Coming off a split in Florida yesterday, the Nashville Predators were back at it early today as a squad of 25 players had a quick practice at Centennial Sportsplex and then headed out to Baltimore where they will play the Washington Capitals at the First Mariner Arena tonight at 6 p.m. (Radio: The Game 102.5)
The Arena first opened in 1962 on the site of the “Old Congress Hall” where the Continental Congress met in 1776. The building was considered a cornerstone of the Inner Harbor redevelopment.
More importantly to Predator fans, the Arena was the home to Preds head coach Barry Trotz’s first team as a head coach in the AHL during the 1992-93 season. “I thought it was old when I coached there so it’s going to be really old,” joked Trotz.
Having been tied up with the Preds, Trotz hasn’t focused on a return to his old stomping grounds but will today. “When we land I’ll think of where we used to live, that we had a house there, and how the inner harbor has grown since I was there.”
“It was just starting out, Camden Yards was built and the Inner Harbor was starting to develop and now it is probably spectacular.”
Trotz has fond memories of the Charm City. “It was some good times. I was the assistant coach for a few years and at the end I had the last Baltimore team there.”
“We were really young and got into the playoffs the last game of the season. We took on a strong Binghamton Rangers team that set all these records to seven games which shocked everybody.”
His return to Baltimore for what is billed as “The Baltimore Hockey Classic” will be much different. Trotz is now the second longest tenured NHL coach and was nominated for the Jack Adams Award the last two seasons.
He will be bringing a team that will feature the Predators’ “big three” of Pekka Rinne, Ryan Suter, and Shea Weber as well as Marty Erat who will also see his first preseason action.
Rookies who did not play on Monday include Charles Oliver-Roussel, Brent Andrews, David Elsner, Robert Slaney, and Joel Champagne. They would be probable for the trip along with a few others who played yesterday to fill out the 20 man squad.
The team will return immediately after the game and practice tomorrow at Centennial Sportsplex.