The Nashville Predators are getting their captain back. The hope is that his return gives him enough time to get back to peak condition.
Jason Arnott will travel with the team to Phoenix on Tuesday and will be on the ice the following night for the Predators’ final road game of the 2009-10 season.
Monday was a day off for the majority of the Predators. Arnott, however, skated along with a select few as he prepared to make his return to game action.
He has been out since he sustained a head injury in the third period of a March 20 overtime victory over Columbus.
“I think when you miss time, the first game that you’re back adrenaline kicks in,” Trotz said. “After that, I think you start to feel the game conditioning that you lost. You just need to get that game conditioning back.”
The Predators gave two games remaining – Wednesday at Phoenix, Saturday at home against St. Louis – before the start of the postseason.
Arnott has missed more than one contest on three separate occasions this season and has been out for 19 in all. His current absence – eight games – has been the longest.
When he missed six games in late October, it took five games before he registered his first point and seven before he got his first goal. He went five games without a goal (he did have two assists) when he came back in January after having missed four contests.
In stark contrast, he had six goals and two assists in the final four games of 2008-09 after having been sidelined for 11 games with a concussion.
“My plan is to give him a full workload,” Trotz said. “We’ll see how he responds as we go along.”
In his 61 appearances this season, Arnott has averaged 18:43 of ice time, which is the most of all Predators’ forwards. It also is the third-highest per game average of his career, behind only the last two seasons.
He still is third on the team in goals scored (18) despite the fact that he has appeared in fewer games than any of the team’s other top 10 goal scorers.
• Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov (lower body) is expected to resume skating this week. He has not been on the ice since he was injured in a March 7 loss to Vancouver.
Trotz said it is not likely that Grebeshkov, acquired in the final days before the league’s trade deadline, will be available for the start of the playoffs.