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Preds Activate Sullivan Off IR; Assign Mueller to AHL

Saturday, 02.5.2011 / 11:00 AM CT / News
By Press Release  - Nashville Predators
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Preds Activate Sullivan Off IR; Assign Mueller to AHL
Nashville, Tenn. (February 5, 2011) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has reassigned forward Chris Mueller to Milwaukee (AHL) and activated forward Steve Sullivan from Injured Reserve.

Instant Analysis
The return of Steve Sullivan is very important news to the Preds. His return to the lineup gives the Preds offense a major boost. Sullivan is one of the more gifted and dangerous offensive players in the organization. Despite missing the entire month of January, Sullivan still ranks fourth on the team in goals. He's a perennial 20-25 goal, 55-60 point threat with the ability to play on the power-play and penalty kill units.

Chris Mueller has been a very pleasant find for the Predators this season -- a training camp invitee, he's been one of the best players in Milwaukee this year and provided quality energy minutes during his recall opportunities with the Preds this season. Nashville went 8-5-1 on his most recent recall, with Mueller averaging over 8:30 a game. Mueller has definitely emerged as a valuable depth piece this season, with the potential to develop further.

The interesting aspect to watch will be the shake down in the forward line combinations.
Mueller had been playing center on a line with J-P Dumont and Matt Halischuk. Sullivan is a winger; prior to his injury, Sullivan had been playing the wing opposite Patric Hornqvist on a line centered by now-injured Cal O'Reilly. Hornqvist has recentely been paired with Colin Wilson on a line centered by David Legwand.  Wilson is a natural center and could be slid back into the middle, but he's been productive as a big body off the wing this season -- especially of late with 12 points in his last 17 games. Nick Spaling is another natural center playing wing, recently with Joel Ward and center Jerred Smithson. The coaches could slide Spaling back to the middle, but the Smithson-Spaling-Ward trio has been the team's most-used shutdown defensive line against opponent top scorers. Sullivan and Martin Erat have played on a line together in the past, but the line of Erat-Marcel Goc-Sergei Kostitsyn has been clicking.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
Sullivan, 36 (7/6/74), has missed the past 18 games due to a lower-body injury; he last appeared in the Predators lineup on Dec. 23 against Ottawa. In 34 games this season, the Timmins, Ont., native has 20 points (10g-10a) and at 36 years, 214 days (as of Feb. 5) is poised to become the second-oldest player ever to dress for the Predators with his next appearance in the lineup passing Stu Grimson (36 years, 206 days).

In being sent to the Admirals, Mueller, 24 (3/6/86), completes his second stint with Predators since being signed as a free agent on Dec. 27. In 15 NHL games, the West Seneca, N.Y., native has three assists and an even rating while averaging 8:38 of ice time. Mueller ranks second on the Admirals in goals (13), and fifth in points (21) despite playing in only 35 of the team’s 47 games.

The Predators play the second and third of nine February home games when they host the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings tonight at 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Tennessee, 102.9 FM The Buzz) and the Edmonton Oilers on Monday evening (7 p.m. 102.9 FM The Buzz). The Edmonton game is a Military Monday matchup, where Military personnel and their families will be able to purchase best available seats for just $20 per ticket by showing their ID at the box office. Tickets for both games are still available and may be purchased at the Bridgestone Arena box office, by calling (615) 770-PUCK (7825) or online via nashvillepredators.com.

Off the ice, the Predators are gearing up for several key fundraising events. The inaugural Predators Foundation GnashVegas Casino Gala and Auction, presented by Grand Avenue Luxury Transport Services, takes place on Thursday, Feb. 10 over the ice at Bridgestone Arena and the Fangtastic 5k, presented by Action Nissan, kicks off on Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. For more information on these and other off-ice happenings, visit nashvillepredators.com.


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