That’s one of the reasons why Nashville forward Scott Hartnell feels so comfortable already back on the ice.
“It’s been a real exciting couple of days for me getting settled, but it seems like almost yesterday that I was putting on Predators uniform and back at it here today ten years later,” Hartnell said after an informal practice on Friday. “It’s a great group of guys here, I can see why they did so well last year and I’m looking forward to getting things started.”
Hartnell played six seasons with the Predators from 2000 to 2007 before being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers along with Kimmo Timonen as part of the ownership crisis fire sale. He played seven seasons in Philadelphia before being dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
As Hartnell has discovered, 2007 Nashville is most definitely not 2017 Nashville.
“Yeah, well, it’s changed a lot,” he said. “The new restaurants, the new areas of town that are happening. Broadway is booming as ever, and it’s just, the guys have been real nice to me, which makes it easier. A couple of familiar faces that I knew too, which makes it easier too.”
One of those familiar faces is center Ryan Johansen, who played with Hartnell for a season and a half before being traded to Nashville in January 2016. While they may not get to spend much time together on the ice during the season, it will certainly help Hartnell adjust to the locker room dynamic.
Hartnell also got the chance to reunite with one of his old buddies, equipment manager Craig “Partner” Baugh. Even though he’s been gone ten years, he couldn’t forget Partner, as many other former Predators could probably attest.
— Gnash (@Gnash00) September 8, 2017
The other familiar face is Peter Laviolette, who coached Hartnell to the Stanley Cup Final with the Flyers in 2010. While some may question whether or not a 35-year-old power forward can fit into Laviolette’s speedy, offense-oriented system, their familiarity with each other should put any of those concerns to rest.
“Well, I’ve made a living in this league being a power forward, going to the net, hitting, finishing checks, all that kind of stuff,” Hartnell said. “Just being strong in front of their net. Just real excited to get things rolling and obviously playing under Lavy, knowing his system and things like that, how he coaches, will make things easier as well.”
Veterans report to Nashville Predators training camp on September 14 with their first on-ice practice session taking place September 16.