Question #1: What are you looking for out of your veterans during training camp and to start the season?
Coach Lambert: The first thing we are looking from our veterans is for leadership and direction for our younger guys, which is going to be critical. That is a big job for them, to lead and to lead by example. Later on we will establish our captains and assistants, which at this point is still a work in progress. However, our veterans are here to get better and work to get better every day just like everyone else, but they are also here to show the younger kids that this is how it is done at this level.
Question #2: Has there been players at camp that have surprised you or stepped up and showed you something unexpected?
Coach Lambert: There have been signs and flashes for a few different guys, but I am not getting into any names. But our preseason games (against Rockford and Chicago) are more indicative of somebody stepping up. Players can be ok in practice, but where they really want to show what they are made of, they do it in the exhibition games, which are part of the evaluation process.
Question #3: What are looking for this season out of Blake Geoffrion, who just finished his career at the University of Wisconsin? Is there more pressure on him playing professional hockey in state?
Coach Lambert: Obviously Blake has great potential, but he is no different than any other rookie. He is going to have to establish himself, but there is a difference between the pro level and the college level, no question. He is going to have to dedicate himself now that hockey is a full time job. My job is to help get guys up to the National Hockey League and help develop players for the Nashville organization, and he is one of those players.
Question #4: When coaching first year and second year players who are used to being top-line guys with their former teams in college and in juniors, how do help them establish new roles and adjust their games to be successful professionally?
Coach Lambert: It starts with communication between me and a player. Though this is a team game, it is played by individuals, some 22 or 23 guys, so it is important that we have a great line of communication and continue to work with the players and help them. But what a player’s role is going to be is a decision that has to be made by us (as a staff). Then the players have to accept that role and do what’s best for the team.
Question #5: How do you see your goaltending battle shaping up?
Coach Lambert: Our goaltending comes from in the Nashville Predators organization, but it is no different than any other position, with our decision being based on who is playing better than who. At the end of the day, the best guy is going to end up playing more often. We’ve been evaluating since day one, September 17th at Nashville, so I have a pretty good clue as to how it is going to shape up, but our exhibition games were critical for both Chet Pickard and Jeremy Smith. (Authors note: Since this question was asked, Jeremy Smith was assigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, while Milwaukee added goaltender Mark Dekanich, who was a late cut from Nashville)