While not an offseason signing that brought much attention, Anton Volchenkov could be one of the best pieces that General Manager David Poile added this past summer. The 32-year old defenseman is known as a physical, stay-at-home player, something to compliment his defensive partner Seth Jones, who likes to activate into the offensive zone. In playing his first regular season game at home for the Predators, a 3-2 victory over Ottawa, Volchenkov was nervous, but excited.
“I felt a little bit nervous starting the game, which is normal when starting the season,” said Volchenkov. “I’m happy the team won today and to get ready for the next game.”
While Volchenkov has certainly played games in Nashville before while wearing the opposing team’s sweater, experiencing the crowd in Nashville was great for him.
“It was good for us hockey players,” said Volchenkov on the passionate fans Thursday night. “It was unbelievable.”
Going into the third period against Ottawa, Nashville was down 1-0, but not without opportunities. The message was simple in the locker room. Score.
“We just had work together to score goals,” said Volchenkov. “The team scored on the power play and kept going and going. Right now, I’m just happy. We’ll practice tomorrow and just get ready for Saturday’s game.”
Throughout the game, Volchenkov was paired with sophomore defenseman Seth Jones, and he felt comfortable playing the Predators 2013 1st Round pick.
“He’s a really good skilled, young guy,” said Volchenkov on Jones. “I like playing together with him.”
In Thursday night’s matchup, Volchenkov laid out four hits and blocked two shots. It’s all standard and part of his game.
“I try being physical, but I need to be smarter with that [kind of] play,” said Volchenkov. “With some of the new rules, I need to be careful. Like every bland hit has caused a suspension. I got a couple hits today, and it’s part of my game. Hits and blocked shots are part of how I try to play hard on defense.”
Thursday night against the Senators, Volchenkov logged a solid 15:33 on the ice, including 3:26 on the penalty kill. He’s surely an asset to the Nashville blueline that helps assert them as one of the best overall in the league. We’ll continue to see how bringing his veteran presence will help players, like Seth Jones, be able to become a part of the offense.
Peter Laviolette’s post game presser: