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Sidelined Sullivan looking ahead

Tuesday, 04.24.2007 / 4:13 PM CT / Features
Nashville Predators
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Sidelined Sullivan looking ahead

Steve Sullivan
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty
Steve Sullivan: "We're going to do an extensive core and back workout this summer. I'm planning on being stronger and better than I was this year."

One Predators player who could have had a major impact on Nashville's playoff fate was forced to watch as his teammates were eliminated in five games by the San Jose Sharks. Forward Steve Sullivan, who amassed 60 points in 57 games during the regular season, was sidelined for the final 20 games of the schedule and all playoff games with back problems. No one was more disappointed than the 5'8", 165-pound Timmins, Ont. native.

"It was extremely frustrating," Sullivan said Monday, as the Predators players gathered for exit interviews and physicals. "Probably the most [frustrated] I've ever been in my career. As a hockey player, you do have injuries and you sit out games, but having to watch your guys go to war, playing for the ultimate prize--I mean, growing up, we all want to win the Stanley Cup, and I don't get that opportunity to go help my hockey team. It was very frustrating trying to watch the games and just seeing the guys working so hard. Blood, sweat and tears going into different games and I'm not able to help and I'm on the sidelines. It was very hard."

When Predators general manager David Poile offered his post-season analysis and his look at the future at a Tuesday press conference, he echoed Sullivan's sentiments.

"The only injury of concern to me in terms of long term--and deep down I don't think it will be a concern--[is] Steve Sullivan," Poile said. "His back thing was very frustrating to everybody. He's been to multiple doctors and I don't know exactly what the game plan is going forward other than maybe just rest and more rehab to his core area because there was nothing found in terms of structural damage or anything like that. It was just a really frustrating injury for both the team and the player."

After collecting a goal and an assist in his last game of the season on Feb. 22, Sullivan was listed as day-to-day with back spasms. The problem lingered, though, and days became weeks. Sullivan spent the remainder of the season visiting a variety of doctors and attempting to return to the ice. Now he's looking forward to a summer break that he believes will allow him to recover fully and prepare for next season.

"I've got five months to get better now, without the pressure of having to try to make a comeback," he said. "Physically and mentally it was very draining for me to try to skate every second or every third day on my own at a different rink to try to stay away from the guys and try not to be a distraction. [It was also draining to] try to make myself better flying cross-country to see different doctors from here and there and not really finding the problem--knowing that rest was probably the biggest thing that I needed. What's great about it is that none of the tests that I've done show any kind of damage for long-term. We're going to do an extensive core and back workout this summer. I'm planning on being stronger and better than I was this year.

"I did a lot of core for my hernia surgeries that I had done last year, and that worked out very well," he added. "Now it's a matter of doing some different exercises and doing a different program this year to make sure that the back is good."

 

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33