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05-11-2012, 10:54 AM
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Both players quickly felt welcome in Smashville.

“After the trade, I think I kind of found a niche here. I really enjoyed that. It takes a while to get in and figure where you belong, but it happened really quickly. I have no regrets at all,” Gill said about the trade.

Gaustad’s quick connection to the team made the second round loss to Phoenix a particularly difficult defeat.

“Everyone embraced me. I felt like a part of this team. I took this loss just as hard as any loss I’ve had in the playoffs. It is a great team, and it is unfortunate that we didn’t go farther. You have goals. You want to win the Stanley Cup. We had that goal, and we didn’t achieve it,” he said.

Despite their short tenure in Nashville, Gill and Gaustad have both expressed an interest in remaining with the Predators.

“Right now, you decompress and regroup. Then you make decisions, talk to the team and see about doing something, and work it out,” Gill said, adding, “I’m getting older, so I really want to win. That’s really what it is all about. You want to play on a team that can win. I think it is a great young group, with good coaching, in a good city. I like it here, and I’d love to play [for Nashville].”

Interviews between players and coaches began on Thursday. The 37-year-old said he would make his intentions known at the meeting. However, those intentions were already known by at least one member of the Predators’ management, Head Coach Barry Trotz.

“Both would like to come back,” Trotz said of Gill and Gaustad. “I think anytime you acquire players, those are guys who you bring in to fill in holes. We still have holes. That’s why we got them. Every time you acquire someone, it is to make you better. They both made us better.”

Before being traded to Nashville, Gaustad spent his entire career in Buffalo. With seven years of NHL experience behind him, many teams would likely seek the services of a forward of Gaustad’s caliber during the free agency period. Like Gill, however, the center has also expressed an interest in re-signing with Nashville.

“I think Nashville has a great chance and a great future with the guys they have here and the coaching staff. It is definitely a place you want to play,” he said.

A lot of factors may go into a player’s decision as to whether or not he wants to sign with a particular team. For Gaustad, he was particularly impressed with the citizens of Smashville.

“You have to start with the fans. The culture here is different than it is perceived in the NHL. The fans have been great. The organization is a top-notch organization. Everyone gives their best here. It is a winning culture,” he said.

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