuises and the Dan Ellises.
So far, Taylor Beck has caught my eye, in a good way. Colin Wilson, while always on my radar, managed to make me notice him even more due to his increased speed on the ice. With these two as an indication of a new turn for the Predators, along with the younger leadership of Captain Shea Weber (and newly-minted alternate captain, Ryan Suter), this team could be on the verge of becoming something completely opposite of everything we have seen in years past. Granted, it's only the beginning of pre-season but I might as well start the year out hopeful, right?
The early scrimmages have brought an added element of excitement to Predators pre-season hockey this year. These games have also upped the competitive edge for most players quite significantly. Based on yesterday's scrimmage, you would have thought that everyone on the ice had spent their last few seasons in the AHL. The drive, determination and competitive spirit of the NHL veterans was an eye-opener for me. These guys know they are still fighting for a spot on the team. They are willing to work for it, prove themselves and earn that spot again.
Most of the time, pre-season games are typically throw away games. However, this year, they could prove to generate some great, desperate hockey moments.
It's hockey time in Nashville again. Do work, boys!