Whatever time Steve Sullivan has spent on the ice with Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont this training camp has been more than in the previous two, when he was sidelined with a back injury.
Missing a couple periods of a preseason game or a workout, therefore, is not considered a big deal.
“When you have a guy who plays like the two of you, and it clicks,” Arnott said last week. “It really gives you that boost of energy and that extra offensive thrust. To have (Sullivan) back in training camp and get used to one another again is even better.”
Sullivan was one of several players who did not practice Monday because of issues related to the rigors of camp. Officially, he was considered day-to-day with a groin strain.
The problem first developed in Saturday’s preseason victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He logged just 3:36 of ice time before he was pulled.
Without him, Arnott and Dumont had a hand in both third-period goals as the Predators rallied for a 3-2 victory. With him, that trio combined for five points (two goals, three assists) in the preseason opener, a 5-0 victory over Atlanta last Thursday.
“We complement each other very well,” Sullivan said. “We all bring a little bit of a different aspect to the game.”
Until Sullivan was pulled from Saturday’s contest, coach Barry Trotz had kept him together with Arnott and Dumont during practices and the team’s first intra-squad scrimmage.
Of course, it was not as if the combination was anything new.
They played together most of the second half of last season after Sullivan returned from the back injury. Arnott eventually set a franchise record with 33 goals, Dumont set a career-high with 49 assists, and Sullivan chipped in 27 points in the final 25 contests.
“You always want to play together as much as possible and make sure that things are going well and make sure you’re creative and make sure you’ve still got it,” Sullivan said. “If there are any issues to work on, you have the three weeks to get it done. I thought it was a good idea to, right from the start, for us to play together.”
No doubt they’ll be back together once he recovers.