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Notes from today’s full team practice at Centennial SportsPlex:

* During the netminder workouts, goaltendering coach Mitch Korn had Andres Thuresson, Jonathon Blum and Teemu Laakso shooting on Pekka Rinne, Dan Ellis and Mark Dekanich. The focus of the early drills seemed to be on deflecting point shots to the opposite corner. All three goalies did well, with Rinne excelling by sending the pucks onto the top of the glass consistently, as opposed to just along the ice.

* The forwards were grouped into the following groups per their jersey color:

White: JP Dumont, Jason Arnott, Patric Hornqvist, Martin Erat, David Legwand and Mike Santorelli
Red: Ryan Jones, Cal O’Reilly and Nick Spaling
Grey: Marcel Goc, Jerred Smithson, Jordin TootooBen Guite, Triston Grant, Andreas Thuresson and Peter Olvecky

* Players of note that weren’t on the ice today were Colin Wilson (groin), Joel Ward (unknown), Cody Franson (nose), Alexander Sulzer (personal), Ben Eaves (unknown) and Steve Sullivan (groin). Franson and Eaves did a light skate during practice but on the opposite rink.

* During the 2-on-0 drills, Tootoo scored two goals, both five hole – and on the same shift – on Rinne. Both of which Peks would love to have back. Other than that, Rinne looked strong again today. Fighting for every puck, seeing the puck well and anticipating the play like it was mid-November. All good signs.

* O’Reilly is still having trouble finding the back of the net during the drills. I think it’s fair to say that, if I didn’t see him in NHL action last season, I’d be giving him a one-way ticket to Milwuakee.

* Thuresson has had the scoring touch today. His wrist shots are spot-on and he even had a couple good deflections in front of the net that resulted in goals. For a guy who we attributed “hands of stone” to early in camp, he’s come a long way.

* Arnott and Dumont look great together. While this isn’t exactly breaking news, it’s great to see Arnott having fun out there and – for some people – actually trying. The Preds captain has a stigma about taking shifts off during games and only going half-speed at times, most notably on the backcheck. So to see him going all out during practice and creating plays with Dumont… fans should be very excited. It supports Barry Trotz’s assessment last week that, unlike in past years, “the top players are the top players in camp this season.”

* Hornqvist is having a great day today. His footwork is better than he’s showed in the past, he’s fighting hard in the corners and is even showing off a Santorelli-esque wrist shot. Expectations were so high for him last season that the coaching staff started him on the top line. After only five weeks in a Predators uniform, the Swede was sent to Milwaukee to get his confidence back. The worrisome thing though? He recorded all of his seven points in those initial five weeks. Zero in his final 12 games with the Preds after being recalled from the Admirals. Needless to say, it’s nice to see Hornqvist playing well – in any capacity – on the NHL level.

Francis Bouillon returns to Nashville Predators ice.

Francis Bouillon returns to Nashville Predators ice.

* Francis Bouillon made his first appearance at training camp today while skating along side Franson and Eaves under the direction of Strength & Conditioning Coach David Good.

* Bouillon on where he fits, at first glance, in the Nashville lineup: “It’s tough to say. The coaching staff didn’t promise me anything but I know there’s some room there and if I can play four, five or six, I’m going to be happy. I just want to help the team win.”

* Kevin Klein on the addition of Bouillon: “He’s a solid player, he’s a good physical presence and you always need those guys in the room. It’s always (my goal) to be a go-to guy, someone that can be relied on and I’ve really tried to show that over the years and I just want to keep going out there and keep showing them.”

* Dekanich had his moments today. Diving along the ice to make a glove stop on Smithson, sliding from post to post to rob Nolan Yonkman and even taking one off the mask from Smithson late in the day. (Smithson must’ve been holding a grudge from that glove save earlier in the day).

* Ryan Ellis was another one that stood out. He looked solid on all drills and looked a little more like “one of the big boys” on the ice today. He won’t make the roster this year but with another season of conditioning in junior and then possibly in Milwuakee come season end… this kid’s going to be scary folks.

* Grant and Guite were the last to leave the ice, working on their skating when everyone else left.

* Bouillon will wear his traditional number 51.

* David Poile spoke to the media during practice and he told the following:

* Poile on Bouillon: “It’s depth, it’s competition… We don’t want to give anybody anything. We want them to fight and we want them to deserve it. That’ll make us better and, for sure, it’ll make them better.”

* Poile on where he sees Bouillon fitting in: “He could play as high as playing with Hamhuis and I could certainly see that as a possibility.”

* Poile told John Glennon of the Tennessean that “We have an agreement, in principal, for (the reported terms), but it won’t kick in until we – and he – both feel that he’s 100% and ready to go.”



Pekka Rinne and Patric Hornqvist





PHOTO CREDITS: Jeremy K. Gover/