Marcel Goc might not be fully healthy, but at least he’s no longer lonely.
The Nashville Predators’ center took part in a regular practice session Monday morning, It was his first activity with the entire squad since he sustained a shoulder injury Oct. 16 against Washington and an important step in the right direction for a franchise that has been besieged by injuries through the first three weeks of the season.
“My first practice with the guys, and that’s much more fun than just skating on your own,” Goc said. “…It’s still wait-and-see. I have to see how it reacts to the practice, maybe try to do a little more (Tuesday).”
In 10 games during October the Predators have lost 34 man-games to injury. That puts them on pace for 279, which would be the most since 1999-00 (318), the second season in franchise history.
Last season Nashville lost just 152 man-games to injury, the fewest in franchise history. At the end of October, that figure was 33 man-games, but that was through 13 games. The average, therefore, was 2.5 per game, 36 percent less than the current pace.
Goc’s return, therefore, certainly did not create a glut of forwards at the workout. David Legwand and Martin Erat, both of whom played in Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Detroit, did not participate. Defenseman Francis Bouillon took part in the first half of the practice but was pulled when the work involved more battles.
Afterward coach Barry Trotz ran down the status of all Nashville players with current health issues as they prepare for a three-game trip out West, which begins Wednesday at Phoenix.
• Gcc (shoulder) – “He’s at the day-to-day stage. So we’ll see where he is (Tuesday). He’s is going to go on the trip for sure.”
* Bouillon (upper body) – “Bouillon is day-to-day. He will go on the trip and we’ll see where he’s at. He’s tough, he’ll probably end up playing.”
• Legwand – “Leggy was maintainance.”
• Erat (back) – “Erat is a day-to-day right now with normal upper body pain. We’ll have a better idea (Tuesday) on him.”
• Ryan Suter (lower body) – “He’s getting better. He won’t play on Wednesday. I’ll see where he is. I’m pretty sure he’s going to start skating and he probably will make the trip.”
* Jordin Tootoo (upper body) – Jordin looks like he’ll be fine to go. We were just being a little cautious (Monday) with some of the stuff that we did. I expect him to play.”
• Matthew Lombardi (concussion) – “He’s indefjnite.”
• A week ago, the Predators had the best record in the Western Conference. Following their first two regulation losses they enter this week tied for third in Central Division, one point ahead of last-place Columbus.
“We still have some holes in our game,” Trotz said. “… We have to be a little more resilient. Right after we get scored on we get back on our heels a little bit, and you have to come back really hard. We’re too light on the puck in our own end and in the offensive zone. And we have to manage the blue line a little better.”
• Linus Klasen was reassigned to Milwaukee, where he leads the Admirals in goals (seven) and points (10).
He played only sparingly (6:22 of ice time) in Saturday’s game at Detroit after being recalled a day earlier.