Predators mental approach will be a factor in Stanley Cup Playoffs

As the NHL nears a return from a four-plus month hiatus due to COVID-19, the Nashville Predators are among 16 teams preparing for the league’s Return to Play qualifying round leading up to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The regular season is finished, the 24 total teams in the playoffs will have one exhibition game each next week to warm up prior to being tossed straight into the fire, and, for all intents and purposes, each team is on a level playing ground to decide one of the strangest Stanley Cup champions in over a century.

One of the biggest questions, though, is how will teams prepare mentally for a direct jump into the postseason after a two-week training camp? There will be no preseason. There will be no split-squad scrimmages with other teams in different conferences to see which fringe player will make the opening night roster. 

Each coach has a brief time period to figure out which players are going to work best on which line, who will start in goal, and which strategy will work best in trying to pull out a trio of victories to move on past the qualifying round.

For players, though, it’s different. They’ve had a four-month layoff from one of the most up-tempo professional sports in North America, not knowing if or when they’d be brought back to perform at the same level . . .

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Author: Kristopher MartelCovering the Nashville Predators since 2011, and a fan of the team since they arrived, Kristopher has witnessed both the highs and the lows of the organization, spanning quick exits in the playoffs, multiple coaching changes, their only trip to the Stanley Cup Final, and more. Often trending to a more analytical approach, Kristopher enjoys breaking down some of the more detailed aspects of the Predators while at the same time trying to offer fans a friendly approach to the advanced side of hockey. When he's not around the rink, Kristopher is an avid Cleveland Browns fan, collects and enjoys fine bourbon, and likes to spend plenty of time around his grill and smoker. Kristopher, his wife Amanda, and their four children reside east of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee.