Have you ever heard the saying when it rains it pours? Well, if you’re a Nashville Predators fan you better grab your umbrella!
After coming off what is probably their poorest defensive showing all season in Sunday night’s 5-3 loss to Phoenix, the Preds were handed some more bleak news. Forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn were suspended for Game 3 for what has been said to be a curfew violation. Very few details have been given out by the Predators organization but it seems that the two were spotted in Scottsdale (45 minutes away from Glendale, where the team and arena were located) Saturday night after midnight.
Predators GM, David Poile, addressed the media during practice today. Those in attendance could only say that Poile looked utterly disappointed.
“The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centered around doing the right things,” Poile said. “We have always operated with a team-first mentality and philosophy. Violating team rules is not fair to our team and their teammates.”
Poile also went on to say that the possibility of suspending the players for Game 4 is entirely up to Coach Barry Trotz.
So, what is Coach Trotz going to do now? Maybe this is a blessing for him as far as Radulov goes. Rads did not have a good showing in either game so far in this series. In game 2 there were times he looked completely lost to the point where he let the Coyotes walk right in and score a goal. In all honesty, while Radulov is supposed to be a star player, and has been in the past, he has been more harmful than productive in this WCSF series. Where this hurts the Predators is with the loss of A. Kostitsyn. In the playoffs Kostitsyn has 3 goals, one assist, 11 shots on goal, and a plus 3 rating.
Is it time for the Predators and their fans to hit the panic button? I don’t think so…not yet anyways. The one thing about this Predator team that sets them apart from past teams is their depth. Since the trade deadline and the addition of Radulov, Trotz has had the liberty of being picky about who he chooses to put in the line-up. Trotz may not have the luxury of putting exactly who he wants out on the ice for game 3, but it has to be a little comfort to know he has players chomping at the bit to contribute. If today’s practice was any indication of who he plans to put in the line-up tomorrow, it looks like it’s a go for Matt Halischuk, Craig Smith, and Jordin Tootoo. All three are quality players who feel like they have something to prove.
If I were the Phoenix Coyotes, I might be a little worried.
While there is so much uncertainty surrounding game 3 for the Nashville Predators, there is one thing that is certain. If the Predators win, it is because Radulov and Kostitsyn were suspended, and if the Predators lose, it is because Radulov and Kostitsyn were suspended.
Game 3: Phoenix Coyotes at Nashville Predators Wednesday, May 2 at 8:00 ET CNBC, TSN