PRAGUE — As the Nashville Predators walked off the ice at O2 Arena on Saturday, they danced to the victory track blaring from their locker room: “I’m Good (Blue)” by way of David Guetta and Bebe Rexha.
“I’m good. Yeah, I’m feeling all right …”
Yeah, they must be feeling all proper. This was once no European holiday, however nobody has had extra a laugh out of the country because the Griswolds.
The Predators opened the common season by way of sweeping the San Jose Sharks within the 2022 NHL Global Series, successful 4-1 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday in Prague. They gained large contributions from new additions: forwards Nino Niederreiter and Kiefer Sherwood, defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and goalie Kevin Lankinen.
And that was once simply a part of it. Asked what he would keep in mind years from now from this revel in off and on the ice, Predators middle Ryan Johansen idea for a second.
“Oh, off the ice, it’s the pilsners in Prague,” he stated. “On the ice?”
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Johansen discussed the reception Niederreiter and defenseman Roman Josi gained in Bern, Switzerland, Josi’s native land, the place the Predators defeated SC Bern 4-3 in an exhibition on Monday within the 2022 NHL Global Series Challenge.
But he additionally discussed the reception Sharks middle Tomas Hertl gained in Prague, his native land, when he was once offered earlier than each and every sport and after he scored on Friday.
“Overall, it’s just the whole event,” Johansen stated. “The NHL did a great job. Every day there was something fun and exciting.”
When NHL groups commute out of the country, one of the vital advantages is workforce bonding. The gamers spend a large number of time in combination on flights, at foods and on the rink. That’s particularly essential for a workforce like Nashville, which obtained McDonagh in a industry and signed Niederreiter, Lankinen and Sherwood as unrestricted unfastened brokers within the offseason.
The Predators left house Oct. 1 and had a workforce dinner that night time. They practiced in Bern on Sunday, and later on, they took time beyond regulation for a formative years sanatorium. Kids were given to move one-on-one with Josi, who grew up lower than 3 kilometers from PostFinance Arena and rose to play for SC Bern earlier than coming to North America. They held any other workforce dinner, this time at a cafe overlooking the picturesque town.
Video: Niederreiter propels Preds to Global Series sweep
Josi was once the primary superstar within the exhibition Monday with two objectives and an help, and he and Niederreiter, who grew up in Chur, Switzerland, had been welcomed house by way of the enthusiasts. Each had friends and family within the stands who hardly ever were given to look them play are living and a few who had by no means gotten to look them play are living as pros, together with their grandmothers.
Between a exercise and their flight to Prague on Tuesday, Josi and Niederreiter discovered time to discuss with kids in a neighborhood clinic, which came about to be the similar clinic wherein Josi was once born.
“Just watching the ovation that those boys got in Bern was outstanding and just special,” Predators middle Matt Duchene stated. “Seeing the emotion that ‘Jos’ had. He’s got a big heart, and he’s an emotional guy in a really great way. Things mean a lot to him, and to see that was awesome.”
The Predators had Wednesday off to discover Prague, practiced in entrance of a couple of thousand enthusiasts Thursday, after which earned back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday.
Sherwood was once the primary superstar Friday with a objective and an help. McDonagh had an help Friday and a blocked shot that stored a objective Saturday. Niederreiter had 3 objectives in two video games, together with the game-winner Saturday. Lankinen were given his first win for the Predators on Saturday, making 31 saves, together with 15 within the 3rd length.
“I think all those guys, they put in the work this summer,” stated Johansen, who has performed for the Predators since 2015-16. “They came ready to go, and then they’ve jelled with this group quickly. As teammates and older guys, we’ve put a lot of trust and effort in making sure they’re ready to go and comfortable and confident, and it looked like to me they went out there and played their best games, and the result of that is two wins.”
Lankinen credited the management crew.
“Quite honestly, they have a great core group of guys, and they made us feel so welcome here right from the get-go,” he stated. “We’ve been doing dinners, we’ve been having team stuff a bunch of times, and it makes the team glue together.”
Video: Catch memorable moments from the 2022 Global Series
It’s simplest two video games, however it is a heck of a get started. The Predators fly house Sunday, and they’re going to have a possibility to recharge for his or her subsequent sport, in opposition to the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.
Johansen stated they for sure received self assurance.
They’re good, and yeah, they are feeling all proper.
“Obviously, there’s so much work to do,” Johansen stated. “We’ve got 80 games left. But we should definitely feel pretty good about ourselves and know that when we’re doing the right things on the ice, we can be a successful team and create a lot of trouble for the opposition.”