Hal Gill has more NHL playoff experience than any of his Nashville Predators teammates.
The veteran defenseman never has been through something like this, though. Gill has missed the first four games of Nashville’s Western Conference quarterfinal series with Detroit.
“It’s tough,” he said Thursday. “It’s nice that we’ve been getting some wins, but it’s tough to sit back and watch.”
Based on the day’s practice, things might get a little easier – for him and for the team – beginning Friday when the Predators attempt to close out the series in Game 5 (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena).
Gill made it through the entire workout and even stayed on the ice afterward for a little extra work. No one was prepared to say he would be in the lineup for the next contest, but it was the most he had done since being hurt when he blocked shot in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
“It was very important,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He practiced pretty well. … We’ll see where he is [Friday]. … That’s really his call.”
The 37-year-old has appeared in 105 career playoff games with three different franchises. More than half of those appearances came in the past four years, which included his run to the Stanley Cup title as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
He said he has watched the first four games of this series closely, both in person and on the television.
“TV is the easiest because you see everything,” he said. “… I think you’re learning the whole time. There’s a lot of trends and tendencies out there and you have to be aware of those.
“You can’t just jump into a series and not know what’s happening.”
Likewise, he stressed he did not want to get back in the lineup if he was not physically ready to do so.
“I just have to be able to play at a high level,” he said. “It’s not like you’re jumping into an exhibition game and can half-ass it out there.
“You have to go all out.”