Friday, August 24, 2012

Blum motivated to make NHL squad

Jonathon Blum has been working hard this summer to put himself in a position to compete for an NHL roster spot in Nashville once training camp rolls around. He came to Nashville for the summer to work on getting into prime physical condition with Strength and Conditioning Coach David Good, and he seems to be making progress.

"It's been great. I'm really learning a lot from David Good. I think this is exactly what I needed to work on with the coaches. David Poile said at the exit meetings what I needed to do, and I'm here doing it and getting in shape. A lot of the testing and stuff we've done has been up so I think everything has been going good in that aspect. I love the city here so it's always nice just to come back here early and be able to use the facilities here that the team has because they're really nice. It gives you every advantage to be a better player," Blum said.

Blum began the 2011-12 season in Nashville, beginning the season on the Predators' second defensive pairing with veteran Kevin Klein. However, Blum only played in 33 games for the Predators last season before being sent down to the team's AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. That experience was tough for Blum to accept, and he has been using it as motivation this summer during his workouts.

"It's the biggest thing I've ever gone through. The biggest challenge. I've proved that I can play here. I played 60-something straight games with the team and getting sent down and stuff was hard to take. I've proven that I can play top four minutes and be on this team in the NHL. This summer has really been a good summer for me to really put all that stuff that happened last year to good use in the gym," Blum said.

The physical tools that make NHL defensemen successful are there for Blum. After all, he was drafted in the first round by Nashville in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. For some reason, he simply wasn't able to be a productive player last year at the NHL or AHL level. However, Blum is making a change off the ice that could drastically improve his quality of play on the ice.

"I just think off the ice, just changing my habits of eating. The team has a nutritionist and being in contact with her a lot and really changing the way I eat. Getting body fat down and stuff like that. All  of that makes a difference being on the ice and being in top-level shape so I've been doing that," Blum said.

Now that the Predators have signed veteran defenseman Scott Hannan, Blum will really have to make a positive impression on the coaching staff during training camp if he wants to start the season in Nashville. However, Blum is obviously motivated heading into the 2012-13 season and a competitive battle for roster spots on defense would be healthy for the Predators in the long run.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)