The day before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks this week, Preds GM David Poile, coach Barry Trotz, and other folks from the parent club took in the Admirals game in Rosemont. The aforementioned VIP’s were gracious enough to give me a few minutes of their time during the intermissions of the game, and here are some of the things they had to say. We’ll split it up into two posts…I’ll call this first post…”Part I”. Clever, eh?
On the maturation of Nick Spaling:
David Poile — What he’s really been good at is on the penalty kill and defensively. Our penalty killing was 23rd in the league when he came up and now it’s 6th overall, and he’s a big part of why that has improved. We wish he could produce a bit more offensively.
26 games so far for Spaling with the Preds this year. One goal, and one assist. But he’s getting a ton more ice time than he seemed to last year….no more of this 5:30 per game stuff.
Barry Trotz — Nick has done a really good job. One of the reasons we wanted to send him back to Milwaukee (at the start of the season) was to try and find that offensive sort of touch that he had in juniors a little bit. We’ve just had a lot of injuries especially at the center position with Lombardi and Legwand and that. And our penalty kill wasn’t going very well, and that’s what Nick does – plays center, kills penalties. We called him up and he’s done a real good job. Still looking for a little more offensive from him — he got his first NHL goal…we put him on the power play for a 5-on-3 to get it for him. He’s done a really good job, a detailed guy, and he’s played very well. We were hoping to get him back to Milwaukee, but it hasn’t happened.”
I think when Lombardi is finally ready to go, that may be his ticket back to Milwaukee.
On Mark Dekanich’s callup:
Trotz — He came the first couple practices and he looked really quite good and had a lot of confidence. After a couple of days of practice, guys picked him apart pretty good. That happens — that’s not uncommon. Down here (in the AHL), shooters aren’t quite as quick, aren’t quite as crafty. They started picking him apart, he started losing a little bit of confidence, started cheating, and then they REALLY picked him apart, and that’s not uncommon. He’s very similar to Chris Mason. When he first came up he was like that…he’s a bulldog, he’s got a great spirit, competitiveness, details, athleticism. And that was the first taste of it. He’ll learn from it, and he’ll be much better next time he’s up.”
Loved his assessment about how Dex had been practicing, because that’s a whole side of the game that we’re not privy too in the least bit. For any kind of info about how he had been doing, we pretty much just had to base things on the one game he got in to, and stuff he’d say on his twitter page. And I’m sure he’ll be better next time too.
On Chet Pickard being sent back to the ECHL:
Poile — The idea is that with Dekanich probably playing most of the games here, Pickard will get to play most of the games down there. I think that’ll be a good thing for him. He just needs to play a lot of hockey, get some wins under his belt, get his game back together. It’s another maturing process that we go through with a lot of these young guys.”
It sounds like they haven’t given up hope on Chet yet. We’ll see how he does in Cincy over the next couple of months.
In the next post (which we’ll call “Part II”), GM and Coach weigh in on who impressed them against the Wolves, what they’d like from Santa for Christmas, and their thoughts on the man who has been the center of attention in the comments section of this blog lately — #86, Linus Klasen.