In a move you don’t see every day, in the regular season let alone in the playoffs, the Nashville Predators suspended forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3. It’s practically unheard of for it to happen in the playoffs, especially when down 2-0 in a series, but the Predators decided to do it anyways. In my opinion it was done because both players have a somewhat questionable history, Kostitsyn had a reputation for office activities in Montreal and Radulov as we all know ran off to the KHL for four years. Management obviously felt they had to send a message to the team; saying it doesn’t matter who you are, if you break the rules you will get punished for it.
Predator’s GM David Poile explained the decision on Tuesday and had the following to say. “I’ve been a manager for 30 years, I care about each individual player, but I’ve never put an individual player above the team. In this case, the players violated a team rule,” Poile explained. “It’s disappointing any time a player has to miss a game because of violating a team rule, and it’s even more significant at playoff time, but the decision between the coach and myself was very easy. We have to do the right thing. Their actions spoke volumes in terms of their lack of commitment and focus to give our club a chance to win.” “I hope there is some remorse for what they did,” “Time will tell with their behaviour and if they get the opportunity to get back into the lineup.” “We have to do the right thing. Their actions spoke volumes in terms of their lack of commitment and focus to give our club a chance to win.” “The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centred around doing the right things,” “We have always operated with a team-first mentality and philosophy. Violating team rules is not fair to our team and their teammates.”
Coach Trotz, Captain Shea Weber and Ryan Suter commented as well, and insisted this will not be a distraction. “Every team that has success in the playoffs has to go through some adversity,” Trotz said. “They haven’t had to go through a whole lot of adversity yet, so this is a good test. When you go through adversity, it really reveals your character so we’re going to find out what kind of character we do have.” Ryan Suter said people make mistakes. “As long as people learn from their mistakes, that’s the biggest thing,” Suter said. “We stand by him. When they do get back in the lineup, they’re going to be a big impact.” Shea Weber said everyone needs to be held to the same standards and that everyone knows the rules. Now the focus is on Wednesday night.
Both players spoke with their teammates and Radulov spoke with reporters after practice, and said he will support his teammates Wednesday night. He hinted the rule violation may have been curfew. “I didn’t come back that late that they were saying, but like I said before, I don’t want to talk about it,” Radulov said. “They did what they had to. I am disappointed, and I understand what is my mistake.” Radulov leads the Predators with six points in the post-season. Kostitsyn is tied for second on the team with four points, and has two of Nashville’s six goals against Phoenix.