The 2014-15 NHL season just came to a close, but hockey fans everywhere are anxious for the 2015-16 season to begin. On Sunday, the Nashville Predators released their 2015 preseason schedule, and it looks like this:
Sunday, September 20 vs Florida – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 20 vs Florida – 7 p.m.
Tuesday, September 22 @ Tampa Bay – 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23 vs Tampa Bay – 7 p.m.
Tuesday, September 29 vs Columbus – 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 3 @ Columbus – 6 p.m.
The NHL’s regular season schedule is set to be released on Thursday.
Training camp begins on September 17.
For the most part, the Predators play the same teams every year because distance is always accounted for. Rarely, does Nashville play Central Division opponents, which is a good thing. Playing teams you will only see twice a year takes away some of the intensity and decreases risk of injury.
The highlight of the schedule is playing against the Eastern Conference champions Tampa Bay Lighting twice.
Making the team
The preseason means nothing but a tune-up for the grizzled veterans, but for fringe players like Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidsson, Anthony Bitetto and Colton Sissons looking to make the opening night roster in October, it means everything.
Fiala, Nashville’s first round choice in 2014, has already proclaimed to general manager David Poile that he will be playing for the Predators next season.
“At the end-of-the-year meetings when [Head Coach] Peter Laviolette and I are talking to players, we’re usually the ones doing 90 percent of the talking,” Poile said to the crowd at the Music City Center. “So we did the talking to Kevin and then he says, ‘What do I need to do, I’m going to be playing for the Nashville Predators next season. I’m not going to [American Hockey League affiliate] Milwaukee, I’m going to be playing [in Nashville].’”
To show how serious he was about playing in the NHL next season, Fiala planned to arrive in Nashville on June 6 after a short vacation in Mexico to begin offseason training with team strength coach David Good. Currently, Fiala is going through driver’s ed in efforts to receive his driver’s license.
Fiala is unwavering in his determination to earn a roster spot, so look for him to have an outstanding preseason.
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Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.