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Army training sticks with Predators

Training with 'Special Ops' troops helps Nashville with adversity

Friday, 04.18.2008 / 9:08 PM ET / Features
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Army training sticks with Predators
The blue Nylon flag hangs proudly in the Predators' locker room at home and on the road. For many of the players, the training session at Ft. Campbell was a life-changing experience.
DETROIT -- The Nashville Predators have stared directly into the eye of adiversity this season, and they have found inspiration in the form of a little blue flag, engraved with the letters ‘PDQ’ and ‘NSDQ’.

The ‘PDQ’ stands for ‘Predators never quit’, and the ‘NSDQ’ stands for ‘Night Stalkers never quit’. The statements may not sound like much, but the memories they bring are a big reason for the team’s success this season.

On September 26, three days before their final preseason game, the Predators took an hour bus ride to Fort Campbell for a team-bonding mission. They left with much more than a flag.

“We went to the 160th, it’s a special ops (unit),” coach Barry Trotz said.  “They’re the guys that extract people. At night, they will go into enemy territory, and they have a motto that’s ‘never leave a man behind.’

“We thought that was real fitting for us, so we went out and had a little training camp in Fort Campbell and we did what they call ‘Black Day’, it’s what separates the men from the boys.”

‘Black Day’ certainly left an impression on the Predators.

“They put us through some of their training, and we went through all their obstacles,” captain Jason Arnott said. “We had two teams that went against each other; they basically ran us through what their rookies would go through. It was pretty unbelievable; it was a great experience. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

That’s saying a lot especially from someone who scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to win the Stanley Cup in 2002.

Trotz said that the experiences gained from the day’s activities helped a team in need of motivation at the beginning of the season. The Predators have struggled with injuries all season long, dating back to February 2007 when the team lost assistant captain Steve Sullivan to a back injury. Sullivan, who had scored at least 20 goals each season since 1998, missed all 82 games in the regular-season and is out for the playoffs.

“We started out this year obviously with a lot of people out of our line-up,” Trotz said.  “A lot of (the players) said it was one of those days where you don’t think you’re going to get through it, and they got through it, and I think that sort of set the stage for identity this year.”

The blue flag that the Night Stalkers presented to the team now serves as both reminder and reward.  The players pass it amongst themselves as a trophy, given to the ‘player of the game’ after every Nashville win. Veteran goalie Chris Mason said that the player who gets the flag isn’t always the one filling up the score-sheet.

“It’s spread around pretty good,” he said. “We’re a team, and we need everybody in the room, so it might not be for scoring goals, it might be for a shot block or a good penalty kill, so it gets spread around pretty well.”

The Predators will be clinging to the ‘Predators don’t quit’ motto as they continue through the Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Red Wings.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80